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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: March 2018

Children Need Financial Skills In An Increasingly Cashless Society

This is a guest post from Dr Arinola Araba, Director of bMoneywize® Play It Save®

Financial education is yet to be added to the UK primary school curriculum!

Influencers like Money Saving Expert’s financial guru, Martin S Lewis and many others campaigned for its inclusion in the secondary school curriculum: This happened in September 2014 just before bMoneyWize started piloting the idea to create a financial toolkit. Martin has donated finance-related books to 500,000 of the country’s 8.67 million children of school age.

At the forefront of delivering financial education (FinEd) is the government’s flagship Money Advice Service and a host of charities: Young Money, MyBnk, The Money Charity; and Kickstart Money. The latter are sponsoring the delivery of FinEd to 18,000 children across the UK for 3 years in partnership with other agencies. Recently, Political Labour peer, Lord Hutton, in the House of Commons, arguing in favour of 85% surveyed young adults, leads the debate for its inclusion in the primary school curriculum.

bMoney Wize is based in London’s ‘borough’ of Barking and Dagenham with a hugely diverse ethnic population and increasing single parent households on low income with government support (about 50%). Though rated in the bottom 10 of poor areas in London, it maintains increasing education attainment.

Encouraging financial skills at a young age is crucial especially when surveys suggest that some adults first learn about money when seeking help to manage debt. I fell out of work and realizing my kids had not grasped the impact of this situation on our finances, I identified a unique opportunity to teach all children about money; at a time schools did not offer FinEd. Supported by Barclays and a host of others, the personal finance toolkit and educational board game – bMoneywize was created.

The toolkit simultaneously fosters a love for maths and money skills at home and school. It has gained national and international recognition, with Best New UK product award nomination and shortlists at the 2016 & 2017 Reimagine Education awards, USA.For two years running,it is being given free, to school teachers across the United Kingdom, in a finance competition.

Arinola displays the contents of the board game.

About Dr Arinola Araba:

Arinola is a single mum, author, multi-award nominee and inventor of the bMoneywize game –which focuses on helping young people learn maths and financial skills in a fun way!

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Slow, But Steady: The Growth of Impact Investing and Social Enterprise

PATHFINDER Interview with Assaf Weisz, co-founder of Purpose Capital

In January this year, we connected with Purpose Capital’s co-founder, Mr. Assaf Weisz, to check in on the (financial) health of the Impact Investing space. Sure, we hear more and more about how interested financiers and indeed, young people are, in the idea of socially driven business or financial models. But what does this interest look like out there, in reality, and on the field?

Mr. Weisz began Purpose Capital with two other founders “back in the year when The Rockefeller Foundation coined the phrase ‘impact investing’”. Since then, he’s developed a decade of expertise in his field. He’s the perfect person to discuss industry developments with.

What are the overall trends in the space of financing for social purpose businesses?

Mr. Weisz reckons that while functioning, the space is still small. There has been a steady increase in the number and even caliber of entrepreneurs. There’s been an increase in the number and variety of investors. There’s been an increase in infrastructure for the space. The entire development universe has grown. “But, it all still remains relatively small compared to where it should be.”

It all began with a bunch of social entrepreneurs who had a hard time accessing capital because there was so little of it, Mr. Weisz explains. Then, slowly, investors started joining. First it was the few interested Angels and Foundations. There were a small number of deals. And they were willing to accept lower returns for a higher social outcome. Purpose Capital has worked to increase the visibility of social entrepreneurs (“SocEnts”) and educate investors since this beginning.

But then things began to change. People wanted profit and social impact, compromising on neither. Indeed, they began to focus on building sound businesses that could also create impact, not just settling for one idea over the other. It’s been a few decades. Still, realistically and honestly speaking, social enterprises continue to struggle with capital.

There has however, been a more recent change from the last few years that is important. Mr. Weisz elaborates that back in the day, most deals were done on the private market. These were conducted behind closed doors, with a lucky few finding each other. But increasingly, there is retail funding available. Retail funding includes a myriad of fresh financial models including the more popular one, crowdfunding. Also there are more public names getting involved. There are networks and exchanges now. No longer are social entrepreneurs and their financiers isolated to a lucky few private transactions. Social finance deals have begun to enter the mainstream world.

