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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: December 2014

Entrepreneur Puts Human Trafficking In His Sights

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Joe Schmidt has had a lot of success in his life as an entrepreneur. At this stage of his career, he could be doing just about anything he wants, including nothing. That’s what makes Schmidt’s new venture so interesting.

Schmidt has launched a nonprofit crowdfunding platform called ENDcrowd for the express purpose of ending human trafficking around the world. As the founder of the successful internet business Canvas on Demand, Schmidt may be just the guy to catalyze the world to end slavery.

Schmidt says, “The prominence and magnitude of the problem is astounding: An estimated 35.8 million people are the powerless victims of human trafficking,” citing the Global Slavery Index for 2014.

“Human trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion a year industry and is the world’s second largest criminal enterprise,” he adds, citing the International Labor Organization.


Within the nonprofit community fighting trafficking a scary statistic is often cited, he says, “Nonprofits battling the issue operate on a comparatively minute budget of an estimated $100 million, combined – that’s a staggering 1 percent of the money generated yearly by the very industry they are fighting.”

On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 4:00 Eastern, Schmidt will join me for a live discussion of ENDcrowd’s efforts to fund an end to human trafficking. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about ENDcrowd:

Endeavoring to put an end to human trafficking, both nationally and internationally, is a nonprofit crowdfunding platform aiming to raise money and awareness for this hugely underserved cause. It partners with established charities around the world to host their specific targeted giving campaigns that will truly make a tangible and immediate impact in the fight against modern-day slavery. ENDcrowd’s parent organization, Audacity Factory, is a think-tank incubator based in Raleigh, North Carolina, that develops and drives initiatives to bring attention to underpublicized, underfunded – yet critical – domestic and global matters. Its mission is to positively impact the lives of 10 million people over the next 10 years. For more information, please visit and

Schmidt’s bio:

Joe received his undergraduate degree from Ball State University and his MBA from Boston College. He co-founded Canvas on Demand (a company that takes your personal photos and puts them on canvas) in 2003. Joe drove his company to become the leader in the marketplace, taking it from a startup company to the INC 500 list of fastest growing companies in America and earning him a spot as a finalist in the Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Joe has appeared regularly on national television shopping channels such as HSN and QVC and is often invited to present to groups in the business and educational communities on topics of email marketing and PR. He has been quoted in Forbes and Inc. Magazines talking about entrepreneurship in the online marketing space.

Prior to Canvas on Demand, Joe was director of sales for and has been involved in numerous successful technology startups. In September of 2010, Joe sold his company to online custom products leader and went on to continue his role on the executive leadership team as chief marketing officer until 2013. Joe decided to leave his role as chief marketing officer to chase the dream of Audacity Factory and changing the world.

Audacity Factory, is a think-tank incubator based in Raleigh, North Carolina, that develops and drives initiatives to bring attention to underpublicized, underfunded – yet critical – domestic and global matters. Its mission is to positively impact the lives of 10 million people over the next 10 years.

Joe now helps for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs achieve crazy and wild dreams. Twitter: @Joe_Schmidt

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Girlfluence Seeks To Serve And Influence Women

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Dara Kaplan and her team have recently launched Girlfluence, a PR and branding agency focused on helping women reach and influence other women. The agency was created with a focus on giving back and supporting nonprofit organizations, beginning with a DC-based nonprofit called Spirit Club that serves adults with developmental challenges.

Much of the firm’s work focuses on building brands for women on YouTube. The agency notes that a presence on YouTube is creating fame that rivals Hollywood today.


On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Kaplan will join me for a live discussion about Girfluence and it work to empower and influence women. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about Girlfluence:

GIRLFLUENCE is the first communication and content firm and publisher to provide brand partners exclusive access to a curated demographic of connected women. Our media campaigns live alongside your brand’s PR, communications and advertising initiatives to create high-value, targeted content compelling to influencers and media alike. We build holistic awareness strategies to produce metrics that mean business.

