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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: December 2018

Love And Technology Enable Disabled Indian Girls To Communicate For First Time

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Dr. Michelle Harrison, the founder of Shishur Sevay, says, “There was a moment where I said to myself, ‘So, you’ve always been a critic, see if you can do any better.’”

After visiting Kolkata, she repeatedly heard that there was a category of unadoptable girls for whom nothing could be done and short, miserable lives are all that they could hope to experience. Harrison couldn’t believe that “nothing” was the best that could be done and set out to prove it.

Her home, which she describes as “non-institutional,” suggesting a smaller scale and more homelike atmosphere, now houses about 15 girls, about half of whom have a significant disability.

Watch the full interview with Harrison in the video player at the top of this article.

A few were so completely disabled that they had no means of communication. Harrison felt that finding a way for these young women to communicate would improve their lives more than anything else she could do.

Harrison found the Tobii Eye Tracker that enabled two of the girls who previously had no ability to communicate to be understood for the first time. The system runs on an ordinary laptop equipped with an eye gaze monitor that tracks the vision. When the user holds her gaze on a menu item, the computer recognizes that selection, allowing children without fine motor control to speak.

Dr. Michelle Harrison CREDIT: JOHN BERRENS

“And so a child who in essence has no way of speaking is able to talk to visitors when they come, is able to say, ‘I’m hungry.’ Is able to say, ‘I had a bad dream last night.’ Is able to say, ‘I’m worried about something.’ Where I want to go, what I want to be doing,” Harrison explains.

This success almost didn’t happen. With her tiny annual budget, there was no room to risk funds on a technology that didn’t exist anywhere in India and so couldn’t be tested in advance. She used her own funds to buy the Tobii system and planned never to tell any donors about it if it didn’t work. Instead, she considers it one of her biggest successes.

Children’s Hope India, a $1.2 million nonprofit based in Albertson, New York, provides a significant portion of Shishur Sevay’s annual $75,000 budget.

Dr. Dina Pahlajani, co-founder and president of Children’s Hope India, says, “The kind of care the girls receive under Dr Harrison is truly exemplary. They thrive on her loving care which only a ‘mother’ would provide. In India, not much exists in terms of care and support for such children. They are often shunned by society and left in poorly run Homes. Using different modalities, she and her staff work towards helping these girls reach their maximum potential.”

Mr. Nayan Kisnadwala and his family visited Kolkata and asked at their hotel for an orphanage focusing on girls and “where a large proportion of the donations are spent on children—and not administration.” The concierge guided him to Shishur Sevay. Today, he considers himself an ambassador for the organization and helps raise money in India, the UK and the US.

He says, “We spent only a few hours at the orphanage but were totally impressed with the selflessness of Dr. Harrison and her team. Every child gets individual care and attention by experts, and raised in a very positive, and family environment.”

There is still much to learn about how to replicate Harrison’s success with Shishur Sevay, but one thing is certain: she has proven that “nothing can be done” is not the best that can be done. Fifteen happy girls are evidence of that.


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How Investing In Regenerative Agriculture Can Help Stem Climate Change Profitably

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Investing in regenerative agriculture has the potential to address not only the food supply but also climate change, peace and conflict resolution and the water supply to boot. This impact investing strategy could be the biggest lever for creating positive change available to investors today. It also appears to generate healthy financial returns.

Craig Wichner, 49, founder and managing partner for Farmland LP, a fund manager that invests in converting conventional farmland to regenerative, organic farming. “It has so many benefits to the environment, to human society,” he says. “But we’re also demonstrating that you can grow a great, healthy, wonderful food and be more profitable than conventional agriculture systems.”

Farmland LP acquires traditionally managed farmland, typically used to produce commodity crops and converts it to organic using regenerative practices. Wichner reports generating gross margins of 40 to 50% on wine grapes. Margins hover around single digits for conventionally-grown commodity crops, which is why the firm works to convert its farms to other crops. He notes that returns during the three-year organic conversion period are lower.

Craig Wichner CREDIT: FARMLAND LP

David LeZaks, 37, leads regenerative food systems projects for Delta Institute, a nonprofit that has worked to identify market-based solutions to environmental, social and economic problems for the past 20 years.

Watch the full interview with Wichner and LeZaks in the video player at the top of the article.

LeZaks, who holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Resources and collaborates with Farmland LP, describes his work this way: “I design disruptive infrastructure that positions us to unlock substantial capital flows into the regenerative agriculture sector.”

“With the current system that focuses on growing more cheap food, we face a dire situation that intensifies the degradation of critical farmland,” he says. “Recent evidence demonstrates that by re-orienting capital and the institutions and people that move capital, we can reverse farmland degradation and build regenerative food systems that undo much of the damage that has been done over the past century.”

Kari Cohen, projects branch chief for the Financial Assistance Programs Division at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), notes that Delta Institute was awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant in 2017 to help drive market-based solutions in resource conservation.

