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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.

Impact Investing Sector Moving From ‘What?’ to ‘How?’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Over the past several years as impact investing has captured the attention of the world’s wealthy, people started by asking “what is impact investing?” Today, the question more people are asking is “how do I do impact investing?”

The Global Impact Investing Network, co-founded by Amit Bouri who serves today as the CEO, sits near the center of this discussion. The GIIN (pronounced like jean or gene) is building a database of impact measures in hopes of creating a resources that will help standardize impact measures.

Investors of all sorts are relatively good at measuring return on investment. Many investors, myself included, check their portfolio values daily. Some monitor them throughout the day–even if they aren’t trading. Others fall back to reviewing quarterly and annual statements, but however financial returns are measured, such measures are easy to gather.

The GIIN is helping to make impact measurement just as easy. Impact investors will achieve target impacts unless they have good data with which to measure the impacts.

And let’s be clear, much of what we initially think of as impact is just activity. An investment that increases the number of books in children’s hands isn’t really an impact so much as an intermediate outcome. The impact is the changes, positive we hope, that are yielded in the lives of the children. Are they doing better in school, reading at or above grade level, graduating from high school, matriculating into college, etc.

The GIIN is working to help us measure impact in all its forms.

Bouri is bullish on the future. “Impact investing has the potential to channel significant amounts of private capital to solutions to the worlds most intransigent challenges. Last year was a banner year for impact investing and set the stage for 2016 to be a year of tremendous growth and progress.”

On Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 1:00 PM Eastern, Bouri will join me here for a live discussion about the GIIN and its work to make impact investors more effective. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about The GIIN:

Twitter: @theGIIN

The Global Impact Investing Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Amit Bouri, courtesy of The GIIN

Amit Bouri, courtesy of The GIIN

Bouri’s bio:

Amit Bouri is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the GIIN. His work in impact investing began when he was a strategy consultant with the Monitor Institute. At Monitor he was part of the team that produced the Investing for Social & Environmental Impact report, and he left Monitor to co-found the GIIN in 2009.

Amit’s other projects at the Monitor Institute included strategic planning and organizational development work for nonprofit organizations and foundations. Amit previously worked in the private sector as a strategy consultant with Bain & Company. He left Bain to work in global health at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. He also worked in the corporate philanthropy units of Gap GPS +0.00% Inc. and Johnson & Johnson JNJ +0.98%. Amit holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, an MPA from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College. Amit serves on the Board of Directors for Investors’ Circle and SJF Institute.

REDF Works To Employ The Unemployable

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Katelyn Dalton was a homeless addict. She considered herself to be “unemployable.”

She says she was hurt and frustrated when she was rejected by prospective employers who rejected her application even when they said they were hiring. She boasts, “ I overcame it with self-perseverance and the support of social enterprises giving me the support and tools necessary to be successful.”

The social enterprises she mentions were supported by REDF, a nonprofit that supports social enterprises that employ the “unemployable.” Founded in 1997 by KKR’s George Roberts, the organization is led today by Carla Javits.

Dalton explains what it felt like to re-enter the workforce. “When I finally learned that I had the ability to be successful, I was worth it and I had value, I was able to put my 100 percent into my life and therefore become a star in the workplace.”

Javits exults, “Katelyn’s experience reflects exactly what REDF aspires to do for tens of thousands of people – demonstrating the power that a job can have in transforming the life of an individual and making it possible for them to contribute in a positive way to their family, while also improving their community.”

REDF works to replicate Dalton’s experience. Economic mobility, the process of moving up the socioeconomic ladder, is much more difficult in the U.S. than most of us appreciate. A surprising 43 percent of children born into poverty will remain poor over their entire lifetimes, according to REDF.

Dalton has now joined the effort to help people who are where she was. Today, she is a STEM Staffing Specialist with Teen Force, a nonprofit that works with foster youth and others from 14 to 24 who are at risk. She says, “My success lead me to help others succeed. I continue to do so every chance I get.”

REDF focuses on helping those at greatest disadvantage, like those who are released from prison. Without a job, the odds of returning to prison rise. This population also experiences high rates of homelessness. The organization works using a cross-sector approaching, engaging business, philanthropy and government to address these problems.

On Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Javits and Dalton will join me for a live discussion about the REDF programs and its successes. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about REDF:

Twitter: @REDFworks

REDF creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work–like young people who are disconnected from school or work, people who’ve been homeless or incarcerated, and those with mental health disabilities. Founded in 1997 by George R. Roberts (KKR), REDF provides funding and business expertise to mission-driven organizations in California to launch and grow social enterprises, which are businesses with a “double bottom line” that make money in order to employ people with multiple barriers to employment. REDF has helped over 10,000 people in California get jobs and find hope. Now REDF is taking best practices learned from 18 years of experience to grow their impact nationally.

