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 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.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: April 2012

On Friday, I had the privilege of visiting the CICFO orphanage here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  CICFO is the only orphanage in Cambodia that is registered with the Department of the Interior–because it is the only one run by Cambodians.  All the others are registered with the Department of the Interior.

The kids here are absolutely wonderful; they are happy and are all getting a good education, living in a safe and clean environment and above all, they are being loved.

You may remember that the Smiths first introduced me to Botevy, the founder of CICFO.  She is a delightful woman who over the years has used her modest personal resources to support the orphanage when fundraising efforts run short.

It was wonderful to spend time with her and her kids!

Botevy is especially remarkable in that she survived Pol Pots killing fields in the 70s and has become a wonderful, giving person in spite of it (or could it be because of it?). 

You can donate to support CICFO here (be sure to select CICFO as the recipient of your donation).

Don’t forget, you can still support the Your Mark on the World project at by sponsoring your favorite cause.

Separately, I bought some bracelets to support CICFO.  I’m giving them away in my raffle here where you can also win a $100 donation to your favorite cause

Win $100 for your favorite charity!

The book, Your Mark on the World, is coming along nicely and is still on track for a July 4, 2012 publication date.  I’ve found some inspiring stories and hope to do them justice in the book!

In order to get ready for publication, I’m running a campaign at where you can sponsor your favorite cause (charity, not-for-profit or social venture) for a mention in the book for just $5.  You’ll also get your name in the acknowledgements and you’ll get a digital copy of the book (that will sell for $5.)  What a deal!  What a great way to show your support for your cause.  You also have the option to pay more to get more exposure for your cause and more rewards for yourself.

Now, I’m going even one better.  I’m going to donate $100 to someone else’s cause.  You pick the cause and then register here on Facebook.  On May 15, 2012, I’ll pick a winner and make a $100 contribution to the winner’s cause!  You do NOT need to donate at to enter the raffle. 

When you enter the raffle, you get one entry for giving me the name of your charity.  You get ten entries if you choose to follow me on twitter (@devindthorpe).  You get another ten entries if you “like” the Your Mark on the World Facebook page.  Even better, you get 25 entries for tweeting about the raffle–and you can come back and do that every single day!  And if you do decide to donate $5 or more at you’ll get an extra 25 entries.  All in all, you can get hundreds of entries in the raffle for your charity before the contest ends on May 15, 2012.

Better still, if you organize your friends from your charity so that they all tweet, you could accumulate thousands of entries on behalf of your charity.  Even more good news:  if you also choose to donate $5 at your donation will count as a vote for your cause.  I will write my last chapter of the book about the cause with the most donations at, so get your friends together and game the heck out of the raffle and then sponsor your cause with $5 each so I’ll write about it in my book.

Register for the $100 charity donation raffle here on Facebook!

Right now you can have a meaningful impact on your favorite cause with just $5.00.  Skip the rest of this post and do it now!

While living here in China this last year I’ve been working on my new book called Your Mark on the World, to empower people to do more for their chosen causes (charity, not-for-profit organization or social venture) both in terms of time and money.  

Your Mark on the World will include stories about more than a dozen different causes and the people who are working to make a difference in the world.  You will be touched by the story of Mary, a young Kenyan girl who ran away from home to avoid the traditional mutilation that girls receive when they reach puberty and are subsequently married off.  You will be inspired by the Smith family from Idaho that is traveling around the world right now doing service, like providing loving care for leprosy patients  near Chennai, India.  Your heart will break with mine as you read about Amanda–who devoted her life to care for cast-off children in China, those born with a variety of birth defects–as she battles stage four cancer.

In order to give more causes an opportunity for exposure in the book and to bring attention to all of the good things going on in the world to inspire even more good, I’ve launched a fundraising campaign at  You can pledge $5.00 to receive a digital copy of the book as soon as it is published in July.  For that small gift, you’ll also get to name your favorite cause and have your name listed in the acknowledgements, along with your cause.  If you are passionate about a cause, you can pay more to give your cause more exposure in the book and receive other rewards as well.  

You can also help determine what I write about.  I will finish the book after the campaign ends, so the last chapter I write will be about the most often sponsored cause among all the donors to this campaign.  So, if you are passionate about helping your cause raise money and get more attention, invite your friends from that cause to join the campaign, too.  