“The Delta Institute project, a part of this conservation finance cohort, is developing a regenerative agriculture investment toolkit,” he says. “Regenerative agriculture is a farming system that goes beyond ‘sustainable’ and aims to improve natural resource conditions in conjunction with agricultural production.”

Carbon and Climate Change

Wichner explains how farming contributes to climate change. “The current agriculture system, the chemical-based agriculture system, is really geared around growing these commodity crops planting annual crops year after year after year that essentially degrades and burn down the carbon in the soil and the nutrients in the soil.”

In contrast, regenerative agriculture increases carbon sequestration in the soil. “When you switch to a slightly more complex form of agriculture you… actually find that you can increase the carbon in the soil, increase the overall health of the soil, increase its biological activity. It’s not just dead soil anymore; it becomes nice and vital and you actually get increased crop production,” he explains.

While Farmland LP focuses on converting farms from commodity crops to higher value products, the principles of regenerative agriculture can be applied to commodity crops, too. LeZaks notes, “As an example, in a study published last year (attached) that looked at “conventional” compared to “regenerative” corn production, the farms in the study yielded less, but were more profitable.”

Peace and Conflict Resolution

Scarce resources contribute to the risk of conflict. Traditional agricultural practices contribute to desertification, according to Johanna Walderdorff, vice president of Growth for Peace Organization. “The loss of habitable land will force people to relocate in search for more fruitful land. As they move towards vegetated areas, there are usually people who already own that particular land,” she says. The movement of people can lead to conflicts.

Regenerative agriculture helps to fight desertification and can help to keep people on their traditional land. “Working on the soil is the first step, and therefore the baseline for us to work with nature, anything else comes after. This is what regenerative agriculture does,” she adds.

David LeZaks CREDIT: DELTA INSTITUTE

Water Supply

Unhealthy soil requires more water to produce the same amount of food. Healthy soil, in contrast, resulting from regenerative agricultural practices holds more water and requires less be added.

Furthermore, all organic agriculture omits the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, eliminating any risk—however small—of excess fertilizers contaminating rivers or of pesticides or herbicides fouling drinking water.

As a side note, the report LeZaks cited above also showed that regenerative, insecticide-free farms that “proactively design pest-resilient food systems” have one-tenth the observed number of pests as the insecticide-treated crops on conventional farms.

Financial Returns

Ricardo J. Salvador, director and senior scientist, food & environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says he grew up using regenerative agricultural practices. It was the way his family in southern Mexico traditionally farmed. He didn’t learn another approach until he got to college at New Mexico State University in 1976.

He explains how Farmland LP generates financial returns from his perspective as a soil scientist.

Their business model is predicated on improving the value of the asset they manage for their investors. It was unique at the time they started to interpret this as improving the quality of soil (organic matter content, fertility, water holding capacity, biodiversity.) A recent study demonstrates that inside of a decade of taking over management of their properties all of these characteristics (and several others measuring total system productivity, resilience and profitability) improved markedly. From study of this report, observation of their evolving business, and direct conversations with their technical staff, it is clear to me that they are superb agronomic managers.

The USDA’s Cohen explains how LeZaks’ work at Delta Institute contributes to financial returns. “The Delta Institute’s project is designed to increase investment in regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture systems have the potential to increase financial returns to landowners and investors through higher yields, more resilient operations, certification marketing, and the sale of ecosystem services credits such as carbon credits.”

Mark Gogolewski, the CEO of Realization Films, is an investor in Farmland LP, which has a total of $160 million under management, including 15,000 acres of farmland. He says, “They have significantly raised the value of all of the acquisitions.”

He notes, however, that he gets satisfaction from seeing the land converted to a regenerative approach. “Farmland has found a recipe for success that also delivers real good. How often do you get to say that?”

“I was looking at farmland because I believe in owning real assets. I had and have a strong belief that farming remains as one of the most important assets in our country and our world,” Gogolewski notes. “Plus, these assets can and should be managed far, far better for both optimizing economic activity, while being a strong steward to the long-term value of this key environmental asset.”

Growth for Peace Organization’s Walderdorff argues for changing our perspective. “We speak of trees because they are high, we talk about rising ocean levels because it’s visual, but desertification has been gradual, and the microorganisms are underneath the soil, and thus have been ignored. Our survival depends on the survival of the smallest organisms on the planet. ”


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2018 Changemaker of the Year: Marc Alain Boucicault, Founder of Banj

Congratulations to Marc Alain Boucicault, Founder of Banj, a coworking space for tech entrepreneurs in Haiti, for being selected by the Your Mark on the World audience as the 2018 Changemaker of the Year.

He was chosen from among 14 candidates, thirteen of whom represented monthly selections for Changemaker of the Month or Editor’s Choice for a month without a competition. One month included a tie. The editor also chose a wild card candidate to include in the voting.

