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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: November 2016

Announcing My New Social Media Course for Nonprofits

Recently, I completed and posted a new course on social media for nonprofits on Udemy that you can complete in under an hour and costs just $25.

As I sit on the board of one nonprofit, the public relations advisory board for another, I have seen up close how daunting social media can be to a nonprofit where every dollar is precious and time is a luxury that other people have.

Social media is an important tool for nonprofits, not just in fundraising, but for developing a community and for issue advocacy and awareness. Well-crafted social media campaigns can reach more people than a good write-up in your local paper.

Blue bird cartoon and social media icon set in speech bubble shape. Vector file layered for easy manipulation and custom coloring.

The course, “Basic Social Media for Nonprofits,” will help organizations with up to $10 million annual budgets develop a strategy and actionable tactics that don’t take an inordinate amount of time nor much of a budget in order to thoughtfully develop an audience, a community and a donor base via social media.

Udemy is a leading platform for online courses. I have posted four courses on the platform, including this one. Earlier this month, I announced my new course “Intro to Impact Investing.”

Over the past several years, like many journalists, I’ve had to learn much of the art and science of social media. Having attracted over 40,000 followers on Twitter, over 6,000 fans on Facebook and over 5,000 connections on LinkedIn, I realized that my audience is much bigger than most nonprofits. Many nonprofits have a clear advantage, however, with a natural and committed fan base among those they serve and the their friends and families.

My new course is regularly just $25, but you can register using the code “DOGOODER” and get 20 percent off and pay just $20. Let me share a secret I haven’t posted elsewhere. If you join the Doers Circle here on Patreon, you can get even bigger discounts plus other benefits!

3 Tips For Overcoming From Someone Who Overcame

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

Todd Sylvester overcame addiction to create a successful life. Now as a speaker and mentor he helps others trapped by addiction or other behavioral challenges to overcome them. The lessons could be relevant for anyone seeking to overcome any self-limiting challenge.

Todd offers three keys to overcoming the challenges in our lives.

Todd Sylvester, courtesy of Todd Sylvester Inspires

Todd Sylvester, courtesy of Todd Sylvester Inspires

First, he says, “You’re OK.”

“Understanding that you are OK is one of the most empowering truths we can and should embrace,” he says.

People are trapped by their self image, he says. “I have found with my clients that the three most common limiting beliefs they hold onto is that they are powerless, broken or damaged, and they are a victim of their circumstances. This keeps them in a self-made prison.”

“These belief systems create a story they tell themselves about themselves and this story is a fairy tale,” he continues. “The fairy tale keeps them wallowing in their own misery but when they become aware that they are OK and have always been OK, the self-made prison is shattered. When they understand this simple yet powerful truth, they laugh themselves silly!”

“All we have is now.”

“All we have is now and our natural state is joy,” Todd says. “When we live in the past and beat ourselves up for past mistakes, we create emotions of guilt, shame, and sadness/depression.”

He says that living in the future has risks, too. “When we think about the future and blow it up, catastrophes, or think something bad is going to happen we create emotions of fear, worry and anxiety. All anxiety is, is a misuse of our imaginations.”

“Joy,” he notes, “is another word for enlightenment and when we are enlightened we are no longer suffering.”

Power, Creativity and Dignity

Todd’s third message begins with this mantra, “You are powerful beyond measure; you are a masterful creator, and you have the dignity to choose.”

“Choice is the ultimate power because when we choose, we create, and in that process we are powerful,” he exults.

He explains the power of these principles, saying, “Believing these principles and living them is life altering, a game changer. Because our beliefs dictate our behaviors and our behaviors are sponsored by our beliefs. Change the belief and our behaviors change automatically. Our thoughts become our beliefs and our beliefs fuel the way we act and live. We must change our beliefs on a sub-conscious mid-brain level because when that happens, it’s lasting change.”

On Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 2:00 Eastern, Todd will join me here for a live discussion about his three keys for overcoming the biggest challenges in our lives. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Todd Sylvester, courtesy of Todd Sylvester Inspires

Todd Sylvester, courtesy of Todd Sylvester Inspires

More about Todd Sylvester Inspires:

Twitter: @tsinspires

To ignite people’s imaginations and motivate them to change their limiting beliefs. To spark an awareness in my clients that they are OK and to experience Joy again in their lives. This is accomplished through speaking events, one on one mentoring, workshops and online platforms.

Todd’s bio:

Todd is a Belief System Master.

Todd currently serves as a Speaker, Mentor & Personal-Development Coach for those looking to get more out of life.

Todd spent his youth fiercely addicted to drugs and alcohol. Through his own recovery and newfound faith, Todd learned that more powerful than any addiction was the power of the human soul. Over the past 25 years Todd has discovered and taught universal principles that have empowered thousands to conquer addiction, crush compulsive behaviors and change their limiting belief systems.

Todd’s story was recently told through a popular YouTube clip titled “The Hope of God’s Light,” that received over 3 million views and has been translated into 3 languages. Todd has conducted over 500 speaking engagements and over 5,000 individual coaching sessions.

