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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 2014

Impact Investing Is Kind Of A Big Deal

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

The world is awaking to impact investing. Finally.

More and more we are seeing institutional investors allocating substantial sums to impact. Audrey Choi, CEO of Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing explains the underlying drivers as a confluence of circumstances, “While the concept of adapting one’s investment philosophy to align with institutional or individual values has been around for centuries, today, a number of powerful political, economic and societal mega-trends are combining to produce a global investment landscape that increasingly demands more transparency, more accountability and more integration of beliefs and values into all spheres of activity. Taken together, these factors help accelerate the development of sustainable investing.”

Maya Chorengel, a co-founder of Elevar Equity, an impact investment fund that finances social ventures, notes, “Impact investing should be central in discussions about the future of capitalism. Wealth inequality is prominently featured in these discussions today; wouldn’t we rather turn attention to the democratization of capital, which is one important category of impact investing?”

Choi and Chorengel, both members of the US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing, will join me on Thursday, September 18 at 6:00 PM Eastern for a live discussion about impact investing. 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 Elevar:

Elevar Equity is a leading venture capital firm in the impact investment space. Currently on its third fund, Elevar invests in entrepreneurially-led, high-growth companies providing financial services, housing, healthcare and education services to underserved, low-income communities globally. Elevar is one of the few fund managers in the impact space to have realized top market financial returns while delivering substantial impact to millions of customers. With offices in Bangalore, Bogota, Seattle and San Francisco, the Elevar team focuses on early-stage equity investments, backing world-class management teams building companies with innovative, scalable business models.


Maya Chorengel, Elevar

Chorengel’s bio:

Maya Chorengel is a co-founder of Elevar Equity, a commercially-focused impact investment fund that makes equity investments in entrepreneurially-led, high-growth financial services, housing, healthcare and education companies serving low income communities (primarily in Asia and Latin America). Prior to Elevar, Maya was Managing Director of the Dignity Fund, where she managed fund structuring, investing and operations and completed local currency debt financing for microfinance institutions globally. Previously, Maya was at Warburg Pincus, a leading, global private equity investor, working in the firm’s New York, Hong Kong and Menlo Park offices. She invested in companies in a variety of industries spanning venture capital to leveraged buyouts to post-Asian-crisis balance sheet restructurings. She also worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley MS +1.51% (Hong Kong and Singapore) and James D. Wolfensohn, Incorporated. Maya is a Director of GloboKasNet, Caja Rural Los Andes, Aarusha Homes and LIGTT and serves as an advisor to several impact funds and organizations. She has served as Director on several boards, including Dignity Fund, the International Association of Microfinance Investors, Silicon Valley Microfinance Network, Comat, Wokai, North Pole Ltd., printChannel and vCustomer. Maya is a graduate of Harvard University and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

More about Morgan Stanley:

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. The Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals from more than 1,200 offices in 43 countries.

Launched in November 2013, the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing is dedicated to driving private sector capital to attractive investment opportunities that seek competitive financial returns as well as positive social and environmental outcomes. The Institute’s mandate reflects Morgan Stanley’s foundational commitment that capital markets can and should play a vital role in developing the innovative, scalable solutions that will help us meet some of the largest global challenges ahead.


Choi’s bio:

Audrey Choi is CEO of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing and Head of the Global Sustainable Finance Group. In these roles, she oversees the Firm’s efforts to to build innovative, profitable and scalable sustainable finance solutions through the capital markets. In a career spanning the public and private sectors, Ms. Choi has become an expert and thought leader on the ways in which finance can be harnessed to address major social and environmental challenges while delivering competitive financial returns. She served in the Clinton Administration in senior policy positions, including as Chief of Staff of the Council of Economic Advisers and Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President. Previously, Ms. Choi was a foreign correspondent and bureau chief at the Wall Street Journal, covering German reunification and a wide range of industry beats. She is a member of WEF Global Agenda Council and serves on President Obama’s Community Development Advisory Board and the boards of several national non-profits focused on education, conservation, and impact investing.