Carla Javits, courtesy of REDF

Carla Javits, courtesy of REDF

Javits’ bio:

Twitter: @cjavitsredf

REDF’s President and CEO, Carla Javits, provides the leadership and vision that drives its mission to provide equity-like investments and business assistance to social enterprises, mission-driven businesses focused on hiring and assisting people facing barriers to work. Inspired by the leadership of REDF’s founder, George R. Roberts, Carla focuses on achieving measurable results by leveraging the business community’s knowledge, networks, and resources, and the mission of the nonprofit to create jobs and tackle the challenges of homelessness, incarceration, mental health, and addiction.

In overseeing strategy, relationship building, and fundraising, Carla works directly with the leadership team as well as the Board of Directors and Advisory Council that are instrumental to REDF’s success. In leading an expansion from the Bay Area to new horizons in Southern California, Carla has laid the foundation for REDF to impact the lives of many more people nationwide. Under Carla’s leadership, REDF was awarded a federal Social Innovation Fund grant by the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Los Angeles Business Times Nonprofit Social Enterprise of the Year award in 2013. San Francisco Magazine recognized Carla in their list of innovative Bay Area Philanthropists.

Before coming to REDF, Carla was the national President and CEO of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, where she was responsible for providing grants, loans, and technical assistance to service-enriched housing initiatives that ended homelessness for tens of thousands. She was Program Analyst with the California Office of the Legislative Analyst and Director of Policy and Planning for the San Francisco Department of Social Services.

Carla holds a BA and Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Social Enterprise Alliance and the Melville Charitable Trust and as an Advisor to the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. She is a member of the Advisory Committee of The Philanthropic Initiative as well as the Insight Center for Community Economic Development National Advisory Board. Away from work, Carla likes spending time with her partner, her grown children, and her dog. She enjoys music, movies, theatre, cooking, and spending time outdoors.

More about TeenForce:

Twitter: @teenjobsprogram

TeenForce is a non-profit, social enterprise that ensures teens (ages 14-24) gain work experience. We provide work readiness training, skills development and job placement services. Our staffing agency model makes it convenient and cost-effective for employers to hire teens and generates revenue to support our activities. Teens in our program gain confidence and skills while improving adult/teen relationships. Teens become healthy, caring and responsible young adults who have important roles in the community. We help teens increase important developmental assets and help schools in developing “career ready” youth, while addressing the problem of teen employment.

We plan to create a business model that will be replicated throughout the country to help a variety of diverse communities facing these challenges.

We have a special emphasis on foster youth. We recently made a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative America to provide our services in the STEM program we offer to 100% of the foster youth in Santa Clara County.

Katelyn Dalton, courtesy of Teen Force

Katelyn Dalton, courtesy of Teen Force

Dalton’s bio:

Katelyn is a STEM Staffing Specialist with TeenForce who brings knowledge of retail, non-profit, and case management. Her prior experience with Goodwill of Silicon Valley brings a strong foundation of helping individuals break difficult barriers to employment. She is personally familiar with social services and the foster care system and has a deep passion for helping people. Katelyn is certified in Arts and Sciences of Coaching and utilizes positive reinforcement to help individuals realize their full potential. She recently switched roles and is now assisting with the STEM program with Teenforce. This program is designed for high school foster youth. Youth gain STEM training, job readiness skills and job placement in a paid summer internship in Santa Clara County.

Pay For Success: Impact Investing’s Answer to #BlackLivesMatter

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

It seems that hardly a day passes without headlines about unarmed black men being killed by police in our country. If there isn’t a new case, we’re trying an old one either in court or in the media.

Ben Hecht, the CEO of Living Cities, a nonprofit group that makes and facilitates impact investments in cities around the country, including my own here in Salt Lake City, explains the broader problem:

US cities are places of great opportunity, hope, change, resilience and energy. Unfortunately, they are also places of great inequality. Home to more than 80% of the population, cities reflect the incredible income, wealth and educational disparities between rich and poor, white and people of color. These disparities not only threaten to hold back the economic prosperity of the nation but threaten our democracy.

Hecht’s colleague, Eileen Neely, Director of Capital Innovation, heads up the Pay for Success program efforts for Living Cities.

Neely says, “We need to blend all types of money–government, philanthropic and private sector capital–together to address growing social disparities and economic inequality in the United States.”

Pay for Success programs focus on paying for results rather than activities and typically are oriented toward prevention rather than remediation. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams has likened it to building guardrails at the top of the cliff rather than operating a hospital at the bottom.

Neely explains further, “While preventative programs that tackle issues like youth recidivism and chronic homelessness can make a real difference, these programs lack the funding needed to reach all the populations that need them. We need to attract private capital to help expand and scale programs that work.”

She adds, “Financing vehicles such as Pay for Success (PFS) can offer competitive rates of return, which is more attractive to private investors, and can help move impact investing into the mainstream.”

