The mission of the Your Mark on the World Center is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.


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A guest post from my great friend Devin D. Thorpe, author of Your Mark On The World. A Cornell-educated senior executive with more than 25 years experience as an investor and in senior corporate roles, he made the major life decision a little more than a year ago to refocus his life, beginning with a year of teaching in China, leading to the rediscovery of a purpose-driven life. Now he is a social entrepreneur. 

A little more than a year ago, Cornell-educated Devin D. Thorpe walked away from a 25-year business career to become a social entrepreneur

More and more, entrepreneurs are not satisfied with creating a business that delivers a great product, generates a profit and creates value (read wealth), but instead want their enterprise to directly impact a social problem from poverty to global warming.

Some social entrepreneurs  are running for-profit businesses with a clear and specific social mission integrated into the business model while others are launching traditional not-for-profit businesses.

To read the entire article, click the link above.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in cooperation with the United Nations Foundation, Mashable, UNDP, 92Y andEricsson are hosting the Social Good Summit in New York City this weekend.  Even if you can’t go to New York, you can participate.

Let’s be clear about a few things.  If you are or have ever hoped to become a social entrepreneur this is your time.  The world needs you to engage now.  Not because things are dire, but because things are so hopeful.  There has never been a time in history when we’ve had more resources available to bring to bear on the world’s biggest problems.

To read the entire article, click the link above.

If money is the only thing stopping you from doing something good in the world, stop waiting and start doing some good!

Nothing better symbolizes entrepreneurship than fundraising.  Social entrepreneurs are no different.  Today, there are a host of on-line resources for crowdfunding that social entrepreneurs can use to fund their projects, films, books, and social ventures.  Today, I’ll briefly profile eight.

  1. NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Yancey Strickler, Cofou...

    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Yancey Strickler, Cofounder, Kickstarter attends Wired Business Conference in Partnership with MDC Partners at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on May 1, 2012 in New York City. (Image credit: WireImage for Wired via @daylife)  Kickstarter is the 800 pound gorilla in crowdfunding, originally designed and built for creative arts, many technology entrepreneurs now use the site, some reporting to have raised millions of dollars.  The Kickstarter funding model is an all-or-nothing model.  You set a goal for your raise; if your raise exceeds the goal, you keep all the money, otherwise your supporters don’t pay and you don’t get anything.  This protects supporters from some of the risk of your running out of money before your project is completed.

Hand Up for Social Good Award

Do you know a great social entrepreneur who deserves a hand up? So many of the good people I’ve met over the last few years who are doing social good, don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve. You can help me find and recognize great do-gooders around the world; then we’ll give them a hand up.

Your Mark on the World, my new organization, will be giving $1,000 to a small social enterprise or nonprofit (less than $100,000 in 2012 revenue).  Any small organization in the world is eligible to enter. Nominations or applications must be submitted before the end of January 2013.

All those who submit applications or nominations will receive a code that entitles them to receive a free download of my book, Your Mark On The World.

Please complete the application below:

Crowdfunding Workshop Report

This morning, we held the first Crowdfunding Workshop for Social Entrepreneurs. It was a great success, with participation from as far away as Zambia! 

The live, private video chat format provided for excellent interaction and an opportunity for the workshop to be genuinely consultative. 

We’ve scheduled five more workshops. We’ll run the series at no charge this time, but when we repeat the series there will be a modest fee for participation.

If you’d like to join us for the next one—even if you missed the first session—be sure to register here to receive the information on how to participate.

The next session will be Friday, March 1, 2013 at noon EST.

How to Drive Social Innovation through Startups

Guest post from WeSparkt co-founder Jonathan Blanchard

Startups aren’t always sexy. For every billion dollar Instagram newsworthy deal, most startups work with little fanfare and recognition. While social media companies are the press’ new darlings, hundreds of startups tackle critical yet stodgy industries that are full of inefficiencies. Innovations in healthcare, education, and energy are quietly improving social and environmental outcomes by changing the way these sectors have operated for decades. These social entrepreneurs re-think how we take care of the population and our energy economy, make money and benefit society. We need more of these social startups to get to market to change the world for the better.