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How Many Girls Can One Woman Teach? You’d Be Surprised

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Ann Cotton is one of the most recognized social entrepreneurs in the world for her work educating over three million children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Her organization, Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education, has demonstrated that educating girls and young women has a significant, positive impact on a country by reducing the spread of AIDS and improving both infant and maternal mortality and increasing household incomes.

Camfed approaches its work built on the foundation of the following three value statements:

  1. Focus on the Girl: All of our programs begin with an individual girl in rural Africa. By looking at the world from her perspective, we work to dismantle the hurdles in her way to obtaining an education and living a healthy adult life. We’re answerable first and foremost to her.
  2. Involve the Community: Change can’t happen without community support. We believe people living in rural communities are best placed to solve the problems around them. Community members of all levels help with our program design and implementation.
  3. Operate Transparent, Accountable Programs: We place transparency at the core of our operations. Unique social and financial auditing systems are used in a monitoring process that safeguards girls and young women.

Built on this foundation, Camfed has been recognized repeatedly role in lifting families out of poverty.

On September 18, 2014 at noon Eastern, Cotton will join me here for a live discussion about her remarkable work and impact. 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 Camfed:

Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education, fights poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa by educating girls and empowering women to be leaders of change. Since 1993, more than three million children have benefited from Camfed’s innovative education programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi. Investing in girls and women is proven to improve the health and wealth of a nation. Camfed believes in every child’s right to an education, and knows that poverty is the greatest barrier to girls accessing an education in the communities where it works. Camfed International in based in Cambridge, UK and Camfed USA is based in San Francisco.

Cotton’s bio:

Ann Cotton is Founder and President of Camfed International. In these roles, she oversees Camfed’s holistic program, which has benefitted over 3 million children across a network of 5,085 schools in five African countries. She also created the Camfed alumni program CAMA. Cotton was named the UK’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004. She has won numerous awards for her work including an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Cambridge University, an OBE in honor for her advocacy of girls’ education in Africa, and the Skoll and Schwab Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.

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Teen Entrepreneur Makes Giving Back Top Priority

Katelyn Lohr is not your typical teenager. At age 13, she launched her own company, Freetoes Brand, Inc., to sell her invention: socks without toes, which are now sold across North America in stores like Toys R Us, Hallmark and Learning Express. 

What really makes Katelyn special is her passion for giving back. She has donated hundreds of pairs of her socks to Project Aftershock, supporting the recovery in Haiti.


Nurse, Laura Whitney

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Katelyn will join me for a live discussion about her remarkable company and her passion for giving back. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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


More about Freetoes:

Freetoes Brand Inc. Is a limited Company, established in 2012 located in Vancouver BC Canada
The product and business was created in 2010 by Katelyn Lohr at the age of eight. The company Freetoes toe-less socks are a very versatile product that works for anyone ages 6-60 and are used in a wide variety of ways.
Freetoes are now sold in Ladies and children’s fashion and footwear, spas and salons, sports and dance supply stores, and are perfect for camping. Freetoes make the perfect gift for any age as they are fun, new and extremely practical.
Now sold in these major US chains: Toys are Us, Hallmark, Learning Express locations and 100’s of others across North America.


Katelyn’s bio:

In 2008 when I was eight, I created Freetoes toe-less socks. I wanted to wear my flip flops when it was cold outside and my mom said “No, you have to wear socks and shoes” So I came to her with scissors and socks. My way of following the rules and still getting what I wanted. I wore my Freetoes to school and and of my friends wanted some so I asked if I could use my own money, buy socks, cut the toes off and sell them to my friends. I made $100.00 in my first week. In 2009 with my Oma’s help we started cutting sewing and selling at local markets and festivals around the lower mainland. With the help of my Oma and the rest of my family, we cut sewn and sold over 10,000 pairs. In 2012 I was featured on CBC’S Dragons Den ( Canadian version of Sharks Tank) and shortly after partnered with local BC company Tickled Planet. Freetoes are now sold in 100’s of retail locations across North America and to customers around the world from

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Devin D. Thorpe

This Teen Feeds The Poor; You Won’t Believe When He Started

Joshua Williams became an advocate for the poor at age 4. No kidding. He’s the real deal. 