Todd has worked with thousands of people struggling with with drug and alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression, where he provides one-on-one mentoring to both local and international clients. Described as having “a unique gift to develop trusting relationships quickly,” Todd has guided thousands to sobriety and other behavioral successes through the individualized support he offers to each client. His ability to “speak to a person’s soul and help them find their true motive to change” has been the key for inspiring others to make permanent lifestyle changes.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at!


Latest Nick Kristof Protege Shares Insights

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

Nicholas Kristof is a big deal. He is the winner of two Pulitzer prizes, author of two bestselling books, and is a New York Times columnist. He has almost two million followers on Twitter, putting him on a level of Twitter fame with Hollywood actors.

Nick covers politics, with a focus on social issues.

Each year, Nick holds a contest to choose a journalism student to travel with him to write stories for the New York Times. This year’s winner is Cassidy McDonald. Winning is a big deal. Now she is a big deal.

Last year’s winner, Austin Meyer, was a student at Stanford. Like past winners, Austin and Nick traveled to the developing world.

Nick Kristof, Larica Compton and Cassidy McDonald

Nick Kristof, Larica Compton and Cassidy McDonald

Cassidy is a student at Notre Dame. Her Twitter following, with 295 followers, doesn’t match Nick’s, yet. She may need a couple of Pulitzer’s to catch him, but there may be nothing like being the “Win-a-trip” winner to put her on the right path.

Cassidy says, “I’ve always been interested in the subject matter of Nick’s columns and books, but I decided to apply only after encouragement from my fantastic mentor, Tom Bettag (former Executive Producer of CBS Evening News, ABC Nightline, Discovery channel and CNN — and one of the nicest people in the world).”

The seeds were likely planted long before Tom encouraged her. She worked and attended school with the 2014 winner, Nicole Sganga.

Cassidy McDonald

Cassidy McDonald

Cassidy makes the application process seem easy–but I’m doubtful. She says, “I spent a few weeks working on a video and essay application, and shipped it off! After very brief phone interviews with Nick and his assistant, Nick told me I was the winner. I did not expect to be chosen, and I’m incredibly grateful — and still stunned — that I was.”

Cassidy’s trip turned out to be different. Rather than visit the developing world, Nick took her to Arkansas and Oklahoma to explore poverty in America.

Spending time working with a superstar journalist can teach a student a lot in a short time. “The most salient thing I learned on my trip with Nick was that I’ve been incredibly lucky in life.”

“While I was on my trip with Nick, I met a girl who was born exactly one day after me — less than 24 hours later — and just a few states away, in Oklahoma. And although our lives began at the same time, our paths had taken completely dissonant turns.”

Though their paths diverged, they maintained an odd parallel that helps to explain the importance parents.

Cassidy continues, “She was born to a drug-addicted mother, her father was in jail her entire life for a drug-related offense. And while she was in high school, she found herself trapped in a terrifying, brutally abusive relationship. She became addicted to meth and opiates — just like her mom — and had three sons.”

“She’s now in recovery, dealing with severe post-traumatic stress disorder from her relationship,” Cassidy says. “It rocked me to my core when I met her, and I could tell it was painful for her to tell her story.”

Cassidy recognizes the privilege that characterizes her life. “I am so privileged to be able to freely come and go in the lives of people who are suffering. The greatest challenge in my life is simply to tell stories in a way that honors the voices of the people I’ve met.”

She credits her early success to her parents, much as she attributes the Oklahoma girl’s woes to hers. She says, “My dad is a surgeon who taught me about service, and my mom is a retired attorney who is the best writer I know.”

Her teen years were full of opportunity. “Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, I was constantly surrounded by politics. At 17, the Madison Police Department allowed me to work as an intern in the public information office, where I produced videos for the department and regularly ‘rode along’ with police.”

These experiences Madison had a real impact on Cassidy. “I had a completely unique look at my city, and became certain that I wanted to work in journalism.”

In college she met Tom Bettag, whose Twitter account features exactly two tweets, the more recent being a post from April 7, 2011 that reads, “Candy Crowley heading to NY to interview The Donald in the morning. His ratings on the rise, especially with the Tea Party.” In hindsight, the tweet seems to be a prescient journalistic breadcrumb that helps to explain November 8 to liberals who couldn’t fathom a Trump victory.

Of Tom, she says, “I can’t overstate how instrumental he has been in my career. He guided me on which internships I should take to maximize my time in college and was constantly on call to talk about journalistic ethics and workplace etiquette — and to give me the occasional pep talk.”

On November 23, 2016 at noon Eastern, Cassidy will join me here for a live discussion about her experiences with Nick and the lessons she learned. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Cassidy McDonald

Cassidy McDonald

Cassidy’s bio:

Twitter: @CMcD123

I’m a marketing major with a journalism minor at the University of Notre Dame. I first became interested in journalism at age 17, when I got a job producing videos for the police department in Madison, Wisconsin. National media descended after three officer-involved shootings and I had an insider’s view of issues like poverty, governmental influence, stigma and courage. I aim to tell the stories of the most voiceless as they interact with the greatest political systems, and I’ve spent the last four years building skills necessary to do just that. I’ve interned at NBC15 in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal, 60 Minutes in Washington D.C. and at the shooter-producer unit within CBS News in New York City. On campus, I’ve worked as a video assistant for Fighting Irish Media sports broadcasts and I’ve co-hosted a sports highlight show. I am currently Editor-in-Chief of the school magazine, Scholastic. And most recently, I began reporting on poverty for the New York Times with columnist Nicholas Kristof, as his annual “Win-a-Trip with Nick” winner.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at!