It is important to understand that I will devote myself full time to promoting this book for at least six months.  Lots of people will read it.  It may not ever be a best seller, but I’m convinced that we can get the book into the hands of tens of thousands of people and spread the ideas about service and philanthropy even further!

Please, help me start some good today by clicking here to give $5 for your copy of Your Mark on the World!  What is your favorite cause?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Mary knew what was coming as she approached her 13th birthday.  And she would have none of it.  In a place where babies aren’t recognized as people until they are three “moons” old, because infant mortality is so high, Mary was lucky to have arrived at the ripe old age of 12.

Mary didn’t stick around to be mutilated and married off like so many of her elder peers had been.  Instead, Mary ran away to create for herself a different life, one where she could make a real difference to her people.

Female circumcision is still widely, though not universally practiced by the Maasai people in Kenya, according to Wikipedia.  It is against the law, but still viewed as essential, even by some girls who may be viewed as unmarriageable if they aren’t circumcised.  Most commonly, an outside practitioner using knives and blades fashioned by a blacksmith performs a clitorectomy.  The procedure not only leaves women scarred, but also may adversely affect their ability to urinate.

Life for a Maasai woman is not easy.  Being seminomadic, their homes are not permanent dwellings.  Built by the women on a frame of sticks; mud, cow dung and human urine are used to complete the circular or star shaped homes, called Inkajijik.

Shosho, once Vicki L. Stone, the American founder, of Africa is Life Changing, found Mary in school, living with a Christian religious leader.  She was one of only three 8th grade girls in a school with perhaps 100 boys.  Shosho challenged the three girls to do well on their final exams, promising that the girl who had the highest score would receive a scholarship to attend the new Africa is Life Changing boarding school for girls, St. Catherine’s School.  Having interviewed the three, Shosho anticipated that Mary would be the one who would make the effort to have the highest score.

In fact, Mary earned the highest score on her exam and earned that scholarship spot in the new school.  There, she excelled in her subjects and demonstrated her leadership ability.  Whenever a teacher asked, “Who would like to…” Shosho says that Mary’s hand was up before the teacher could finish the sentence.

Mary graduated from the high school and went on to college.  She has now completed nearly two years at the university and is majoring in education.  Shosho says that Mary’s desire is to “Influence her people in many different disciplines.”  (Her choice is no doubt a result of the great education she received.)

Africa is Life Changing is an organization that is working to empower women and children in Kenya, battling the AIDS epidemic there through education, medical treatment and community action.

Mary is seen in the photo with Shosho and Africa is Life Changing founder, Sana (Gloria Terry).

Learn more about Africa is Life Changing here. 

Mary will leave her mark on the world.  Will you?

“StartSomeGood” Starts Lots of Good

Alex Budak got the idea for StartSomeGood while living in India (be sure to ask Alex about the rat temple when you talk to him).  The poverty he saw there was unlike anything he’d previously experienced and he realized that he needed to be a part of the solution.  With an Undergraduate Degree from UCLA and an MPP from Georgetown University he was ready to make something happen.

The real epiphany he’d had was that a few large organizations would never have the breadth to deal with all of the problems he was seeing, meaning that the world needed a catalyst to help people create many new organizations to tackle individual problems.

Alex met his partner, Tom Dawkins, while working at Ashoka.

Together, they are making a mark on the world.  Their one-year old web service, StartSomeGood, has helped dozens of new social project, venture and not-for-profits raise money to do some good in the world.  Some are one-time projects and others are launching organizations to really have an impact.

Typically, a company will raise just a few thousand dollars on the SSG site, but one group, The Do Good Bus, was able to raise over $100,000 on the site.  Traveling with the band, Foster the People, a busload of volunteers went from city to city tackling service projects everywhere they went.  The money raised on the site provided the funds for the bus and travel expenses.

A group of high school students calling themselves the “Oakland Dons” raised just over $1,000 to create a program to encourage people to eat a more healthy diet.  They were able to negotiate discounts from health food stores for those most at risk and then provided the coupon books to them free of charge.  Others could purchase the coupon books as well.

While SSG is often called a “crowd-funding” source, Alex suggests the label “peer funding” better describes what they do.  SSG provides a vehicle for people to get their existing community to participate in their new social venture.

So, that’s how Alex and Tom are making their mark on the world.  How will you make yours?

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