Often, financiers would like to fund innovation but insist on proven success. Innovation, proven at scale, in a young industry, is hard to come by. How do we get past this trap?

“That’s a tough one,” acknowledges Mr. Weisz. He gives it a few moments of thought and speaks again. It depends on the type of innovation too, he says. For instance, governments have historically been the most accessible and reliable for scientific innovation. Finding funding for business model innovation is definitely harder. Angels are always an option, though one must find the right connection. Investment also varies by place. Canada, for example, has been more risk averse than America. So there are options but in reality, for most, it is difficult to sell an idea in the space of global development.

So realistically, when will things change?

Like in the case of other great changes, a bunch of things need to happen to make a sizeable shift. For one thing, there has been a lot of focus and growth in the innovation economy over the past few decades, which is quite promising. Secondly, the growth of the industry will play a big role in its own shift. He explains, consider Silicon Valley. The investors in their industry come from within it. They started out as technology entrepreneurs who became successful and found their way to the top, to becoming power players and influencers. By contrast, prior generations of Toronto based tech investors came from backgrounds in banking or business in general, often finding themselves in uncharted territory. Similarly, we need more social entrepreneurs to become influential power players, to bring attention and resources to our lot.

“As a veteran of the industry who’s seen it grow from nothing, what are you most looking forward to in the impact investing world?”

Mr. Weisz is excited for all the budding opportunities to come to fruition, of course. But what he most looks forward to is “for the concept of social entrepreneurship to increasingly become invisible.” He elaborates that he looks ahead to a time when social impact and profit are so interwoven that there is no such thing as business without impact. A time when all entrepreneurs are impactful and all enterprises deliver both, financial and social success. A time when business, as a concept, has changed entirely because of what we do today.

This is no small dream to dream, Mr. Weisz, and indeed, it is a brave one. But then again, he knew about the industry before it was an industry. And so, we end the conversation on a note of hope.

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Entrepreneur Launches Tech Company To Help Incarcerated People Connect With Family

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

“Getting mail in prison is like hitting the lottery ,” says successful entrepreneur and “returning citizen” Marcus Bullock, 36. That knowledge inspired him to launch Flikshop, a simple app for your phone that allows you to send a postcard to an incarcerated friend or family member.

Bullock’s first post-release enterprise, which he continues to operate, is a contracting firm that employs returning citizens. The firm employs 18 full-time staff, most of whom had been incarcerated.

Because people in youth detention facilities, jails and prisons don’t have access to phones and the internet, receiving mail is important. “That’s the one thing that you have to know that someone on the planet cares about you,” Bullock says.

Originally, Bullock anticipated that the app would be used exclusively by family and friends to communicate with their loved ones in jail. Rob Brown, Chair of the JUST Capital Research Advisory Council, praises the app, Flikshop provides incarcerated individuals an important communication pathway with loved ones at home. This critical connection is a straightforward reminder that a full life awaits outside prison, and a motivation to seek self-improvement inside prison. Once released, the individual is more likely to be in a frame of mind to stay on a responsible course from the moment of release from prison.”

Two other use cases have developed.

First, nonprofit organizations that work to improve the transition from prison to society, use the application for its efficiency in reaching their target audience. Mary Mistrett, the CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice connected with Bullock when he was released from prison and became one of the first Flikshop customers when the company was launched in 2012.

Marcus Bullock, Flikshop

“When Marcus launched Flikshop, we were one of his first ardent supporters–we have a mailing list of 400-500 individuals who have been incarcerated since they were children. We wanted to make sure they knew we were thinking of them, so we sent them a Flikshop postcard,” Mistrett says.

That experience opened a door to communication that the organization hadn’t previously enjoyed. They sent postcards asking for them to share their stories and original artwork.

The Campaign for Youth Justice has also engaged with the second unanticipated use case: sending cards to incarcerated strangers. The Flikshop Angels program allows people to send postcards to people they don’t know but who may need contact with the outside world. The Campaign for Youth Justice partners with Flikshop to provide a list of incarcerated children so that people can send them notes.

“Flikshop is a perfect way to get the message that ‘We love you. We haven’t forgotten you. You are still here with us. Get home soon,’” Mistrett adds.

