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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

Philanthropy

This category includes stories about philanthropy, typically covering the generosity of individuals, families, groups of individuals and foundations (nonprofits primarily in the business of funding other nonprofits.

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Capital Campaign Expert Says ‘You’ve Got This!’

Amy Eisenstein, the CEO of Capital Campaign Toolkit, says there are three keys to a successful campaign. One will surprise you. She says you don’t need a campaign consultant to reach your fundraising goal.

Tip 1: You can raise major gifts without any “new” donors.

Tip 2: You don’t need a capital campaign consultant to lead a successful capital campaign.  

Tip 3: Capital campaigns are the most effective way to transform your organization.  

More about Capital Campaign Toolkit and Amy Eisenstein, LLC:

Twitter: @amyeisenstein

Facebook: facebook.com/amyeisensteinfundraising

Website: www.CapitalCampaignToolkit.com  and  www.amyeisenstein.com

The Capital Campaign Toolkit is a new, alternative way to approach a capital campaign. The platform puts nonprofit professionals in the driver’s seat of their own campaign and provides all of the tools, resources, and support they need to lead a successful capital campaign.

Amy Eisenstein is also the creator of Mastering Major Gifts, an online major gifts course for nonprofit professionals who want to become experts at raising major gifts.

Amy Eisenstein

Amy Eisenstein’s bio:

Amy Eisenstein is a consultant, author, speaker, and the creator of the online fundraising course Mastering Major Gifts. She is also the CEO and Co-Founder of the Capital Campaign Toolkit. Her published books include: Major Gift Fundraising for Small Shops, Raising More with Less, and 50 A$ks in 50 Weeks. She became an AFP certified Master Trainer in 2009. Amy served as the president of the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – New Jersey Chapter in 2014 and 2015. She became a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2004 and received her advanced certification, ACFRE, in 2013. Check out her blog at www.amyeisenstein.com and www.CapitalCampaignToolkit.com for free fundraising resources.


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Opinion: Want To Help 100M People? Do These 3 Things

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

By his example, Paul Polak, the 85-year-old social entrepreneur, teaches those who follow in his footsteps three important principles: the primacy of distribution, “never give up” isn’t just a slogan on a t-shirt and listening is an innovation superpower.

You may wish to read Friday’s article about Polak.

The Primacy of Distribution

His impressive career started by inventing a new distribution channel in India for selling water pumps that revolutionized micro-scale agriculture.

Right now, most social entrepreneurs are focused on inventing a solution in the form of a gadget or app without much regard to the distribution channel. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s adage, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door,” was almost certainly not true when he (allegedly) said so.

While the internet has made scaling some technologies easier over the last 25 years, this can be a distraction for social entrepreneurs working in places where few people use the internet.

The great social entrepreneurs of our day are inventing distribution channels to deliver value and opportunity to people who’ve lacked them.

Never Give Up

Denver-based Polak has a peer on the other side of the Rockies in Salt Lake City that I presume he doesn’t know. James Mayfield, about whom I’ve also written, is the same age as Polak. At age 80, he decided to spend the next decade of his life focused on eradicating poverty in Nepal, convinced it could be done.

Paul Polak CREDIT: PAUL POLAK

Several years into that project, he’s making real progress implementing an innovative financing model and cooperative business structure at the village level in thousands of villages across the country.

In writing about these two, I fear younger social entrepreneurs will find their examples unimpressive or unrelatable.

As to the first fear, let me remind readers that the majority of people born around the world 85 years ago are dead, of the those who remain virtually all retired, and these two have spent their last few years starting long-term projects.

As to relevance, Mayfield’s CHOICE Humanitarian has implemented a model that has uncanny parallels to NURU International, founded by then twenty-something social entrepreneur Jake Harriman. I don’t mean to suggest anything except that Harriman—probably without knowing of Mayfield—determined independently to attack the same problem in much the same way. What Polak and Mayfield are doing in their 80s is as hip and contemporary as social entrepreneurship gets.

Unless you have celebrated more birthdays than Polak and Mayfield, I implore you not to quit. You have more to give. If what you’re doing now isn’t working, try a new distribution model and keep innovating.

Listening Is an Innovation Superpower

Polak listens. When seeking an innovation, he spends five days in the field listening to the people he hopes to help before he even begins to think about solving their problems.

Much has been written in recent years about how the people with the best answers to the world’s problems are those who are experiencing those problems. Often, they know exactly what the solution is, but it may simply be out of reach. Knowing there is an aquifer 300 feet below your farm is of little help if no one in the community has a drill that can reach it.

Polak demonstrates by his example the power of listening not only for problems to solve but for the solutions others can offer.

