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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: August 2014

Nonprofit Creating Jobs For 100,000 People With Autism

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

An expected 500,000 adults with autism are expected to begin seeking employment over the next decade as a tidal wave of young adults with autism age out of school and other programs.

A Danish father of an autistic son is leading an effort to create gainful employment opportunities for these gifted individuals. By helping employers to see an employee with autism as having unique personality strengths, especially in information technology settings, Thorkil Sonne is helping to address this growing demographic problem.

Sonne launched Specialisterne USA, a nonprofit, to “enable 100,000 jobs in the U.S.” The organization assess, trains and employs individuals with autism in IT and other technically oriented sectors. They report that 80% of their employees are working at corporate partner locations.

According to a New York Times article, his work in the U.S. grew out of his success in Denmark. He created Specialisterne there after studying autism for several years as a father. He’d also observed his son’s special abilities and recognized that people with autism can do some tasks better than those without.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at noon Eastern, Sonne will join me for a live discussion about his new social venture, its impact and prospects. Tune in here to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about Specialisterne USA:

Specialisterne USA is a non-profit organization with the goal to enable 100,000 jobs for people with autism and similar challenges in the US We are partnering with employers, states and non-profit training organizations to assess, train, employ and retain individuals with autism in work settings where they can excel.

Sonne’s bio:

Thorkil Sonne is a social entrepreneur and founder of the Specialisterne concept. As part of his career he has worked many years in the IT/Telecommunication sector and chairing a branch of Autism Denmark. His youngest son has autism.

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Case Foundation, Omidyar Network Back White House Effort To Spur Impact Investing

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Several weeks ago, the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investment Task Force met at the White House to discuss its newly issued report, “Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing–and Why It’s Urgent.”

Jean Case, cofounder of the Case Foundation, has stepped forward as a mouthpiece for the rapidly growing impact investment market with pieces in the Huffington Post and Forbes. (Separately, I covered Prudential’s $1 billion impact investment commitment here.)

Omidyar Network is among the growing list of institutions that are actively investing for impact and was among the early entrants into the burgeoning space for investments that seek positive social impact and financial returns.

The White House roundtable on impact investing has catalyzed commitments of more than $1.5 billion in new investments, which in turn is creating a buzz among social entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on these investment flows to launch, grow and scale their social enterprises.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM Eastern, Case and Omidyar Network’s Paula Goldman, Senior Director, Knowledge and Advocacy, will join me here for a live discussion about the new energy driving impact investing and the opportunities for regulation to foster it. Tune in right here to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]


More about the Case Foundation:

Established by Jean and Steve Case in 1997, the Case Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. In efforts to address social challenges, the Case Foundation unites the principles of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology to identify, test, prove and scale ideas and models designed to create exponential impact.


Jean Case

Case’s bio:

Jean Case is an actively engaged philanthropist who, together with her husband Steve Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997. Jean spent her early days at the Case Foundation doing a deep-dive into philanthropy and seeking the best ways she could make a difference. After having success with some early initiatives (and learning some really valuable lessons!) Jean realized that she and Steve could make the biggest impact by centering the Foundation around many of the same entrepreneurial approaches they cultivated throughout their business careers. As Jean would be quick to tell you, a good investment is a good investment — even if the way you measure a return changes somewhat as you move across sectors.

Prior to co-founding the Case Foundation, Jean was a technology executive in the private sector. As a senior executive at America Online, Inc. (AOL AOL -0.14%), Jean directed the marketing and branding effort that launched the AOL service, directed the communications strategy for taking the company public, and helped establish AOL as a household utility. Before joining the company when it was a small startup, she held strategic marketing positions at GE’s Information Services Division and at The Source, the nation’s first online service. We’re pretty sure these early experiences played a role in making Jean a big fan of all things digital and the amazing potential of technology to change the world for the better.

In addition to her role as CEO of the Case Foundation, Jean has served in two appointed roles leading strategic public-private efforts, including the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, to which she was appointed as Chair by President George W. Bush, and in her ongoing role as co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership. Jean serves on the National Geographic Society’s Board of Trustees, and on the boards of several organizations:

  • Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2)
  • Brainscope
  • Miraval
  • SnagFilms

She also serves on the advisory board of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, and is a member of the steering committee of Partners for a New Beginning. Jean and Steve joined the Giving Pledge, started by Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010, and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to fund worthy causes, and in the same year were named to Barron’s “25 Best Givers” list. In 2011, Jean was named the Washington Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropist of the Year, and Jean and Steve were honored by NCoC as Citizens of the Year.