Flikshop has over 180,000 users who have sent over 400,000 postcards to friends in all 50 states, Bullock reports. The business is now breaking even on prices from $0.79 to $0.99 per postcard.

Bullock’s success allowed him to join the selective Techstars accelerator. Ryan Kuder, its Managing Director, says, “We ended up offering them one of the 10 spots in the 2018 class of Techstars Anywhere, our mostly virtual mentorship-driven accelerator program. Today, Techstars is an investor in Flikshop and we’re working closely with Marcus and Tony to help them leverage the global Techstars network of mentors and investors to accelerate and grow their business.”

Kuder says that Techstars supports the Flikshop mission. “We think that Marcus’ story of serving his sentence and then founding a tech company is inspiring and we wholly support his mission to help anyone who is in prison stay in touch with their loved ones. At Techstars, we believe that great founders can come from anywhere if they’ve got the right support. Flikshop helps friends and families provide that support to their incarcerated loved ones and we’re proud to be a part Marcus’ mission.”

One of the Flikshop supporters is the venture philanthropy firm New Profit. Managing Partner, Tulaine Montgomery joined Bullock for a recorded discussion about the impact that Bullock and Flikshop are having on mass incarceration.

New Profit boasts, “Over the past 20 years, New Profit has provided this catalytic support to help build 100+ organizations, including Teach For America, Year Up, KIPP, Health Leads, BELL, Food Corps, the Pathways Fund, the Reimagine Learning Fund and others.” Most of its funding comes from a mall group of individuals, corporations and foundations. It has “helped mobilize $1.5 billion.”

Tulaine Montgomery

New Profit’s Unlocked Futures Accelerator is intended to provide help and support to the 2.2 million Americans currently incarcerated. Their challenges don’t end when they are released; in many ways, their problems are just beginning. A convicted felon will face challenges in finding housing, employment, government welfare and voting rights that will dog them for the rest of their lives.

Montgomery explains the New Profit strategy. “Finding a job after a period of incarceration can be enormously challenging, in some cases impossible. Many businesses are are wary of hiring ex-offenders, and state licensing laws can prevent them from entering trades. These obstacles make entrepreneurship a viable option for those with a criminal record. Unlocked Futures offers funding, strategic support, and access to a vast network of resources in order for the entrepreneurs to catalyze the growth of their mission-driven organizations or businesses.”

“There is this disproportionate incarceration of people of color in the United States,” Montgomery adds, suggesting the difficulty of fixing the problem. “This is not about a set of individuals making bad decisions but about a macro set of systems from education to housing to health that feed into the prison pipeline in ways that really are impacted by race bias that’s built in at the institutional level.”

Will Flikshop, the “Instagram for prison,” as some have called it, solve all of these issues? No. But Flikshop is more than just a piece of the puzzle, it typifies the sort of work that needs support to scale to address these issues from many angles.

If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.

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!

Heathcare Philanthropy Plays Vital Role In US

The role of healthcare philanthropists in the U.S. has never been more important than it is today. Gail Rudolph heads up the planning for the annual conference of top leaders in healthcare philanthropy, members of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

This week, the AHP will be holding its annual conference in San Antonio. I’ll be honored to speak.

Gail joined me to talk about the vitally important work that healthcare philanthropists do and what is coming up at the conference next week. We talked about the increasing role of crowdfunding as a part of philanthropic fundraising.

Learn more about the conference at

Interview with Gail Rudolph, the Committee Chair for upcoming Leading Forward Conference in San Antonio of Association of Healthcare Philanthropy.

The following is the pre-interview with Gail Rudolph. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

We are trying to enhance leadership within the industry to further advance healthcare though our hospitals within our communities

More about Association of Healthcare Philanthropy:

Twitter: @AHPIntl



The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) is an international professional organization dedicated exclusively to development professionals who encourage charity in North America’s health care organizations. Established in 1967, AHP is the source for education, networking, information and research in health care philanthropy. AHP is a not-for-profit organization with its headquarters located right outside Washington, D.C. in Falls Church, Virginia.

AHP’s 4,500 members represent more than 2,200 health care facilities around the world. They embody all aspects of health care fundraising, from executive directors and chief development officers, to major gift officers, annual campaign managers, event coordinators and grant writers.

Our mission is to inspire, educate and serve those transforming health care through philanthropy.