Now, at age 13, Joshua runs Joshua’s Heart Foundation, a nonprofit with 1,200 volunteers around the country working to feed the poor, delivering 650,000 pounds of food, having raised over $350,000 and having helped over 30,000 people.

Joshua says, “I say to kids in most of my speeches that you’re never too young to make a difference.

On September 10, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Joshua will join me for a live discussion about the inspiring work that he’s doing. Tune in here to watch the interview live.

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

More about Joshua’s Heart Foundation:

Stomp Out Hunger:
Joshua’s Heart Foundation was born out of a five year-old’s simple wish to feed the hungry. Since then, the Foundation has distributed over 650,000 pounds of food to those in need. With one in six Americans facing hunger today, there’s still plenty of work to be done. By getting involved in Joshua’s Heart Foundation, you play a vital role in fulfilling our mission.

Joshua’s Heart Foundation values:
Joshua’s Heart Foundation (JHF) was founded by a young man named Joshua when he was almost 5 years old, it is a 501© 3 non-for-profit organization, which empowers, needy people to improve their quality of life, by providing items of basic necessities, such as groceries, and by effectively engaging and educating communities at home and abroad about committing to fight hunger and poverty on global basis. JHF is a youth run organization dedicated to stomping out hunger, we inspire young people ages 2 years old and older to take action to use their passion to change the world.

To date over 650,000 pounds of food has been given to people in need in both South Florida and Jamaica and over 150,000 Meals Served. He hopes to reach 1 million pounds by the end of the year. Help us to reach that goal

JHF hosts small weekly food distribution, provide food in backpacks for children on the weekends who otherwise would have no food, host seven large food distributions annually and healthy cooking demonstration around South Florida.


Joshua’s bio:

At the tender age of four and a half, Joshua became passionate about assisting the needy after viewing Feed the Children. He was in disbelief about the children who were suffering worldwide. His first solution to the problem was that his mother should adopt some of these unfortunate children and send money to help others. His mother was touched by his compassion and promised they would help in whatever way possible. Weeks after his initial interest in helping the needy, his grandmother gifted him some pocket money. Joshua’s true desire to help shined through when he chose to give the money to a hungry, homeless person on a local street. Though his mother advised him that she would prefer to give the able-bodied person food, Joshua insisted that it was his money and his decision to give the man his money. Following this experience, Joshua’s vision to aid the needy started to blossom.

Joshua was also inspired by the documentary War Dance, which focused on the atrocities faced by Northern Uganda children. With rebels taking the lives of their own people and using children to perform terrible deeds, many children were orphaned. Joshua was exposed to the dependence these children had on outside forces to sustain them. In the documentary, the children performed in a dance competition in Southern Uganda, and as a result, dancing helped to heal their suffering. The documentary motivated Joshua even more to help the less fortunate. Simultaneously, it stirred a desire to visit Africa at some point in the future.

These experiences prompted Joshua to want to start his mission to fulfill his vision; however, he had difficulty getting others to join him. He first sought adult assistance from his aunts. However, months of inactivity forced Joshua to “fire” them and to seek help elsewhere. Out of frustration, Joshua brought the situation to his mother’s attention. She had been unaware of the struggle he was having with getting her sisters to help him help the poor. Unfortunately, she too had an overloaded schedule and was unable to immediately assist him in his venture. Any other child may have become discouraged and given up, but Joshua resorted to new tactics. For several months, he prodded his mother daily for assistance impressing upon her the importance of having his goal attained. Finally, he made progress with his mother, and they began to give away food and other items to people in need. At this point, Joshua’s thought of starting a company related to feeding the hungry took hold. One of Joshua’s aunts rose to the challenge and pointed them in the direction to start a non-profit organization. The Joshua’s Heart Foundation (JHF) was born.