Headshot of a man

Marc Alain Boucicault

Previously, he was selected by readers as the Changemaker of the Month for June 2018 from among 15 guests on the Your Mark on the World Show.

As the winner of the Changemaker of the Year award, Boucicault will receive:

  • A $500 cash prize
  • Autographed copies of my books, Adding Profit by Adding Purpose, Crowdfunding for Social Good, and 925 Ideas to Help You Save Money, Get Out of Debt and Retire A Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World
  • Five hours of free, no obligation consulting from me, Devin Thorpe, bestselling author and former CFO and investment banker
  • An invitation to return as a guest on the Your Mark on the World show early in 2019

Boucicault describes Banj:

Despite the enormous spirit of creativity that exists in Haiti, entrepreneurs still lack logistical, technical and financial support systems and the right network to create companies that can change the country’s macroeconomic landscape in the future. Banj is the countries first coworking space and entrepreneurship hub. We are strengthening the capital’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing modern workspaces that stimulate creativity and drive the focus to tangible results for entrepreneurs who want to increase their visibility and move to a higher stage in their entrepreneurial experience. We also organize events and various programs to empower and connect entrepreneurs in Haiti with opportunities in the local ecosystem and globally through partners including the Haiti Tech Summit, Facebook and Google. Currently building the country premiere incubator program leveraging ressources mapped through the traffic and partners attached to the hub.

Boucicault’s bio:

Marc Alain (MAB) is an ecosystem builder. He is the founder of Banj, the first and biggest entrepreneurship hub of Port-au-Prince. He brought Facebook and Google to Haiti to work with developers and to support entrepreneurship in a nation still seen as a destination mostly for humanitarian work. Born, raised and college educated in Port-au-Prince, he worked 7 years in international development in Washington, DC and in Port-au-Prince at the World Bank and with the Inter-American Development Bank before he decided to create his own businesses. He is also co-founder of Groupe ECHO Haiti, a grassroots organization valorizing the potential of young adults in development in Haiti through which he created and lead several innovative projects including ELAN Haiti, the biggest international platform that brings together a community of students, young leaders and entrepreneurs from Haiti, its diaspora and the world focused on taking joint actions in Haiti. MAB is responsible for partnerships at the Haiti Tech Summit: The biggest international tech event in the history of the country. He also co-founded and serves as chief external relations officer at HFund, a closed-ended micro-venture capital firm based in Haiti offering new modern and tailored financial instruments that bring capital to innovative businesses and contribute to the emergence of a new category of entrepreneurs in Haiti. Marc Alain is a Fulbright scholar. He holds a M.A in Financial Economic Policy from American University and a B.A in Applied Quantitative Economics from CTPEA. He teaches economics in 12th grade at Collège les Oliviers. It is just one of his many ways to give back to his country while strengthening the ecosystem from an early stage. He believes that entrepreneurship is the only way out of poverty for Haiti and, through his various initiatives, he is offering all those willing to go in that direction a seat at the table.

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Mission To Serve ‘Poor And Vulnerable’ Guides This Health Care Impact Investment Fund

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Nonprofit Providence St. Joseph Health, the third largest health care system in the United States, traces its roots back to the Sisters of Providence and the Sisters of t. Joseph of Orange. Their missions were to serve all members of their communities, “especially the poor and vulnerable,” says Aaron Martin, 49, executive vice president and chief digital officer. That motivation now guides the system’s $150 million health care impact investment fund.

Martin, who had no health care experience before joining Providence, now leads its efforts to improve health outcomes and improve service levels using technology. Investments are made via Providence Ventures, a fund created by the parent and funded entirely by it to accelerate the digital mission. Watch the full interview with Martin in the video player at the top of this article.

So far, the fund has invested in 13 companies, two of which were Providence innovations that are being spun out in hopes that they will grow more quickly and benefit not only Providence but all health care providers.

Aaron Martin CREDIT: OSJH

Venrock, which raised $450 million in its latest fund, has co-invested with Providence Ventures on two companies: Kyruus and Lyra Health. Venrock partner Bryan Roberts says, “Aaron is terrific; he has the knowledge of a technology and growth savvy operator with the scale of a health system at his disposal. This allows him to bring a new lens to the change-resistant, defensive technology approach of the healthcare industry while still being grounded in the current practices and having a large sandbox in which to pressure test these new ideas.”

Martin’s background is with Amazon and McKinsey & Company and was a founder of two tech companies. At Amazon, he led the self-publishing and print on demand business and then the Kindle North American Trade Publisher business. This background helps him see opportunities to scale with the operational aptitude to do so.

“Driving innovation at scale means going digital – having customers engage and transact online with us,” he says. “In health care today, consumers transact and engage with health systems in a very limited manner. Therefore, in order to create change we must deliver a better online experience as compared to offline. In fact, this experience has to be 10 times better than what consumers are used to experiencing offline in order to entice them to work with us online.”