USAID Extension Grant Propels Carbon Roots International in its Mission to Improve Lives, Livelihoods, and the Environment in Haiti

This is a guest post from Eric Sorensen, CEO and Co-Founder of Carbon Roots International

What does a $500,000 award extension made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID mean to Carbon Roots International? More predictable and efficient production of green charcoal for cooking in Haiti, with even less environmental degradation—and acceleration of our mission to create jobs, reduce deforestation, and improve lives in Haiti.

This infusion of capital into our organization is more than just a significant vote of confidence by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is the main U.S. government agency working to end extreme global poverty and helping democratic societies worldwide to reach their potential. It also enables Carbon Roots to purchase, install, and operate new equipment to expand and automate our innovative process for turning agricultural waste into charcoal for cooking. It also puts Carbon Roots on the path to financial sustainability.

Fuel from Agricultural Waste Instead of Trees

Carbon Roots is already the largest charcoal producer in Haiti. While most of us in the United States associate charcoal with backyard barbecues and a pleasant, often festive, alternative to cooking in the kitchen, in Haiti charcoal is serious business. Nine of out 10 households there depend on charcoal or wood for all their cooking, and the reliance on tree wood has turned Haiti into one of the world’s most devastatingly deforested landscapes.

Carbon Roots has developed a process for producing green charcoal briquettes from agricultural waste instead of tree wood. The green charcoal has the added benefits of burning hotter and cleaner than traditional wood charcoal and costing less—without requiring Haitians to change their stoves or cooking methods.

Early in our development, Carbon Roots received valuable guidance and direction from Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. As participants in their Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) program, Carbon Roots was able to refine and improve our business plan, business model, and financial structures.

We sell green charcoal briquettes to customers directly, through wholesalers, and via independent women retailers that Carbon Roots recruits and trains. In addition to the health, cost, and environmental advantages of using green charcoal in their own homes, the women who become retailers learn valuable business skills—plus, they have the opportunity to earn incomes exceeding most other income-generating activities available to women in Haiti.

Two Carbon Roots vendors in Haiti

Two Carbon Roots vendors in Haiti

Taking the Green Charcoal Process to the Next Level

Although Carbon Roots is already helping to combat deforestation and boost the livelihoods of many Haitians—especially our network of independent women retailers—we still lacked a way to improve the efficiency and predictability of the first step of the green charcoal briquette production process: carbonizing the agricultural waste into charcoal dust. That’s where the USAID award extension comes into play.

Now Carbon Roots can afford to purchase and install one Big Char pyrolyzer unit from its Australian manufacturer, Pyrocal. This Big Char unit will serve as a proof of concept to potential investors, who will be needed to fund the purchase of the additional five units we will require for full-scale production.

The Big Char continuous carbonization technology:

  • Automates previously manual steps
  • Provides a steady source of heat that eliminates the need to sun-dry the charcoal dust
  • Can operate even in rainy weather, a serious advantage in monsoon regions such as Haiti
  • Produces less smoke than manual methods

Working with our Miller Center GSBI mentor, we were able to determine how best to proceed with acquiring the Big Char pyrolyzers—starting with a single unit for the pilot program, funded by the USAID grant; moving to full production with multiple pyrolyzers, funded through a mix of debt, lease, and a variable payment option (VPO) investment instrument; and eventually opening a second production facility, funded through a mix of debt and equity.

Our GSBI mentor also helped us refine our financial projections. We determined that two production facilities would produce sufficient internal cash flow to sustain one new factory every year for 10 years. That translates into saving 7 million trees and generating in excess of $50 million in income for poor Haitian women and their families.

As a result of its greater efficiency and ability to operate more days per year, the new Big Char pyrolyzer will allow Carbon Roots to increase our annual volume of green charcoal production while reducing both costs and emissions.

The demand for our green charcoal already outstrips our ability to supply it, and the problem isn’t lack of business resources, our business model, or resistance to our products. The limiting factor has simply been financial resources. We are extremely grateful to USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures for this generous extension award, which will enhance our ability to benefit our wide range of local stakeholders: farmers who monetize waste streams by selling agricultural residues to Carbon Roots; women charcoal retailers who enjoy higher incomes and greater autonomy; and poor Haitians who have access to a cleaner, cheaper, sustainable cooking fuel.

Social Entrepreneur Creates ‘Nobel Prize For Business’ Focused On Social Responsibility

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Per L. Saxegaard of Norway recognized years ago that there was no Nobel Prize for Business. The closest that one comes is the prize for Economics. Saxegaard decided not only to create a prize modeled on the Nobel Prizes, but to focus it on social responsibility, what he calls being “businessworthy.” (Disclosure: I recently wrote an unrelated piece for the Rotarian Magazine, affiliated with Rotary International, which is mentioned in this article.)

A former investment banker, Saxegaard founded the Business for Peace Foundation and assembled a team of past Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics to serve as a the panel of judges. Ten years and dozens of winners later, the Business for Peace Awards are internationally recognized.