When Jean isn’t spending time with her awesome team at the Case Foundation, she is preparing something tasty for the big family she loves, trying some new “out there” fitness routine (or so her kids might say), reading a new book or exploring a new corner of the planet.

More about Omidyar Network:

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $709 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Consumer Internet & Mobile, Education, Financial Inclusion, Government Transparency, and Property Rights. To learn more, visit


Paula Goldman

Goldman’s bio:

Paula Goldman is an entrepreneur, anthropologist and movement strategist. She leads a team at Omidyar Network that seeks to advance the impact investing industry through a combination of investments, strategic partnerships, and thought leadership. She also acts as an advisor on advocacy efforts across Omidyar Network investment initiatives. Paula has served on a number of industry advisory boards–including PEERS, World Economic Forum Impact Investing Working Group, and the Harvard Business Review’s Insight Center on Scaling Social Impact—and is a strategy advisor to a number of tech start-ups.

Born in Singapore, Paula has lived in eight countries across four continents. Paula came to Omidyar Network with extensive background in frontier markets enterprise, managing businesses ranging from an affordable private school in rural India to a micro-enterprise syndicate in post-war Bosnia. She has led innovations that harness the potential of technology, advocacy and entertainment. As founder and director of Imagining Ourselves, a project of the International Museum of Women, she led the creation of one of the world’s first online museums, alongside a book, traveling exhibits and series of global events with more than a million participants. This work was recognized with the 2007 Social Impact Award from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and a 2008 Muse Award from the American Association of Museums.

Paula earned a PhD from Harvard University, where she studied how unorthodox ideas become mainstream. She holds a masters in public affairs from Princeton and a BA with highest honors from UC Berkeley. She has been on faculty at both UC Berkeley and Mills college and contributes as an author to outlets such as the Financial Times,, and Huffington Post.

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Polio Victim Overcomes Disability, Speaks Out

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Alem Mumuni contracted polio at the age of two in Ghana, a place where few people ever overcome the burdens of the crippling disease, but he has beaten them all, becoming a well educated, world-class athlete.

The continent of Africa may soon–if it hasn’t already–experience its final case of polio. The mere handful of polio cases this year suggest the virus is on the ropes in Nigeria, the last country in Africa where the disease is considered endemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The global fight against polio was begun about thirty years ago by Rotary International.

Mumuni has become a potent spokesman for Rotary International, speaking out about the difficulties of the disease and inspiring people to support the campaign to end polio not only in Africa, but globally. As a Paralympic athlete from a developing country, he is also in a constant battle to raise money to fund his travel and training. Readers may learn more about his crowdfunding campaign on Kriticalmass.

With the help of his British coach, Alex Main, Mumuni has established the Alem Foundation, which serves to fund his training and travel and to inspire people around the world to rise above their challenges. The Salt Lake City Rotary Club (of which I am a member) will be hosting Mumuni during his U.S. visit.

Dr. Carol Pandak, director of Rotary International’s polio plus program, is leading the charge to end polio around the world with Africa being the region most likely to celebrate the end of polio. She, along with Main and Mumuni will join me on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM to discuss polio in Africa and Mumuni’s inspiring efforts to compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio Di Janeiro in 2016. Tune in then to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about the Alem Foundation:

By getting #Alem2Rio2016, the Alem Foundation aims at raising awareness and support for its mission, that is to provide opportunities to the young underprivileged children of Ghana and to change negative perceptions towards people with physical disabilities.

Alem’s life challenges and achievements have enabled him to build a legacy that has already changed many people’s perceptions and inspired younger generations.

Competing in Rio will allow him to become an even greater source of inspiration for disabled and marginalized children in Ghana and around the world and it will allow him to build an even stronger community of dedicated supporters for the Foundation.

Alem Mumuni with his coach Alex Main

Mumuni’s history:

The Alem Foundation was born in 2012 when Alex and Alem joined forces on their journey to London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Alex embarked on a remarkable journey moving to Ghana to coach first ever Ghanaian Paralympic team. Qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Alex became Britain’s youngest ever female Paralympic coach.