Neely explains the basic economics of a PFS deal structure: “In a PFS deal, philanthropic and private investors provide funding for social programs and government only pays them back if the project meets certain agreed-upon outcomes. This means that government resources and taxpayer dollars are only spent on effective programs that measurably improve the lives of community members.”

One of the big challenges with the model is the cost to put a program together. Bringing all of the parties together, organizing metrics for measurement, finding program providers, contracting among the local government, the investors and the program providers and all of the people working on the deal takes time and money.

Living Cities, she says, is “now striving to increase the scalability of the model with our recently announced Pay for Success Construction Loan. The Construction Loan covers the upfront costs necessary for service providers, project managers and evaluators to construct a PFS project, which had traditionally been a grant fund and a barrier preventing the PFS field from growing more rapidly.”

Neely says she would like to see more PFS deals done so that the model can be fine-tuned so it can be applied more efficiently across the country.

Hecht’s vision for cities is nothing short of a complete overhaul of tradition.

This will take overhauling outdated models of citizen engagement and cumbersome bureaucratic structures. I believe that governments will cease investing precious resources and energy into programs that don’t work, and start scaling the programs that are making real impact in the lives of low-income people. Finally, I see experimentation and commitment to harness both philanthropic and private capital to make a material difference in underserved communities and to invest not just in physical infrastructure, but also in human capital.

On Thursday, January 28, 2016 at noon Eastern, Hecht and Neely will join me here for a live discussion about the role that impact investing and Pay for Success can play in addressing the challenges of America’s inner-cities, including especially the concerns of the #blacklivesmatter movement. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Living Cities:

Twitter: @Living_Cities

Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places.

Hecht’s bio:

Twitter: @benhecht

Ben Hecht was appointed President & CEO of Living Cities in July, 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its 22 member foundations and financial institutions to benefit low-income people and the cities where they live. Living Cities deploys a unique blend of more than $140 million in grants, loans and influence to re-engineer obsolete public systems and connect low-income people and underinvested places to opportunity.

Prior to joining Living Cities, Mr. Hecht co-founded One Economy Corporation, a non-profit organization focused on connecting low-income people to the economic mainstream through innovative, online content and increased broadband access. Immediately before One Economy, Mr. Hecht was Senior Vice President at the Enterprise Foundation.

Mr. Hecht received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and his CPA from the State of Maryland. For 10 years, he taught at Georgetown University Law Center and built the premier housing and community development clinical program in the country. Ben is currently Chairman of EveryoneOn, a national initiative founded by the Federal Communications Commission to connect low-income Americans to digital opportunity. He also sits on the National Advisory Board for StriveTogether and Duke University’s Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Advisory Council.

Eileen Neely, courtesy of Living Cities

Eileen Neely, courtesy of Living Cities

Neely’s bio:

Twitter: @EileenNeely

Eileen Neely joined Living Cities in December 2012 as the Associate Director of Capital Formation. She was named the Director of Capital Innovation in May 2014. Prior to joining Living Cities, she was the Director of Strategic Planning at the District of Columbia Housing Authority since May 2011. In this position, Eileen oversaw the development, implementation and measurement of the Agency’s Strategic Plan and Moving to Work Plan.

Previously Eileen was the Chief Operating Officer of the Fresno Housing Authority in Fresno, California. Eileen assisted the Executive Director in the transformation of the Housing Authority – changing the corporate culture, establishing a broader role within the community, modernizing business practices, tightening financial controls, and expanding their programs to serve more low- and moderate-income families. She was responsible for all the internal operations of the Housing Authority, including Accounting and Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Communications and Public Relations.

Prior to moving to Fresno, Eileen was the Director of Public Entity Lending at Fannie Mae in Washington, DC. At Fannie Mae she provided technical assistance and financing to cities, counties and housing authorities throughout the country to help them address their pressing housing needs. Eileen started at Fannie Mae as the Manager of Economic Forecasting where she developed the company’s forecast for the economy, including interest rates, housing indicators, and other measures of the economy.

Eileen has her Master’s Degree in Economics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Economics from Hiram College in Hiram, OH.

Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur Leads Nonprofit To Support Caribbean Nations

Pierre Hines recently won a $20,000 grant from the Atlantic Council in recognition of his remarkable nonprofit startup, Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation, which he joined to support economic development in Caribbean countries. The organization was founded by Arlene Graham.

“‘Brain drain,’ the process by which a country loses skilled labor through emigration to developed countries, is a significant challenge for Caribbean countries. Many countries have lost more than 70 percent of their educated workforce,” Pierre explains.

For Pierre, this is a personal cause. “I am one of 1.2 million children in the United States with at least one Caribbean-born parent. My Jamaican father and his entire family immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s, and that decision is one the reasons I’ve had world-class educational and professional opportunities.”

“However,” he continues, “I understand that the migration of skilled labor creates challenges for local governments because they lose tax revenue that emigrants would have generated and human capital that emigrants would have contributed.”