Our vision is to be the definitive authority in health philanthropy.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: This is a professional association for people in Healthcare Philanthropy

Scale: Our units are not just  the number of attendees at the conference.  It is really much broader by the number of people who are touched by better leadership.

Gail Rudolph

Gail Rudolph’s bio:

Twitter: @AdvmtResources


Gail Rudolph, CFRE

Gail partners with leading companies and healthcare organizations in building a solid approach to leadership, organizational structure, and teamwork to elevate human potential. She works with clients throughout all phases of the process, from assessment and analysis to design and implementation, helping individuals, companies and teams achieve their fullest potential.
Gail has more than 25 years of experience serving in leadership positions across a spectrum of organizations, including community hospitals, academic medical institutions, large healthcare systems and consulting.

Gail’s past experience includes extensive work in Leadership and Philanthropy at Cleveland Clinic, Northwestern University, Advocate, Dignity Health and various other community organizations and companies.  Gail holds a master’s degree in Human Services Administration and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Among her many accomplishments, Gail has been named a “Top 10 Leader You Should Know”.

For the second year in a row Gail is serving as the Chair of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) Leading Forward Executive Summit, helping to enhance leadership skills within the healthcare industry.  As an active member and frequent speaker with AHP, Gail believes in the impact that Leadership can have on an individual and organization, which compels her to share and mentor from her experience.

Gail has been featured in numerous publications including the Non-Profit Times and Executive Health Magazine, regarding her work in philanthropy and grateful patient programs.

As a Senior Consultant with Advancement Resources and Executive Director on the John Maxwell Team, Gail is a Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker. Gail offers workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, strategic partnership opportunities and coaching, aiding personal and professional growth through study and practical application of proven leadership and organizational methods. Working together, she helps to move you and/or your team or organization in the desired direction to reach your goal.

Gail has just recently obtained a Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, Leadership-Entrepreneur Certification.  

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!

Votem To Use Blockchain To Record Immutable Voting Records

Pete Martin was challenged to come up with an idea to impact 1 billion people in a way that would positively impact their lives. He decided to reinvent voting by using blockchain technology to create immutable, auditable records of your votes.

He is building a system that will allow you to verify that your vote was counted at the same time the government can verify that you voted–while preserving the anonymity of your vote. No one will know who you voted for except you.

Interview with Pete Martin, the Founder & CEO of Votem.

The following is the pre-interview with Pete Martin. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

We provide more secure, verifiable, and transparent voting events with better access than paper-based/in-person voting.

More about Votem:

Twitter: @votem



Votem offers a blockchain-based mobile voting platform called CastIron which is used by private and public (governmental) organizations to securely cast votes in elections across the globe.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: We sell our voting systems to countries, states, counties and cities for public elections and organizations that run private voting events such as officer elections, fan voting, contract votes, etc. on both a subscription basis and enterprise software sales basis.

Scale: We have almost 20 employees currently and have recorded over 8.2 million votes on our blockchain platform.

Pete Martin

Pete Martin’s bio:

Twitter: @votempete


Pete Martin is the Founder and CEO of Votem, and is a successful serial entrepreneur who has started and sold several businesses including most recently selling his consulting firm to KPMG which provided the seed money to start Votem. Pete had successful careers with IBM and as an executive at SAP until starting his consulting firm. He has been a successful executive in the technology space for more than 20 years.

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!

9 Ways You Can Capitalize On The Golden Age Of Purpose For Profit And Impact

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

We are now in the golden age of purpose (see my last piece.) This unique moment in history may provide an unprecedented opportunity to profit from implementing solutions to the world’s biggest problems.

Estée Lauder’s Nancy Mahon suggested that now is the time. She lead’s the company’s efforts to raise money to fight AIDS, an effort that has yielded $480 million, making the company a leading source of funding.

Accepting Mahon’s challenge to identify ways that we can capitalize on this purpose-centered time, here are nine specific ideas for employing purpose to solve real-world social problems while benefiting from the efforts as a business or entrepreneur.