Social entrepreneurs and impact investors can provide a slew of resources, especially access to capital, for implementing solutions that work in communities experiencing challenges. It is important for all who wish to improve the lot of others, to work with them to ensure that they participate in all the benefits of innovation, not only as consumers but as owners and employees whenever and wherever possible.

Polak’s vision is to see every new venture he starts reach more than 100 million people. I suspect he’ll do it again-or die trying.

Learn my insider secrets for getting media attention for your social enterprise or nonprofit. Click here.


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It’s Time We Talk About Child Abuse


Dr. Joanna Rubinstin, president and CEO of World Childhood Foundation USA, joined me for a discussion about a newly issued report that shows child sexual abuse and exploitation is a hidden public health epidemic. Tune in to hear why we need to be talking about this.

Interview with Joanna Rubinstein, the President and CEO of World Childhood Foundation USA.

The following is the pre-interview with Joanna Rubinstein. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is your take on child sexual abuse and exploitation?

It is a hidden public health epidemic.

Report:  outoftheshadows.eiu.com

More about World Childhood Foundation USA:

Twitter: @ChildhoodUSA

Instagram: @childhood.usa

Website: childhood-usa.org

About World Childhood Foundation (WCF)  envisions a world where all children are free from violence, sexual abuse, and exploitation. Founded in 1999 by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, WCF invests in the development of  solutions to prevent and address child sexual abuse and exploitation. WCF, a UN-accredited NGO, directly supports >100 projects globally and raises awareness about our cause. WCF’s work is aligned with the global Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 – ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children by 2030. For more information, please visit: www.childhood-usa.org.

Joanna Rubinstein

Joanna Rubinstein’s bio:

Twitter: @JRubinstein7

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/joannarubinstein/

In 2015, Rubinstein was appointed as President & CEO of World Childhood Foundation (WCF) USA. Founded in 1999 by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, WCF invests in innovative programs to end violence and child sexual abuse and exploitation.  

An expert in global health and sustainable development, Rubinstein brought to WCF over a decade of experience in leadership roles at Columbia University (CU) and at the United Nations (UN).  As Chief of Staff to Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Rubinstein helped develop and lead several global initiatives in health, education and sustainable development. Notably, she supported artist Shakira and ALAS’ work on Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Latin America and the Carribean, the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission, the Ministerial Working Group on Health, and the Millennium Development Goals Advocates. As a Senior Research Scientist and an Assistant Director of the Earth Institute of CU, she was instrumental in the development of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Currently, Rubinstein supports members of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group of the UN Secretary General.

Throghout her career, Rubinstein has advocated for the importance of research and collective action, and  has established high-level partnerships with academia, governments and the private sector (Unilever, Nestle, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi Aventis, Becton Dickinson, Sumitomo, Eni, Ericsson, Digicel, Zain, Airtel, IKEA, H&M and now Carlson Wagonlit Travel).

Rubinstein was recently appointed as a commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. She serves on numerous boards/committees, including the board of The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, the UN World Tourism Organization’s Network on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism, the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the steering committee of the ECD and Peace Building Consortium, and on the board of International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC) under the auspices of UNESCO. She is also a member of the scientific advisory board of the Global Health Initiative of Chicago University, and a former member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council.

Before joining the Earth Institute in 2005, Rubinstein was the Senior Associate Dean for Institutional and Global Initiatives at the CU Medical Center (2002-2005). In Sweden, Rubinstein served as the Director for Research and Postgraduate Education at the Karolinska Institute (KI) (1999 – 2002), and was a director at Sweden’s Medical Research Council (1997 – 1999). She is trained as a D.D.S. and holds a Ph.D.  and is an Assistant Professor in cell and molecular biology from KI.


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After Seeing His Mother Living on the Streets, He Took Action Against Homelessness

Bob Dalton, the CEO and founder of Sackcloth & Ashes, started the business after seeing his own mother experience homelessness. Suddenly, he appreciated how easily good people fall into homelessness through no fault of their own.

Sackcloth & Ashes is a social enterprise that sells beautiful blankets. For each blanket sold, it donates a blanket to the local homeless shelter of the purchaser.

Interview with Bob Dalton, the Founder & CEO of Sackcloth & Ashes.

The following is the pre-interview with Bob Dalton. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Retail sales

Scale: Team of 10 right now and will double in size by YE 2019. We have grown 100% YoY since the launch of the company in 2014.

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

Quality product that gives back for corporate gift giving and donating blankets to the homeless.

More about Sackcloth & Ashes:

Twitter: @sackclothxashes

Facebook: facebook.com/sackclothxashes

Instagram: @sackclothxashes

Website: www.sackclothandashes.com

For every blanket you purchase, we give a blanket to your local homeless shelter. On June 1st, 2018 we launched our first major campaign where our goal is to donate ONE MILLION blankets by 2024.