“We’re working to bring health care into the digital and consumer age to better serve patients and consumers – with a focus on the poor and vulnerable – delivering care on their terms: where, when and how they want it,” he adds.

There are six areas of focus that Martin identifies:

  1. Access and personalization
  2. Simplifying care
  3. Making caregiving easier
  4. Better serve Medicaid patients
  5. Power behavioral health
  6. Enable new revenue streams

Of the 13 investments made so far, Martin describes 11 as “best of breed” that “we went out and found.” The other two were “invented” at Providence.

Providence operates in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington, with $23.2 billion in 2017 revenue. “All profits go back into the system to serve our nonprofit mission,” he says. The $150 million investment in Providence Ventures came from the parent’s balance sheet.

Part of that $150 million was invested in Kyruus, which solves a problem that Martin suggests is much bigger than people expect: knowing which providers work for your hospital. When patients need to see a specialist, Kyruus helps other doctors and providers in the system as well as the patients when searching online to find the relevant physicians to get the care they need.

Funding also went to Xealth, a Providence unit that enabled physicians to prescribe digital products, from a Lyft ride to online training and education, to help patients get the care they need. By using the same process they use to prescribe meds, to prescribe digital care, the doctors are able to be more helpful to their patients and improve health outcomes.

Martin takes pride in this effort. He points out that even if the fund is quite successful and doubles in value over a decade, the financial impact will be relatively modest to such a large organization. What he really wants is to move the needle on patient care.


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Generous Teen Says His Dyslexia Helps Him Relate To Others’ Challenges

Noah Gainsburg has been volunteering at the St. Francis Neighborhood Center for years, mentoring and tutoring youth there. In recent years, he’s become a star fundraiser as well.

Christi Green, the executive director at the Center, says Noah is an extraordinary young person who is making a big difference. She particularly admires the confident way he interacts with and tutors the younger kids who are so differently situated.

Noah explains that he believes his experiencing the challenges of dyslexia helps him to relate to others, regardless of their trials.

We’ll be discussing Child Advocacy/Mentorship/Education/Poverty with Noah Gainsburg.

How are you personally affected by Child Advocacy/Mentorship/Education/Poverty?

I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was just finishing up Kindergarten. My parents knew I was super smart, but something just didn’t seem right. One day I would remember my number and letter sequences, and the next day I knew nothing. After Kindergarten, I ended up at a local school for bright students with learning differences.  I attended this school for several years until my parents decided they thought it was in my best interest to mainstream to a regular, rigorous private school. In their minds, it was necessary in order for me to learn the skills I would need to survive as an adult someday in the real world, even with dyslexia. Although I know how fortunate I was to attend these very small, rigorous private schools, I never quite felt like they were “me.”  I didn’t really fit into any specific clique category at school and was often bullied over my dyslexia. If I ever received a bad grade on a test, someone would go spread it around to everyone, and then I would be told how stupid I was and that I should be at school for dumb kids. The thing is, I wasn’t dumb at all. I just learned a little differently and had struggles that they weren’t willing to understand.

Because of my community service experiences throughout my life and the exposure I had to poverty, I felt more motivated and alive when I was in diverse communities, like the one I was at when I was accepted into the Civic Leadership program at Johns Hopkins. I studied alongside 100 like minded students from all over the world. Students who came all the way from Thailand. Students who were different religions than me. Students who came from entirely different socio economic backgrounds as me.  The private schools I was attending did not provide that kind of diversity. As time went on, I still had a few really good friends out of school, but beyond that I kept to myself to prevent from being hurt and told I was dumb and I would never amount to anything. I learned how to take apart computers and build them from scratch which was an outlet for me until I decided to start working for the St. Francis Neighborhood Center. By Junior year, the main student would bully me switched schools which made my life easier and my academics soared, but I also stopped trying to fit in and put all of my emotional energy into volunteering at St. Francis. It was at St. Francis that I met the center’s most at-risk child who at twelve years old, was homeless, fatherless, and surrounded by addicts. Though our life experiences were vastly different, I immediately spotted his tough facade and tendency to act out, then retreat.  I was that way once, too. I understood his “survival switch” that he would turn on whenever he felt like his life was out of control. We had so little, yet so much in common. He was a victim of unfair socio-economic problems; I was misunderstood and ostracized because of my dyslexia. He too has learning issues.

Helping the boy I mentor get on the right track naturally helped me. Not just him alone, but for all of the at risk kids at the center who live below the poverty line. I had to lead by example, which meant standing up for myself in a mature way and spending more time around people who lifted me up, not caring about those who put me down. I also found a community in the place I least expected it.  When you have a sense of purpose – something only a true community can give you, there is no stopping you….Even if you aren’t “perfect.” It’s these struggles I had myself throughout my own life with education and my early experiences with community work, that made me want to help other kids feel confident and succeed in school…..My presence in their lives absolutely makes a difference.

What is your take on Child Advocacy/Mentorship/Education/Poverty?

