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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

Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

The Bigger the Problem, the More Creative We Must Be! Learn How!


Monica Kang is an expert on creativity and passionate about solving the world’s big problems. She shares how to be more creative in her new book, Rethink Creativity.

Interview with Monica Kang, the Founder & CEO of InnovatorsBox.

The following is the pre-interview with Monica Kang. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Making creative thinking accessible and relatable for all. 87% of the global workforce believes that they cannot be creative and feel stuck at work. We want to change this narrative and show how you can live your full potential.

Monica’s new book:  rethinkcreativity.co

More about InnovatorsBox:

Twitter: @InnovatorsBox

Facebook: facebook.com/innovatorsbox

Website: Innovatorsbox.com

InnovatorsBox® is a creative education firm that catalyzes sustainable change at the level where it matters the most: your mindset. We believe that everyone is innately creative, and that creativity has the power to solve every organization’s challenges, no matter the industry. Whether you’re addressing company culture, professional development, or any other organizational challenge, our customizable approach targets your specific pain point through creativity. Our educational programs, products, and interactive exercises help develop and grow professionals’ creative mindsets to catalyze both personal and organizational change.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: We offer workshops, speaking, facilitation and curriculum development services to corporations and individuals through our B2B and B2C offerings.

Scale: We have done programs for over 6,000 individuals in the past 2.5 years in over 20 cities.

Monica Kang
Photo Credit: District Dodger

Monica Kang’s bio:

Twitter: @InnovatorsBox

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monicakang

Monica H. Kang, Founder & CEO of InnovatorsBox® , helps companies and leaders transform with the power of creativity. When she is not traveling around the world to speak at conferences or work with clients, she teaches entrepreneurship and leadership as an Adjunct Professor at BAU International. Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation security expert. She completed her M.A. at Johns Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. She is also the author of Rethink Creativity: How to Innovate, Inspire, and Thrive at Work. She lives in Washington, DC and spends her days developing new projects on creativity over a chai latte and chocolate croissant.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

They Say To ‘Follow Your Passion’ But How Exactly Do You Do That?

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

The advice to “follow your passion” is so common as to be considered by thoughtful writers of original prose to be a cliché. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad advice, but it does leave audiences wanting more. Experienced, successful social entrepreneurs model the procedure.

For purposes of this article, I will presume that your passion is something that matters, that someone’s life other than your own is dependent upon your success. If your passion is rounded corners on rectangles, I wish you well but have nothing for you. If your passion is ending the impoverishing bias against pygmy populations in the Congo or fighting echinococcosis or other neglected tropical diseases or implementing age-old agricultural techniques that increase yields while sequestering carbon, please stick around.

Here is my guide for following your passion.

CHOICE co-founder and octogenarian James Mayfield joined the expedition, sleeping on the floor and helping with stoves. CREDIT: CHOICE HUMANITARIAN

Step 1. Find your passion. Regardless of your age, you know you’ve found your passion when making a physical sacrifice—sleeping on the floor, walking long distance, traveling constantly, or going without good food for days at a time—seems a small price to pay for the opportunity to make a difference. James Mayfield, founder of CHOICE Humanitarian, is in his 80s and still finds himself working in remote villages in Nepal, sleeping on the floor, in his quest to end extreme poverty in that country. He found his passion. Find a big problem you’re willing to make physical sacrifices to solve.

Step 2. Develop and deploy a relevant skill. The greater and more relevant your skills to addressing the problem you’ve chosen, the more likely you are to solve the problem. Yes, Médecins Sans Frontières does need lawyers, travel agents, logicians and a variety of other trained and skilled people, but if you really want to play in this arena, you’ll want to develop mad medical skills as a doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse.

Step 3. Spot your spot. At some point in your career—early or late—you’re likely to see a problem, probably a subset of the problem you’ve been working to solve, that is being entirely neglected. For example, Owen Robinson, founder of Haiti Cardiac Alliance, was working for the large international NGO Partners in Health when he noted that no one was tracking the children who needed cardiac care in Haiti. He launched his organization to do just that and has since saved hundreds of children by not only matching them to capable caregivers but also by assiduously tracking their progress over time. His organization is effective—radically so by my analysis—because he knew what he was doing when he spotted his spot and went to work.