Bob Dalton. Photo Credit: Photo by Kayla Sampson

Bob Dalton’s bio:

Twitter: @bobxdalton

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/bobxdalton/

Instagram: @bobxdalton

Bob Dalton was inspired to help the homeless population when his mother, a hardworking single mother, found herself living on the streets in 2013.

Because of his mother’s story, Bob realized that not all choose to become homeless, but that some people need a second chance. He began to call homeless shelters in his area to ask what they needed. They all said blankets. That’s when he founded Sackcloth & Ashes.

For every blanket you purchase, Sackcloth & Ashes gives a blanket to your local homeless shelter.

In 2018, he launched Sackcloth & Ashes’ first major campaign: Blanket The United States. The goal of the campaign is to donate ONE MILLION blankets to homeless shelters by 2024.


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This Octogenarian Still Innovates To End Extreme Poverty

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Dr. Paul Polak, 85, is working with the zeal and enthusiasm of a freshly-minted college graduate, but he combines his passion with decades of experience to create outcomes at scale.

Polak’s first success was in delivering treadle pumps to farmers in India. Tens of millions of people have used the devices in the 30+ years since he organized a distribution channel around walk-up outdoor movies—think drive-in movies without cars.

At a time when most poor Indians did not have televisions at home, an opportunity to watch a film in the evening was quite a novelty. The plot of the film revolved around a father seeking to come up with the dowry for his daughter to marry. It only became possible after he purchased a treadle pump to irrigate his tiny farm.

Following the film, the treadle pumps sold like popcorn at a movie theater.

A typical treadle pump in use. CREDIT: PAUL POLAK

The experience taught Polak that successful innovation requires not just a better mousetrap but also a better distribution system.

Today, Polak is working on three new innovations.

Windhorse International/Spring Health India delivers affordable, safe drinking water every day to 150,000 customers in 262 villages in Orissa, India. That is Polak’s idea of pilot scale. He’s hoping to grow that by almost three orders of magnitude. His goal is always to reach 100 million people in extreme poverty.

Affordable Village Solar/SunWater India, is developing solar, rural electricity in Bihar, India. The project shows promise for increasing both food production and income. At this point, he is looking for a grant to get the project ready for commercialization.

Paul Polak CREDIT: PAUL POLAK

Transform Energy, his third venture, is the focus of the conversation Polak and I recorded and that you can watch in the video player at the top of this article. The concept of this venture is to help India farmers grow mesquite trees to fuel coal-fired power plants. Burning wood instead of coal does not increase carbon any more than solar does if trees are replaced.

The model that Polak is currently testing at a micro scale is to convert the mesquite to something closer to charcoal through torrefaction, by heating the mesquite chips in a kiln (the test kiln is a 55-gallon drum). By controlling the amount of oxygen in the kiln, combustion is prevented, and the wood is converted to a fuel that sufficiently resembles coal to be burned in its place.

The mesquite trees, when raised for this purpose, should sequester more carbon than is emitted when the wood is converted and then burned. The trees don’t die when harvested. After being harvested, the still living trunk will sprout again and keep some carbon in the root system even as it continues to collect more carbon as the new sprout grows, removing from the air the carbon produced when the pellets are burned.

The process was developed by volunteers from Ball Aerospace in Boulder. If it works, it could provide a new source of income for families living in extreme poverty in India even as it provides a renewable alternative to coal—on which India remains dependent.

Stephan Reckie, founding managing member for Angelus Funding, says the model works to mitigate climate change “uniquely and amazingly well.” He adds, “It also addresses rural poverty by providing jobs and entrepreneurial power to the workers that are running the distributed torrefaction plants.”

Reckie is such a fan that he joined the Transform Energy board.

Polak identifies a series of milestones for scaling Transform Energy:

  • Creating a twelve-barrel kiln that works
  • Testing the kiln and the growing process at three sites in Gujarat, India
  • Proving commercial viability
  • Attracting capital necessary to scale the business

Polak, who authored one of the definitive books on social entrepreneurship, The Business Solution to Poverty, with Mal Warwick, has a process for learning from people experiencing extreme poverty in the field.

He starts with an eight-hour interview with a family in their home. “I’ll ask them what they had for breakfast what they feed their dog, how far the kids go to school.” His goal is to establish a genuine rapport.

He drinks tea with them. “I have to take a pee somehow and find a way of doing that.” This allows him both to drink more tea and to get a clearer view of their lifestyle.

