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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 2018

How To Get Media Attention For Your Social Venture

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

A bit of good press can play a role in attracting capital, new hires and customers. Entrepreneurs often sense that this is the case but have no idea how to get media to pay attention.

Paraphrasing Jerry Seinfeld, it is important to understand that there is no success police. No one is monitoring the activities of all the social entrepreneurs in the world to identify the brilliant new ideas and share them. Your success is up to you. Don’t wait to be discovered. It will be a long wait.

Next, you’ll want to find someone who writes about the sort of thing you do. Search the news on Google for stories about direct competitors or about the social problem you hope to address. This takes time. You want to be sure you understand the journalist’s beat before you prepare a pitch.

One of the mistakes I often see is that people pitch a tangent to a story I’ve written that has nothing to do with my narrow focus on social entrepreneurship and impact investing. For instance, last week I wrote about a blockchain startup that is working actively in the developing world to provide identification for people who lack it, addressing a social problem head-on. In the week since, I’ve received several pitches for blockchain and crypto stories that have no social impact angle. It is a good idea to read enough of a journalist’s work to understand the focus of their attention. Sadly, for most journalists, the social angle is the tangent.

A thorough web search could yield dozens of journalists from CNN reporters to local newspapers and bloggers. There is no good reason to leave anyone off your list. One blogger’s post may lead to something bigger.

Finding contact information for journalists is generally easy. Many news sites will link the author’s byline to a profile that includes either a contact form or an email address. Television sites most consistently do not; a search of such sites will generally get you to a tip line email address. Professional public relations firms are helpful in this regard.

Once you have your list, there is something of an art to submitting a story—some guidelines that are helpful.

First, be sure to send your story to a person and use that person’s name in the email. When people submit a pitch addressed just “Hi,” Hi there,” or “Hi First Name,” (I really do get pitches addressed “Hi First Name”) the recipients know immediately that they are reading a form letter that may have gone to hundreds of people. Most journalists are not excited to share a story that every other outlet will carry and so they’ll ignore such an email.

Getting the attention of media can be helpful. CREDIT: DEPOSITPHOTOS

Next, you’ll get much more attention if you build a rapport with the journalist by mentioning the articles you’ve read and liked. You can get further still by subscribing to or following the journalists in some way. It is easy enough to find them on twitter and follow them there. Tell them you do. Now, you’ve become a fan and a follower, and your pitch is now more likely to be read.

You’ll then want to explain why your story is relevant to their beat and why it is interesting now. Help them see a hook that would make people want to read the story. For me, I find stories that relate to eliminating extreme poverty and improving social justice, improving global health and mitigating climate change are the most interesting. Every journalist is likely to have favorite themes. While you may not know what they are, past stories can provide clues.

It is generally a good idea to include a press release–a draft of an article the journalist can edit and submit. I never use press releases in place of original content on Forbes but I often print them verbatim at MySocialGoodNews.com and GoodCrowd.info. Every outlet and every journalist has a different view about using press releases. One thing is for sure: if you don’t provide one, they can’t use it. Best practice is to send your release in the body of the email and indicate who is available for interviews and if there are photos or video available.

Most journalists don’t respond directly to story ideas and pitches they won’t use. The reason is simple. Responding personally to each one is impossible. While I get hundreds of pitches every week, celebrity journalists must get thousands. That would include popular bloggers, YouTube celebrities and the like. That means you’ll get the same response if your pitch was completely off base or right on target but crowded out by other stories pitched at the same time. So, don’t take rejection personally. You should also feel free to follow up once, to ensure that the journalist has really had a chance to see your idea.

This strategy won’t work with every journalist every time, but it will work with some of them some of the time. If your story merits attention, reaching out this way is likely to bring it.


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#MeToo Survivor Shares Her Story Of Resilience And Hope


Leta Greene has built a happy, productive life as a mother and a professional speaker and makeup artist. She is proud of this. She is particularly proud that no one in her professional circle–many of whom she counts as friends–knew that she is a survivor of sexual abuse as a child.

As the #metoo movement gained steam over the past few years, Leta realized that it was time to share her story. She posted her experience on Facebook, went to bed and awoke to an overwhelming show of support–and an invitation from a publisher to write a book.

Her book, Love Me Too, doesn’t wallow in self-pity nor does it reveal the most intimate details of her abuse. Much of the book is a guide for other survivors, whom she hopes to help achieve the sort of profound happiness she enjoys.

She also shares some parenting tips that can help protect children from abuse, at surprisingly young ages–without scaring them.