Those who return to the Caribbean with quality education from the US or other more developed countries also face challenges. He notes, “It is problematic to have persons with MBAs working as bank tellers. And, for example, I have met a promising person with a master’s degree in engineering who took a job as a locksmith upon returning to the Caribbean.”

With 3.5 million immigrants from the Caribbean living in the U.S., Pierre hopes to tap into that Caribbean diaspora to foster economic development in the region. They are working on two specific initiatives now.

First, he says, “CRN recognizes that Caribbean countries must diversify their economies—particularly because of their heavy reliance on tourism—and recognizes that creating entrepreneur opportunities is a tried-and-true method of bridging the gap between the developing and developed countries. Through the ‘Challenge Cup-Caribbean‘ and related activities, CRN is expanding opportunities for startups to seek international investments and business relationships. CRN’s entrepreneur initiative also allows those with expertise in the diaspora to participate in skills-based volunteering by mentoring startups in their area of expertise—turning the ‘brain drain’ into a ‘brain gain.'”

“Another way that CRN is working to solve the problem is through youth empowerment initiatives. CRN formed the ‘Students for Students Initiative,’ which connects students and young professionals through social media into a support network that facilitates their professional development and enhances cultural awareness,” Pierre continued. “One of CRN’s immediate goals is to establish a physical Caribbean Coworking Campus for entrepreneurs and young people to work, connect, and learn.”

Pierre has a big dreams for CRN, “Our vision for the Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation is for it to become a trusted gateway for the Caribbean Diaspora to connect with and contribute to their home region. We also want it to serve as a gateway for those living in the Caribbean to obtain educational and professional opportunities in the global marketplace. Ultimately our goal is for a tech entrepreneur in Kingston, a product manufacturer in Port of Spain, and a service provider in St. Lucia, to have the same educational and professional opportunities as their counterparts in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.”

On Thursday, January 21, 2016 at noon Eastern, Pierre will join me for a live discussion about CRN. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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

More about Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation:

Twitter: @CaribReturning

The Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation is a grassroots non-profit that supports economic development in the Caribbean to reverse the effects of the “brain drain.” It connects financial and intellectual capital from the Caribbean Diaspora back into the region.

Pierre Hines, courtesy of Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation

Pierre Hines, courtesy of Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation

Pierre’s bio:

Pierre Hines was born in the United States and is of Jamaican heritage. He is a Board Member of the Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation, a non-profit that connects financial and intellectual capital from the Caribbean Diaspora back into the region. Pierre is also a corporate attorney based in the Washington, D.C. office of global law firm Jones Day. Prior to joining the legal and non-profit sectors, Pierre served as a Captain in the intelligence branch of the U.S. Army, where he served in a tactical unit and on an IT program. He is also a Fellow with the Atlantic Council, through its Millennium Leadership initiative for veterans under age 35. Pierre received his B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

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Devin D. Thorpe

Eagles Care: How the Philadelphia Eagles Maximize their Community Impact

This is a guest post from Julie Hirshey, Director of Community Relations for the Philadelphia Eagles.

When I tell people that I work for the Philadelphia Eagles and what I do, I usually get one of two reactions: “That sounds amazing!” or “That sounds hard.” My answer is always yes. One of our biggest challenges is how to balance the desire to be of service to as many people as possible while still creating genuine impact. For years, it seemed impossible to do one without sacrificing the other.

Three years ago, we got a gift from Eagles leadership that doesn’t often come along, particularly in business. We got the opportunity to take a step back, reevaluate our strategic giving and then move forward in whatever new way we saw fit. (Like I said… a gift!) In doing this, we reviewed our giving and calculated the value of our donations in contrast with the true impact we were having on the community. Let’s just say the equation was off.

So we went back to the drawing board. We reviewed our mission, our core issue areas and looked at what we considered to be our biggest assets. We also wanted to make sure that we were representing the values of partnership and teamwork that are so important to our organization. What we learned through this process was that if we broadened our view of our assets and narrowed the focus of our giving, we could amplify our impact. Eagles Care was born.

Through Eagles Care, we focus on capacity building in nonprofits, working to provide great nonprofts with the assets they need to evolve into their best selves. We do this through some traditional giving but the focus is now on non-traditional giving, nonprofit staff development and creative problem-solving.

Throughout the season, our Eagles Care partners receive our full support via education, mentoring and resource allocation. In addition to traditional giving – money, player appearances, autographed items that they might auction off for fundraisers – we provide leadership training, marketing support, public relations counsel and development help, guidance with social media platform management and more. All of this support comes from Eagles staff who are eager to truly engage with these nonprofits to provide meaningful help. In order to get to the heart of how our staffs can help them increase their capacity to help others in the community, we encourage these nonprofits to start by asking themselves not what they THINK we can do for them, but what they could actually benefit from. We then go through a process of matching our resources with their needs.