With strategic talent management of digital influencers, we expertly position your content creation to support an overall brand strategy. Branding a female point of view in the digital space requires an experienced and cohesive vision to drive traffic, inspire engagement and generate revenue. We combine marketing, branding and communication expertise in a holistic approach that enhances awareness and conversion online and off. Whether you’re a corporate client or a start-up entrepreneur, we know how to help brands stand out in a crowded marketplace and connect with a voice that expresses their unique DNA.

Kaplan’s bio:

Founder, Dara Kaplan knows that inspiration is everywhere, but it takes influence to make it last. Her wealth of real-world experience in fashion, beauty and luxury lifestyle brands has enriched her expertise in the digital world. She has worked in buying and branding for international lifestyle companies such as Donna Karan and Kiki de Montparnasse. From opening multimillion-dollar stores to kicking open the doors of new media, Dara went on to become an acclaimed beauty blogger, travel editor and culture writer, founding her own social media and digital PR firm at twenty-five years old. Her expertise lies in digital world from her authentically forged connections and experience gleaned from the boom of the blogger era as a veteran vlogger and influencer. Kaplan is uniquely positioned to use all facets of her experience to lead into the future of marketing. Her innate understanding of building her own brand and sustaining the vision of other brands has driven her high impact media initiatives for a range of elite companies, including Maserati, Tumi Luggage, Laura Mercier, Shiseido, Skype and the NFL. In addition to her bold brainstorming and business strategy, Dara is also a jewelry designer with a love of all things that sparkle and unabashedly obsessed with her dog.

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Newman’s Own Foundation CEO Explains Unique Social Entrepreneurship Model

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

“Paul Newman wanted to make the world a better place, and we carry on his legacy to do that ,” says Robert Forrester, President and CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation and Chairman and CEO of Newman’s Own, Inc. “Great tasting foods and a charitable mission are always relevant; they’re at the core of what we do.”

Forrester explains that the foundation owns Newman’s Own, Inc., meaning that 100 percent of distributed profits go to charity. In fact, he reports, that over $400 million has been donated to organizations around the world.


“We recently announced a $10.5 million commitment to nutrition, providing grants to over 36 organizations that focus on fresh food access and nutrition education,” Forrester adds. “Part of this commitment includes the establishment of the first-ever Newman’s Own Foundation Nutrition Cohort, which consists of 6 nonprofits and a research organization.”

The six organizations supported will include:

  • Fair Food Network (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • FoodCorps (New York, NY)
  • Food Trust (Philadelphia)
  • National Farm to School Network (Chicago)
  • Wellness in the Schools (New York, NY)
  • Wholesome Wave (Bridgeport, CT)

On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Forrester will join me for a live discussion about the company and the foundation. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about Newman’s Own:

Paul Newman was committed to helping make the world a better place. To carry on his philanthropic legacy, Newman’s Own Foundation turns all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own products into charitable donations. To date, Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $400 million to thousands of charities around the world.


Bob Forrester

Forrester’s bio:

Robert (Bob) H. Forrester is President and CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation, and Chairman and CEO of Newman’s Own, Inc. He was a close, personal friend and philanthropic advisor to Paul Newman, who founded the company and Foundation. Prior to Newman’s Own, Bob was Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Payne, Forrester & Associates, LLC, an international consulting group providing services to nonprofits. He also has served in senior management positions at the University of Hartford and New York University. Bob’s career spans 44 years of work with nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He serves on numerous boards. Bob holds a B.S. in Psychology, and he served as a U.S. Army Captain in the Republic of Vietnam.

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Would Launching Experiments Into Space Get Your Kids Interested In Science?

Sunny Washington has her work cut out for her and she knows it.

“The United States needs more than a million more students graduating with STEM degrees” to meet the projected needs, she explains. “The United States is ranked 24th in math and 21st in science education worldwide.”

She notes that “74 percent of girls are interested in science, yet less than 15 percent of girls go on to pursue science careers.”

Sunny leads Ardusat, an education technology company that allows students to conduct experiments in space using small satellites. The mission of Ardusat is to get more kids interested in STEM fields.

On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Sunny will join me for a live discussion about Ardusat and STEM education. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. 