After completing the long interview with one family, he’ll interview six or seven others for an hour or two. It takes about five days. “I’ve never gone through that process without stumbling upon at least one transformative idea.”

After decades of developing social ventures, writing books and innovating, Polak remains as eager to hit on the next big idea for ending poverty as he ever has been.

A Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

The best time for an 85-year-old social entrepreneur to start a new business that may take decades to reach the targeted 100 million people was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.

Learn my insider secrets for getting media attention for your social enterprise or nonprofit. Click here.


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Open Road Alliance Funds Solutions To Roadblocks In Social Projects


Open Road Alliance is perhaps unique in the philanthropic and impact investing world. The organization is a private philanthropic initiative that funds solutions to roadblocks in social projects.

Maya Winkelstein, executive director, and Caroline Bressan, director of social investments, explain that Open Road Alliance funds solutions to problems that pop up in otherwise fully-funded projects.

Given that almost every project involves unforeseen problems, learning more about Open Road Alliance seems like an important investment for nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs.

Interview with Maya Winkelstein, the Executive Director of Open Road Alliance.

The following is the pre-interview with Maya Winkelstein. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

We’ll be discussing gap financing for nonprofits and social enterprises.

Social organizations are the working poor of the business world. Their limited access to short-term working capital dilutes their potential impact, hindering their growth and long-term sustainability; with no safety net, one external shock can mean failure. Our loan fund, Open Road Ventures, is Open Road’s effort to start creating that safety net so that social enterprises have access to the resources they need to meet business and impact targets. with Maya Winkelstein.

How are you personally affected by Social organizations are the working poor of the business world. Their limited access to short-term working capital dilutes their potential impact, hindering their growth and long-term sustainability; with no safety net, one external shock can mean failure. Our loan fund, Open Road Ventures, is Open Road’s effort to start creating that safety net so that social enterprises have access to the resources they need to meet business and impact targets.

Words like “short-term working capital,” “below-market,” and “cash flow” may not feel consequential to the average person – but to a social entrepreneur, they can mean everything. Social entrepreneurs, just like profit-driven businesses, need access to financial tools to make their businesses work. However, unlike their counterparts, impact-driven businesses often lack access to traditional financing mechanisms. So why does this matter to you or me?

This issue matters because the problems that social entrepreneurs are working on are our problems. Whether its climate change, healthcare, education, or entrenched conflict, these entrepreneurs and their companies exist because we’ve decided that there are societal problems that need fixing and these organizations are doing the hard work to try and fix them. To make that decision and then fail to give them the adequate tools to implement their solutions affects us all. Every time one of these organizations is pushed off track – not because their intervention is flawed or their model is unsuccessful but because they don’t have access to a financial product that every other business does – we all lose in the long run.

What is your take on gap financing for nonprofits and social enterprises?

At Open Road, we believe that money is only a tool, never a solution. Capital has never solved a single social problem – and yet it is an indispensable tool to implementing solutions whether it’s an educational program for incarcerated youth or a clean energy company bringing solar power to rural farmers. But, it’s also not a one-size-fits-all tool.

At Open Road, we believe that the role of investors – especially impact investors – is to provide the financial tools that entrepreneurs need, and a critical tool that is in too short supply is short-term, bridge financing. So, that’s what we do.

Learn more:  openroadalliance.org/learn-more/

More about Open Road Alliance:

Twitter: @OpenRoadTweets

Website: openroadalliance.org

Open Road Alliance is a private philanthropic initiative that serves the social sector by keeping impact on track in an unpredictable world.

Open Road was founded in 2012 by psychologist and philanthropist Dr. Laurie Michaels to address the need for contingency funds and the absence of risk management practices in philanthropy. We provide both short- and long-term solutions to unexpected challenges that arise during project implementation, so that impact and finite resources can be maximized across the social sector.

To meet immediate needs, we offer fast, flexible funding to nonprofits and social enterprises facing discrete, unexpected roadblocks during project implementation. We fund via two portfolios, Charitable Grants and Loans. Open Road Loans are below market-rate and disbursed via our loan fund, Open Road Ventures.

Open Road sees every grant and loan it makes as an investment for social impact. Our funding model is based on speed and financial leverage.

In addition to our investment portfolio, Open Road promotes the long-term, sector-wide adoption of better risk management practices. In collaboration with peers, we conduct research, develop tools, and generate data on approaches to financial and non-financial risk management. By disseminating learnings and advocating for the adoption of best practices, Open Road is working to make risk management as commonplace in philanthropy as monitoring and evaluation; ultimately, preserving finite resources and social impact in our sector.