Joshua is always thinking about what is next? How can he continue to grow the foundation in ways that focus on people in need? As he travels throughout the country to speak to people about JHF, Making a difference and you are never too young to make a difference. He hopes to touch the hearts of young people so they become inspired to do something to make a difference for those less fortunate. He wants more people to have access to food. His idea is to help them learn about growing their own food and sharing what they grow with their families and others.

Joshua has attributed his mission to a vision he says he received from God. He feels that God has a purpose for everyone, and he has been given his. Joshua truly appreciates the assistance he receives from his family members, even his aunts he initially had to “fire.” Without them, he knows his vision would not have come to fruition. Joshua’s humbleness and hopefulness is an inspiration to all. Through JHF, his generosity has begun to make a difference in this world.

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Devin D. Thorpe

Entrepreneur Creates Impact But You’ll Never Guess How

Kohl Crecelius is a social entrepreneur with his eye focused on impact. He established his company, KK, Intl, better known as Krochet Kids, as a nonprofit so that consumers would recognize that the sole focus of the business is to have impact.

Kohl is working to empower people to rise above poverty by providing them with gainful employment crocheting and otherwise manufacturing headwear and other accessories.

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 3:00 Eastern, Kohl will join me for a live discussion about his company, his products and his impact. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about Krochet Kids International:

KK intl. (known as Krochet Kids intl.) is a non-profit lifestyle brand focused on empowering communities and engaging customers to make a sustainable impact on global poverty. KK intl. employs more than 185 people in Uganda and Peru through the production of their apparel, headwear, and fashion accessories. Now spanning three continents, their work connects the producer with the customer through a hand-signed label that accompanies every product. #knowwhomadeit


Kohl’s bio:

Kohl Crecelius and his team of close friends are on a mission to revolutionize what it means to do business and to do good. After his brother taught him to crochet in high school, he passed the skill on to his friends Travis and Stewart and began selling their crocheted masterpieces to anyone who would buy them. Officially dubbed the “Krochet Kids” by their local newspaper in Spokane, WA, they then founded KK intl. (known as Krochet Kids intl.) as college students in 2007. With the mission to teach people in developing countries how to crochet as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty, KK intl. now provides women in Uganda and Peru with work, mentorship, and education to empower them to have brighter future while creating unique gifts that give back.

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Devin D. Thorpe

CEO Looks To Move Community Investing Into Mainstream

Paige Chapel is all about community investing. Her goal as the head of Aeris “is to help position CDFI loan funds over the next decade as part of a recognized investment class in mainstream financial markets.”

Aeris is an information provider for investors interested in social impact through their investments. Aeris provides the proprietary CDFI rating tool CARS® or CDFI Assessment and Ratings System.

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM, Paige will join me for a live discussion about CDFI investing. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about Aeris:

Aeris guides capital to good. We are the information service for community investors who champion economic justice in underserved markets. Since 2004, Aeris has provided data, analysis, and advisory services that support investment in community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Our proprietary CDFI ratings tool — CARS®, the CDFI Assessment and Ratings System — helps investors evaluate opportunities that meet their impact goals and risk parameters.


Paige’s bio:

Paige Chapel is President & CEO of Aeris. She has led Aeris since May 2007 during a transformative period in its history. Under her leadership, Aeris became an independent corporation (“CARS Inc.”), increased ratings volume by eightfold, and expanded into customized risk and impact assessment services. Paige has worked in finance and community development for more than three decades. She joined ShoreBank Corporation in 1987 as one of the founders of ShoreBank Advisory Services (SAS) and served as CEO beginning in 1991. Paige was one of the founders of ShoreBank Pacific, a federally regulated depository, and in 1997 joined the Bank’s management team and board of directors. Prior to CARS, she led a national consulting practice focused on market-based strategies and innovations in development finance. Paige received her B.A. from Northwestern University.