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

More about Ardusat:

Ardusat is an education technology company that provides the unique opportunity to connect the universe to the classroom. With our next generation learning resources, students can create their own satellite experiments and collect real-world space-data. We provide teachers with STEM learning resources, professional development, and hands-on materials that give students an experience that is truly out of this world.

Sunny’s bio:

Sunny began her career as a bank manager for US Bank. In 2001 she started working with the ed tech company, Certiport where she launched their digital literacy program in over 80 countries.

In 2009 she was introduced to the co-founders at Instructure. After seeing a demo of their LMS, she was convinced that this would be a game-changer in the market. In January 2010, she joined Instructure as employee 7. During her time at Instructure she assisted in building the sales, business development, account management, and marketing teams.

In April 2014, Sunny joined forces with Spire, a space satellite company out of San Francisco, to build Ardusat, an ed tech company focused on delivering STEM resources to spark student innovation. This year they launched a program where students will be able to run experiments on the satellites that Spire builds and launches into space.

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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin’s Top 10 Podcasts of 2014

Last week we shared the list of the most popular interviews of 2014 as ranked by YouTube. Today, I’m sharing the list of the top ten most popular podcasts of the year. 

Beginning in April this year, I began posting the audio file from my interviews via Google Hangouts on Air for Forbes, and to iTunes and Stitcher as podcasts. 

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: or on Stitcher by clicking here: 

#1: Episode 1: John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management – US, Forbes

#2: Episode 9: Nancy Hughes of StoveTeam, Forbes

#3: Episode 22: The Women of Crowdfunding, Forbes

#4: Episode 148: Tides Brings Innovation, Support To Donors And Do-Gooders, Forbes

#5: Episode 4: Archie Panjabi, Co-star of The Good Wife on CBS, Forbes

#6: Episode 2: John Hewko, General Secretary of Rotary International, Forbes

#7: Episode 45: Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy, Forbes

#8: Episode 3: Robert S. Kaplan, Co-Chair Draper Richards Kaplan, Forbes

#9: Episode 150: Emmy Award Winner Leads Storytellers For Good, Your Mark on the World 

#10: Episode 32: Satish Kalra of Smile Train, Forbes

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Devin D. Thorpe

Individuals Are People, Too

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Most of my coverage at Forbes regards people working to make a difference in the world at scale. We’re usually talking about people who are deploying billions of dollars—or at least millions—to help millions of people—or at least hundreds of thousands.

For example, take my stories about the global effort led by Rotary International and its partners the CDC, World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate polio. Billions of dollars have been spent and billions more have been committed to wipe the disease off the planet once and for all. The goal is see the last case of polio on the planet in 2015!

Over the thirty year effort, it is estimated that 10 million cases of polio have been prevented. It is easy to for those involved in eradicating polio—or fighting any such global problem—to focus on data and statistics. In fact, it is absolutely necessary for an effective fight.


Michelle Kloempkin immunizes a child with help from the child’s sister

But there is another side to solving these big world problems. There are, behind those statistics, individual people.


It is difficult to articulate the difference it makes in understanding the battle against polio to have looked into the eyes of a child living in desperate poverty in the slums of New Delhi or in rural Ethiopia.

As I watched, interacted with and occasionally even immunized a few children while working on stories about polio, I was struck most often by two internal observations.


First, the poor children in India and Ethiopia and, I presume, the rest of the world, laugh and play just like our children. And a few (remarkably few actually) cry, just like our kids, when strangers drop polio vaccine into their mouths. While this may seem obvious and you might correctly suggest I didn’t need to travel around the world to figure this out, the implication of the observation is nonetheless important. If children all around the world are the same, then they should be entitled to the same opportunities whether they are born in New Delhi or New Jersey.  And a polio immunization is just the start of what a child has every right to claim from the world.


Second, I noted with absolutely no scientific measure, how bright and full of potential the children were. In countless little ways, from how they studied us, mugged for photographs, worked the crowd for attention or alternatively to avoid it, and how they sometimes gamed the system, that they were as intelligent and full of promise as our children. They have the same natural potential to have impact on the world that our kids do, but their circumstances work against them. We owe it to ourselves to work harder to unleash their potential, if only for what they may well do for us in return.