Alem is a polio survivor and professional sportsman. Contracting polio at the age of 2 and crawling for 8 years, he knew the only way to be an active member of society was to be educated and ambitious. Completing his primary, secondary, tertiary education in Ghana he also excelled at disabled football and cycling, representing Ghana both at a national level. Focusing on his cycling he has represented Ghana at the London Paralympics and won 3 UCI African Paracycling Championships in the C2 class. He is now training hard to qualify for the Rio Paralympic Games in Rio.

On their journey to the London 2012 Paralympics, Ghanaian paracyclist Alem Mumuni and his British coach Alex Main created the Alem Foundation. By providing education opportunities, the grassroots charity looks not only to help the underprivileged of Ghana, but to inspire a change of perceptions towards disabled people. Over 2 million Persons with Disability (PWDs) in Ghana are treated as outcasts in society. Only education can change this, but access is limited. The foundation’s goal is to provide day-care centers across Ghana – starting in Akosombo village – that will improve access to primary education and provide much-needed healthcare to pre-school infants.

To date, the Alem Foundation has provided 26 children with Schools Scholarships for their primary education and funded life-saving surgery to a young girl suffering from Osteomyelitis. Alem continues to care for and inspire the local community, whilst being an ambassador for disabled people in Ghana. Alex now based in London, works professionally as an elite Personal Trainer and heads up fundraising efforts for the Alem Foundation.

The Alem Foundation is currently raising the much needed funds to get Alem to his 6 qualifying events in order to qualify for the Rio Games. With this exposure we are able to work alongside partners to help inspire the next generation of children and change the negative perceptions towards disability in Ghana.

More about Rotary:

Rotary is a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

More about Polio Plus:

Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication, in 1985. Since then, Rotary and its partners have helped reduce the number of annual cases from 350,000 to fewer than 250 and remain committed until every child is safe from the disease. Rotary has contributed more than US$1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute over $9 billion to the effort.

Carol Pandak, Rotary International

Pandak’s bio:

Carol Pandak is the Director of Rotary’s global PolioPlus program, a position she has held since 2000. Carol has more than 20 years’ experience working for national and international nonprofit organizations, including Rotary International and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Carol directs all aspects of Rotary’s polio eradication activities including: advocacy in donor, polio-affected and at-risk countries; grant-making; and, program management. She also serves as the focal point for Rotary’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, including WHO, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She also supports Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, the volunteer committee that provides strategic guidance to the PolioPlus program.

At the American Academy of Pediatrics, Carol directed the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program, a national program that worked to increase access to healthcare for all children in the United States.

Carol has a doctorate degree in Adult Education and is a published author. She has been a lecturer for the International Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, where for 10 years she taught a course on civil society and NGOs from an international perspective.

Carol lives in Chicago, Illinois. She is a member of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club and is Past President of the Schaumburg AM Rotary Club.

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New Company Expands Financial Inclusion

PayPerks is a new suite of web- and mobile-based education and rewards tools that work with products like prepaid cards, designed for the emerging middle class, consumers who haven’t always used traditional bank products.

Launched by Arlyn Davich while she was earning her MBA at Columbia, the business was built with a goal of expanding financial inclusion.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 6:00 Eastern, Arlyn and her cofounder Jake Peters will join me for a live discussion about the innovative new product. Tune in here to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about PayPerks:

PayPerks is building a modern web-based company to provide low– and middle–income (LMI) consumers with more transparency, choice and access.

Our vision is for LMI consumers to view and use financial services products as tools to achieve their goals, and for financial institutions view LMI consumers as a profitable segment to serve with innovative products and services.

The idea for PayPerks came from our quest to create a shared–value company: one that uses its social mission to create solutions that benefit the entire ecosystem.

Arlyn’s bio:

Arlyn Davich is the Founder and CEO of PayPerks. She developed a passion for social entrepreneurship while getting her MBA at Columbia Business School and developed the win-win-win idea for PayPerks while enrolled in the school’s Greenhouse incubator program. Prior to founding PayPerks, Arlyn worked in various facets of Brand Management at different CPG, media, luxury goods and PR companies.

