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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


This category includes articles about nonprofit organizations and NGOs that are actively working to accomplish a social mission. The work of foundations that primarily work as grantors to other nonprofits is covered in Philanthropy.

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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 (

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:



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:


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




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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This Girl’s Thing Is Picking Up Plastic–She’s Not Your Typical 10-Year-Old

Lilly Platt moved to Holland where her grandfather began teaching her to speak Dutch. To help her learn numbers, they collected pieces of plastic trash and counted them.

She no longer needs the practice but she’s still picking up plastic. She calls her effort “Lilly’s Plastic Pickup”

She hopes her efforts not only help to reduce plastic in the oceans directly but also to inspire other people to refuse single-use plastic and to pick up plastic waste for recycling.

You’re going to love Lilly. Be sure to watch the video at the top of this article.

Lilly Platt with her plastic.

Interview with Lilly Platt, the Founder of Lillys Plastic Pickup.

The following is the pre-interview with Lilly Platt. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Our goal will be to make Lilly Plastic Pickup  a nonprofit

Revenue model: Lilly is 10 and we hope as she gets older we will make Lillys Plastic Pickup a nonprofit organisation.

Scale: Lilly work is all done because its the right thing to do. She has pickups with various groups and individual, regularly skypes with schools in different parts of the world and makes podcasts. She also travels to different places to take part in cleanups.

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

Litter/trash is everywhere and Lilly helps to clean up. Everywhere she goes she picks up plastic. On the weekends Lilly does a big pickup it’s then sorted and recycled properly. Grandpa taught Lilly that anything thrown on the ground will somehow make its way into the waterways and then the sea. As all plastic isn’t biodegradable the effects of plastic on wildlife and marine life are devastating. This is one of her motivating factors to pick up plastic.

Expert Tips:

Tip 1: As youth ambassador of the plastic pollution coalition my first tip is you should always try and refuse single-use plastic like straws, plastic bags, disposable coffee cups, plastic water bottles

Tip 2: As part of my initiative Lillys Plastic Pickup I have made a 1,2,3 to help you remember what to do when you see trash on the streets. 1. Spot it 2. Pick it up 3. Put it in the bin!! See its simple

Tip 3: My grandpa is just the greatest ever and he told me in everything ALWAYS be Kind!

More about Lillys Plastic Pickup:


Lillys Plastic Pickup is an initiative founded by Lilly Platt. Lilly is 10 years old and an international environmental champion. Lilly picks up plastic in order to keep it out of the waterways and the ocean and inspires others to do the same and with the hope that removing it from the environment, wildlife will be protected.  She is Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition, water charity HOW Global and world ambassador for children for World Clean up Day. Lilly lives in Holland.

Lilly Platt. Photo Credit: Eleanor Platt

Lilly Platt’s bio:

Twitter: @lillyspickup

Instagram: @lillys_plastic_pickup

Lillys Plastic Pickup is an initiative founded by Lilly Platt. Lilly is 10 years old and an international environmental champion. Her anti-plastic initiative has caught the eyes of local, national and international media. It has also resulted in Lilly being named Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Child Ambassador for water charity HOW Global and just recently World Ambassador for children for World Cleanup Day. Her continued cleanup efforts have inspired many and Lilly has followers all over the world, notable followers are Barbara Hershey, James Cromwell, former president of the Seychelles James Michel and Prime minister of Curaçao Eugene Rhuggernath. Lilly has been invited to meet Dr Jane Goodall on several occasions. Lilly was invited to take part in the Plastic Whale Conference in Norway with Sky Ocean Rescue and she befriends Afroz Shah. Many media agencies have made videos about Lilly and her work. Lilly most recent activity is going on school strike on Fridays for Climate change #FridaysForFuture movement and she stands alongside Greta Thunberg in Stockholm who she has also befriended. Lil4is named in the tops 100 influencers tackling plastic pollution at no.28. In her role as Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition Lilly tries to encourage people to refuse single-use plastic- she put together a reusable bamboo straw and spork set that people can take with them and use instead of single-use straws and cutlery.
Lilly lives in Holland.

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Case in Point: John Nanni Is a Living Object Lesson for Polio Vaccination

John Nanni, as most people who contract polio do, got it as a baby, just one year before the vaccine became widely available. Although he recovered from the paralysis as a child and even played sports, John has been plagued in adulthood by Post Polio Syndrome.

John is an active polio fighter who nobly uses his own situation as a living object lesson for ending the horrific disease once and for all. On the back of his wheelchair, he keeps a sign that says, “64 Years Later: This is what a Polio looks like when a child is not vaccinated.”