Maya Winkelstein

Maya Winkelstein’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/mayawinks/

Maya Winkelstein is Executive Director of Open Road Alliance where she is responsible for the organization’s overall investment strategy and management of both Open Road Alliance and Open Road Ventures.

Winkelstein has worked with Open Road since the organization’s inception in 2012. Prior to her role as Executive Director, she worked as an Associate Director with the consulting firm williamsworks. Former clients also include Eastern Congo Initiative, Nike Foundation, PATH, Tostan, and TOMS Shoes. Prior to williamsworks, Winkelstein served in multiple roles in the non-profit and government sectors focusing on program development, fundraising strategy, and corporate partnerships.

Winkelstein writes and speaks frequently about Open Road’s work and its growing research expertise in ‘Risk Management in Philanthropy.’ She is a regular speaker at forums such as Council on Foundations, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Clinton Global Initiative, and The Philanthropy Workshop. Her work has also appeared in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Foundation Review and many other publications. In 2017, Maya was featured in Chronicle of Philanthropy’s ‘On the Rise’ series and Huffington Post’s ‘Women in Business.’ She is also a Board Member of Global Press Institute and a member of the Leadership Advisory Council for GrantAdvisors.org.

Winkelstein holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan; MSc from the London School of Economics; and Certificate in Corporate Finance from Georgetown University. She lives in Kansas with her husband and two young sons.

Interview with Caroline Bressan, the Director of Social Investments of Open Road Alliance.

Caroline Bressan

Caroline Bressan’s bio:

Twitter: @CaroBressan

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/caroline-bressan-54023439/

Caroline Bressan is the Director of Social Investments of Open Road Alliance, which she joined in 2015.

Prior to Open Road, Caroline was an Investment Principal at D. Capital, the investment advisory wing of Dalberg. There she focused on D. Capital’s impact investment advisory offerings, building a pipeline of investment opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa, specifically in energy and agriculture. Caroline also worked on the design and structuring of innovative financing mechanisms, including impact bonds and social impact insurance.

Previously, Caroline was an Investment Officer at Calvert Foundation where she managed its $20 million portfolio mainly focused on Latin America. At Calvert Foundation, she originated and managed a pipeline of lending and investment deals focused on the sustainable trade, social enterprise, and financial inclusion sectors. In addition, Caroline designed and launched a revolving line of credit product, the first of its kind for Calvert Foundation and helped launch the international component of the Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN). She also sat on the investment committee of the Haitian Emergency Liquidity Fund, created to provide funding to microfinance institutions in the aftermath of the 2009 earthquake. Caroline has previously worked in Bolivia with Pro Mujer designing a business education program for clients.

Caroline received her MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. She speaks English and Spanish.


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Young Rotarian Leverages Technology And Rotary Clubs To Clean Ocean


Ludovic Grosjean, the founder and principal consultant at OceanX Group has launched a nonprofit effort leveraging his relationship with Rotary International and its clubs to use technology to identify and remove pollution from the ocean.

He was recognized by Rotary at its annual event at the United Nations for his innovative work.

Interview with Ludovic Grosjean, the Principal Consultant – Chartered Engineer of Company name: OceanX Group / Project name: The OceanCleanX.

The following is the pre-interview with Ludovic Grosjean. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Company: Profits invested in Research  – Project: Nonprofit used in order to remove pollution

Revenue model: Company (OceanX Group): Selling Engineering Consulting Services (provides Systems Integration, Engineering design, R&D, Environmental monitoring, software solutions)

Clients: NGOs, City Councils, EPA, Environmental Agencies, OEM, Parks, Harbour Authorities, Transport Companies

Non-Profit Project (The OceanCleanX): Receiving Donations, Grants, Volunteering, Equipment access (provides Cleaning services, Information, Communication, Ocean Publications, Supports Ocean Media and Advocacy groups)

Clients: International Ocean Community, General Public, Media, Ocean Innovators, innovative companies, Non-Profits, NGOs

Scale: OceanX Group (Company): External Consultants, Company sales revenue ~ 100,000 AUD (small business) / The OceanCleanX (Project): Volunteers only

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

Problem: Pollution entering our Oceans

Solution: Track pollution and stop it at its sources

Rotary Recognition at UN  

More about Company name: OceanX Group / Project name: The OceanCleanX:

Twitter: @OceanXgroup @OceanCleanX

Facebook: facebook.com/OceanXgroup/

facebook.com/OceanCleanX/

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/OceanXgroup/

linkedin.com/company/OceanCleanX/

Website: OceanXGroup.com.au

OceanCleanX.com

OceanX Group’s mission is to collaborate with the community in order to protect the future of our Oceans. Our team designs innovative solutions to monitor the environment. We are accelerating the shift towards Ocean protection and sustainable use of Ocean resources. We work closely with the world’s leading technological companies and experts. Our projects and expertise include Unmanned Systems, systems integration, instrumentation and sensors and Machine Learning with extensive R&D capabilities. We aim to develop the most advanced cutting-edge technological solutions to monitor and remove water pollution from our waterways.