Beyond these two simple observations I made during my travel this year, there is still another reason for all of us who work in the global effort to do something good to actually get out into the field to see the people our work is intended to impact. Quite simply, we need to see the people we seek to serve as people and not merely as statistics.  It is imperative that we view 10 million cases of avoided polio not as a milestone in the progress against the disease, but as 10 million individuals spared, 10 million lives freed of paralysis, 10 million people better able to reach their full potential, tens of billions more smiles.


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Top Ten Interviews Of 2014 (YouTube Rankings)

Over the last two years, I’ve done nearly 500 video interviews with CEOs, entrepreneurs, celebrities and investors talking about how they are leaving their mark on the world for good. It has been an honor to meet such remarkable people.

Among all the interviews I’ve done, these are the top ten most viewed of 2014. A few were recorded in 2013 and still made the list.

#1. Jilliene Helman, CEO of Realty Mogul, CrowdFundBeat.

#2. Francis Battista, co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, Forbes.

3. Orly Wahba, founder of Life Vest Inside, Your Mark on the World.

4. Jake Harriman, CEO of Nuru International, Forbes.

5. John Hewko, General Secretary of Rotary International, Forbes.

6. Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, Forbes.

7. Aziz Memon of Pakistan, Dr. Abdulrahman Olatunji Funsho of Nigeria and Mohammad Ishaq Niazmand of Afghanistan, Polio Plus Chairs, Rotary International, Forbes.

8. Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, Forbes.

9. Nissan Bahar, Franky Imbesi, Keepod, Your Mark on the World.

10. Rodrigo Nino, CEO of Prodigy Network, CrowdFundBeat

Still haven’t had enough? Check out our YouTube channel!

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Devin D. Thorpe

Nonprofit Explains How To Partner With Corporations For Fundraising

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

buildOn is a nonprofit working to break the cycle of poverty. Although its focus is on improving global literacy rates, it has done a remarkable job of ending its own poverty, if you will, through a bold partnership with GE.

At their 2014 gala, buildOn raised over $3.5 million, crediting GE for its success.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, GE uses its partnership with BuildOn to facilitate recruiting. The partnership goes beyond donations and involves employees in building schools with BuildOn in remote villages. GE professionals who work behind desks find themselves sleeping on floors and doing manual labor as volunteers. GE finds these employees to be happier in their jobs as a result.

On Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM, buildOn’s CEO and COO, Jim Ziolkowski and Marc Friedman will join me for a live discussion about the partnership with GE. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about buildOn:

At home or abroad, buildOn’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Across the U.S., buildOn empowers urban youth to transform their neighborhoods through intensive community service and to change the world by building schools in some of the economically poorest countries in the world. Since 1991, buildOn has constructed 674 schools worldwide, with more than 90,000 children, parents and grandparents attending these schools every day.


Jim Ziolkowski

Ziolkowski´s bio:

Jim Ziolkowski is the Founder, President and CEO of buildOn and author of Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World? buildOn is a non-profit organization that builds schools in developing countries while also running service learning programs for high school students in the U.S. At home or abroad, Jim’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Inspired by his own travels to some of the most impoverished cities in the world, Jim derailed his promising career in corporate finance to dedicate his life to an unabashedly idealistic mission. Through intensive public service, his organization empowers inner-city teens to regain control of their own lives. Since it was founded in 1992, buildOn students have contributed 1.4 million hours of service helping the homeless, senior citizens and young children in their communities. Many of these students have also been involved in the building of nearly 700 schools in Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nicaragua, Mali, Malawi, Senegal and Nepal. More than 90,000 children, parents, and grandparents attend these schools every day. More than two decades later, Jim is still the guiding force of buildOn. Deeply influenced by his own religious faith, shaped by his personal meetings with Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, and hailed by President Barack Obama, Jim likes to say, “We’re not a charity – we’re a movement.” He graduated cum laude from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, and he has been featured on many news outlets, including NBC’s TODAY Show, CNN, CBS CBS +1.52% Evening News, and the New York Times.