It’s going to take a lot more than just me to help fix this problem, especially while I’m only in high school, but if more teens  (especially privileged ones like myself) or people in general would get involved in their communities, by becoming mentors to a child, many lives would be saved. I sit up late at night with many ideas that go through my head, trying to figure out ways to make more of a difference. I have a lot of ideas, but I might not be able to truly implement them until I have my college degree. In the meantime, I am advocating for students to get more involved in their communities and for parents to stress the importance of this to their children from the time they are young.

Article about Noah:  jewishtimes.com/84848/youth-in-action/arts_life/

Photo Credit: St. Francis Neighborhood Center

Noah Gainsburg’s bio:

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/noah-gainsburg-76638a162/

Instagram: @_ngainsburg

Noah Gainsburg was born on September 26, 2000 in Baltimore, Maryland and has been a dedicated volunteer and tireless advocate for the impoverished since around 2013, and most recently for children in his own hometown at the St. Francis Neighborhood Center.  Noah’s love for helping others came from his mother, Amy Mandell, who he grew up watching work in the non-profit world. His earliest memory of this was when he went with his mother to volunteer at an orphanage in Honduras in 2009. Although he was only a young child himself, this helped Noah gain valuable understanding of just how severely poverty affects children all over the world and he vowed to continue to help others in any way that he could. He continued his desire to learn about public service by volunteering in Tortola the summer of 2014,  the Dominican Republic with Putney Student travel the summer of 2015, and this past summer when he attended the John’s Hopkins Center For Talented Youth, Civic Leadership Institute, which helped him find an even deeper passion for non-profit. Noah Gainsburg currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland and is a high school senior at Friends School, in Roland Park. He plans to attend college in the Fall of 2019 where he hopes to pursue an undergraduate degree in Public Policy or Sociology with a minor in Business, and then get an MBA or a Master’s degree in Public Policy. Noah plans to start his own non-profit someday, and be an entrepreneur and philanthropist

We’ll be discussing Generational Poverty with Christi Green.

How are you personally affected by Generational Poverty?

Since 100% of our youth and families that attend our youth development programming live below the federal poverty line, we are affected and see their trauma everyday, which is painful. But, my motto is to “Flip It,” and get to work. We are entrenched in one another’s lives. We are family. I personally love, care for, and support these children, and it breaks my heart to see a family go homeless, a child recruited to deal drugs because they are vulnerable, lack of health care, and unequal opportunities. As human beings, it is unfathomable to me how we can allow one another to live in a slum without heat, water, and boarded windows with everything you own packed in milk crates by the door because you are unsure how long you will be there. To watch a child be neglected and abused with drug addicted caregivers, and see the system fail time and time again. So, everyday, we focus on them and what we can do…letting kids be kids for a few hours, to feel safe and supported and see opportunity outside of day to day survival. We do this by providing amazing staff and volunteer support, education and community. Everyday I take those few hours and not take a single minute for granted, because in truth, we could lose a child or family member to violence at any moment, and we have.  I personally grew up lower middle class, but never once did I worry about my safety or being homeless. This is every single day for our community. I hope for a better future for each of our kids.

What is your take on Generational Poverty?

Some people say a community center is just a babysitting service for the “bad” kids in the streets. I say that because literally, someone just told me that. When a family lives in poverty, below poverty, and for generations, it is difficult to see any other way. And, everyday is a struggle. Whether just getting to work via the bus, while getting the kids to school, how can a family pay 13k a year in after care? The alternative is the street. Out of school time, that is education based, at no cost, is critical for families in poverty. Bottom line, community centers like ours work, education based. With support and education we can end generational poverty. Everything is extremely difficult in poverty, and it is a constant struggle. What someone with a fairly good living can take care of in 5 minutes, a family in poverty may take an 8 hour day of riding buses from one side of the city to the other. We have several families how that the parents have continued their education and are finally seeing progress. But, it took a village….takes a village. It takes great schools, great city transportation, city oversight on slum lords, good policing, a system that works to protect our children and assist the families, access to support, groceries, health care, and rehabilitation, it takes a safe place for children to learn and grow after school and summer.  It means being able to bathe, have clothes for an interview, job training, a bank account and a home. We may work with kids and families in school, home (We do visits to both) and offer our educational programs at no cost, we also provide resources, BUT, ultimately the parents and caregivers in the family have to make a choice. We fight with each family from beginning to end, but the family has to sign on or we can only get so far. Every child, every family has a different story at the center, and all are very tough and heartbreaking at times, but each day we remain hopeful.

Crowdfunding Campaign:  bit.ly/2PPKq7Z

More about St. Francis Neighborhood Center:

Twitter: @StFrancisBmore

Facebook: facebook.com/stfrancisbmore/

Website: stfranciscenter.org/

St. Francis Neighborhood Center is the oldest neighborhood center providing enrichment in all of Baltimore City! Our mission is committed to ending generational poverty through education, inspiring self-esteem, self-improvement, and strengthening connections to the community. We are mostly known for youth development programs and resources for children and families living below the federal poverty line.