How do we launch these double-bottom line startups to drive real social impact? Access to capital is a crucial part of the answer. Over 72% of social impact startups say that raising money is their biggest concern. Professional investors chase hot sectors and will often avoid entrepreneurs building profitable businesses in education, health and clean technology. These startups need a new source of capital to fund their growth at the early stages.

An untapped community looking for impact investment opportunities exists for these startups. They are the 90% of individuals eligible to invest in startups who don’t have access. Many of these investors have an affinity for these sectors and are looking for social and environmental returns beyond profit alone. Hope Consulting estimates that there is $120 billion on the sidelines for impact investments from high net worth individuals. It will stay on the sidelines, however, until it can find meaningful impact investment opportunities and has access to startups that are changing the world.

Our company, WeSparkt, provides that access. WeSparkt connects impact investors with startup investment opportunities in the clean technology, healthcare, and education technology sectors. Our mission is to fund and launch social entrepreneurs by connecting them with the right community of investors- those who understand the challenges in these sectors, who want to see outcomes improve, and who are looking for financial as well as social and environmental returns.

WeSparkt recently launched to bring this vision to life. We believe that the dynamics are changing for getting social impact startups off of the ground. Large communities can support these entrepreneurs in new ways that will make the world a better place. We’re proud to help lead the movement. Follow us at @wesparkt and register at to see how you can make an impact.

True Global Ties: UCLA Student Offers a Simple but Powerful Concept to Change the World in a Small Way: Buy a Bracelet

This is a guest post from Steven Ng.

Imagine change through e-commerce.

That is the simple but powerful concept at the core of UCLA student Steven Ng’s Global Ties, a new non-profit campaign joining in the fight against world hunger.

When Ng, a San Francisco native and a junior at UCLA, participated in a volunteer trip to Kenya, Africa, he never thought that his experience would inspire him to launch a worldwide campaign against hunger. As a result of his life-altering trip, Ng created the non-profit organization, Global Ties. While on his trip to the African country, he captured footage to create a campaign portraying the Global Ties mission, goals, ideas and spotlighting sobering global hunger statistics.

The Global Ties’ campaign offers visitors to his website an opportunity to purchase three types of bracelets, which Ng himself created:  Black Rope Silver Bracelet, Brown Leather Rose Gold and Black Leather Gold. The goal of these bracelet sales is to help feed the hungry worldwide. These bracelets represent the Global Ties theme as they can be wrapped around the wrist with a “G” as the charm to hold the “ties” together.

Ng has experienced  the success of a prospering startup through not only his parents’ businesses when growing up in San Francisco, but his own company, Dash Wallets, which he recently launched through kickstarter to help fund his education. He hopes  to not only see Global Ties aid with the world’s hunger problems but to eventually expand to take on  other global issues including HIV/AIDS, clean water and cancer

Global Ties’ crowd funding campaign can be found on with current bracelet styles. Every bracelet/necklace is manufactured in environmentally friendly facilities.

Black Rope Silver: Feed 12 individuals. Cost: $9.00image

Brown Leather Rose Gold: Feed 24 individuals. Cost: $15.00image

Black Leather Gold: Feed 48 individuals. Cost: $25.00image

For additional information:

To contribute:

Fundly CEO David Boyce Describes Best Practices for Social Crowdfunders

David Boyce and I originally did this interview for CrowdFundBeat.

Fundly CEO David Boyce will be speaking at the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 27, 2013. (You may register here.)

In this interview, David describes how Fundly is all about crowdfunding for social enterprises and nonprofits. In fact, Fundly was turns up several times in my book, Crowdfunding for Social Good, and was quoted in the book.

Dave’s bio from the Fundly website:

Dave is a serial entrepreneur who lists his favorite start-up as his own family (he is married with six kids). Dave’s previous start-up, ProfitLogic, sold to Oracle, where Dave stayed for four years as a VP of Product and Strategy.

Entrepreneur, Musician, Speaker, Father

  • ProfitLogic from $300K to $30M; sold to Oracle
  • Oracle Retail from $130M to $300M
  • BYU Vocal Point from zero to World Championship
  • Consultant to South African and Cambodian governments
  • Harvard MBA
  • Co-Founder of Fundly

Fun Fact:Was a professional beat-boxer

RedCapes Interview Features Passion For Having Social Impact

This interview with Wendy Robbins and Karen Paul was originally recorded for CrowdFundBeat.