You don’t want to miss one second of my discussion with Leta. Watch in the player at the top of this article.

Interview with Leta Greene, the Hotness of Glamour Connection.

The following is the pre-interview with Leta Greene. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

Expert Tips:

Tip 1:  I will be sharing how we can change the conversation to empower those still in abusive situations and those that are coming out.

Tip 2: We need to get VERY comfortable in talking about the causes of sexual abuse. As we talk to our children at age appropriate stages we can help protect them from potential abusers. It is not about stranger danger! 80% to 90% of those molested are done so by those that know them.

Tip 3: Module I teach of recognizing the need for a balance of love, trust and accountability to exist in relationships.

Let’s Makeup: hotnesscosmetics.com

More about Glamour Connection:

Twitter: @LetaHotness

Facebook: facebook.com/LetaHotness/

Website: LetaGreene.com

I started as a makeup artist in 1999. This gave me an up-close opportunity to see the difficulties girls and women face because I am right there in their personal space women share their challenges. In return, I shared with them what I had done to overcome issues of confidence and self-perception. My advice helped them. We had a few “adventures” in our lives that lead to more asking how we were so resilient. That lead to speaking and my first book How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness. My latest book Love, Me Too again a response to a need that those victimized need to know life can be amazing even after great darkness.

Leta Greene. Photo Credit: Emily London

Leta Greene’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/hotness/

Instagram: instagram.com/leta_greene/

International speaker including 2 Tedx speeches and author of two books, Leta Greene doesn’t want to intimidate any of you, but she is known as “HOTNESS.” At 12, she won the Boy Scout arm wrestling competition. None of those boys ever asked her out. Leta majored in Sign Language and graduated with honors. Ironic, she is REALLY good at not talking!

Leta inspires each of us to embrace what makes us individually hot and amazing. As an image consultant and makeup artist since 1999, Leta has helped clients to not only look their best but to feel their best. Leta has also built a multi-million dollar business in the beauty industry and is a sought-after trainer for women entrepreneurs. Her message is one of honoring yourself through being authentic to who you are. It is through humor, stories, and a new way of seeing the everyday that makes Leta’s audiences of all ages want to hold on for more! Her programs range from Maturation programs for 5th-grade girls, Confidence workshop for tween and teen girls, Joy-full workshops for women, Seminars for parents on how to talk to your kids about sex, and as an energetic Keynote speaker for conference and seminars on resiliency, personal responsibility and of course the Hotness Factor.

Leta is the mother of Nathaniel, Ailsa and Katelynn, who are the most adorable children. Just follow her on Facebook and you will see that they are amazing. She says her kids and hubby bring it home for her; anytime she thinks she is too cool, it’s time to cook dinner. They help her keep it real – but she’s still hot!


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New Search Engine Generates Clean Water Along With Search Results

Andrea Demichelis has created a new search engine at ElliotForWater.com where revenue is used in part to provide clean water to people who need it. The search engine uses Bing search results.

As with all search engines, the first few search results are paid advertisements. When a user clicks on these links, a portion of the revenue is directed to fund water projects.

The first projects are in a small village in the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau. Check it out and consider bookmark the search engine.

Interview with Andrea Demichelis, the Founder & CEO of Elliot For Water.

The following is the pre-interview with Andrea Demichelis. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Elliot For Water is a social enterprise.

Revenue model: Under the technical point of view, Elliot For Water is a reliable and updated search engine: its results, in fact, are completely provided by Bing.

As any other search engine, profit is realized through the “click” of the users on the sponsored links. These links, also known as Pay Per Click (PPC), are positioned at the top of the result page and the search engine applies a fee every time the link is clicked. In the case of Elliot For Water, the fees coming from the clicks become a donation. To sum up, every click is transformed in a drop of water.

Scale: So far we have: Reached 400,000 users; provided a village in Guinea-Bissau with two seasons of seeds to allow for agriculture; installed bases to initiate drilling and provide safe water to 200 people in a Guinea-Bissau village with our charity partner, Well Found

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

800 million people, 1 out of 9, still live without access to safe drinking water, according to WHO. Elliot for Water aims to change this. By using 60% of our profits from web searches, we will be financing clean water projects in developing countries.

Andrea’s Blog:  elliotsway.com

More about Elliot For Water:

Twitter: @elliotforwater

Facebook: facebook.com/elliotforwater/

Website: elliotforwater.com

Elliot For Water is just like Google, the difference is, it creates water every time you use it. 60% of the profit realized through the searches of the users, in fact, goes to finance clean water projects in developing countries.