His unsurpassed passion for eradicating the disease primarily benefits children in the developing world. Without intervention from Rotary with help from its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, hundreds of thousands of children would be crippled every year.

Still, polio is just a plane ride away. Every child in the world should be vaccinated.

Be sure to watch the video interview with John at the top of this article.

Interview with John Nanni, the District 7630 PolioPlus Chair and USA Coordinator of the “World’s Greatest Meal to Help End Polio” of Rotary International PolioPlus.

The following is the pre-interview with John Nanni. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Revenue model: Rotary International’s PolioPlus program is one of five organizations in GPEI who’s goal is to raise money to fund the efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.

Scale: 1.2 million Rotarians in over 35,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide

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

I first apply Rotary International’s Four-Way Test to anything I do.  I then do my best to inform and educate people on the need to eradicate polio worldwide and the need to help the existing 20 million polio survivors worldwide.

John sings:

More about Rotary International PolioPlus:



The goal of Rotary’s PolioPlus program which began officially in 1985 is the global certification of polio eradication. By eradication, we mean the interruption of the transmission of the wild poliovirus.

Rotary is working through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to ensure that no child will ever again know the crippling effects of polio.

By the time the world is certified polio-free, Rotary’s contributions will exceed US$1.2 billion to a program that is expected to total approximately US$10 billion in donor funds enabling the largest public health initiative the world has ever known.

More than one million Rotarians worldwide have contributed toward the success of the polio eradication effort to date.

Globally, the number of polio cases has fallen from 350,000 annually in the mid-1980s to 17 cases as of September 17, 2018, in the remaining 3 polio-endemic: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Nigeria being wild polio-free for over 2 years.

As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk. The stakes are that high.

John Nanni

John Nanni’s bio:

John is a Polio Survivor and suffers from severe Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS).

At the age of 10 months old in 1953, months before the Salk vaccine was distributed, John was paralyzed from his neck down for 6 months.  With the help of his family, John took his first steps a year later.

John grew up in Binghamton, New York and graduated from the State University of New York at Delhi with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant Management.

John worked in the Hospitality Industry for 20 years before starting a company, Paper And Ribbon Supply Company that sold products to the restaurant industry.  In 2000, John sold his business because Post-Polio Syndrome took a toll on his ability to run the business.

John is limited to fewer than a couple of hundred walking steps per day and uses a power wheelchair for most of his mobility to avoid overuse of polio-damaged muscles and to reduce his ever-present pain throughout his body.

He joined Polio Network of NJ (PNNJ) in 1992 to learn more about PPS.   September 2012, he was appointed to their Board of Directors and is also now their Liaison for Delaware.  PNNJ is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping polio survivors and their families deal with PPS.

John joined Rotary International in 2010 after being a guest lecturer at the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township (Mercer County, NJ).  He was appointed to the Rotary District 7510 PolioPlus Committee and was part of the Rotary PolioPlus Delegation to the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on September 27, 2012, with over 100 world leaders and Bill Gates meeting to “Unite Against Polio”  

John and his wife are professional singers who perform throughout the Northeast with their Cabaret Show, “Rhapsody in 2” singing mainly Broadway Showtunes and songs from the Great American Songbook at a variety of venues, including Nursing Homes, 55+ Communities and benefit concerts for Rotary Clubs.

John’s “Polio Goals” and “Accessibility Goals” are:

– To play a role in helping Rotary International + Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) eradicate Polio worldwide.  3 remaining countries with active cases of Wild Polio Virus: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
– To help other polio survivors and their families learn how to best deal with PPS.
– To help educate doctors and other medical personnel about PPS.
– To advocate for greater accessibility for the handicapped.

Other facts about John Nanni:

Rotary District 7630 PolioPlus Chair
USA Coordinator for the “World’s Greatest Meal to Help End Polio”
Rotary Club of Middletown-Odessa Club Secretary & Club President-Elect
Paul Harris Fellow +8
Rotary International Foundation Major Donor
Paul Harris Society Member
Polio Survivors Association Board Member – a Rotary Action Group
Advocate for Polio Eradication and Rehabilitation
Advocate for Handicap Accessibility
DE State Architectural Accessibility Board Member- DE Governor Appointed
Polio Network of NJ/DE (PNNJ) Board Member –
34 Gallon Platelet Donor (279 Donations) – Red Cross + Blood Bank of Delmarva
Father of 2 great kids, Allison and Adam, who were adopted from Korea when they were babies
Polio Survivor – “Class of 1953”
Post-Polio Syndrome – for rest of my life

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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


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



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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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


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


Website: or

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


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



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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Rotary’s Lead Polio Fighter ‘Not Discouraged’ By Ongoing Trickle Of Cases

Carol Pandak, the director of PolioPlus for Rotary International, acknowledged that the fight against polio is difficult. Rooting out polio from conflict regions in Afghanistan especially is challenging. Still, she says, she is not discouraged.