Wendy Robbins and Karen Paul are the founders of RedCapes, a crowdfunding site for social causes. They visited with me to share more about their new site and their long-term vision for it. Wendy will be joining us for the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 27, 2013 at Snowbird, Utah—seats are still available.

WENDY ROBBINS - CEO/Co-Founder of Red Capes

Superheroes: Wonder Woman, Nelson Mandela, Oprah

Here are a few of Wendy’s accomplishments:

Bloomberg Television says, “Robbins is America’s Next Top Entrepreneur.” Co-invented and marketed The Tingler head massager selling a million of them.  Co-starred with Kelly Ripa as a business coach/host on Discovery/TLC on the TV series, “Homemade Millionaire.”  Author of the bestseller, “Why Marry  A Millionaire?  Just Be One!”  Writes for The Huffington Post.  She wrote, directed, produced reality shows for 13 years and the shows won 2 Emmy’s and was nominated for a 3rd one.  She attended The Juilliard School for acting, member of DGA, SAG, and AFTRA.  Popular speaker and panelist. She is a crowdfunding expert, writing a book about crowdfunding and she looks fab in a red cape.

Online media kit -
Personal FB:
Red Capes Twitter: @redcapesmedia

Co-Founder and CMO
Super Kaz Karen Paull
Hometown: New York
Superheroes: My Grandma, Rosa Parks, and Wonder Woman

Thanks for supporting our new (and improved) crowd-funding site!  I am excited to leverage my 15 years experience as an Executive in the Digital  Marketing and Sales space! We founded Red Capes with the idea of wanting to bring more good news to the world. Wendy had incubated this entire concept several years ago, and we tossed it around, did a year of research to discover what people loved and disliked about the current model, and improved it. is not just a crowd-funding site, it’s a Interactive Social Media Fundraising Site for anyone who believes in paying it forward! Every single campaign that we attract, is about doing good for others, and leaving this world a better place than how we found it; which is why we are seeking to fund progressive, sustainable, unique, original, cool ideas and businesses that have a deep impact, with a small footprint.

Inaugural Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference at Snowbird, September 27, 2013



September 4, 2013, Salt Lake City—The first annual Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference is coming to Utah on Friday, September 27, 2013 at Snowbird. Hosted by experts Devin D. Thorpe and Dr. Richard Swart, the one-day event will bring social innovators from around the country together to discuss social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy and crowdfunding. All entrepreneurs, investors and those with an interest in learning about and advancing the arenas of social entrepreneurship and crowdfunding should attend.

The Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference will feature two general sessions and three tracks for breakout sessions. A VIP dinner will follow (separate tickets are required). Registration begins at 7:30 AM and the dinner will wrap up at approximately 9:00 PM.

Topics will include the following:

How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign for a social enterprise

How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign for a nonprofit

Impact investing tips for crowdfund investors

Doing effective due diligence for impact investors

Starting a nonprofit—getting 501(c)(3) status

Launching a social enterprise in a nonprofit

Event host Richard Swart said, “The roster of speakers assembling for this event makes it a ‘can’t miss’ event for entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropists looking to increase their social impact.”

The event includes an all-star line up of expert presenters from throughout the U.S.:

Silver sponsors for the event include YESCO Signs and Snapp Conner PR. Registration for the event ranges in price from $25 for students and nonprofits to $174 for VIP tickets. For a full event agenda and to register, visit

About The Social Enterprise And Crowdfunding Conference

Hosted by social entrepreneurship and crowdfunding experts Devin D. Thorpe and Dr. Richard Swart, the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference is driving and promoting the education and advancement of social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy and crowdfunding. For more information about the current and future conference events, visit

CrowdFundBeat Founder To Speak At SECFC13

CrowdFundBeat Founder Sydney Armani will speak at the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference at Snowbird on September 27, 2013. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Sydney to learn more about 

Sydney Armani:

Sydney Armani is a long time silicon valley entrepreneur, with more than twenty years experience in Valley’s community acting in both an entrepreneurial and investing capacity. Sydney’s vision for starting and successfully managing innovative companies, like Hello Net Internet and Mobile telephony appliance services. Minitel and Videotex.A online a first generation of touch Screen tablets. His international experience in trade and International banking takes him around the world, projects with OPIC Overseas Private Investment Corporation for free trade with business engagement in Europe and UAE’s Dubai. A creative person at heart, he’s working on building CrowdFunding platform ” Live Crowdfunding demo pitch contest building bridge for new generation of Startup’s in the Crowdfunding industry. Sydney is publisher of, an online daily crowdfunding news site in US and UK. He is also the organizer of the annual Silicon Valley Meets Crowdfunders conference in Palo Alto, CA. 

Sang Lee Explains Equity Crowdfunding For Social Impact

Sang Lee, founder and CEO of Return on Change, a crowdfunding site for social entrepreneurs will be speaking at SECFC13—the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference. Today, he visited with me for CrowdFundBeat to talk about his platform and the implementation of the JOBS Act which enables investment crowdfunding.

Sang Lee:

Sang Lee is a recovering investment banker who discovered his passion for startups.  He’s now the CEO and founder of Return on Change, a funding portal connecting high-impact startups with investors. Grounded in social innovation, Sang’s mission is to alleviate the pain that social entrepreneurs/startups experience when they seek a capital raise. Through technology and finance, he is seeking to create a new paradigm of impact startup finance where everyone gets involved in the sustainability of the future while losing the unnecessary complexities of deal making and capital contracts. He has received the Young Entrepreneurs to Watch Award from Under30CEO NY, and is serving as the Executive Director of CF50, a global crowdfunding think tank.

Prior to founding Return on Change, Sang worked as an investment banker in the energy field at WestLB and BNP Paribas, accruing a wealth of expertise in financial regulation, business, and financial structuring. Additionally, he has significant experience in the advisory and execution of more than $10.0 Bn equivalent of energy transactions in North America. Sang strives to educate innovative entrepreneurs about online funding’s immense potential to provide startups with critical early stage capital as well as investors with the opportunity to become involved in the most disruptive companies. You can follow him on Twitter @RoCSang. 


Youth Social Innovation Capital Fund Is Connecting Social Entrepreneurs And Impact Investors

Guest post from Jory Cohen, Managing Director of Youth Social Innovation.

Social entrepreneurs need capital to grow their ventures.

Impact investors need opportunities to earn blended-value returns.

Youth Social Innovation Capital Fund (YSI) connects social entrepreneurs and impact investors to drive positive change.

I’m the Managing Director of YSI, an impact investing organization based out of Toronto, Canada:  the land known for hockey, maple syrup, and, most recently, a flourishing social finance industry.  YSI has become a key player in Canadian social finance by bringing together likeminded entrepreneurs and investors working to create positive impact.

YSI sources capital from investors and loans it to entrepreneurs. Principal loans and financial interest is repaid to YSI and redistributed to investors. Social and environmental return (SROI) is measured and communicated.


YSI’s focus: social entrepreneurs and impact investors

We understand the obstacles talented young social innovations encounter when establishing and expanding their ventures.  Often traditional financial institutions are unable or unwilling to provide capital to young entrepreneurs without an established credit history or considerable existing assets. 

We believe in the passion, pragmatism, and ability of young social innovators to build successful enterprises that are dedicated to pursuing positive change.

YSI emphasizes character over collateral and provides capital to trustworthy entrepreneurs.  Receiving a YSI support package is more than just a loan.  We form a close partnership with supported organizations to connect them with necessary non-financial resources required to grow their ventures.  We do everything we can to ensure our entrepreneurs accomplish their triple-bottom-line vision.

YSI also recognizes that investors are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their current investment portfolio and opportunities. They want their investments to earn financial returns while simultaneously having a positive social and environmental impact. YSI provides the opportunity for investments to simultaneously do both well and good.

A YSI-Supported Social Enterprise

Let’s take a look at an example of an investment earning blended-value returns.

Fresh City Farms is a Toronto-based urban farm and farming network that locally cultivates organic groceries without using harmful pesticides and fertilizers.  Delicious fruits and vegetables are picked, packaged, and delivered all in a 48 hour time frame to urban subscribers using eco-friendly means.  Fresh City helps keep busy Torontonians healthy by replacing the time consuming process of buying organic foods from local markets with a click of a mouse.