Past winners include Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO of GE and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin. The 2016 winners included Tore Lærdal, founder of Lærdal Medical and and Dr Jennifer Nkuene Riria who launched a successful microfinance institution in Kenya.

Given his experience in assessing and recognizing socially responsible businessses, Saxegaard was invited to be a keynote speaker on Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the Rotary International at the United Nations Day event where eight businesses will receive the Rotary Responsible Business Award. I’ve also been invited to participate in the program that day.

The award recipients will include Coca Cola Beverages Pakistan and Mercantil Banco Universal. Six individuals will also be recognized. These include Juan Silva Beauperthuy, Queremos Graduarnos Program (We Want to Graduate), of Venezuela; Jean-Paul Faure, Le Trophée du Rotary, new business development program, of France; Suresh Goklaney, Jal Jeevan Centers, community water purification plants, of India; Annemarie Mostert, Sesego Cares, entrepreneurial, leadership and job training, of South Africa; Stephanie Woollard, Seven Women, Nepalese crafts, of Australia; and, Lawrence Wright, Launch Detroit, women-led small business support, of Michigan.

John Germ, President of Rotary International, explains the reason for recognizing these business leaders, “We want to lift up those entrepreneurs who leverage their skills to develop their local economies, serve their communities, and promote socially responsible business practices.”

He went on to explain his hope that these businesses will play a role in solving some of the world’s big problems. “Getting businesses of all kinds to invest, not only in profits, but in ethical and responsible practices is key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Rotary stands with the United Nations in achieving the Global Goals and is committed to bringing together entrepreneurs, like this year’s outstanding Responsible Business honorees, to make an outsized impact on their communities.”

Saxegaard explains that the Business for Peace Foundation is a nonprofit that is funded by donations and sponsorships. For the awards program, he uses the same venue that the Nobel Prize uses, the City Hall of Oslo.

Saxegaard encourages business leaders to make the “businessworthy pledge”:

I am a business leader who knows that business cannot succeed in societies that fail. I will do my utmost to be businessworthy in all my efforts, and to tune my business to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I call on my peers to do the same.

He says, “This year the businessworthy pledge was personally signed committing business leaders representing some USD $700 BN in sales to tune their business to the SDGs and be businessworthy. This is due to spark a global campaign rallying other business leaders to join and commit.”

He wants, he says, to “inspire business leaders to be businessworthy; ie., create value by improving society, acting responsibly.” He adds, “Not all profits are created equal.”

Per L. Saxegaard, Executive Chairman, courtesy of the Business for Peace Foundation

Per L. Saxegaard, Executive Chairman, courtesy of the Business for Peace Foundation

Saxesgaard offers three tips to help businesses become more businessworthy.

Business must contribute to accomplishing the SDGs.

Saxedgaard says, “The forces of technology, globalization and climate change are simultaneously accelerating in a non-linear way, posing demanding implications to society as well as changing the landscapes of business. Volatility and complexity are increasing. There is a need for business to adjust its maps.”

He notes that global political leaders signed on last year to support the accomplishment of the SDGs by 2030. He notes, “These goals are unrealistic if business does not engage and contribute actively. A businessworthy mindset and practice puts a name on the map adjustment needed for business to contribute to the SDGs.”

Business needs to focus on improving society.

Saxegaard says, “The increasing interdependence and complexity confronting business, forces a broadening of the business mindset that have dominated the last few decenniums. Transparency has become the new standard. Incumbent structures are increasingly being challenged. Consumers and society increase their influence as we become more and more interconnected. More than before there is a need for business to broaden its thinking and include stakeholder and society in its reflections when seeking to create value.”

He redefines the marketplace to shift the lens through which business leaders see the world. “Societal needs define markets and create opportunities for growth. Business thinking needs to focus on products and business models that help improve society. Being businessworthy coins this kind of mindset.”

Purpose is the language of the millennial generation.

“Purpose nourishes meaning. To attract the talents of tomorrow, business needs to have a purpose bigger than profit, to make money with a higher meaning. Money might motivate, but no amount can inspire. Being businessworthy coins business seeking to improve society while acting responsibly, helping solve problems that create value for both business and society,” Saxegaard concludes.

On Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 11:30 AM, live from the United Nations, Saxegaard will join me for a discussion about becoming more businessworthy. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at!

Join Cotopaxi’s Lindsey Kneuven Live on Cause Marketing

We are so fortunate. Lindsey Kneuven, Cotopaxi’s Chief Impact Officer, has agreed to a live, interactive discussion with platinum members of the Your Mark on the World “Doers Circle” on November 21 at noon Eastern, 10 AM Mountain.

To join the Doers Circle, click here to make a monthly pledge on Patreon to support the work of the Your Mark on the World Center. Platinum members pay just $18 for a host of benefits, including access to monthly video calls with special guests like Lindsey. Platinum members get to ask the questions and interact directly with Lindsey.


Lindsey will bring her considerable expertise in cause marketing. This discussion will be invaluable for nonprofits looking to partner with business and will be equally valuable for anyone in business looking to grow sales and profitability by supporting a worthy cause.

Cotopaxi is a venture-backed company that sells high quality outdoor sporting goods designed and sourced from the ground up to have impact. Cotopaxi has pledged 2 percent of revenue to support social justice causes around the world. Lindsey is responsible for that impact.