The OceanCleanX is the ultimate Social and Technological approach to stop Ocean pollution at its sources. We are promoting automated pollution monitoring solutions and innovations that use artificial intelligence and drones to remove plastics and other pollution from rivers and waterways, while also detecting their source. The project is widely supported by Rotary International to promote volunteering for river cleanup events.

Ludovic Grosjean. Photo Credit: Rotary International – at RotaryUNday (Photograph by Alyce Henson)

Ludovic Grosjean’s bio:

Twitter: @LudovicGrosjean

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/LudovicGrosjean/

Instagram: @LudovicGrosjean

Chartered Engineer with 12 years of Ocean experience, Ludovic is Principal Consultant at OceanX Group, an Engineering Consultancy specializing in Environmental Pollution Monitoring. Ludovic holds a formal qualification in Mechatronics Engineering and Environmental Monitoring.

As a supporter of Rotary Values and former President of Melbourne City Rotaract Club (MCRC), Ludovic has been providing an innovative approach to clean water through his environmental project “The OceanCleanX”. As a leader and community educator, he strives for projects to reduce water pollution on a global scale and make a long-term difference for humanity. His career focus is to build collaboration between organizations in order to advance Engineering and preserve the Environment with the ultimate goal of Saving our Oceans.

In 2018, Ludovic Grosjean was selected by Barry Rassin, President of Rotary International, to showcase his work and be awarded at the United Nations in Kenya and was named as “1 of 6 Rotary’s People of Action: Young Innovators”.


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Her Competitive Streak Serves Her Well On The Racetrack And In Social Enterprise


Kristin Nimsigner, CEO of Social Solutions, may be typical of hard-charging Silicon Valley CEO’s, driving an actual racecar to work every day, but she’s less typical of young mothers racing at the track. Her competitive spirit has helped Social Solutions to attract a $59 million investment from Microsoft founder Steve Ballmer’s investment fund.

Social Solutions provides software to nonprofits to help them measure and increase their impact.

Interview with Kristin Nimsger, the CEO of Social Solutions.

The following is the pre-interview with Kristin Nimsger, CEO Social Solutions. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Our mission-driven clients pay subscription fees for access to our software as a service (SaaS) platforms.

Scale: We currently have 280 employees, serve 18,000 organizations, and 27.2 million participants.

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

Non-profits are a critical societal resource, providing services and programs that meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations and their crucial need insecurities. But non-profits around the world struggle with operating efficiencies and to demonstrate the clear impact and outcomes of their programmatic work due to lack of data availability, constrained resources, and a lack of technical expertise or core competencies. For over 15 years, our mission has been to empower these non-profits with resources and tools that help them measure their work, demonstrate their impact, and accelerate the progress they bring to the world. Social Solutions’ case management software and services help nonprofits of all sizes track data, manage cases, and measure and ultimately to drive better outcomes.

In August 2018, the Ballmer Foundation announced a five-year, $59 million commitment to Social Solutions in order to improve educational outcomes across the country.

Through the investment, Social Solutions is able not only improve its technology and design but also cut licensing costs for nonprofits through a matching grant program.

By pairing information from schools and community organizations and getting a “360-degree view” of the student, Social Solutions’ Apricot 360 software helps nonprofits and school districts proactively identify student risk factors and take action.

In November 2018, Social Solutions awarded the first two nonprofit organizations with matching grants using funding from the Ballmer group – Prospera and SA Youth, San Antonio based nonprofits.  

With Apricot 360, Prospera is now able to:

  • Harness data for more comprehensive reporting – a critical factor in securing funding
  • Proactively identify risks and take action
  • Tackle the intersection of housing and health care, using data to monitor and manage the 80 percent of factors affecting health that occur outside of the clinical setting
  • Focus on getting education support to at-risk children more quickly by proactively tying eviction notices and warnings to families who might have to move suddenly

With Apricot 360, SA Youth is now able to:

  • Facilitate the gathering and synthesis of data between SA Youth and school districts to better monitor outcomes around attendance, grades and other services provided
  • More efficiently track not only where students in the YouthBuild program are coming from, but the services provided and ultimately, where they end up
  • Create an overall more holistic view of the students that the organization serves
  • Additional matching grants will be announced on a national scale in the coming weeks and months.