Remember to “join the cavalry"by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development Sponsors GoodCrowd14

Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development Sponsors GoodCrowd14

Grassroots Lobbying Effort Asks SEC To Issue Final Crowdfunding Rules

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

On April 4, 2012, President Obama signed the JOBS Act, authorizing a variety of significant changes to securities laws, including the enabling legislation for crowdfunding under Title III of the Act. Two-and-one-half years later, the rules to implement the law remain in draft form, pending action by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC.

Ron Miller, CEO and founder of an equity crowdfunding site focused on operating under the rules of Title III of the JOBS Act called StartEngine, has launched a grassroots effort to pressure the SEC to issue final rules under the act. The campaign features the hashtag #VoteOnCrowdfunding for use on social media.

Sara Hanks, a securities lawyer, launched a site, CrowdCheck, to provide regulatory support services to investment crowdfunding portals under the JOBS Act. She believes the industry is ready to comply with reasonable SEC rules.

Jason Best, an entrepreneur who thought there ought to be a better way to raise money for startups, was one of the primary leaders in the passage of the JOBS Act and was recognized by the White House with an invitation to the JOBS Act signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. He is eager to see the central feature of the legislation he lobbied to pass be implemented.

Greg Parker is an entrepreneur who launched a crowdfunding service called for independent Hollywood film production. Constrained today to fundraising via other exemptions from registration, he is also eager to see the rules implemented.

On Wednesday, July 10, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Miller, Hanks, Best and Parker will join me for a live discussion about the movement to get the SEC to issue final rules for investment crowdfunding. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about StartEngine:

StartEngine is the largest technology accelerator in Los Angeles. We have funded over 57 early and seed-stage startups, providing teams with mentorship, capital and guidance to help them build successful, self-directed businesses. StartEngine has an extensive network of mentors who have proven themselves as effective entrepreneurs and provide their expertise in a wide variety of industries.

Miller’s bio:

Ronald D. Miller is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, having visualized, founded, built and sold five companies through management buyouts, private equity firms, private investors and public markets. Ron’s success has been publicly recognized as a four time Inc. 500/5000 Award recipient and as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award finalist. Over the past 25 years, Ron has accumulated a wealth of experience in building, leading and empowering executives and teams to deliver extraordinary results. His rich mix of marketing, sales, IT, operations and financial experience has enabled him to see things others do not. He has an extensive track record of visualizing the strategic picture, defining opportunities and producing measurable results through disciplined and documented systems. Currently, Ron is a partner in StartEngine, LA’s largest tech accelerator. He is helping to find, screen and fund new technology related start-ups and build an equity crowdfunding platform company.

More about CrowdCheck:

CrowdCheck provides due diligence, disclosure and compliance services for online alternative investments, including offerings by early-stage companies, real estate projects and pooled investment vehicles. We protect investors by performing due diligence on the company or project and making sure investors have the information they need to make an informed investment decision. We protect issuers and project sponsors by walking them through the disclosure process to help them comply with the law and avoid liability. We protect online intermediaries by making sure the information presented by issuers and project sponsors on their site is not misleading and complies with the law, and providing related compliance services, such as our “Bad Actor report”. The result of our work usually appears in an easy-to-understand Report that appears on the website of the online intermediary.


Sara Hanks

Hanks’ bio:

Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field. CrowdCheck provides due diligence and compliance services for online alternative securities offerings, helping entrepreneurs and project sponsors through the disclosure and due diligence process and giving investors the information they need to make an informed investment decision and avoid fraud.

Sara’s prior position was General Counsel of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Prior to that, Sara spent many years as a partner of Clifford Chance, one of the world’s largest law firms. While at Clifford Chance, she advised on capital markets transactions and corporate matters for companies throughout the world. Sara began her career with the London law firm Norton Rose. She later joined the Securities and Exchange Commission and as Chief of the Office of International Corporate Finance led the team drafting regulations that put into place a new generation of rules governing the capital-raising process.