Previously, Lindsey worked in Silicon Valley directing global grant making and employee engagement programs for tech companies while working at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to pick her brain.

The Your Mark on the World Center uses the monthly subscription revenue from its supporters to fund its efforts to highlight the work of great people like Lindsey. Over the years, I’ve done almost 800 interviews with guest from around the world working to have impact. You can watch me interact with these guests absolutely for free right here at This event is special, because you will get to join the conversation if you join the Doers Circle as a Platinum Member via Patreon.

Our Gold Members will be invited to watch the discussion live, but won’t have the opportunity to participate in the discussion. Our Silver Members will receive access to a recording of the discussion.

All members receive other perks and benefits as well. Most importantly, however, you know you are helping us to make the world a little better by bringing solutions journalism to the world, helping to make the world a better place for everyone.

Click here to join now.

Lindsey’s full bio:

Lindsey Kneuven is the Chief Impact Officer for Cotopaxi, a Utah-based outdoor gear company with a social mission at its core. She leads the organization’s global philanthropic strategy which includes all giving, supply chain initiatives, and employee engagement. Recently recognized by Utah Business as one of 30 Women to Watch for her leadership in business and the community, Lindsey serves on the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Community Engagement and is active on several nonprofit boards. Lindsey formerly directed global grant making, strategic planning, and large-scale employee engagement programs for a portfolio of seven corporations, including: Oracle, Juniper Networks and Singularity University at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). She also led the organization’s work on human trafficking and wrote a grant-funded white paper on human trafficking in Silicon Valley that earned her the Leigh Stillwell Award for Excellence. SVCF is a comprehensive center for philanthropy, serving both individual and corporate donors. With over $7.3 billion in assets under management and over $823 million granted in 2015 alone, SVCF is the largest community foundation in the world. Lindsey also has extensive experience in international development and nonprofit management, having spent a number of years working in East Africa to develop and implement a primary school literacy model with Nuru International as their Senior Education Program Director. Before Nuru, Lindsey served as the Global Grants Manager for the Salesforce Foundation where she oversaw the strategy, programming and success of multi-million dollar granting initiatives for four years. She has been active in international and domestic poverty alleviation initiatives for 15 years.

Traci Johnson Kicks Off Campaign for Autism Inclusion

Former model Traci Lynn Johnson, wife of Tiki Barber, is making a difference for the autism nonprofit KultureCity. She’s leading the new campaign to help everyone understand that even though those with autism may struggle to use words to express love, they still do.

Traci says, “KC is launching a new national campaign called Love Without Words. This campaign is designed to show that while people with autism sometimes have difficulty demonstrating love verbally, it does not mean that they are not capable of love.”

Traci Johnson, courtesy of Kulture City

Traci Johnson, courtesy of Kulture City

“We have launched this campaign with different celebrities, influencers and companies,” she continues. “In this campaign, we are having these celebrities and influencers show how they demonstrate love on a daily basis without using words. We then have a call to action to ask everyone that we are reaching how they, too, show love without words. And of course, there is also a donation aspect as well.”

Traci notes that people with autism are often poorly understood. “We often face the challenge of people not realizing that children (and adults) with autism are a lot like able-bodied individuals, as well. People often think that just because someone has autism means that they don’t have feelings or emotions. This could not be further from the truth.”

The misunderstandings people have, lead to conscious and sometimes unintended discrimination, she says. “We live in a world where there is still racism, bigotry and discrimination and these feelings often are directed towards people with disabilities, such as autism.”

Traci approaches the campaign with optimism. She says, “Our success would further the goal of inclusion and social/cultural acceptance for those with autism. This is important because while a cure, treatment or reason for why autism occurs would be phenomenal, society as a whole, needs to learn how to accept people with autism until such a time that treatment may exist, because autism is not going away.”

On Thursday, November 17, 2016 at noon Eastern, Traci will join me here for a live discussion about the new campaign and its potential for impacting families with members with autism. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Traci Johnson and Tiki Barber, courtesy of Kulture City

Traci Johnson and Tiki Barber, courtesy of Kulture City

More about Kulture City:

Twitter: @kulturecity

Kulture City is the fastest growing autism non-profit in the country. KC’s mission is to gain autism acceptance in every community throughout the world. KC is striving to accomplish this by pushing boundaries and by changing the culture that is considered normal.

Traci’s bio:

Twitter: @traciljohnson

Traci Johnson, is the wife of Tiki Barber, mother of two little girls, Brooklyn and Teagan, philanthropist and marketing consultant. She graduated from Mount Saint Mary College and attended New York University for her Master’s Degree in Journalism.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at!


Distributive Solar Hopes to Lead Acceleration of Solar Energy Industry

Solar Site Design is an affiliate of our sponsor Clean Energy Advisors.

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

Social entrepreneur Erik Melang is excited about opportunities in renewable energy and his attitude is not dampened by the election of a President who has not been friendly to the environment. Erik is the founder of Distributive Solar and is partnering with Solar Site Design to accelerate growth in the renewable energy industry.