Jake’s bio:

Jake is the Co-Founder and wearer of many hats at PayPerks, leading product, technology, legal, and operations. Jake enjoys creating products and leveraging technology to do what had not been done before, innovating in e-commerce, customer experience, data-driven decision making, and large scale operation

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Devin D. Thorpe

Incubator Preps Entrepreneurs To Solve 21st Century Problems

The Halcyon Incubator is working to solve 21st century challenges by helping social entrepreneurs. Through a competitive process, social entrepreneurs pitch Halcyon for a spot in the three-stage incubator program. 

The first stage is residency, where fellows live and work at Halcyon surrounded by like-minded innovators in a collaborative setting. In the second stage, the fellows move out, but continue work at the Incubator, accessing strategic, legal and PR resources. In the final stage called the “incentivized phase,” the fellows transition to the WeWork Wonder Bread Factory building in Washington, D.C. at reduced rates, while still being able to access Incubator events and programming as they scale their venture.

Halcyon is presently accepting applications for the next cohort.

On August 19, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Program Manager Ryan Ross will join me for a live discussion about the program. Tune in here then to watch the live interview.

More about the Halcyon Incubator program:

The Halcyon Incubator is committed to solving 21st century challenges throughout the nation and world. By helping social entrepreneurs transform audacious ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures, the Halcyon Incubator acts as a catalyst for measurable social outcomes.

Ryan’s bio:

Ryan is passionate about applying innovative ways of thinking to solve social problems. In his role as Program Manager, Ryan supports the development of the fellows’ ventures and establishes collaborative relationships and partnerships in support of the Incubator, contributing to the creation, growth and sustainability of the program.

Prior to joining the Halcyon Incubator, he was the Director of Business Development for, the first social platform for politics, connecting all candidates, political organizations, and voters at every level. Ryan’s past experience includes work at the Aspen Institute’s Impact Economy Initiative, Jefferson Government Relations, and Americans Elect, a national start-up with a mission of re-imagining the U.S. presidential primary system.

He holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and Bachelor degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of Florida.

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New Comic Book Saves Children By Teaching Hygiene

Unliver’s Lifebuoy soap brand is working to save children in the developing world with an innovative approach: comic books.

Tapping renowned comic book artist Craig Yoe to create it, Lifebuoy is working to distribute 20 million copies of the book this year. The comic book is just part of a program targeting young children in the developing world with puzzles, stories and games to teach them and their parents about the importance of handwashing.

Unilever reports that 1.7 million children will die this year as a result of easily preventable diseases, one-third of whom could be saved with handwashing.

Lifebuoy’s efforts since 2010 have reached 183 million people in 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 4:00 Eastern, Unilever’s Dr. Myriam Sidibe and Stacie June Shelton along with Craig Yoe will join me to discuss this remarkable program. Tune in then to watch the live interview.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

Watch the short video mentioned in the interview here.

More about Lifebuoy:

As the world’s leading health soap, Lifebuoy aims to make a difference by creating accessible hygiene products (soap) and promoting healthy hygiene habits. With this in mind, Lifebuoy aims to change the hand washing behaviour of one billion people by 2020. Since 2010 Lifebuoy has taken hand washing behavior change programmes to 183 million people across 16 countries. For more information of Lifebuoy and its programmes, please visit

More about Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. We work with 174,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of €49.8 billion in 2013. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2013). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

More about Yoe Studios:

Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni’s Yoe Studio is an award-winning agency specializing in cool, youthful marketing and design. Our clients include Unilever, Microsoft, DC Comics, Marvel, Hasbro, Mattel, Mad magazine, MTV, Crayola and many others. Craig is a former Creative Director for the Muppets, Nickelodeon and Disney.

Myriam’s bio:

Dr. Myriam Sidibe is one of the world’s leading experts of brands that drive health outcomes through behavioural change. From within Unilever, she has created a movement to change the handwashing behaviours of one billion people, the single biggest hygiene behaviour change programme in the world, and conceived and established the UN recognised Global Handwashing Day – now celebrated in 53 countries.

Myriam’s approach to pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo has been pivotal to leading a paradigm shift in the way public-private partnerships for health are managed and funded. Her foresight in establishing Lifebuoy soaps co-branded school and neo-natal handwashing have proven so effective they have received over €20 million in support from external funders including CIFF (Children’s Investment Fund Foundation), DFID (Department for International Development), the Dutch Water Fund and USAID. They have also been replicated across Unilever as best practice examples for other brands looking to positively impact the world while driving market share. 