Sara received her law degree from Oxford University and is a member of the New York and DC bars and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. She holds a Series 65 securities license as a registered investment advisor. Sara is an aunt, Army wife, skier, cyclist, gardener and animal lover.


More about Crowdfund Capital Advisors:

Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) delivers strategic insights to government agencies, financial institutions, and professional investors seeking to both create and implement innovative strategies to utilize crowdfund investing (CFI) technologies to drive innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship. They also study and invest in the emerging ecosystem of crowdfunding and the new solutions being created that will impact the broader private capital markets. The social web has changed the way individuals businesses, and governments organize and communicate and transact business. We are passionate about creating innovation, entrepreneurship and jobs through the use of crowdfunding. CCA delivers strategic services and implementation programs that create, proprietary deal flow for professional investors, better access to capital for businesses, and policy and regulatory innovation for governments.

CCA co-founders and Managing Partners Sherwood Neiss and Jason Best created the original Startup Exemption regulatory framework that became crowdfunding language in the JOBS Act. They then started a grass roots, self-funded campaign to make one of the largest changes to securities regulations in 80 years. Their 460-day campaign concluded April 5th 2012 when they attended the White House Rose Garden ceremony where President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law.


Jason Best

Best’s bio:

As co-founder and principal of Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA), Jason Best co-authored the crowdfund investing framework used in the JOBS Act to legalize equity and debt based crowdfunding in the USA. He has provided congressional testimony on crowdfunding and was honored to attend the White House ceremony when President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law on April 5, 2012. Jason co-founded the crowdfunding industry trade group that works with the Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA as they create the rules for crowdfund investing. Jason also works with angel groups, PE/VC firms as well as governments and NGOs, including The World Bank, to understand the crowdfunding ecosystem and create successful crowdfund investing strategies. He was instrumental in the successful effort to have CCA selected by the US State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program as a Key Partner.

Jason has spoken at The White House, South by Southwest, TEDx, the World Bank’s Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship and the Angel Capital Association. He is co-author of the Crowdfund Investing for Dummies book (published by Wiley), a contributor to TechCrunch and Venture Beat and has appeared in Fast Company, Bloomberg Markets and on CNN. ranked Jason as one of the 10 most influential people in crowdfunding.

Jason co-founded the University of California, Berkeley ‘Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance’ and is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UC Berkeley’s ‘Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.’ Prior to his work in crowdfund investing, Jason was a successful healthcare technology entrepreneur with 2 companies in San Francisco, California. Most recently, he was on the executive leadership team of Kinnser Software that was ranked by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the US, for two consecutive years. He earned his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the world’s top ranked international MBA program.

More about, headquartered in Beverly Hills California, provides equity-based crowdfunding for Hollywood professional’s feature films, television and new media projects. We offers equity-based (Regulation D 504, 505, 506(b), 506©, JOBS ACT Title III, Regulation A, Regulation A Tier II, and single state crowdfunding) private equity securities through our platform.

Parker’s bio:

Gregory Parker is currently Co-Founder & CEO of He has worked as a public policy analyst, director of software development and most recently an elected and appointed government official. Gregory, holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, a Master’s of Public Administration; and has completed open course-ware from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Economics. He has more than 17+ years of management experience to include managing large multi-million dollar government organizations. Gregory’s passion led him to the entertainment industry where he has directed music videos, TV pilots and film shorts. Gregory currently holds Series 82 and Series 63 securities license.

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Community Foundations Build, Protect Their Communities

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

One of the backbones of American philanthropy is the community foundation, which plays a variety of critical roles in building and protecting a community. These community foundations operate in every state in the nation. Personally, I’ve been receiving an education since I joined the Board of the Community Foundation of Utah as a volunteer.

Community foundations may become significant players in the impact investing space in the coming decade. Many gifts to such foundations are in the form of donor advised funds, commonly abbreviated as DAFs. A donor advised fund operates a bit like a family foundation, allowing the grantor to “advise” the sponsor holding the assets about what to do with the money, all of which must ultimately be donated to charity.