Erik is excited to share “the phenomenal opportunity to participate in the new energy economy.” He says, “This transition [to renewable energy] is providing a ground floor opportunity to participate in one of the fastest growing sectors on the globe.”

He shares some numbers to make his point: “In fact solar, wind and [energy efficiency] has provided 1 out of 30 [new] jobs in the US since 2009. Solar alone has provided 1 of 80 jobs.”

The transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy will also bring another big shift to distributed power, he says. “We are and will continue to witness the disruptive effects of transitioning from a fossil fuel driven economy to a renewable energy driven economy. This transition will be distributive, where energy will be produced where it is utilized.”

“We will see an end to the monopoly where utilities control the production and distribution of energy,” he continues. “This transition is underway and we are seeing parabolic growth in energy efficiency, wind and solar across the globe. However we are still in the early stages of this transition and this is where the opportunity lies.”

Most business leaders simply don’t know how well solar can work for them, he says. “The overwhelming majority of commercial enterprises in the US have not been shown how to participate in this opportunity. They have yet to realize that the price of solar has dropped some 70% since 2012 making it viable for their business. We are seeing commercial payback periods on solar installations between three to seven years across the country, return of investments exceeding 15 percent over 25 years with the potential for free electricity for decades.”

Erik points out that making business more energy savvy isn’t all about the environment. “This is about economics (reducing operating expenses), remaining competitive and smart business decisions. It is also about being a leader in the community and positioning your brand as a firm who takes sustainability seriously and doing your part in reducing your carbon footprint.”

Erik Melang, courtesy of Distributive Solar

Erik Melang, courtesy of Distributive Solar

He explains how he sees his role in this opportunity, saying, “All of this to say that Solar Site Design (SSD) and Distributive Solar (SD) are aiming to provide an opportunity for renewable energy advocates and business professionals to enter the solar industry and participate in this transition. SSD has built a platform akin to UBER and Airbnb that brings supply and demand together onto a collaborative platform that drives down the cost of solar and a tool to streamline the entire solar installation value chain.”

“DS is focused on growing the supply of viable solar projects by recruiting, training and supporting motivated individuals to help grow this supply of projects,” he continues. “These solar consultants need not be experts, but merely understand the economics of solar as a smart business decision for building owners. Solar prices have plummeted offering business a chance to lower operating cost by utilizing their rooftops for energy production.”

“The outcome of this will be the realization of the new energy economy that is distributive not only in energy production but in economics. We the people will be the owners of our energy production and realize the benefits. This will provide opportunities for all, not just the few as we’ve seen over the past 2 centuries.”

“The other outcome will be a livable planet. A global transition to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency is the only path for climate change mitigation. We believe that action on climate change and economic growth go hand in hand. We have to begin now. We need you and others to join us and change the world. Contact DS and/or SSD to join this revolution by becoming a solar Consultant.”

He highlights that he is looking for people who want to participate in the renewable energy boom. “We are recruiting individuals everyday to join us. It is only the beginning. Look around in your community. Notice that there are very few business enterprises with rooftop solar. This is changing and will continue to change very fast.”

Erik concludes philosophically, “Regardless of who is in the White House, Statehouse or in control of our utilities, solar is past the point of no return. Solar will flourish and be a part of communities because it is the lowest cost alternative. Evidence is mounting and we are seeing peak energy demand in a lot of the developing world, partly because of slower economic growth, but also through energy efficiency and growing RE capacity. This is soon to be followed by energy storage. This all fosters the hope that together we can make a difference and make our mark on the world.”

On Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 2:00 Eastern, Erik and his colleague at Solar Site Design, Jason Loyet, will join me here for a live discussion about about the rapidly growing renewable power industry and the opportunities there. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Distributive Solar:

Twitter: @distrsolar

Commercial Solar Origination. Recruiting, training and supporting commercial solar consultants to present the economic, branding and environmental benefits of going solar to commercial business owners.

More about Solar Site Design:

Twitter: @solarsitedesign

Since winning the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Catalyst Award in 2015, Solar Site Design has focused on solving the next chapter of driving down customer acquisition costs for Commercial and Industrial solar energy projects. After a year of software development, we are proud to announce the newest enhancement to our platform: Solar Site Design Commercial Marketplace.

For three years, Solar Site Design has become a leading recruiter and trainer of Nationwide Commercial Originators. Our Originators have deep relationships in their local market and are able to open doors wide open on highly qualified C&I projects. In addition, our Originators are trained on collecting extensive data at the site through our innovative platform available on Android and IOS.

SSD aggregates the project data entered by service professionals (referral agent), connects the projects to networks of contracted fulfillment partners, thereby reducing customer acquisition costs by up to 50%.

Erik’s bio:

Twitter: @espmel

Erik Melang is a Co-Founder of Distributive Solar and oversees the firms Recruiting, training and support of Independent Sales Representatives. Erik previously served as Managing Director of Impact Partners, where he led impact strategies initiatives and renewable energy private equity investments. It is in this role that Erik was drawn to the amazing business opportunity around Commercial Solar Origination. The industry is in the early stages of mass adoption and Commercial Business Owners are realizing the tremendous economic benefits of deploying solar panels on their rooftops. Erik is an Appalachian State MBA with strong desire to learn and teach and is an avid follower of everything solar and all things “Impact.” Erik’s interest include Clean Energy, Fishing, Snow Skiing, Travel , Guitar Pickin’ and is a child adoption advocate.