Christi Green

Christi Green’s bio:

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/christi-green-0119857/

In October 2012, Chrisi Green was hired as Executive Director of the St. Francis Neighborhood Center. Christi has a B.A. in Speech Communications from Miami University of Ohio; and a M.A. in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton with an emphasis on education and counseling. She has nearly 20 years of nonprofit executive management.  Christi has a unique mix of corporate and nonprofit experience including top steel sales for a steel service company and year with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. What brought Christi to Baltimore in 2010 from Ohio was to work for Corporate Sylvan Learning Center, Baltimore, as a Flagship Center Director for the nation, setting the precedent as the number one corporate center for sales and education loans. However, missing the nonprofit sector, St. Francis Neightborhood Center stole her heart.


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Vote Now! Choose the Changemaker of the Year!

You can help choose the 2018 Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Year right here. We have 14 great candidates for your consideration. You can read more about each candidate–and watch the interview with them–by clicking the link next to each name in the list below.

You selected ten of the nominees as the Changemakers of the Month winners for April through December, with a tie for August. The editor chose candidates from guests appearing on the show in January through March plus one “Wild Card” editor’s choice pick.

The Changemaker of the Year will receive:

  • A $500 cash prize for their organization
  • Autographed copies of the books, Adding Profit by Adding Purpose, Crowdfunding for Social Good, and 925 Ideas to Help You Save Money, Get Out of Debt and Retire A Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World
  • Five hours of free, no obligation consulting from Devin Thorpe, bestselling author and former CFO and investment banker
  • An invitation to return as a guest on the Your Mark on the World show early in 2019


Don’t vote in the comments below. Scroll in the box above or click here.

You Chose Classy’s Scot Chisholm As December’s Changemaker Of The Month

You chose Classy CEO Scot Chisholm as the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for December 2018, after he joined host Devin Thorpe to announce that nonprofits had successfully raised over $1 billion on the platform.

During the interview, he also explained how transparency is a key to Classy’s success. The company provides employees with the same level of financial disclosure to employees that it provides to its investors.

Headshot of Scot Chisholm

Scot Chisholm, December 2108 Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month

You can watch the interview with Scot below or listen to the podcast here.

As the Changemaker of the Month for December, Scot will receive an autographed copy of Your Mark on the World and ten lifetime, all-access passes to GoodCrowd.school, the online school for changemakers. He also earns a spot in the competition for Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Year.

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This Organization Executes On Three Separate Goals With A Narrow Focus


Nicholas Metropulos, 19, leads Fishing for Families in Need, a nonprofit organization founded by his brother more than a decade ago. The organization teaches children about the environment and responsible angling. As the name suggests, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit also provides fish to hungry families.

Interview with Nicholas Metropulos, the Executive Director of Fishing for Families in Need.

The following is the pre-interview with Nicholas Metropulos. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Revenue model: F4FN receives funding primarily from private donations and grants. All of our programs are free to the communities that we serve. To increase our revenue sources, in January 2019 we will be launching an apparel line via an e-commerce partnership with SA Fishing Company (https://safishing.com/).

Scale: Since 2007, Fishing for Families in Need has educated over 2,000 children in its Responsible Angling Education program, provided over 3,050 hot meals of fresh fish to various soup kitchens through the Fishing Tournament Donation program, and recruited over 650 local high school and college-age volunteers. The organization’s impact has been further validated over the years from receiving numerous accolades for an innovative approach to marine science/conservation education such as the 2012 USA Weekend National Make a Difference Day Award, 1st place in the Education and Literacy category of The National Jefferson Awards, and our Founder receiving the 2013 SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Environmental Educator of the Year Award.    Currently, F4FN’s annual operating budget is $75,000 with programs running 6 cities and 3 distinct countries. Each program costs $5,000 to operate for an 8-week period, and every program takes place 3 times per year (depending upon the location). F4FN has one paid employee; however, his salary is completely funded by the Board of Directors. Thus, 100% of outside donations go to programming expenses.

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

Environmental education (EE) within primary, secondary, and collegiate institutions remains insufficient to this day. According to the Campaign for Environmental Literacy organization, the federal government spends less than 48 cents annually per capita on environmental literacy, of which a mere 20 cents per person is used towards environmental education. However, Fishing for Families in Need and other community nonprofits have been and are working together to educate the next generation of environmental stewards. F4FN’s immersive programs create hundreds of responsible youth anglers, provide amazing volunteer opportunities for the community, and positively impact local marine and freshwater ecosystems. Our intent is to enhance these children’s lives by imparting on them skills and knowledge that will help them surmount obstacles and will empower them in their daily lives while also creating young responsible anglers who recognize the need to safeguard and preserve our marine ecosystems well into the future.