Commonly, when an investor has a taxable windfall, with careful planning from advisors, assets can be donated to a DAF, allowing the investor to take a tax deduction and avoid tax on the gain on sale, while effectively continuing to influence the ultimate grant-making over a span of subsequent years.

Those DAF accounts have traditionally been invested in a variety of financial assets. More and more people in the DAF community are looking at these accounts as a source of impact investment capital to be deployed for social impact as investments while waiting to be donated.

One threat to this trend is a proposal from Michigan Congressman Dave Camp, who has proposed a requirement that DAFs distribute 20 percent of assets each year, effectively imposing a rapid liquidation schedule and preventing any meaningful impact investment. When compared to a foundation’s requirement that 5 percent of assets be distributed each year, the Camp proposal looks rather draconian to some in the community foundation world. DAFs have no distribution requirement today, though the Community Foundation of Utah has reported that about 13 percent of DAF assets are distributed to charities each year, well above the 5 percent level required of foundations.

On September 3, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, the CEOs of three foundations, including Lorie Slutsky, CEO of the relatively massive New York Community NYCB -0.75% Trust. She will be joined by the CEOs of the Lincoln Community Foundation, Barbara M. Bartle and Fraser Nelson, head of the Community Foundation of Utah. Bartle will by joined by Paula Metcalf, Vice President for Gift Planning and General Counsel.

More about The New York Community Trust:

Since 1924, The New York Community Trust, the City’s community foundation, has helped make donors’ charitable dreams come true by funding the nonprofits that make our city a vital and secure place. We help donors find flexible, efficient, and rewarding ways to accomplish their charitable giving, and we work with lawyers and financial advisors to help their clients incorporate charity into financial and estate plans.

We also work with nonprofits, other funders, and government to craft solutions to problems. We make grants in the five boroughs, to organizations large and small, to those we’ve worked with over the years and those who are new to us. We are committed to sticking with significant issues that don’t lend themselves to quick or easy solutions, and look for projects that take fresh approaches to long-standing issues and that tackle emerging problems and opportunities.


More about the Lincoln Community Foundation:

The mission of the Lincoln Community Foundation is to provide leadership and resources to help build a great city. Community foundations are well positioned to develop local solutions because they can engage the public, private and philanthropic sectors. We serve as faithful stewards for the many types of philanthropic gifts and help donors create a lasting legacy of giving. We serve as community leaders to identify needs and opportunities. We convene diverse voices from government, business, nonprofit organizations and citizens to craft responses and solutions. We encourage and support the many nonprofit organizations in our community that contribute so much to our quality of life.

More out the Community Foundation of Utah:

The Community Foundation of Utah is a catalyst for philanthropy that is innovative, inclusive and sustainable. We gather assets and ideas to serve the people places and causes of Utah for good, and for ever.


Lorie A. Slutsky, The New York Community Trust

Slutsky’s bio:

Lorie has been the president of The Trust since 1990. She began her career at The Trust in 1977 as a grantmaker with responsibility for education, housing, government and urban affairs, and neighborhood revitalization. She was named executive vice president in 1987, when she assumed responsibility for strategic planning, personnel and budget management, and oversight of all departments.

Lorie received her B.A. from Colgate University, where she served for nine years as a trustee and chairman of the budget committee, and her M.A. from The New School, where she also was as a trustee. She sits on the Chief Judge’s Task Force To Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York State and chairs its RFP Work Group. She is also on the board of Independent Sector. She also is a director of two for-profit companies: Alliance Bernstein Capital Management and AXA Financial.

Lorie is a former board chairman of the Council on Foundations and BoardSource, and former vice chairman of The Foundation Center.

Bartle’s bio:

Barbara serves as the chief executive officer of the Foundation. She has 40 years of experience in fundraising, program development, public engagement and teaching. Barbara most recently served as the President of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools for 18 years. She is a member of the Nebraska Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and served on the board for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Barbara is past president of Rotary Club 14 and the Nebraska Repertory Theater and has served on numerous nonprofit boards in Lincoln. She is past president of the National School Foundation Association.