The range of aid we have given is wide from arranging for donated furniture from our corporate partners to help with computers, graphic design and messaging sessions that help the leadership and often the boards of these nonprofits boil down their missions in creative ways. Our facility management team even helped a partner with construction needs by building a wall in their work space – a simple task that overnight doubled the nonprofit’s ability to serve its community.

At its core, the Eagles Care program is a year-long partnership between the team and the nonprofit that allows both organizations to grow and learn about the shared community we all call home. This partnership has created profound impact not just on the nonprofits but on the community at large because we see that strong nonprofits do indeed build strong communities. But the impact does not stop there, our employees have been touched by this new program as well in ways we had not expected. The staff is eager to help, to learn more about the way the nonprofits work and to offer help based on their knowledge. It feels good for both partners.

With every passing year, our Eagles Care Network continues to grow larger and larger. Now in our third season, we have developed relationships with 15 local non-profits who we continue to support even after their year-long partnership is over via connections and special support when needed. We have become a resource for them and they have become a resource for us as well. But perhaps more importantly, those non-profits have developed relationships with each other that will allow them to support each other for years to come. They are now working together because they experienced firsthand the lessons of community partnership.

Although we believe this is an approach that is unique in the NFL and sports in general, we hope that it is a model that other organizations can mimic. Through our nonprofit partnerships, this new approach has allowed us to meet our challenge and provide meaningful aid and service to our community.

Julie Hirshey

Julie Hirshey

Julie’s bio:

Julie Hirshey is the Director of Community Relations for the Philadelphia Eagles where she works to execute the team’s mission to serve as proud partners of the Philadelphia community.  In this role she leads the team’s efforts to support generations of Eagles fans and works to partner with non-profits throughout the region.

‘WaterCredit’ Turns World’s Poor Into Paying Customers

This post was originally produced for Forbes. is leading a revolution in the provision of clean drinking water in the developing world, turning the recipients of charity into regular water customers through microloans funded by impact investments.

Gary White, CEO of, explains the problem, noting, “The poor are not a problem to be solved, they are the solution. I see constant innovation in the financial sector—new models, new products. is applying that kind of thinking to the philanthropic sector—creating new opportunities for private and philanthropic capital to make systemic change. Access to water and sanitation has been the focus of charity. But there’s a market-based solution. We realized that if we could provide the poor with access to small loans at reasonable rates, we could get them into the water system. And not as charity, but as customers.”

White explains further, “Changes in the water supply & sanitation (WSS) market at the Base of the Economic Pyramid (BOP) have unleashed significant new demand for WSS services. There have been significant gains in reducing poverty over the last two decades, and the trend will continue with support from the international community to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. These socioeconomic changes are driving an increased willingness and ability to pay for improved water access and water quality as well as improved sanitation.”

“We created WaterCredit to unleash the power of the poor. By enabling the poor to finance toilets and taps in their own homes, we’re spreading capital costs across a broader swath of stakeholders,” he adds.

While these are still early days, is past the pilot phase and is scaling up its WaterCredit initiative. White explains the progress and impact:

Evidence from’s and WSP’S existing programs in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and the Philippines demonstrate that a viable market can be made for financing water and sanitation improvements. MFIs have developed and launched water and sanitation lending programs that have disbursed over $120 million in loans. A conclusion from the programs have shown that as access to water and sanitation credit became available, low-income clients chose to take out loans and were able to repay those loans.

Water and sanitation lending programs have demonstrated benefits for financial institutions, development partners and most importantly clients and their households. These findings indicate that microfinance principles can be successfully applied to the water and sanitation sector and leverage funding to achieve greater reach than traditional subsidy based models. Governments and NGOs can work with MFIs, as both demand generators and financiers, to help accelerate access to safe water and sanitation.

On Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, White will join me here for a live discussion about WaterCredit. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about

Twitter: @water

For more than twenty years, has been at the forefront of developing and delivering solutions to the water crisis. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, pioneers innovative, community-driven and market-based initiatives to ensure all people have access to safe water and sanitation; giving women hope, children health and communities a future. To date, has positively transformed the lives of more than three million people living around the world.

Gary White, courtesy of

Gary White, courtesy of

White’s bio:

Gary White is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people in the developing world to gain access to safe water and sanitation. ( is the resulting organization of the July 2009 merger between WaterPartners, co-founded by White in 1990, and H2O Africa, co-founded by actor Matt Damon). White’s entrepreneurial vision has driven innovations in the way water and sanitation projects are delivered and financed, and these innovations now serve as a model in the sector.

White has led during a period of rapid expansion, growing revenue by an average annual rate of 50 percent since 1994 and positioning as an innovative leader in the global water supply and sanitation space. He developed the organization’s WaterCredit Initiative, creating new financing options for poor populations to meet their water supply and sanitation needs.

White is a leading advisor in the water and sanitation space, counseling organizations such as the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, MasterCard Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and Diageo on responses to the global water crisis. White is a founding board member of the Millennium Water Alliance and Water Advocates.