As one of the world’s leading academics in the field of public health and behaviour change, Myriam represents Unilever with organisations such as Millennium Villages, the World Bank, PSI, WSUP, MCHIP and USAID to educate people about the importance of handwashing with soap, and create programmes that can help form healthy handwashing habits for life.

For the last 14 years, she has worked in more than 20 countries for NGOs (including the International Rescue Committee, Unicef and the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme) and the private sector arguing for a more transparent relationship between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, advocating the need for businesses to gain growth and profits from engagement in social and health issues in order to build more sustainable, effective interventions, and is a regular commentator in the media on this.

Myriam has presented the results of her research and work at events ranging from the Water Engineering and Development Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh (Sanitation and hygiene education in conflict-affected areas: A Burundian case study) and the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Forum in Washington, USA (School Sanitation and Hygiene in Uganda: The challenges) to the Health Lions in Cannes, France (The Lifebuoy Story: How Simple Creative Thinking Has Been Saving Lives for 120 Years).

Myriam is one of the only people in the world with a doctorate in public health focused on handwashing with soap (completed in 2006 through the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). She also has a degree in environmental engineering from McGill University, Canada, a Masters in water and environmental management from Loughborough University, UK and combines her academic pedigree with a serious understanding of driving brands forward to create change and positively impact in the world.

Craig’s bio:

Craig is an author, editor, art director, graphic designer, cartoonist and comic’s historian who has worked with clients like MTV, Microsoft and Mad magazine. He’s best known for his Yoe Studio creative marketing solutions. Today he has a major emphasis creating Yoe Books (with IDW), and Books by Yoe (with various publishers) about the history of comics, cartoonists and pop culture. USA Today called Yoe “the Comic Book genre’s master archeologist!“, ABC TV hails him as “America’s foremost comics historian” and Vice magazine says he’s “the Indiana Jones of comics history!” Yoe has been an adjunct professor at Syracuse University and a popular speaker at conventions, conferences and colleges on creative marketing and on the history of comics. Yoe Studio is located in upstate New York, where Craig works and lives in an old stone castle on 4 wooded acres with his wife and business partner, the editor-designer Clizia Gussoni and their two children, a cat and way too many old mouldy comic books.

Stacie’s bio:

Stacie studied Public Health with an emphasis in Health Behavior, studying changing behaviors. Her work experience and expertise is around School & Adolescent health in both the US and Internationally for the past 14 years. For the Oregon state government Stacie was Co-Coordinator for “Healthy Kids, Learn Better” (HKLB) A Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) funded project integrating and implementing a coordinated school health model with Department of Health and Department of Education. Stacie has worked with 25 countries across Africa, Asia & Latin America while living in India, Nigeria and she currently resides in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 2011 Stacie joined forces with the Lifebuoy Team and the School of 5 superheroes with a focus on implementation across schools in Lifebuoy’s markets and a specific focus in 8 out of 10 of the countries with the largest number of children dying from diarrhea-related disease. She originally hails from Oklahoma in the USA & loves playing Ultimate Frisbee around the world in her free time!

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Remodeling Healthcare

This is a guest post from Uchenna Onyekwere, a healthcare professional who aims improve the performance of large healthcare organizations through strategy and operations consulting.

It is no secret that the United States is one of the top health spenders in the world. Annual spending has climbed to $3.8 trillion representing 17.9% of GDP. With up to 75% of our cost burden coming from the management of chronic disease, cheaper, more effective primary care models that address chronic disease management are critical to cost reduction. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) addresses this by expanding coverage to millions of previously uninsured patients. In an ideal world, this would lead to greater access to primary care, earlier intervention, and ultimately cost reductions. Like any system; this has some flaws that need to be ironed out. For example, a July 2014 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine described an unintentional racial disparity in insurance reimbursement for emergency room physician services at a single tertiary center (Link: This suggests that there could be unexplored financial burdens in our health systems that remain undiscovered.

There are two models that I think can reduce costs by bypassing traditional healthcare institutions and increasing access to primary care. One is a new model being explored by Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, in partnership with QuadMed, is launching primary care clinics in South Carolina in areas of low access. Rates for walk-ins are priced at $40 and $4 for employees. Wal-Mart clinic hours are also longer than traditional clinic hours and are staffed by Nurse Practitioners and Physician assistants, a lower cost option for potentially equivalent services. I foresee this being a favorable option among consumers because of the convenience but it does raise some important questions.