Andrea Demichelis

Andrea Demichelis’s bio:

Twitter: @andrea_e4w

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/andrea-demichelis-14179352/

Instagram: @andrea_e4w

Andrea Demichelis was born in 1993 in Italy. After his linguistic studies at the Istituto Don Bosco Alassio, he moved to Paris to specialize in Finance, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable development at the Paris Eslsca Business School, where he graduated for BBA and MBA as Salutatorian. As his first after-graduate work experience he decided to created Elliot For Water, which represent his ideology of enthusiasm and hard work put at the service of a greater good.


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Why Social Entrepreneurs and Impact Investors Should Vote

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Everyone should vote.

Today, I’m going to make the case for why social entrepreneurs and impact investors should. None of these reasons are intended to excuse anyone from engaging in this civic activity that is equal parts privilege and duty.

Fundamentally, government at all levels from the local school board to the White House (and, yes, I understand that as I write this immediately preceding the mid-term elections the president is not on the ballot) impacts the work we care about, devote our lives to and invest in.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals provide a list of 17 issues that draw the attention of social entrepreneurs and impact investors. These issues are all impacted by governments as much as by the efforts of entrepreneurs and investors. As you consider each vote you cast, weigh how it will impact these 17 areas:

  • Goal 1: No poverty
  • Goal 2: Zero hunger
  • Goal 3: Good health and well-being
  • Goal 4: Quality education
  • Goal 5: Gender equity
  • Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
  • Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
  • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • Goal 12: Responsible production and consumption
  • Goal 13: Climate action
  • Goal 14: Life below water
  • Goal 15: Life on land
  • Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

UN Sustainable Development Goals CREDIT: UN

It is tempting to assume that none of these goals relates to the United States, that these are developing world goals not relevant to wealthy America. Many in Flint, Michigan would argue that Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation is perfectly relevant.

Women tweeting the hashtag #metoo are arguing that Goal 5: Gender equity is a primary voting issue in America. Similarly, those in the #blacklivesmatter movement are reminding us that Goal 10: Reduced inequalities is as much a future discussion as a past one in America.

President Trump himself has made clear that discussions about America’s responsibility to address Goal 13: Climate action are topical. Similarly, environmental regulation is undergoing a change with the current leadership in the White House and EPA, suggesting that goals 14 and 15 Life below water and Life on land are also timely.

Social entrepreneurs and impact investors are leading efforts at deploying more renewable energy, from rooftop solar to utility-scale wind farms. A future of cheap and clean energy seems almost assured, but to ignore the government’s hand in the transition is laughable. Goal 7 is as urgent in the developed world as it is in the developing world.

It would be disingenuous to argue that these goals align perfectly with any political party. Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth highlights the tension implicit in the SDGs. What most struggling people want more than anything is a job–or a better job. There is a genuine risk that some well-intended efforts to ensure the dignity and safety of work can have the effect of reducing jobs at the margin. Still, work conditions and wages for some even in the United States are not acceptable. The government has a role in ensuring a healthy balance.

Anyone who claims to care about any of the SDGs, but especially those who are working to solve these problems as entrepreneurs and investors, should take the time to thoughtfully consider the impact of every vote cast on each one of the 17 goals.


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Gates Foundation Maintains Commitment To Rotary-Led Polio Eradication Partnership

In 1988, Rotary formally kicked off its PolioPlus program, in concert with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. UNICEF and the World Health Organization became the implementation partners in what became the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a unique collaboration in the world of global health.

About ten years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined the partnership, committing its substantial resources to the fight. Already more than $1 billion in, the Gates Foundation maintains its commitment to see this through.

Suchita Guntakatta, deputy director of global development over polio eradication at the Gates Foundation, joined me to talk about the progress toward eradication and the Foundation’s commitment to see this through to the end.

Suchita joined me for this discussion at World Polio Day on October 24, 2018, at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, hosted by Rotary International. Be sure to watch the full interview in the player at the top of this article.

Interview with Suchita Guntakatta, the Deputy Director, Global Development – Polio of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The following is the pre-interview with Suchita Guntakatta. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Scale:

Current number of foundation employees: 1,541

Foundation Trust Endowment: $50.7 billion (3)

Total grant payments since inception (through Q4 2017): $46.0 billion

Total 2017 Direct Grantee Support: $4.7 billion

Total 2016 Direct Grantee Support: $4.6 billion

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

Read more about The Gates Foundation efforts to eradicate polio through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative here.