  1. Be like MAC Cosmetics. Sell a product unrelated to the problem you hope to sell and donate the proceeds to the cause. Get your distribution partners to donate their piece of the pie on that product as well so you can maximize your impact.
  2. Sell a product and donate only the profits to your cause. Choose the product carefully so you can fine tune the donation size to your goal and ability. (If you sell ice cream and 40% of your profit comes from chocolate, 5% comes from strawberry and 2% comes from bubble gum, pick the product better fits your objective for social impact).
  3. Sell a product that solves a big problem for low-income families at an affordable price, take JIBU in Africa, which sells bottled water more affordably. Not only do families benefit from more affordable drinking water, the company empowers small entrepreneurs through a generous franchise program.
  4. Commit to old-fashioned values, like IBM, which didn’t lay off a single worker over a seventy-year span. Are layoffs really a necessary part of your business?
  5. Aggregate customer donations for a cause by collecting change at the till (like McDonald’s for the Ronald McDonald House Charities) or rounding up orders online (like GoDaddy, giving you a choice of four charities).
  6. Integrate your vision of the world into your supply chain by empowering low-income communities to do business with you directly, keeping more of the value for themselves rather than working through brokers who add little value. DōTERRA calls this co-impact sourcing.
  7. Ensure that 100% of your power is from renewable resources. In today’s economy, this can bring cost savings as well as an environmental benefit your employees and customers will appreciate. If you can’t get to 100% you can buy offsets less expensively than you’d imagine at Cool Effect.
  8. Share ownership with your employees through a co-op structure or an employee stock ownership plan. The tax advantages, improvement in morale and customer loyalty may leave you better off owning less of your company.
  9. Start by redefining your company’s responsibility as solely to shareholders and the creation of value for them and refocus on creating value for all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, your community and the planet. Registering as a b-corporation can help you reach those objectives.

These ideas are incomplete but all of them are being implemented in real life every day by companies and entrepreneurs who are determined to do business in a way that is good for the world.

Got purpose?

This is “the golden age of purpose” and business can accelerate solutions to all the world’s major problems from poverty to disease and climate change. Capitalism can be the driving force for good in the world if we impose a conscience upon it. Conscious capitalism, as it is sometimes called, takes many forms and offers even more benefits than naked capitalism. How will you have impact?

If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.

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!

Deaf Professor Brings Transparent Surgical Mask to US Healthcare to Facilitate Lipreading and Communication

Anne McIntosh didn’t plan to become an entrepreneur, but when she delivered her baby, her world changed. When she needed an emergency c-section, everyone donned masks. Hard of hearing, she lost her ability to communicate when she could no longer read lips. She’s spent 16 years bringing a transparent surgical mask to market.

Interview with Dr. Anne McIntosh, the President of Safe’N’Clear, Inc..

The following is the pre-interview with Dr. Anne McIntosh. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

I could not lipread my medical provider during childbirth; what were they saying to me?  My health and the health of my newborn depended on my ability to communicate and cooperate with those helping me. They were wearing protective gear (masks) that blocked my ability to see their lips. I partnered up with a US manufacturer who understood and had compassion for what I was going through and knew I was not the only one. Prestige Ameritech has partnered with Safe’N’Clear, Inc. to bring an FDA approved  ASTM 2100 Level 1 face mask with a clear view to the market.

I did approach larger mask manufacturers in the past and they were satisfied with profit margins they were making in the masks that exist today on the market.  They did not think there was enough “profit” to be made in this mask that would benefit children (reduce their fears and anxiety by being able to see the warm, caring smile of their healthcare provider) or the one in seven Americans who have a hearing loss and depend on lip-reading and facial expressions. Being a social entrepreneur means that you do what is right; while The Communicator will benefit these populations; truth is that EVERYONE gets additional understanding from looking at others during communication exchanges so The Communicator can become the gold standard for all masks. Think about this: Out of deafness, the world has the gift of telephones, Morse Code, and the Internet. These innovations were created to improve communication. The Communicator face mask with a clear view is such an innovation.

And, we have also identified ONE organization that we will support with our proceeds: Solace for the Children, Inc. is a non-profit organization that brings children from war-torn countries to the US for medical, dental, and optical care. We believe in their mission of building peace on a foundation of health. Solace has helped children of all kinds of medical issues, including hearing loss.

