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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: September 2013

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.

Self-Reliance Is Key To Social Impact, Professor Says

Paul Godfrey, a Professor at Brigham Young University’s Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance, will join me live on September 10, 2013 at 4:00 PM Mountain Time to explain the importance of self-reliance in the social impact world.

Godfrey will be speaking at SECFC13, the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference at Snowbird on September 27, 2013. 

Paul C. Godfrey is a Professor of Strategic Management, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Academic Director of the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance.  His work on Corporate Social Responsibility as insurance continues to be cited and used by other scholars and practitioners.  His work has appeared in the top management and strategy journals, the Academy of Management Reviewand the Strategic Management Journal.  His current research focuses on self-reliance and eliminating global poverty in the lives of individuals and families.  Paul currently has a book in production on the subject with the Stanford University Press, and his article on the informal economy was the most downloaded article from the Annals of the Annals of the Academy of Management for 2011. 

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. 

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. 


Our space for your story

Guest post from Chelsea Bakewell of Red Door Interactive.

You’ve got a great idea, you’re working from your basement or friend’s house and you’re on that 5th cup of coffee. You’re working for a startup and you’re doing whatever it takes to get your feet off the ground. We can relate. Starting as a small company ourselves, Red Door Interactive has been through the necessary hurdles that small businesses must overcome in order to grow and flourish.  Having recently moved into bigger San Diego & Denver office spaces to enhance employee’s work capabilities, we understand that having a place of work to create and collaborate is crucial. Our Denver office currently has some space to spare, and we want to fill it with a promising startup that can take advantage of our open, creative environment.  And so, in the spirit of Red Door’s previous philanthropic initiatives, we have set out to give back to the community that has helped us get to where we are by giving a lucky startup rent free office space for 6 months.

The “Win Free Office Space in Downtown Denver” contest invites Denver startups, four person or less, to enter a short video via our Facebook tab. The easily accessible online platform allows small companies to share their stories through an online gallery that will be displayed throughout the contest. The nature of contest was designed to encourage friends and supporters to get involved and vote for their favorite startup.  In this way, the social impact of the contest will be to increase awareness of startups that enter and we are excited to serve as a platform for this initial exposure.

As always, it is important for us to be inspired and we encourage our entrants to share their stories based on several different criteria, but most importantly, their core values. Our core values, included but certainly not limited to are inspire, share, evolve, exceed and be 100% Jerk Free. After reviewing the videos, finalist will have the opportunity to interview with current Red Door employees, who will examine the startup’s mission, culture and values to determine if the company is a fit.  The winning company will have the chance to work in an open creative environment alongside a company that has been named an Ad Age “Best Place to Work”  in 2010 & 2012.   “We’ve got a great group of people here that inspire each other every day and contribute to our growth, but in the meantime, it was important to us to lend a hand to those just starting out.  We’ve got a great space, and if some extra room will help a promising young company get started on the right foot, then there’s no better way we could utilize it.  We’re looking forward to see what the entrepreneurial community in Denver has to offer! ”

Opening our doors to give a deserving startup a home to build their business is right up our alley and we are bustling with excitement to meet our entrepreneurial neighbors in Denver. If you’d like to get involved please spread the word by sharing the contest details here If you have any questions about Red Door Interactive please feel free to contact me, Chelsea Bakewell, at or tweet at us @red door.

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. 

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©(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

Doug Hansen, Partner at Tanner, LLC, Live!

Douglas Hansen, a partner at Tanner, LLC, will be live with me at 3:00 PM on September 4, 2013 to talk about the financial and accounting issues facing nonprofits. Doug will also be speaking at the upcoming Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 27, 2013. Watch the interview for a preview of his conference remarks.

More about Doug Hansen:

Doug is a partner and head of the audit practice at Tanner LLC (Tanner).  Tanner is a 75 person CPA firm located in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.  Doug graduated with honors from Utah State University in December 1988 and has been practicing public accounting for over 24 years.  He leads Tanner’s Nonprofit Niche Service Team and has served the nonprofit community for his entire career.  Tanner serves over 50 nonprofit organizations with revenues ranging from $100,000 to $100 million.  Doug has provided audit and consulting services to many different types of nonprofit organizations, including elementary and secondary schools, healthcare providers, fundraising organizations, foundations, performing arts and cultural organizations, voluntary health and welfare organizations, animal protection and humane organizations, religious organizations, research and scientific organizations, and others.  He is an active member of the Utah Nonprofits Association, the Utah Association of CPAs Nonprofit Committee, and served as a member of the national Nonprofit Committee for the PKF North American Network for several years.  He has taught numerous nonprofit related training sessions and has provided consultation to clients and other CPAs regarding nonprofit related issues.

Fraser Nelson of the Community Foundation of Utah LIve!

Fraser Nelson, the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Utah, who will be speaking at the upcoming Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference, will be with me live at 2:00 PM Mountain Time on September 4, 2013 to talk about the work of the foundation and the message she’ll share at the upcoming conference.

More about Fraser:

Fraser Nelson, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Utah, has held positions of leadership in nonprofit organizations large and small in places as diverse as Appalachia, Minneapolis, and Seattle and has a deep understanding of the role they play in improving civic welfare.

She led the Disability Law Center for 10 years, helping to create ‘And Justice for All” and the Community Legal Center. In 2008 she founded the Community Foundation of Utah. The foundation helps people gather assets and ideas to serve Utah for good and forever.

Fraser has served as president of the Utah Nonprofits Association, and has been widely recognized for her contributions, including the Utah State Bar’s Community Member of the Year, as a ‘30 Women to Watch’, and the Pete Suazo Social Justice Award. She is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business and in 2011 served as the first Professional in Residence at the University’s Center for Public Policy and Administration.

Fraser holds degrees in Medieval History and Political Science from Duke University, a MA in Human Development from St. Mary’s University and was a Social Innovation Fellow at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She and her husband Harris Sondak, a professor at the David Eccles School of Business, and 15 year old daughter Neah spend what some consider an inordinate amount of time in Alta. 

Amway, GM And Dollar General Among Corporations Making ‘Good’ A Goal

Amway, GM And Dollar General Among Corporations Making ‘Good’ A Goal

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