Jason Loyet, courtesy of Solar Site Design

Jason Loyet, courtesy of Solar Site Design

Jason’s bio:

Twitter: @jasonloyet

Jason Loyet is an accomplished solar industry entrepreneur, having founded and built three solar companies since 2005. His first company solved bottlenecks in importing solar equipment and streamlined mainline distribution to solar installers. In 2009, he founded and built a $3 million company that provided wholesale solar supply, sales and marketing services to electrical and roofing contractors throughout the United States. In 2013, Mr. Loyet leveraged the powerful capabilities of mobile phones to build an easy way for traditional contractors to add a revenue source to their bottom line by playing an active role in the solar industry. Hence, Solar Site Design was born. Solar Site Design is a collaborative, cloud-based platform that connects highly-qualified solar project referrals to leading solar companies to drive down customer acquisition costs. Our proprietary business process is designed to reduce the solar industry’s customer acquisition costs by up to 50%. Solar Site Design was chosen as a winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Catalyst Program in May of 2015. Prior to entering the solar industry, Mr. Loyet founded, developed and sold two software companies; a video-streaming service and a photo-sharing platform.

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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at!


Next Economy: Election Aftermath

By Garvin Jabusch

If you believe in the continuing evolution of the economy towards innovation-driven sustainability and economic coexistence with our fragile earth systems, then this has been a rough week.

So, what happened? We can cite a number of likely reasons behind Trump’s victory, but here are the ones that stood out to us.

  • First, people are extremely angry about the ever-widening economic and social inequality and inequity they have been experiencing the last couple decades, and they can see that the main beneficiaries of this inequality are never held accountable (only one banker jailed after 2008, for example).
  • Second, half of the nation – or 47% of the electorate anyway – has been convinced by an ideology that claims the best way to fight inequality is to pass policies that actually cause more inequality. Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money does an excellent job of explaining how this happened.

Unfortunately, this ideology has negative implications for the Next Economy. Next Economics at its core reflects the ongoing process of de-risking the global economy of its most serious long-term threats, those being the worst outcomes of climate change, resource scarcity, and widening inequality. The risk of inequality itself has now driven an election result that will slow progress on managing all real systemic risks.

We’ve always said that U.S. political risk is one of the scariest things about managing for the Next Economy, because so much policy and business is driven by the owners of legacy economy energies, utilities, transportation and so on. “The next president has questioned the science of climate change, vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement on global warming and pledging to stimulate production of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel,” is how Bloomberg put it. Meanwhile, many of the world’s leading institutions (the World Economic Forum at Davos, for one) still cite climate change and the erosion of social cohesion as the most dangerous and pressing economic risks confronting the world. The global economy can, must and will rise to meet these challenges.

The transition to an economy based on businesses that are more efficient, less risky, and more profitable remains inevitable; and the realities of the global economy’s exposure to climate and social risks remain the same. Much of the world still understands this, and a Trump presidency will set back U.S. technological and political progress behind the rest of the world, at least temporarily. As Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance tweeted, “So this is interesting. I will continue to inform decision-makers about the world’s unstoppable transition to clean energy and transport.” Our economic evolution continues, but which nations and regions benefit first and most by taking advantage of the most incredible advances may now be an open question.

Critically as well, America’s most economically powerful states – led by New York and California – will continue to support sustainable technology and renewable energies in pursuit of greater economic growth. Indeed, we did see some bright spots the other night: Florida solar advocates celebrated a major win as voters rejected a utility-backed amendment to limit solar energy development. It is unlikely that wind energy in America will suffer much either: “Seventy percent of U.S. turbines are in low-income rural areas,” according to Bloomberg, saying, “Wind Is the New Corn for Struggling Farmers.” In fact, the five states generating the largest fraction of their electricity from wind all voted for Trump. The economic, health and other benefits of clean, renewable energies are winning despite political rhetoric.

We need to continue investing in the zero-risk economy, and we still stand to earn outsize returns as the Next Economy gains market share away from the legacy economy. The investment decisions affecting climate change we make collectively and globally in the next few years will reverberate for centuries and affect billions of people. A Trump presidency does nothing to change that.

In the long run, economics drive the future and policy follows, not the other way around. Coal isn’t in terminal decline for any reason other than it is no longer economically competitive; solar isn’t the fastest-growing energy source in the world because of the Paris Accords, but because it is incredibly economically competitive. No administration can change that. They can only make it more or less timely.

The road ahead may not be as smooth as we once imagined, but we still got this.

Garvin Jabusch is cofounder and chief investment officer of Green Alpha®Advisors, LLC. He is co-manager of the Shelton Green Alpha Fund (NEXTX), of the Green Alpha Next Economy Index, and of the Sierra Club Green Alpha Portfolio. He also authors the Sierra Club’s economics blog, “Green Alpha’s Next Economy.”

Young Social Entrepreneur Helps Thousands Thrive in Nepal

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When you hear the stories of some people, you are simply impressed. Other times, you hear a story of someone doing something good and you are torn between being amazed and feeling guilty for not having done more.