Uchenna Onyekwere

Studies should be done to determine how this model affects certain metrics of healthcare service usage such emergency room visits, admission rates, and length of stay. Additionally, with the cost of a visit being so inexpensive and assuming that consumers will be accepting of non-physician primary care services, I can imagine that many would fail to see the need for traditional health insurance. It would make sense to discard medical insurance while keeping a plan for prescriptions and a wraparound catastrophic medical policy to cover medical emergencies. This is similar to another growing model that provides concierge physician services. This is where a patient pays a monthly or yearly retainer fee directly to an individual primary care physician who offers enhanced care services, which can include house calls and unlimited access. Interestingly, there is a clause in the ACA that allows for direct primary care i.e. concierge medicine to count as health insurance provided that it is packaged with a high deductible wraparound policy for medical emergencies. Can the Wal-Mart model be considered a form of Direct Primary Care and will it fall under the provisions of this clause?

If these models become more popular, insurance companies should consider creating packages with Wal-Mart that fill the need for high deductible emergency medical insurance coupled with DPC providers. At the end of the day healthcare is a unique industry where the bottom line is often about more than just cost. Therefore, the big question remains: how will these models affect health care outcomes and are they worth the cost savings? Only time will tell.


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Money Yields Cost Savings, Healthcare For Vulernable, Seniors

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

An entirely new wave of health care reform is coming to rural America with financing from Vital Healthcare Capital, a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI). V-Cap, as Vital Healthcare Capital is known, just made its first social impact investment, $10 million dollars, into Commonwealth Care Alliance, which serves vulnerable populations, including frail seniors and adults with disabilities.

Many of the folks served by Commonwealth are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare but often fall between the cracks in the system if only because they lack the resources to take advantage of the healthcare available to them.

Commonwealth reports that it has also proven the ability to reduce costs by helping patients to avoid unnecessary hospital stays and to live healthier lives. Those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid represent just 15 percent of the Medicade population, but use 40 percent of the resources. Managing their care therefore presents a huge fiscal as well as social opportunity.

On Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Steve Weingarten, CEO of V-Cap, and Robert J. Master, MD, CEO of Commonwealth, will join me for a live discussion about the investment and the programs that it expands. Tune in here then to watch the interview.

More about Vital Healthcare:

Vital Healthcare Capital (V-Cap) is a nonprofit community development financial institution founded on the dual mission of supporting quality healthcare and good healthcare jobs in low-income communities. Over the next five years, Vital Healthcare Capital will establish a $100 million revolving loan fund, leveraging $500 million of total capital, to support projects that show particular promise in improving healthcare and health employment for vulnerable populations in communities that have traditionally lacked resources. V-Cap’s first transaction, made in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, involved a $10 million loan to scale the integrated care plan of Commonwealth Care Alliance in Massachusetts. V-Cap is led by an experienced management team with backgrounds in finance, healthcare, labor and community development.


Steve Weingarten

Weingarten’s bio:

Steve provided the vision and leadership to create Vital Healthcare Capital. He formerly led the SEIU Capital Development Group, which developed double bottom line investment vehicles across multiple asset classes with a focus on healthcare and workforce impact; and provided financial and social impact analysis to U.S. and global institutional investors. He was Industrial Development Director for the trade union UNITE, where he led a range of industrial development initiatives, pioneered strategic partnerships on high performance work systems, and supported a range of social enterprises. Earlier in his career he led a community organization based in a neighborhood health clinic which advocated on environmental health, housing, and employment issues. Steve received an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a BA from Yale University.

More about the Commonwealth Care Alliance:

Commonwealth Care Alliance is a nonprofit care delivery system committed to providing integrated healthcare and related social support services. Created in 2003, Commonwealth Care Alliance is a consumer-governed organization offering a full spectrum of medical and social services for people with complex needs covered under Medicaid and for those dually eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. Commonwealth Care Alliance offers the Senior Care Options Program (HMO SNP) for individuals ages 65 and older, who have Medicare and MassHealth Standard or just MassHealth Standard alone, and One Care: MassHealth plus Medicare, for dual eligible individuals ages 21 to 64. These comprehensive health plans provide all the services covered under Medicare and MassHealth, and other benefits as determined necessary by an interdisciplinary primary care team. Services are coordinated by the primary care team and are accessed through Commonwealth Care Alliance’s preferred provider network.