Paula Metcalf, Lincoln Community Foundation

Metfalf’s bio:

Paula Metcalf was appointed Vice President for Gift Planning and General Counsel in July 2010. Prior to joining the Lincoln Community Foundation, Paula had a solo law practice in Lincoln focusing on business and estate planning, probate and business transactions. Before her solo practice, she practiced at Knudsen, Berkheimer, Richardson and Endacott in Lincoln for 24 years. Paula is a member of Lincoln Estate Planning Counsel and has served on the Lincoln Bar Association Board of Trustees. She has served as a speaker for multiple continuing legal education seminars. Paula is a 1979 graduate of the University of Nebraska Law College.


Fraser Nelson, Community Foundation of Utah

Nelson’s bio:

Fraser has held positions of leadership in nonprofit organizations large and small across the United States. In Utah, 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, building it from an idea to a $39 million catalyst for the common good. Fraser is a mentor, teacher, trainer, advocate and leader. She has been widely recognized for her contributions, including the Utah State Bar’s Community Member of the Year, one of Utah Business magazine’s ‘30 Women to Watch’, and, closest to her heart, the Pete Suazo Social Justice Award.

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Entrepreneur Joins Group Effort To Cure Millions

Jaykumar Menon is working to save the lives of millions of people, including those threatened by Ebola in Africa. The diseases that afflict the developing world don’t offer the revenue potential of rich country diseases and therefore lack investment dollars. Jay is leading an effort to apply crowdsourcing and open source concepts to find treatments for diseases that plague the Global South.

The Open Source Pharma project, by gathering hundreds or even thousands of researchers to work on open source drug development projects, can accelerate drug development and reduce the costs.

On Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Jay will join me for a live discussion about his inspiring work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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


Jay’s bio:

Jaykumar Menon is an international human rights lawyer, scholar, and social entrepreneur. Currently a Professor of Practice at the McGill University Institute for International Development, he focuses his research, teaching, and practice on open innovation approaches (e.g. crowdsourcing, innovation prizes, and open IP) to realizing human rights, especially next generation economic rights (e.g the rights to food, water, and health). He has pioneered a number of concepts recently backed by the international community (Gates, Rockefeller, Soros, Tata foundations; DFID; AusAid; CIDA; World Bank; with launches by the heads of state of the UK, Australia, and Canada) with a total funding of $110+M, aimed at making a large dent in severe problems affecting over a billion poor people.

Previously he led the international development and education programs at the X PRIZE Foundation, an radical innovation group funded by the founders of Google and Facebook that awards $10+ million incentive prizes to teams that achieve targeted “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.” He founded X PRIZE’s operations in India and has worked on innovation and development with WFP, IIT-Delhi, the UN Secretary-General’s Office, the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of India, and other groups.

As a human rights lawyer at the New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights, working alongside activists and community groups, he won a string of victories in high profile cases. He represented the student leaders of Tiananmen Square against the ex-Premier of China, helped win a $4 billion judgment on behalf of victims of the Bosnian genocide against Radovan Karadzic, helped represent the family of Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in a landmark corporations and human rights suit against Royal Dutch Shell ($15M settlement), freed a man from death row in Indiana, and as the fifteenth lawyer to take up the case, hunted through the prisons of New York for the real killer and helped exonerate a man named David Wong who has served over a decade of a life sentence for murder. As a scholar, he has written articles in top peer-reviewed international human rights law reference journals and books, including those published by the Oxford University Press. As an entrepreneur, he has co-founded a venture-funded Internet company with current seven-figure revenues. He is a published creative writer, having served as an editor of a book published by McSweeney’s, and written a short story in an anthology that collectively won the American Book Award. He has also worked at McKinsey. He holds a JD and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia and completed a BA and one year of medical school at Brown. He hopes to creatively effect large-scale and just social change.

Learn more about Open Source Pharma on Facebook.

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