Ballmer Announcement

The Star Project

More about Social Solutions :

Twitter: @SocialSolutions

Facebook: facebook.com/SocialSolutionsInc

Instagram: @socialsolutionsglobal

Website: www.socialsolutions.com

Social Solutions Global, the provider of Efforts to Outcomes (ETO®) and Apricot® Software, specializes in case management and outcomes software for the nonprofit and human services sector including education, homelessness, survivors services, workforce solutions, and education outcome support programs. Across the globe, our software is the leader in equipping thousands of organizations with the tools needed to transform the lives of children, adults, and families by making data useful to staff at all levels, from case managers to executive leadership.

Kristin Nimsger. Photo Credit: Social Solutions

Kristin Nimsger bio:

Twitter: @knimsger

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/kristin-nimsger-42629914/

Kristin is the Chief Executive Officer at Social Solutions. She brings an extensive background in the philanthropic technology space and a proven track record as a software executive to the Social Solutions team. Known for driving transformation and growth in software organizations of many sizes; her experience spans small private companies, fortune 500 holding companies, and private equity models.

Prior to joining Social Solutions, Kristin served as CEO of MicroEdge, LLC., a leading provider of financial management, grants management and employee engagement software solutions, which was part of the Vista Equity Partners portfolio of companies. During her tenure, she led an evolution in the way foundations invest to deliver results and outcomes for their constituents and partners, and ultimately led the sale of MicroEdge to publicly traded Blackbaud, Inc (BLKB) in 2014.

Prior to MicroEdge, Kristin oversaw a suite of productivity software products and services for legal professionals at Thomson Reuters, and prior to that served in many key leadership roles for E-Discovery, data recovery and computer forensics technology provider Kroll Ontrack, ultimately serving as President of the company for 4 years. Kroll Ontrack is a B2B provider of technology-enabled services, software, and SaaS solutions for the legal industry with 1500 employees in 23 countries. Kroll Ontrack was sold to Providence Equity Partners in 2010.

Kristin is passionate about sharing her expertise through service and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Kristin earned a J. D. cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota and a B.A. in English/Communications from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and a certificate in Management and Leadership from MIT – Sloan School of Management.


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ShariaPortfolio Provides Halal-Compliant Investing Platform


ShariaPortfolio, Inc., operates a halal compliant investment platform that provides a socially responsible investment screen, excluding a variety of “sin” stocks, including alcohol, tobacco and gaming. The investment criteria also exclude highly levered stocks, resulting in some measurable downside protection.

Interview with Aliredha Walji, the Vice President, USA of ShariaPortfolio, Inc.

The following is the pre-interview with Aliredha Walji. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: ShariaPortfolio has always been a fiduciary, fee-only service firm. With no conflicts of interest, our only revenue comes from the management fee we charge our clients. The exact fee is dependent on the total assets being managed and type of service chosen by the client. Our Express service fee ranges from 0.4 to 0.75% annually while our Access service fee ranges from 0.5 to 1.5% annually.

Scale: We have a total of 13 people on our team currently managing $65M in AUM. We are projected to reach $150M in AUM and roughly 1.3M revenue by FY 2020 any by FY 2022 we hope to achieve $500M in AUM and around 5M in revenue.

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

The Muslim population in the U.S. is projected to grow from 3.45 million in 2017 to 8.1 million by 2050, and despite the growth, Muslims lack access to investment solutions tailored to their religious beliefs. ShariaPortfolio is experienced and well positioned to help this underserved population, offering comprehensive wealth management solutions, robo-advisor service, 401(k) plans for businesses and co-managed accounts for non-Sharia-compliant advisors.

From an investment management standpoint, our historical returns typically thrive in up markets – in 2017 our aggressive strategy outperformed the S&P by 5%.  Perhaps more importantly, we also offer greater downside protection than conventional firms since we do not engage in speculative trading and avoid highly leveraged industries. During the financial crisis of 2008, for example, our most aggressive portfolios were only down around 24%, while the broader markets had dropped almost 37%.

More about ShariaPortfolio, Inc. :

Twitter: @ShariaPortfolio

Facebook: facebook.com/shariaportfolio

Instagram: @shariaportfolio

Website: shariaportfolio.com

ShariaPortfolio, Inc. is a full-service, boutique asset manager specializing in 
Sharia-compliant investing with international expansion plans in 2019. We believe in carefully maintaining social responsibility and emphasizing ethics in our investment choices. We completely avoid industries related to alcohol, tobacco, pornography and gambling. In accordance with Islamic principles, we also shun pork and interest-based finance and avoid businesses whose operations are highly leveraged. We have been in business since 2003 and currently serve clients in over 25 states. We offer a wider range of solutions than other Sharia-compliant investment advisors, and provide customized services not available at most large brokerage shops.