More about Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

Twitter: @gatesfoundation

Instagram: @gatesfoundation

Facebook: facebook.com/gatesfoundation

Website: gatesfoundation.org/

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Suchita Guntakatta. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

Suchita Guntakatta’s bio:

Twitter: @SuchitaG2013

Suchita Guntakatta joined the foundation March 2009 with the Global Development, Vaccine Delivery and Polio teams. In 2015, she transitioned her time solely to Polio and is responsible for leading the strategic planning, financial planning, and operational activities. Suchita’s career started in corporate and management consulting with over 15 years of experience in strategy, operations, and portfolio management. Prior to joining the foundation, Suchita was vice president, Corporate Operations Strategy & Planning with Discovery Communications, Inc.  She was at Accenture for 10 years as a management consultant working with technology and media companies. During her time with Accenture, she worked on organizational performance and restructuring projects for her clients.


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Is Impact Investing Attempting To Solve Problems Using The Tools That Created Them?

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Jed Emerson, 59, widely recognized in the impact investing community, recently published a new book, The Purpose of Capital: Elements of Impact, Financial Flows and Natural Being, that calls into question some of the fundamental precepts of the movement, the very underpinnings of capitalism.

Impact investors seek to solve social problems from poverty to climate change by making investments that will not only mitigate the ills but will provide a financial return.

Early in his book, Emerson observes, “There is a central challenge in this effort to ‘do well and do good’ in that at its core is a commitment to making use of the very financial tools that have failed to create a just, equitable and sustainable world in the pursuit of creating a more just, equitable and sustainable world.”

He’s suggesting we may be treating burn victims with fire because we depend on the light it provides. He may also be questioning our sanity by suggesting we’re hoping to solve a problem by continuing to do much the same thing that created it.

Jed Emerson CREDIT: RALPH REUTIMANN

He goes on to reject the notion that markets are amoral, objective and rational. Commenting on the book, he says, people who argue for the rational behavior of markets will quickly admit that they are moved principally by fear and greed. “Those to me are fundamentally social dynamics and issues.”

Emerson is no communist. His firm, Blended Value Group, works with ultra-high net work families to manage their money, often with an impact focus. He has twice been selected by the NonProfit Times as one of the 50 most influential people in the sector.

“Those who know Jed and have read his large body of work know that he is the creator of the term ‘blended value’ that helped define the intermingled goals of impact investing,” says Catherine Clark, faculty director, CASE and CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing at Duke University. “In this book, Jed adds new ingredients to the purpose blend, a thoughtful and reflective journey into how western political and spiritual thought has intersected with the purposes of capital at an individual and societal level.”

The book differs from Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas, which addresses some of the same themes. While Giridharadas offers a stirring critique of impact investing, social entrepreneurship and most other efforts to change the world, Emerson’s Purpose of Capital is more introspective. It is almost as if Emerson is talking through the issues for his own benefit as much as ours.

That is one of the lessons of the book that Emerson seems to have learned as much as shared. “I think the most important lesson is the need for us each to come into this process from a place of humility,” he said.

He’s chosen to apply that lesson to the promotion of the book, committing not to give any keynote speeches, choosing instead to only have discussions (like the one he had with me that you can watch in the player at the top of this article.) The book is available for free download here.

Seeking for insights to help people “get to this next place together,” Emerson plans to engage in exchanging ideas “because I have a part of that answer, but I only have a part of that answer. And I think that we’re going to really find the answer by stepping back and be more deliberative and dialogue with each other, which I think is how we come to be in better dialogue with self.


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Our Solutions Are Greater Than Our Problems

Does it feel like Earth is spiraling out of control, that poverty, disease and climate change are bound to overwhelm us?
When I was born, more than half of the world’s people lived in extreme poverty; today fewer than 10 percent do.
No one on the planet has had smallpox in two generations. Only 22 people were paralyzed by polio last year. All we’ve learned from eradicating smallpox and polio is being used to fight malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis.
Climate change remains a threat, but there is reason to hope. In 2016, for the first time, the world produced less carbon than the year before despite a growing global economy; that trend continues.
But we can’t relax.
We should build purpose-driven enterprises that don’t extract value from low-income countries or communities but that create value for them.
We can fund schools that educate children, especially girls–who are too often excluded–so that everyone has an opportunity to prosper.
As consumers, we can insist that companies we support with our purchases are behaving responsibly toward the planet, their employees, customers and their communities.
As investors, we should purge our portfolios of investments in companies that harm the planet or people. Instead, we need to invest in companies that are improving global health and prosperity while protecting the environment.
I am deeply optimistic that by working together we can largely eliminate the threat of climate change and live in a more prosperous, healthier world.
Our solutions are greater than our problems.