In April 2013, YSI formed a partnership with Fresh City.  They received a $10,000 loan and the necessary non-financial resources to grow their venture while staying true to their core social and environmental values.

YSI’s support enabled Fresh City to research, design, and implement solutions that resolved two primary barriers to organizational growth: a costly packaging system with pressing availability issues and an expensive third-party online ordering application.

The YSI loan allowed Fresh City to develop efficient and reusable packaging that directly improved the quality of their produce and cut operational costs.  A new online ordering system specifically tailored to Fresh City’s business needs and use cases has been developed and will go live in Fall 2013.  It is expected to greatly reduce organizational costs and streamline the ordering process, making life easier for the Fresh City team. 

Since receiving YSI support, Fresh City has experienced tremendous success. Revenue and number of subscribers have increased significantly.

YSI is extremely proud to play such a key role in the growth of social enterprises like Fresh City, while providing investors with opportunities to earn financial, social, and environmental returns.

It turns out Canada isn’t just about hockey and maple syrup. 

Richard Swart of UC Berkeley to Speak at SECFC13

Richard Swart, who is my partner in organizing the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 27, 2013 at Snowbird, visited with me today for CrowdFundBeat. Richard is a partner at Crowdfund Capital Advisors and also works at UC Berkeley doing research on crowdfunding.

Richard’s bio:

Dr. Richard Swart is a PhD in Information Systems, an international award-winning academic and a recognized thought leader in the crowdfunding industry. He is research director at the University of California, Berkeley’s Program in Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance. This program is developing the world largest database about social finance, microlending and crowdfunding. He works closely with the administration, SEC, and international organizations promoting crowdfunding, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Richard is a founding board member of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), theCrowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CIFRA), and an early leader in the field. Richard co-organized the first major national conference on crowdfunding and coordinated several educational events on the JOBS Act throughout the United States.

As Director of Research and Analysis for Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) Richard works closely with the University of California, Berkeley in the Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance Program which is dedicated to academic research on crowdfunding and has CCA principals as founders. Richard led a research project for the World Bank exploring crowdfunding and funding models for innovative technology. 

After leaving Utah State University’s Huntsman School of Business where he taught Information Systems, he has worked with a number of startups and has become a key organizer in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is a former COO of an Internet startup that had a successful exit in 2010. Richard is a board member and strategic advisor to firms in the crowdfunding and crowdfund investing space. While Executive Vice President over Strategic Partnerships for Grow America Ventures Richard worked nationally to help develop initiatives around entrepreneur funding and business competitions.

Richard leverages over 20 years experience in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, proven leadership, academic rigor, deep connections across the US, and his extensive network to help educate and mentor firms, policy holders and businesses.  He has played a critical role behind the scenes helping drive crowdfunding forward in DC since the passage of the JOBS Act and is a highly trusted expert resource for governments, academics and crowdfunding platforms.

Live With Ballard Center’s Todd Manwaring

Todd Manwaring heads the social entrepreneurship program at Brigham Young University. He will be speaking at SECFC13, The Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 27, 2013. 

On September 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM I will be visiting with Todd live to learn more about the Melvin J. Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance and the Peery Social Entrepreneurship Program, which he leads.


Todd is the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Change-Leader at BYU. He is the founder and director of both the Melvin J. Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance (2003) and Peery Social Entrepreneurship Program (2010). The overarching goal of the Ballard Center and the Peery Program is to help students create lasting change in the world that leads to better self-reliance. In the 2012-2013 school year over 1,700 students participated in Ballard Center programs. A faculty member of the Marriott School, he teaches social innovation courses in both the Business Management and the MBA program.

Todd worked previously in the computer industry in Salt Lake City, Boston, and Seattle.  In his last position at Sequent Computer Systems he managed a team of computer professionals for that company’s $125 million account at Boeing. Sixteen years ago Todd left this IT career and started his second career in social innovation.  Since that time he has been instrumental in the startup of a number of economically focused development organizations participating as consultant, board member, and executive director.  Co-foundingUnitus and Help International were great adventures. He has direct economic development experience in many developing world countries.

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