Aliredha Walji

Aliredha Walji’s bio:

Twitter: @AliredhaWalji

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/shariaportfolio/

Aliredha Walji manages the US operations at ShariaPortfolio, Inc. Based out of the company’s main office in Lake Mary, FL, Aliredha has traveled across the United States presenting on the topic of Halal Investing at a variety of venues, including mosques, personal residences and large conventions. During his tenure at ShariaPortfolio, Aliredha has helped to double the company’s total assets under management, as well as grow the advisor team. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, a Masters of Business Administration from Crown College, a faith-based institution, and is currently working on a Certified Financial Planning course through the NYU School of Professional Studies.


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This Teenage Ambassador for Wonderbag Is Addressing Three Global Problems at Once

Chiara Savage Schwatz, a teenage changemaker, is working to raise money to help families in South Africa obtain Wonderbag slow cookers. These ingenious products require no energy! Families use them by bringing a pot of food up to a high temperature over a fire or stove and then by inserting the pot into the superinsulated bag to finish cooking, reducing the total energy required to cook the food.

This single tool helps reduce fuel consumption and indoor smoke. By reducing fuel, usually charcoal or wood, she is helping to reduce deforestation and to slow climate change. By reducing indoor smoke, she is improving the health of everyone inside the home, especially the women in children who tend to spend the most time there.

By using donations to make the devices free or affordable to low-income families, she is helping to address global poverty. When low-income families can spend less on fuel, more money is available for clean water, food and education.

So, the Wonderbag is one intervention that addresses three key problems: poverty, global health and climate change. Chiara is one powerful teenager!

Interview with Chiara Savage Schwartz, the Wonderbag Ambassador of Wonderbag/Wonderbag.org.

The following is the pre-interview with Chiara Savage Schwartz. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Revenue model: I have raised almost all of my funds by doing bake sales, selling all homemade treats at various grocery stores and sports events where I live. When I do bake sales, I generally make three batches of chocolate chip cookies, three batches of brownies and two batches of rice crispy treats per bakesale. My supplies have generally cost about 10% of my profits. By doing bake sales in my local community I have raised awareness about my cause and gotten friends and family involved to start fundraising efforts with me. My past few bake sales have been done with friends at my own high school and others, and I am hoping to expand to more friends and schools to collaborate with other kids who want to make positive change in the world.

Scale: Over the past two years I have sold over 7000 treats and raised over $11,000 by running bake sales and one online fundraiser. Since the beginning, the fundraising has been almost all individual, but it is now beginning to expand and people take interest in the cause, and this is awesome!

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

I work to address issues of inequality in the world. In particular, I am motivated to help girls get their educations. By raising funds to bring Wonderbags to families, especially families that cook over open fires, I am hopefully freeing up time spent gathering wood and cooking, so that girls can go to school, and so women can do money-generating work. This is not an issue with one simple solution, and it will take time, effort, and worldwide attention to work towards equal educational opportunities for everyone.

More about Wonderbag/Wonderbag.org:

Twitter: @WonderbagSA

Facebook: facebook.com/TheWonderbag/

Instagram: @thewonderbag

Website: www.wonderbag.org

Wonderbag works to economically empower women and girls around the world by addressing the critical daily challenges of time poverty, self-worth, and cleaner, healthier cooking. A Wonderbag is a non-electric slow cooker that reduces the amount of energy needed to cook by 30-80% and can save women 1,465 hours each year spent cooking and gathering fuel to cook. It is an eco-friendly and resourceful tool that is being activated in communities worldwide to help free up their time to obtain educations and seek better job opportunities.

Chiara Savage Swartz in South Africa. Photo Credit: Mark Strassman

Chiara Savage Schwartz’s bio:

Chiara Savage Schwartz has been fundraising to bring Wonderbags to communities in need since she was 11 years old and, with her family, was visiting two school programs in South Africa, the Kliptown Youth Program(KYP) and eSibonisweni Primary School. After consulting with program teachers and successfully testing 5 Wonderbags at KYP,  Chiara raised the funds to bring 280 Wonderbags to the Kliptown Youth Program community in 2016 by doing bake sales in her local Marin County community. Returning to South Africa in 2018 after two more years of fundraising, Chiara brought 500 Wonderbags to the eSibonisweni Primary School families and hosted a Wonderfeast for 1200 people, where there was a full demonstration on the benefits of Wonderbag use and a community celebration. Chiara is motivated to help women and girls around the world, and work to make the world a more equitable place. Chiara is currently a high school freshman at Marin Academy, and an avid runner, soccer player, and skier. She adores baking and also loves art, in particular pen and ink drawing and ceramics.


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