Visit devinthorpe.com.

WHO’s Dr. Ujala Nayyar Says The End To Polio Is Coming


Dr. Ujala Nayyar, the surveillance officer for polio at the World Health Organization in Pakistan, says the country is doing its “level best” to eradicate polio, even as she issues a challenge to her colleagues to do even more to eradicate the disease.

She is proud of having implemented an effective process for detecting polio, especially in the environment. Identifying when the virus is circulating in the environment allows UNICEF, WHO and Rotary to implement measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Dr. Ujala is a powerful woman in Pakistan. She acknowledged that at times she faces discrimination, noting that less well-educated women in other parts of the society in Pakistan face much greater challenges. Still, she uses her power and influence to advocate for Pakistan’s children and simultaneously demonstrates that women can contribute more.

Dr. Ujala joined me for a conversation at Rotary’s World Polio Day celebration in Philadelphia; watch the full interview at the top of the article.

Interview with Dr. Ujala Nayyar, the Surveillance Officer, Punjab, Pakistan of World Health Organization.

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

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

The World Health Organization is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative focused on eradicating polio worldwide.

More about World Health Organization:

Twitter: @WHO

Website: www.who.int/

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for public health within the United Nations system.

Dr. Ujala Nayyar, World Health Organization Surveillance Officer for Punjab, India (left), speaks with journalist Alex Witt at the Rotary’s sixth annual World Polio Day event, streamed live from the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 24 October 2018. Photo Credit: Rotary International.

Dr. Ujala Nayyar’s bio:

Twitter: @NayyarUjala

Dr. Nayyar has been working in the field of medicine and public health since 2004, when she completed medical school in Lahore, Pakistan. She then decided to pursue a career in public health management and went to England to complete Masters in Management, in 2007. There she had opportunity to observe the difference between the health sectors of Pakistan and England. After her return, she served in different public health projects and completed her residency in community medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan.

Dr. Nayyar joined the World Health Organization in 2014 with a focus on polio surveillance (investigating outbreaks and developing response plans, monitoring vaccine campaigns, and more) in Punjab, Pakistan.


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This Polio Survivor Travels The World Vaccinating Children

Ann Lee Hussey is a polio survivor and a veterinary technician who travels the world leading other volunteers on trips to vaccinate children against polio. She’s been on 30 such trips, having led 26 to remote and exotic places. She and the other volunteers from the U.S. participate in National Immunization Days supported by diverse countries.

The NIDs are organized by governments in collaboration with Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

These organizations comprise the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a massive and unique collaboration that has successfully reduced the number of polio cases from 350,000 in 1988 to just 22 in 2018.

Ann Lee joined me to record an episode of the Your Mark on the World Show which you can watch in the player at the top of this article.

Interview with Ann Lee Hussey, the Volunteer of Rotary International.

The following is the pre-interview with Ann Lee Hussey. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

More about Rotary International:

Twitter: @rotary @endpolionow

Facebook: facebook.com/rotary/

Website: rotary.org or endpolio.org

Rotarian and polio survivor, Ann Lee Hussey at the Rotary’s sixth annual World Polio Day event, streamed live from the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 24 October 2018. Photo Credit: Rotary International.

Ann Lee Hussey’s bio:

Twitter: @annlee001

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/ann-lee-hussey-66a9016/

Ann Lee Hussey of South Berwick, Maine has made the eradication of polio and the alleviation of suffering by polio survivors her life’s work.  Over the past several years she has actively participated in 28 volunteer NID (National Immunization Days) teams organizing and leading the last 24 teams herself, choosing to take those NIDs to places that do not often see westerners – Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Niger, Nigeria, Madagascar as well as less “touristy” destinations in Egypt and India – where the need is greatest and where the publicity and goodwill surrounding the trip are as critical as the immunizations themselves to help communicate the need for eradication.  She is leading a team to Nigeria in October for her 29th NID.

She has shared her story and passion hundreds of times at numerous Zone Institutes, District Conferences, PETS and Foundation events, carrying the message of PolioPlus around the Rotary world and beyond, raising money and creating new converts to the fight.  She is determined that no child will needlessly have to suffer what she herself, a polio survivor, has been through. Her concern for polio survivors includes working to ensure mobility and dignity for those who survived the disease but did not have access to the kinds of surgeries and treatments that she was able to receive, and she has led many RI grants to this end.