In 2002 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award presented by the School of Public Health at the University of NC-Chapel Hill. In 2003, he was named a fellow of the British American Project. In 2008, he was inducted into the Philanthropy World Hall of Fame. In March 2009, WaterPartners received the Skoll Foundation’s Award for Social Entrepreneurship and White was inducted into the community of Skoll Social Entrepreneurs. In October 2009, White received the ONEXONE Difference Award for his work over the past two decades in addressing the global water crisis. In 2009, he was named an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2010, he was named the Kansas City Global Citizen of the Year by the mayor of Kansas City, MO. In 2011 he was named to the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people. Also in 2011 he was named one of 28 Alumni of Distinction among a pool of more than 50,000 living graduates of Missouri University of Science and Technology. In 2012 White received the World Social Impact Award from the World Policy Institute as well as being named one of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of 2012. Most recently Gary was invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water.

White’s educational credentials include three degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Teaming Up Locally to Help Out Globally

This is a guest post from Angie Stocklin’s, COO and Co-Founder of One Click.

It’s nearly 2016 and time to wrap up a season of giving. Family and friends gathered together to count collective blessings and to share food, stories and gifts. We are, as New Year’s approaches, entering the handful of days when we are all focused on making and keeping promises — about how to treat ourselves better and how to treat others like we treat ourselves. So, it’s the perfect moment to reflect on the ways we can and do give back; to think about how we share the fruits of our success with those who need help the most.

Our mission statement calls on One Click, from senior leadership to our entry-level team members, to “enrich lives by helping people find the eyewear meant for them.” For those most desperately in need, “the eyewear meant for them” means the reading glasses and sunglasses we provide at no cost through our partner in giving — Timmy Global Health.

Timmy Global is a local (Indianapolis) 501(c)3 dedicated to providing, improving and expanding healthcare and health-related programs in Latin America. Their goal is to establish long-term, sustainable programs to provide a variety of assistance including clean drinking water and on-site health exams. All of this is built around long-term, individualized profiles. Medical teams who visit every 2-3 months will come equipped with the medical history of their patients in order to provide the most effective, efficient care possible.

The fit for us is a natural one. We’re able to provide Timmy with reading glasses that can be crucial to a family in need when their means of earning a living depends upon being able to see up close, such as weaving or fine beadwork. We’re also able to provide sunglasses that serve both as protection from the brightness of the sun, as well as from diseases of the eye that arise from the accumulation of fine dust and plant particles.

For so many people around the world, being able to see through a reading lens or a UV tint means being able to perform vital work. When, for some, cost and availability of that eyewear is insurmountable, access to relatively low cost eyewear can become a matter of basic survival.

In our partnership with Timmy Global Health, we’re not just giving the eyewear to individuals; we’re giving eyewear to individuals so that they can continue to provide for their families. When their families are strong, it means that they can work together to make stronger villages. When those communities are healthy and vibrant, when they become thriving social and economic centers, they are less likely to need help so that Timmy can concentrate on bringing aid to the next community in need.

Because our partner is local, we’re able to make low-cost deliveries of high volumes of product without having to cut back on the amount of help we’re able to give. Which in return means that our giving can be more efficient, wide-ranging and, ultimately, helpful. And, just as importantly, we’re able to spend time getting to know the Timmy Global Health team. Sometimes, saying “hi” and “how are you doing?” leads to conversations that develop into decisions that lead to increased efficiency, bigger ideas and, most importantly, the ability to simply help as best we can.

So, in this season of promises — of introspection and dedication to bettering ourselves and the world around us — we are proud to renew our commitment to improve the lives of people in need. We are incredibly blessed to be in a position to help the less fortunate and grateful to have a local partnership so perfectly suited to making that help as effective as possible.


About Angie Stocklin:

Twitter: @easterday77

Angie Stocklin, COO and Co-Founder, along with her husband Randy, of One Click, oversees business operations including customer service, order fulfillment, merchandising and vendor account management for felix + iris, and Sunglass Warehouse.


‘It Is Not Enough That We Do Our Best’

On Christmas Day, Pamela Atkinson, an advisor to Utah’s last five governors and the state’s leading advocate for the homeless, hosted–as she does every year–a dinner for 800 of her homeless friends.

The steak dinners are first class and the volunteers who serve the guests their meals are among Utah’s notable, this year the team included President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Past events have included other luminaries, like Governor Jon Huntsman. Being invited to volunteer is a privilege.

Pamela Atkinson after serving dinner to 800 homeless friends, photo by Devin Thorpe.

Pamela Atkinson after serving dinner to 800 homeless friends, photo by Devin Thorpe.

Pamela limits the number of volunteers to ensure that everyone has a role and that every role is completed. She doesn’t want volunteers standing around feeling that their time and energies weren’t appreciated.

For the past few years, it has been my privilege to join my son Dayton as a volunteer at the dinner. It has become an important Christmas tradition.