Bob Master

Master’s bio:

Robert J. Master, MD, is Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Care Alliance. Master is also a practicing physician, board-certified in Internal Medicine, with over 30 years of experience in the clinical management of patients with advanced chronic illness and disability. In 2009, Dr. Master was recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) with a National Health Quality Award for his leadership in improving the quality of care for vulnerable populations.

Prior to his role at Commonwealth Care Alliance, Dr. Master served as the Medical Director of the Massachusetts Medicaid program in the Dukakis administration where he was responsible for all programs, policies, and external relations of the Medicaid Program, as well as directing a staff of 300 people.

Until 1985, Dr. Master was the first physician and medical director at the Upham’s Corner Health Center, and founder of the Urban Medical Group in Boston, where new approaches to nursing home and home medical care using nurse practitioners were defined; approaches that transferred hospital level services to the home and the community.


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100,000 US Children Are Victims of Trafficking Annually

Every year in the United States 100,000 children are victims of sex trafficking.

Everyone’s Kids is a nationwide campaign to raise money and awareness about the plight of these kids. Razoo will host a nationwide, one-day crowdfunding giving day to raise money to bring an end to this tragic practice on September 16, 2014.

On Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM Eastern, Lesley Mansford will join me for a live discussion about the campaign. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Everyone’s Kids:

On September 16, 2014, individuals, fundraisers, and nonprofit organization will unite for Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives Day, a national, 24-hour giving day that will mobilize hundreds of organizations and thousands of people on a single day across the country to help fight child trafficking in the United States.

At TED 2013, a group of influencers were challenged to tackle the issue of domestic child sex trafficking. On March 17th, 2014—one year later—the Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives campaign was launched to raise much needed funds for the nonprofits who work to combat trafficking every day. The campaign includes a Razoo Day of Giving, a national public relations campaign, and powerful public service announcement that will raise awareness of this important issue, and inform the public about the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline.

Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives is a national initiative that includes partners from the technology and media industries who have joined forces with leading nonprofit organizations such as Polaris Project and Walk Free (among several others) in order to fight the illegal enslavement of an estimated 100,000 children annually who are trapped in the U.S. commercial sex trade.


Lesley’s bio:

Lesley Mansford is the co-founder of Everyone’s Kids and the former CEO of Razoo, the fastest growing crowdfunding platform for causes, with over $230M raised for nonprofits. She is a seasoned CEO, marketer and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in interactive entertainment with companies like Electronic Arts. She was co-founder and COO of, the largest online casual games community acquired by EA in 2001. In the same year she received the Superstar award from Ad Age.

Lesley speaks regularly on the power of online to democratize philanthropy. She is a powerful advocate around issues like women’s entrepreneurship and child sex trafficking in the US. Her board positions have included The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Leadership Institute for the Ecology and the Economy and Women’s Initiative for Self Employment.

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BYU Professor Provides 5 Point Plan To End Poverty

Paul Godfrey, a professor at Brigham Young University, is part of a growing movement that says we can end poverty, that it is not a necessary part of of a global economy.

His book, More than Money, was just published by Stanford Business Books. In the book he lays out specific plans for enabling and empowering people to rise above their circumstances, helping them to develop five different forms of capital:institutional, human, social, organizational, and physical.

Paul will also be speaking at GoodCrowd14, the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference at Snowbird, Utah on September 26, 2014.

On Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Paul will join me here for a live discussion about his work. Tune in here then to watch the interview.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about More than Money:

This book presents a novel framework that shows how five types of interrelated capital—institutional, human, social, organizational, and physical—enable development and sustainable growth. In addition to a widely-applicable model, Godfrey provides principles to guide application. Core chapters articulate each specific form of capital and provide examples of how it contributes to the triple bottom line. Not just a theoretical examination of poverty, More than Money delivers timely advice to organizations that produce goods and services, implement policies, and create meaningful change on the ground. This book will guide social innovators and entrepreneurs in business, government, and civil society settings as they create a vision, assemble a team of strong partners, and effectively measure social innovation.


Paul’s bio:

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. 

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