More about Fishing for Families in Need:

Facebook: facebook.com/F4FiN

Website: www.f4fn.org

Fishing for Families in Need (F4FN) was started using six fishing rods, five hundred dollars, and a desire to make a difference by a local 15-year-old despite many obstacles. F4FN’s purpose is to educate and empower individuals to become responsible anglers through hands-on programs centered on fishing in a more sustainable manner to foster widespread community engagement and change. The organization has inspired multiple children to pursue a career path in the marine science/biology fields and motivated others around the country to give back in their respective communities. The children in the classes become strong ambassadors for environmental protection and continue to educate their family and friends long after the classes end. This creates a movement for change in their community focused on marine conservation and better fishing practices.

Nicholas Metropulos

Nicholas Metropulos’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/f4fn

Instagram: @f4fn

Nicholas Metropulos was born and raised in Boca Raton, FL. He is 19 years old and a sophomore in the Management & Leadership Program at Hellenic College in Brookline, MA.  He is an avid freediver and spear fisherman and has an unresting passion for ocean conservation. Nicholas is the Executive Director of Fishing for Families in Need (F4FN), whose purpose is to educate and empower individuals to become responsible anglers through hands-on programs centered on fishing in a more sustainable manner to foster widespread community engagement and change.

At the young age of 16, Nicholas took over the Executive Director position at F4FN and has since raised over $175,000 from foundations, crowdfunding campaigns, and major donors. He has expanded the organization’s operations to three additional sites while directing programs in each of the locations (Miami, FL/ Abaco, Bahamas, St. John, VI). Since 2015, Nicholas has taught weekly seminars to over 600 children and has coordinated and managed over 250 volunteers. Additionally, he led the organization to the final round of a $100,000 grant competition in the Environmental category from the Impact 100 Palm Beach County in 2018.

Nicholas has received numerous accolades for his philanthropic efforts including Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, President’s Volunteer Service Award, Daily Point of Light Award, Men with a Caring Heart Award, Children’s Environmental Health Network Youth Leadership Award, Disney Friends for Change, and the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship. Nicholas plans to finish his undergraduate years receiving a degree in Nonprofit Management at Hellenic College, and afterwards pursuing an MBA at Harvard University to further strengthen and expand the reach and success of Fishing for Families in Need.


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This Organization Seeks To Empower Youth Globally


Cynthia English founded Global Scribes to create an international peace movement for youth that empowers them to make a difference starting wherever they are. With members in 44 countries, the organization is off to a good start.

Interview with Cynthia English; Stine Philipsen; Archana Yengkhom, the CEO & Founder; Associate Global Director; Business Development Director; Scriber of Global Scribes: Youth Uniting Nations.

The following is the pre-interview with Cynthia English; Stine Philipsen; Archana Yengkhom. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Revenue model: The goal for Global Scribes, Inc. has always been to scale & implement revenue drivers along the way. Creating revenue streams through B2B advertising, retailing GS branded merchandise, B-Corps & a For-Profit entity fulfilling the long-term sustainability of Global Scribes. Today, Global Scribes is establishing Pillar Partnerships across all regions with Corporations, Foundations & Philanthropists that believe in the GS mission to empower global youth as successful Global Citizens & Peacebuilders. With its private platform, Scribers World™, launched, revenue drivers include anonymous global data collection, GS Club fees & ‘White Space’ fees.

Scale: Scale Marker I: 2000+ Scribers (@250 active participants) // Scale: 17 GS Teams, 44+ Countries, 250 Scribers (fluctuating), Core Call 1 Time Zone 1Weekly Call // Sustained by CEO & Founder, Associate Global Director, Global Interns, GS Support Leaders (at every GS Club).   With no formal marketing, Global Scribes has expanded to over 44 countries with more than 2000 youth joining the community. In the Proof of Concept Phase, GS Clubs have been launched at several schools & organizations throughout the world, including the North Carolina School for the Deaf.   To date, GS youth (Scribers) have stood on the TEDx red carpet; won an honorable mention at The Blue Ocean Film Festival; represented GS at the iEarn Conference in Morocco MEARN); met with Ministers of Education; improved their English & other foreign languages through fun, youth-led activities; successfully launched GSIM radio on iTunes & Google Play; designed & launched the GS Boutique; created Apps; written personal creative stories prompted by the monthly Spark word; initiated & driven 17 GS Teams; interviewed personal heroes; set up GS Clubs at their schools & universities; and they are just getting started!   With the capital in place to build Scribers World™ (GS cyber-secure private platform), sustain operations through scale & launch the global marketing campaign, the community will grow exponentially, allowing Global Scribes to reach its goal of 5+ million youth, representing every country of the world. To keep the integrity of the global program with the GS definitions of cyber-security and all-inclusive community, Global Scribes has pulled back growth until the private platform, Scribers World™ is in place -the prototype country grew so quickly across schools, organizations, hospitals & independent youth, etc it was unsustainable in the current fragmented structure.