More about Safe’N’Clear, Inc.:

Facebook: @SafeNClear


Safe’N’Clear, Inc. is a deaf-owned, woman-owned company that strives to make sure communication-friendly products are available.  Right now, we are focused on a face mask that is used in medical and dental industries that healthcare providers can use that allows others to see more of their faces, facial expressions, and read lips. With 93 percent of the meaning in communication coming from non-verbal, The Communicator mask with a clear view is great for everyone.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Revenues stem from sales of The Communicator mask with a clear view, model FM86000

Dr. Anne McIntosh

Dr. Anne McIntosh’s bio:

Dr. Anne McIntosh is a college professor who has taught communication classes/workshops in the private sector and post-secondary level. She has published journal articles, edited book chapters, and authored three books related to communication. When she and her husband went to the hospital to deliver their first child, Dr. McIntosh quickly went from being a confident and competent “communication expert” to one who was unable to communicate effectively with her healthcare providers after they put on medical masks and she could not lipread what they were saying. Fortunately, all went well and mother and baby were fine; however, Dr. McIntosh knew this was not everyone’s outcome. Dr. McIntosh started on a quest to make sure that a medical face mask with a transparent window around the mouth was available to the US medical and dental markets.

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!

We Are In ‘The Golden Age Of Purpose’ So How Do We Capitalize On It?

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Nancy Mahon, SVP of global philanthropy and corporate citizenship for The Estee Lauder Companies and global executive director for the MAC AIDS Fund, has some counsel for social entrepreneurs and other business leaders interested in impact. It begins with context. We are in “the golden age of purpose.”

“We are seeing an acceleration of a trend that has been in motion for some time where consumers are voting with their dollars and they are saying yes we care that you care. We share your values and we want not only a good financial model, but great products and a place to work and a great stock to invest in, we want a sustainable business. You have to make the world a better place,” Mahon says.

MAC Cosmetics, an Estée Lauder brand, has been selling Viva Glam lipstick for more than 20 years and giving every penny of the retail revenue to the MAC AIDS Fund to fight AIDS. At the end of 2017, the lifetime total raised reached $480 million with $25 million raised in 2017.

Mahon summarizes the strategy, saying, “The more products you sell the more money you are able to give away,” adding, “We try and really marry how we can do good business and also do good for the world.”

Still, it is important for social entrepreneurs and other business leaders to understand the model more completely. The retailers who sell MAC Cosmetics agree to remit 100% of the sales price for Viva Glam lipstick and “lipglass” to MAC Cosmetics, which then remits the entire amount to the MAC AIDS Fund, which then funds programs to fight the disease.

Retailers sacrifice their profits on these products and MAC Cosmetics still has to produce, distribute and market the products. In the marketing department, they get some help. In the past, luminaries like Rhianna, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga have served as spokespeople for the products at a fraction of their market value.

Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollet

In 2017, Taraji P. Henson, who played in the hit film Hidden Figures and also stars in the TV drama Empire, was added to the roster. She was joined by Jussie Smollett, one of her Empire costars for the campaign. For 2018, the singer SIA stepped up to promote the cause and the brand.

“We combine the power of celebrity with the power of purpose,” she says.

“What we find is the most effective use of celebrity in the Viva Glam campaign are celebrities who are what we call the real deal, who are willing to talk in a very authentic way about the issues they’ve confronted and why that drives them to give back,” Mahon explains.

Sia for Viva Glam

She is careful to share credit for the impact with the makeup artists who sell the products, the MAC Cosmetics employees and the customers.

Despite being in good times for social purpose, Mahon notes that the world is prematurely moving past AIDS. Government funding is being cut. So, even as she says, “we can see how we can end AIDS,” she acknowledges there are challenges ahead.

“Four hundred and eighty million dollars, while a lot of money is not enough money. So we are working with other donors to be as effective as we can,” she says. The MAC AIDS Fund partners with the UN and other NGOs to stretch its dollars and to maximize impact.

Mahon works toward an objective of ensuring that everyone, regardless of their economic background, where they were born, their age, their employment status, their minority status or any other factor has access to AIDS prevention protocols and treatment if needed.

She challenged us to do something now. “The good news is that I feel [we are in] the golden age of purpose. The question for us, for people like me and for you, is how to capitalize on it. How do we take the discussion how do we take the work even deeper and stronger now that we have such an incredible listening in the world?”

If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.

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!

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!
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