This year, one of my friends in attendance Lew Cramer, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial, who is active in supporting the homeless year round, said wistfully, “tomorrow they will be hungry again.”

Unsure what to say to him, recognizing his point that so much more than one meal is needed to solve the problem of homelessness in our community, I said weakly, “We can only do our best.”

Lew Cramer

Soberly, he put his arm around me and said, quoting Winston Churchill, “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”


Utah has by several measures become a role model for the nation in reducing homelessness–in no small part due to Pamela’s tireless work. One of the things I love about Utah is that the community looks at our homeless problem as one of its top priorities and considers homelessness to be absolutely unacceptable.

Our community doesn’t have all the answers, but that doesn’t stop us from looking. The mayors of both the city and county of Salt Lake both independently commissioned community leaders and activities to come together to work on homelessness. The two commissions will be combined to bring the work together using a collective impact approach to formalize collaboration among all of the community resources serving the homeless.

The annual Christmas tradition of serving a meal to the homeless seems to be in no risk of being due to a lack of homeless people to serve in 2016, that seems to be community goal.

Once we recognize that helping people isn’t about having made an effort, that the gesture isn’t a solution, we can get about the real work of solving problems. To Lew’s point, it isn’t about our effort; it is about doing what is necessary to end the suffering.

Legal Keys to Fundraising from Abroad in the U.S.

Michael Durham, an attorney at our sponsor Kirton McConkie, works on cross-border philanthropy; he helped me to understand more about the challenges faced by international nonprofits fundraising in the U.S. Specifically, he shared three tips for helping nonprofits set up a U.S. nonprofit affiliate to help with fundraising.

Here are the three tips for setting up a U.S. nonprofit arm for fundraising for an international nonprofit:

  1. Ensure that the U.S. nonprofit controls where the money goes.
  2. Build a record of decision-making in the U.S. entity.
  3. Consider alternatives to setting up your own entity.

Let’s take each of these in order.

First, Michael says, “Make sure it is properly structured to vest real discretion and control over how the funds are used in the U.S. entity.” He explains, ” U.S. law does not permit donors a tax deduction for amounts contributed to foreign organizations or amounts funneled through U.S. organizations to foreign organizations.”

“But U.S. organizations can raise money and use that money to serve charitable purposes overseas,” he clarifies. “The clearest case is one where U.S. board is not controlled by foreign org, and all grants of U.S. raised funds are for specific charitable projects approved on a case-by-case basis by the U.S. board. If that is not possible, other models may also work, but ideally you would disclose those in your exemption application so that you are confident that your structure has been cleared by the IRS.”

Second, “Remember to build a record of real decisionmaking in the U.S. affiliate as to how the funds will be used by the international nonprofit,” he says.

Michael cautions, “It is easy to fall into a routine where the foreign organization simply makes a request for grants serving some broad goals, and the U.S. organization periodically turns over the bulk of its funds in response to such requests. In several recent rulings, the IRS has rejected U.S. ‘friends of’ foreign charities where they left too much discretion to the foreign charities. For instance, if the funds were being used to provide scholarships at a foreign university, the IRS might expect the U.S. affiliate to have reviewed the foreign university’s standards for determining financial need. The U.S. entity should review full details of the programs in advance, and should obtain detailed reports about how the funds were spent after the fact.”

He further warns, “Be careful how you describe the use of funds in fundraising appeals. It is permissible to state that funds will be used to support the foreign organization, but it should be clear that the U.S. organization could alter that decision if it no longer appeared that the foreign organization’s programs would carry out the U.S. ‘friends of’ organization’s purposes.”

Third, Michael says, “Consider other options besides setting up your own entity.”

He notes, “Many foreign organizations overestimate the amount of funds that a U.S. entity will attract. While it is true that U.S. charitable giving is higher than that of many other countries, attracting significant funds requires time and effort to distinguish your organization from all the others. A U.S. entity must comply with annual public filing requirements, including exhaustive financial information and salary information for the leadership of the U.S. entity, in some cases including salaries paid by the foreign affiliate.”

“As an alternative to setting up and maintaining your own U.S. affiliate, you might consider opening a ‘friends of’ fund with an existing public charity that manages such funds on behalf of multiple foreign charities. That is a lower-cost way to ‘test the waters’ to see how much your organization can realistically expect to raise in the U.S. before you invest in maintaining your own U.S. 501(c)(3) organization,” Michael concludes.

On Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Michael will join me for a live discussion about optimizing a U.S. entity for fundraising for an international nonprofit. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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

More about Kirton McConkie:

Twitter: @kirtonmcconkie

Kirton McConkie is Utah’s largest law firm. It provides excellent service in helping clients solve problems, achieve results and realize opportunities. We serve individuals and businesses, from large multinational organizations to small start ups. As the largest law firm in Utah, we represent a depth of collective knowledge and skills, clients desire. We also know, for the most part, clients tend to hire individual lawyers they have heard about, who have been referred to them or who they already know. We know it is true because it happens for us all the time. Many of our new clients come from referrals. To us, this is the highest form of recognition for the work and service we provide as lawyers and as a law firm.