Stephanie Woollard, a Rotarian from Melbourne Australia will receive the Rotary Responsible Business Award at the United Nations on Saturday, November 12, 2016.

A Rotary statement says, “In the last 10 years, Seven Women has trained and employed more than 1,000 disadvantaged women in Kathmandu and remote villages of Nepal and impacted 5,000 women through outreach programs.”

To better understand how this came about, I asked her how she got started.

“As a young girl touring the world like many of us do, I was leading groups of architects to Nepal, through a tour company called Duke of Edinburgh, when I came across seven disabled women operating in a tin shed in the backstreets of Kathmandu. I saw these women were living in dirt, poverty stricken and unable to make an income. I heard their stories of social isolation and struggle because of reasons they could not change and I felt their pain and suffering.”

You’re probably like me. After seeing this, I would have shaken my head and said, what a tragedy, before heading on my way. Stephanie did something else.

Stephanie Woollard, courtesy of Seven Women

Stephanie Woollard, courtesy of Seven Women

The then 22-year-old young woman says, “I had $200 and a week left in Nepal before flying home to Australia. It didn’t make sense to give them money then leave. I wanted to start something that would bring real and lasting change. We decided to us the initial money to pay for two Nepali trainers to train the women in skills so they could earn an income.”

From that simple “teach a woman to fish” beginning, the program has grown.

She says, “I began selling the products they had made to earn money to provide the basics for these women, which gave them a hand up initially.”

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. She explains some of the challenges she’s faced along the way.

“The first main challenge was the language barrier and quality of the products the women were making. They were unskilled and illiterate which meant it was hard for them to measure products. So we created literacy classes for them to learn how to read, count and measure. This took time so things moved very slowly in the beginning and we were receiving cargo of unfinished products which made it difficult to get shop owners on board and earn the money we needed at the time.”

In these early stages she found demand on the wrong side of the business equation.

“There were also many women hearing about our activities in Nepal who wanted to come and learn and work for us,” Stephanie says, “but we had to focus on improving the quality, so we could get the orders, to create the demand to employ the amounts of women approaching us.”

It was neither fast nor easy.

“This took around three years to get right, because at the same time we were training the initial seven women in leadership and management roles so they could start a proper enterprise and manage all involved,” she said.

She says it took another three years to get things humming. Imagine the patience required to work at this for six years.

“After six years, once all our systems were in place, we really started to grow and expand. Because of the time it took, and because I wanted more than anything for us to be self sustaining, we did not take funding from anybody for the first six years.”

She says, “This approach allowed us to grow organically into a strong enterprise that had understanding and control over our operations and budgets and was not reliant on any funders for our survival. After the initial six years we had people interested in funding us, which was fantastic as we used this funding for new projects and expansion.”

Stephanie credits her partners, including Rotary, for her success.

“I owe our success to the many people who have supported us along the way, whether it was buying our products to support the enterprise growth, donors and funders, the many volunteers who have contributed with their skills to grow our vision and my fantastic family who have always been there,” she says.

She notes particularly the value of her relationship with Rotary. “Aligning with a global brand such as Rotary has also been a great support. Rotary is a great example of what can be achieved when like-minded people with different vocations come together to achieve a common goal.”

Other partners have helped in strategic ways as well. “Collaborating with different businesses such as Intrepid, the largest Tour operator in Nepal which makes up just under 40 percent of customers for our cooking school has been a great fit and our other referral partners in Nepal,” she says. “Wilderness Wear is another brand who gives us 10 percent of their online sales of adventure wear and Cooper Investors have been fantastic to us in funding our expansion projects.”

Choosing and developing a capable team on the ground in Nepal has also been critical, she says. “Lastly, none of this would be possible without our very courageous and resilient local team, which we have selected very carefully. They are incredibly dedicated to improving the situation of women in Nepal.”

Visit this YouTube channel to learn more.

On Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 12:30 Eastern, Stephanie will join me at Rotary to talk about her award and the tremendous success she’s had in changing lives in Nepal. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Photo courtesy of Seven Women

Photo courtesy of Seven Women

Stephanie’s bio:

Twitter: @stephaniewoollard

Steph is a Melbourne born girl who has branched out internationally as a social entrepreneur. She has founded Seven Women, Hands On Development and The Kathmandu Cooking School, to change social stigmas she experiences towards disabled, single mothers, widows and women experiencing domestic violence. The vision for all three enterprises are to create a more compassionate, tolerant and inclusive world.

More about Seven Women:

Twitter: @sevenwomen

Seven Women is a Social enterprise which trains and employes marginalized Nepalese women to manufacture fair trade products which are sold both locally and globally. The profits from the enterprise fund literacy, skills training and income generation programs in remote villages to socially and economically empower women.

More about Hands On Development:

Hands On Development is a tour company that brings people from around the world to Nepal on cultural immersions. Hands on Development Tours provide enriching life experiences for both tour participants and Nepali people. Hands On Development also leads Indigenous Cultural Tours to Australian communities.

More about The Kathmandu Cooking School:

The Kathmandu Cooking School and Training College, provides cooking classes for tourists to gain authentic local experiences which funds training of marginalized women in hospitality and culinary skills, making them attractive employers for local restaurant and hotel businesses.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at!



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