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

Where do we go from here? In a world of global re-entrenchment, social isolation & lightning speed of technological evolution, how will our global youth be empowered stewards of our planet & build thriving engaging communities?

40% of 7.6 billion people are under the age of 25. 51% of the world’s youth are on Social Media platforms daily. Young Social Media users experience unusual and euphoric highs from peer posts reflecting ‘the perfect life’, but they also experience deep lows, social isolation and a feeling of unworthiness. Global Scribes was created to disrupt this emotional chaos by filling the gap in the market. Pioneering a digital all-inclusive global interface utilizing the very tool youth use every single day–technology–for positive youth impact. Global Scribes is rooted in giving a sense of purpose, digital competence & the 21st Century Skills needed to augment formal education,  all whilst creating their own global network.

Problem- A divided world with global re-entrenchment; Social isolation on the rise among youth worldwide; Education not keeping pace with the speed & changes of technological advancement. Are we losing grip of a sustainable unified future?

Our Solution- Global youth breaking the fear of different; Engaging in the transformative power of creative expression & cross-cultural communication; Building cornerstones, then foundations of trust & respect for global peers via technology. Youth Uniting Nations®.

GS Mission- Fostering a progressive social network of engaged youth sparking innovation & collaboration, turning ideas & aspirations into reality, while building life experiences & meaningful relationships. No politics, religion & sociodemographic segregation.

Future Vision- Opening the doors of possibility & unique opportunities for all youth to be empowered global decision makers who consider the consequences of their actions upon Humanity, Nature & our World in all its diversity. Changing the current trajectory of chaos.

‘Our world needs more than a band-aid.’  C-English

More about Global Scribes: Youth Uniting Nations:

Twitter: @globalscribes

Facebook: facebook.com/globalscribes/

Website: globalscribes.org

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/global-scribes/

Instagram: @globalscribes

Global Scribes Inc. is a For Youth, By Youth Non-Profit (501(c)3) designed to build an empowered virtual community through common denominators of communication. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, it is a progressive social network of engaged youth sparking innovation & collaboration, turning ideas & aspirations into reality, while building life experiences & meaningful connections.

GS youth interact across diverse media platforms free from politics, religion & socio-demographic segregation. In opening the doors of possibility for all youth (ages 8 – 25) to be empowered with self-efficacy, 21st-century skills, tools for success, unique opportunities & the resilience to thrive in an interconnected world, we believe our global youth can change the current trajectory of chaos–Youth Uniting Nations®.

Our future household, community, corporate, country & global leaders–decision makers–will have the ability to think beyond ‘me’ to ‘we’ & be set to work cohesively on shared global challenges affecting all.

Cynthia English; Stine Philipsen; Archana Yengkhom’s bio:

Twitter: @stinephilipsen

Cynthia English is the Founder & CEO of Global Scribes® which fosters a unique mission of catapulting past rhetoric, politics, religion, and socio-demographic segregation to allow youth to be Youth Uniting Nations® through global friendships and shared experiences on & off the tech grid.

Cynthia first embraced the fusion of Technology and Humanity in 1998, creating ‘great dates’, a reality television show, virtual interaction & merchandising platform picked up by The Hallmark Channel.

She graduated from The Marshall School, University of Southern California, attended the Aspen Writer’s Conference, and Oxford University’s School of Continuing Education for Creative Writing, learning along the way to champion criticism, stay unique, and to keep striving toward ‘exceptional’.

In 2014, she received a Certificate in Executive Leadership for NonProfits from Duke University after launching Global Scribes on July 9th, 2014. Taking inspiration from a life living and working around the globe, she has had articles published in the United States and Europe, with her first thriller novel published in 2010.

Today she pursues her passions–creativity and outreach–heeding the impassioned plea of a young woman named Honig, whom Cynthia met on a train between Budapest and Bucharest–”please, never stop delivering world adventure to those unable to make the journeys themselves.”

And to this end, embracing the human dynamics and cultural riches she has known, she perseveres through life’s lessons to provide powerful messages of friendship, acceptance of different and distinct lives, and preservation of free spirit in all humanity, regardless of origin and culture.


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You Choose the December Changemaker of the Month

You can help choose the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the month for December 2018 right here. We have 13 great candidates for your consideration. You can read more about each candidate–and watch the interview with them–by clicking the link next to each name in the list below.

The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World, along with ten lifetime passes to my GoodCrowd.School worth a total of $2,500. The winner will also be qualified for the 2018 Changemaker of the Year award, which will include a donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

Be sure to scroll within the frame below to see all of the candidates. Voting ends Friday, December 14, 2018, at 5:00 PM MDT. Please note that employees of the Your Mark on the World Center and our sponsors, including CaringCrowd and Johnson & Johnson, are not eligible and so are not listed below.


Don’t vote in the comments below. Scroll in the box above or click here.

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