Michael Durham, courtesy of Kirton McConkie

Michael Durham, courtesy of Kirton McConkie

Michael’s bio:

Michael Durham is a Shareholder at Kirton McConkie, a law firm based in Salt Lake City, where he focuses on the laws affecting nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, he spent ten years practicing in the same area at Caplin & Drysdale, in Washington D.C. Michael has devoted a significant part of his practice to dealing with the increasingly complex rules governing cross-border philanthropy. His clients include internationally active high-tech nonprofits, religious organizations, private foundations, and donor advised fund organizatons, among any others. Michael is a graduate of the Yale Law School. He currently serves as co-chair of the Religious Organizations Subcomittee of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section.


Finding Strength and Healing Through the Holidays

This is a guest post from Sona Mehring, founder and CEO of the global nonprofit organization

Whether the holiday song in your head is the Andy Williams classic, the version by Garth Brooks or the Staples office supply commercial, we are, indeed, approaching “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” And while my window on the world could easily be closed – or even boarded up – to “the hap-happiest season of all,” the opposite is true.

As founder of CaringBridge, the nation’s most established social networking platform for people immersed in difficult medical journeys, my exposure to the struggles of patients, family caregivers and loved ones seems reason enough to just skip the holidays. Instead, I feel inspired. Across more than 550,000 CaringBridge websites that have received 2 billion visits over 18 years, I am awed by the power of hope and compassion that shine through a health crisis. In moments of celebration – a clean MRI! –and in the terrible times, too, I have come to believe in the gift of healing.

Of course, healing is a less dazzling gift than boxes with bows, Hanukkah gelt and Kwanzaa zawadi. But who wouldn’t prefer health over sickness? Home over hospital? Cookies over chemo? One CaringBridge site authored by a woman whose husband had a brain tumor recurrence six months after their wedding, wrote that they “just wanted to be people. Not people with cancer.” Or stroke, heart disease, infection, traumatic injury, premature birth, surgical complications, organ failure …

But for those jolted from “normal life” into roles as patients and family caregivers, sharing their stories often creates a healing effect. And while the impact of responses of sympathy and encourage menton outcomes is not clearly defined, the love and hope that friends and family want to give becomes an empowering force. A business executive who launched a site after his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis as a “form of self-defense,” merely to organize the chaos of sharing news, said he was amazed by the healing their social network provided.

I can’t pretend to explain the gift of healing, but I experienced it when I created the first CaringBridge site in 1997. My dear friends, JoAnn and Darrin, had endured a life-threatening pregnancy and devastating loss of their newborn daughter, Brighid. I never imagined what Darrin’s overwhelmed and exhausted request for me to “Just let everyone know what’s going on,” would become. I also never imagined the sea of caring people at baby Brighid’s memorial service whose waves of love and support had surged through the Internet to comfort her parents. On that day, I saw what healing looks like.

As a software engineer by trade, I naturally seek data that will also show what healing looks like. And there is some research:

  • 88% of patients and family caregivers who responded to a Forrester Research study sponsored by CaringBridge said connecting with family and friends had a positive impact on healing.
  • Social support was identified as the strongest of four factors contributing to positive health and treatment outcomes by a Robert Wood Johnson and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute study (social support: 40%; health behaviors: 30%; clinical care: 20%; physical environment: 10%).

But mostly, I have given myself over to not being able to measure magic. A CaringBridge author fighting mantle cell lymphoma described being surrounded by loved ones with healing strength as “emotional sustenance.” Is there any better gift?

As a nonprofit CEO, I am thrilled to imagine the healing aspects of CaringBridge as a lifeline. But as a mom, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend, I am adamant that no one should navigate a health journey alone. This requires “leaning in” to wrap your arms around something you’d rather run from. It can take the form of hot dish-delivery, making pillows from t-shirts of a loved one, or the stiff-and-awkward hugs for which Minnesotans are famous. It also means saying something – anything – when there are no words.

Any time you can give – or receive – the gift of healing this holiday season, do it! The gifts come as much from taking time to express encouragement as they do from pausing to take in encouragement. My hope is that for a brief minute,you, too, may experience the essence of the “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Sona Mehring

Sona Mehring

About Sona Mehring:

Sona founded CaringBridge, the first and most widely used social networking site focused on communicating with loved ones during a health journey, at a time when the Internet was just becoming a household name.

Sona is frequently recognized and honored for her passion and visionary leadership. In 2015 Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal honored her as a top CEO in technology with the Titans of Technology Award. In 2014 The Women’s Health Leadership TRUST named her one of the top 35 Women Leaders in Minnesota Healthcare. In 2013 Minnesota Monthly placed her on their list of the 75 most influential people of the Twin Cities. She was named one of 2011’s “Most Influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company.


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