Rotary has increased its annual fundraising commitment from $35 million to $50 million per year to make finishing the job possible. Carol says, “We made a commitment to the world and we haven’t completed it, yet.”

“We hope the end is coming soon,” Carol adds.

Interview with Carol Pandak, the Director, PolioPlus of Rotary International.

The following is the pre-interview with Carol Pandak. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion to polio eradication since it started its PolioPlus program in 1985.

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

Polio eradication with Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners.

More about Rotary International:

Twitter: @EndPolioNow  @Rotary



Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit and for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

Carol Pandak. Photo Credit: Devin Thorpe

Carol Pandak’s bio:


Carol Pandak is the director of PolioPlus, Rotary’s global effort to eradicate polio, working in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has held this position since 2000.

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Surviving Japan’s 9.0 Earthquake Changed This Trader’s Life For Good

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

“I was living in Tokyo at the time and working for a Wall Street bank when the earthquake hit; I was on the trading floor literally when this huge earthquake hit,” says Wendy Hapgood, 40, now chief operating officer for the Wild Tomorrow Fund.

She goes on to explain that it wasn’t the earthquake that rattled her so much or even the ensuing tsunami. Rather, it was the nuclear crisis that developed in the following days.

“A lot of people commented at the time of the disaster, ‘Well, you know, it wasn’t that bad; nobody died [from the radiation].” And I really thought—because I was there on the ground and I experienced it personally—that they were missing a crucial part of the environmental destruction and the poisoning of our Earth,” she explains.

“I used to joke with friends that I felt like the only banker on Wall Street who wanted to quit to join Greenpeace,” she says. Watch the full interview with Hapgood in the video player at the top of this article.

Several years would pass before she left Wall Street to form the Wild Tomorrow Fund with her co-founder and Executive Director John Steward.


For his part, he credits a conservation volunteer trip to South Africa in 2013 with inspiring him to step away from his career as an advertising creative executive. “I first witnessed the immense struggles wild animals and the people responsible for their safety were facing.”

Steward is proud of the impact their organization is having. “I am most proud of educating people on the issues facing our natural world. I have seen many people take positive action to protect wildlife who I believe would not have done so without my influence.”

When Hapgood left Wall Street in 2015, she not only co-founded the Wild Tomorrow Fund but also started a master’s program in sustainability management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She studied the intersection of poverty and rhino poaching.

Poaching is a hot-button issue for her. She notes that rhinos are critically endangered entirely because of poaching, with fewer than 20,000 white rhinos and 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild.

Things aren’t much better for elephants. From 2007 to 2014 when the last census was taken, 30% of elephants in Africa were gone due to poaching. Seeing “144 thousand elephants killed in the last seven years, sort of on our watch, this is not a crisis from the past it’s a crisis of today.”

The Wild Tomorrow Fund started working by literally putting boots on the ground. While the organization considered sexier investments like drones, when they learned that rangers in South Africa were not only poorly paid but so poorly equipped they didn’t even have boots, they raised money to buy them boots.

Today, the organization has a four-pronged approach to conservation:

  1. Wildlife protection: the fund provides support to 16 different wildlife reserves, funding uniforms, equipment and training. Part of the funds helps to support dehorning rhinos to protect them from poachers.
  2. Conservation research: The fund conducts research to contribute to the conservation of threatened species and their ecosystems. Not only are they looking out for elephants, but also hyenas and the scarcely known suni antelope, an endangered species about the size of a chihuahua living in rare and threatened sand forests.
  3. Habitat conservation: The fund purchases land that is or can be restored to serve as habitat for endangered species. Hapgood notes, “Habitat loss is perhaps the biggest threat to the future of our planet’s wildlife.”
  4. Community development: Noting the connection between poverty and poaching, the Fund sees a need to connect conservation to community benefit.

“I would like us to have even greater impact on the ground in Africa,” Steward says of his vision for the fund’s future. “The activities we choose to support will stay fluid in order to match the region’s conservation challenges. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to help protect wildlife by supporting the region’s underfunded wildlife reserves and we will continue to purchase and protect large areas of wild land that are under threat from agriculture and human development.”

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