Ann Lee has put a face on the subject of polio eradication, winning hearts and minds and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.  A polio survivor herself, the story Ann Lee tells is personal, and so is her fight to eradicate polio.

But for all the immunizations Ann Lee has herself made possible through NIDs, she considers fundraising and public awareness her most critical accomplishments.  Ann Lee’s work has earned her the International Service Award for a Polio-Free World, the Rotary Service Above Self Award and she was honored as a White House Champion of Change for her humanitarianism and contributions to public service, aimed at improving people’s lives and making a better future around the globe. She was featured in the magazine Real Simple in June 2012. She was featured in a video in Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter for February 2017. In March 2017, Rotary and The World Bank recognized her as a Woman of Action celebrating International Day of Women.  Locally in her home state of Maine, she was honored at the Maine State Senate chamber for her remarkable achievements and included in Maine Magazine as one of the 50 Mainers of 2017 who have changed our world, improved our lives, and broadened our horizons.

Outside Rotary, Ann Lee currently serves as a trustee of York Hospital for a third term and was previously on the board of Port Resources, an organization that supports developmentally challenged adults in Portland, Maine.

Previously Ann Lee served on the Reach Out to Africa Initiative, as Zone 32 Coordinator for Health and Hunger and as a member of the RI Rotarian Action Groups Committee.  She has also served as Presidents’ Representative at several district conferences and has represented Rotary at the Easter Seals Annual Convention.

Ann Lee is a member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise in Maine and served District 7780 as Governor in 2010-2011. Currently she serves, as Adviser to Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee and as Rotary’s representative on the Global Polio Eradication Transition Management Group.  She is CEO of the Polio Survivors Rotarian Action Group and Chair of the RAGs Chair Council for 2016-2018. She also currently serves as Chair of The Fellowship of Rotarian PDGs.

Ann Lee is a Veterinary Technician who with her Rotarian husband, Michael Nazemetz, DVM own Village Veterinary Clinic in Rollinsford, NH.  They reside in South Berwick, Maine with their yellow Labrador, Parker and their cat Elliott. Ann Lee and her husband are Rotary Foundation Major Donors.


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UNICEF’s Polio Chief Shares Updates, Insights, Prospects For Eradication


Akhil Iyer now leads UNICEF”s global polio eradication effort; he’s spent most of his three-decade career fight polio. He acknowledges that ending polio has proven more difficult than hoped and expected, but he remains optimistic about eradication.

Akhil also shared his thoughts on vaccine safety, noting that millions of people are alive because of vaccines. Speaking to Rotarians who may be concerned about vaccine safety or effectiveness, he said there are millions of children who are not paralyzed today precisely because they have been vaccinated.

Learning from heading up the polio fight in Afghanistan, his last assignment, Akhil remains convinced that we can eradicate polio even there. He notes that the Taliban–nervous about vaccinations for a variety of reasons–has been willing to accommodate vaccination campaigns.

Be sure to watch the full interview with Akhil from the World Polio Day event hosted by Rotary with help from UNICEF and the other GPEI partners in the player at the top of this article.  

Interview with Akhil Iyer, the Director, Polio Eradication of UNICEF.

The following is the pre-interview with Akhil Iyer. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

More about UNICEF:

Twitter: @UNICEF, @UNICEFPolio

Facebook: www.facebook.com/unicef

Website: unicef.org

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF has been a spearheading partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, alongside the WHO, Rotary International, CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, since 1988.

UNICEF Director of Polio Eradication Akhil Iyer speaks at Rotary’s sixth annual World Polio Day event, streamed live from the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 24 October 2018. Credit: Rotary International.

Akhil Iyer’s bio:

Akhil Iyer is Director, Polio at UNICEF. He has extensive experience within UNICEF, recently serving in Haiti to coordinate UNICEF’s emergency response following Hurricane Mathew. He was the UNICEF Representative for Afghanistan between 2013 and 2016, and Deputy Director of Emergency Operations (EMOPS) in UNICEF from 2009 to 2013 supporting the implementation of UNICEF’s humanitarian response globally. From 2006 to 2009, Akhil served as UNICEF’s Representative in the Republic of Niger, and UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Angola (2001 to 2006) and in the Republic of Yemen (1997 to 2001). Akhil also headed UNICEF’s office in Sao Tome and Principe (1994-1997) and worked as an Emergency Field Officer with UNICEF in Angola from 1991-1994. Prior to working with UNICEF, Akhil worked in the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and with UNDP. Akhil is a national of Canada.


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