Marc Friedman

Friedman’s bio:

Marc Friedman is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and co-founder of buildOn ( – an international nonprofit building schools in developing countries and helping at-risk youth in the U.S. connect with service opportunities. Marc started at buildOn when it was just a handful of people – everyone doing a little bit of everything. In 1997, Marc joined the buildOn family full-time. As buildOn grew, Marc focused his strengths in business on fund raising. From volunteering in the U.S. to working in buildOn’s current project countries – Malawi, Mali, Haiti, Nepal and Nicaragua – Marc believes in staying connected to the mission and the people on the ground.

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Deloitte Scales Impact On Education

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Deloitte is working to make a difference in American education at scale.

David Porges, Deloitte’s Director for Corporate Citizenship, explains, “Deloitte is focused on education because the intellectual capital of our people is the foundation of our organization and our economy. Today’s students are the future innovators and leaders. We believe we have an obligation and ability to work with others to improve access to high-quality education programs for students nationwide.”


Deloitte runs a program called RightStep to accomplish its educational impact objectives. “RightStep is Deloitte’s way of giving back to education in America. By tapping into all of our assets – e.g., philanthropy, skilled volunteering, pro bono, etc. — we work year-round with nonprofits such as College Summit, City Year, and Posse Foundation to create real change for more than 240,000 students each year,” Porges said.

He added, “Deloitte does everything from skills-based volunteering, board leadership, thought leadership and cash donations to support students on their journey from high school through college and into the workforce. For example, our professionals serve as year-round mentors to underserved high schools across the US through our Deloitte Academy program. In New York City, 100% of our mentees have been accepted to college in a school with a 55% graduation rate.”

On Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM Eastern time, Porges will join me for a live discussion about the program and its impact. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.


David Porges

Porges’ bio:

As Deloitte’s Director for Corporate Citizenship, Dave is responsible for leading a national team in the execution of strategic planning, philanthropic giving, national partnerships, pro bono, year-round volunteering, board service, and thought leadership. A 16-year Deloitte veteran, Dave strives to leverage the capacity of Deloitte and its people to generate social impact in our communities, while also growing the business and creating an organization that stands for more than the sum of its parts.

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One Bead, One Person, One Dollar Can Make A Difference

The consummate entrepreneur, Sara Wroblewski, is running the startup she launched in college out of her apartment. Unlike some entrepreneurs, Sara has a vision for her business that is a bit different than some.

Her startup is a nonprofit that focuses on enhancing education both domestically and in East Africa.

Sara describes her domestic program, “During the first three weeks of our program we teach leadership skills, halfway through we present students with a $1000 grant. We then spend the remainder of the program guiding students through the process of creating and pitching individual action plans indicating how they would want to spend this money to improve their own community. At the end of the program one action plan is chosen and that idea is set into motion using the grant money.

We believe students should arrive at college, or any future career, already exposed to important leadership skills like public speaking and problem solving,” she adds.

She continues her work in East Africa largely through partnerships.

On Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM Eastern, Sara will join me for a live discussion about her remarkable startup. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. 

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

More about One Bead:

One Bead was originally started in a college dorm room as an organization that elevates education in East Africa through the sale of recycled glass beads. Now, with representatives across the globe and growing elementary school partnerships, One Bead is providing students with an invaluable opportunity to positively impact others. At the college, high school, and elementary level, One Bead is proving that one student, just like one bead, can be a catalyst for change. 


Sara’s bio:

Sara Wroblewski is the Founder and CEO of One Bead. She won the first annual entrepreneurial “Pitch” competition hosted by Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2012. Since then she has grown her organization exponentially. To date Sara has recruited a team of over sixty student representatives and raised over $100,000 through fundraising events, private donations, and product sales. She received her BA from HWS in May 2013 and shortly after produced two 30-second ads promoting One Bead that cycled in Times Square. More recently, Sara partnered with Teach for America corps. member, Caroline Dosky, to design a leadership curriculum for elementary school students modeled off of her business. Sara instructed this leadership program with over one hundred students this fall in Kenya and the United States. She previously worked as an administrative assistant in the Massachusetts General Hospital development office, but now runs One Bead full time out of her apartment in Boston.

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Devin D. Thorpe

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