Rotary volunteer, George Solomon with Owen Robinson, founder of Haiti Cardiac Alliance. Photo by Devin Thorpe. CREDIT: DEVIN THORPE

Step 4. Scale your good. There are nearly a billion people who are living in extreme poverty, seldom having enough food to eat, often lacking access to clean water and certainly having no sanitary place to defecate. As noble as it is to help the one, you cannot allow yourself to be satisfied by small things. The scale of problems is so vast, you must constantly be thinking about how to increase your impact not 10% but tenfold. The magnitude of the problems the world faces, including climate change, demands a relentless focus on growth. When Ann Cotton helped the first 32 girls in Zimbabwe attend school, she likely didn’t imagine that one day the organization she founded, CAMFED, would have educated 10,000 times that number—but it is quickly approaching that milestone. Having grown its impact by four orders of magnitude, she and the organization must continue to think about growing by yet another order of magnitude to reach millions of girls.

It is easy to conclude that only remarkable people can have great impact. That notion turns reality entirely on its head. The people who have made the greatest change for good in the world are remarkable precisely because of what they did. No one knew Mother Teresa was remarkable when she took her vow of poverty and began her ministry in Calcutta in 1932. The fact is, she wasn’t so remarkable then. She is admired for her work because of what she accomplished not for who she was.

One of the people I have come to admire most, is Susanna Rea Oam, an ordinary woman from Australia. She is a polio survivor, but unlike many others who were paralyzed by the crippling disease, she suffers little apparent harm from the childhood disease. After her first husband passed away, she organized a campaign within Rotary (I, too, am a member) to raise money for the international service organization’s global campaign to eradicate polio. Over the years since, she has helped raise over $3 million by flying around the world to Rotary Clubs and personally asking club members to donate to her “World’s Greatest Meal to End Polio” campaign. With a match from the Gates Foundation, the $3 million has become $9 million, enough to vaccinate 15 million children. This is how ordinary becomes extraordinary.

You can follow your passion. You can do more than round the corners on rectangles. You can change the world.

Click here to get my free webinar showing the three myths that hamper and the two keys for nonprofit crowdfunding success.


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This Pair Is Working To Integrate Refugees Into Parisian Employment And Community


Jean Guo, CEO, and Binta Jammeh, COO, of Konexio are working to provide digital skills training to improve the educational and career potential to some of the 200,000 refugees living in Paris. Just as important, they are strategically helping them to connect to the broader Paris community to help them fully integrate into their new community.

Launched less than two years ago, Konexio is already showing results, with most of the participants reporting that they use the skills they learned. Almost three quarters report getting jobs!

Interview with Jean Guo, the CEO, co-founder of Konexio.

The following is the pre-interview with Jean Guo. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

The problem that Konexio seeks to solve is the pressing issue of integration and employment for vulnerable populations, notably refugees and migrants. This problem revolves around three key facts:

There are currently 65 million displaced persons globally.

In France, where Konexio operates, there are over 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers, and the unemployment rate within this group is over 50%.

On average it takes 20 years for refugees to reach the same employment level as nationals.

However, according to the European Commission, 1€ invested in integration efforts can yield 2€ in economic benefits. Furthermore, it is is estimated that there will be 1 million vacancies in jobs requiring digital skills in Europe by 2020, while a staggering 90 % of jobs across Europe already require candidates to have at least a basic level of digital literacy.

Our solution is to provide digital and soft skills training to our students, thus providing refugees with opportunities for professional, social and educational development and a pathway to inclusion and integration in their host community.

We currently operate two programs out of our headquarters in Paris. Developed in line with digital skills standards recognized at both the European and international level, our digital skills program consists of a sequence of cumulative courses covering basic computer use and internet navigation to word processing (Microsoft Word) and spreadsheet proficiency (Microsoft Excel).

Our code skills program starts with basic concepts of web development. Digitous is the following course and a 2-step program. The first part involves a full stack curriculum, while the second focuses on hands-on learning by working on tech projects for businesses to give Konexio students access to their first professional experience in France.

In addition to digital and code skills training, we organize workshops focused on soft skills. Soft skills training, which requires an intimate knowledge of social and cultural codes, are particularly important for our refugee students looking to integrate in France. These interpersonal skills, such as effective communication, teamwork and working in collaborative environments, self-confidence, time management, self-expression and making public presentations, are as important and necessary as digital skills training — both are needed for a streamlined integration not only into the job market, but into the social fabrics of their new host communities.

Donate:  helloasso.com/associations/konexio/formulaires/1/en

More about Konexio:

Twitter: @konexio_eu

Facebook: facebook.com/konexio.eu/

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/konexio/

Website: konexio.eu

Konexio provides digital skills training and work placement for the most vulnerable, including refugee and migrant populations. With the opportunities presented by growing and unmet labor market demands in Europe for digitally-proficient/skilled individuals, our model focuses on training students in both hard and soft skills; we use innovative, tech-driven tools to deliver our computer skills training modules while tapping into our entrenched network of local and international partnerships to provide our students with access to professional and personal development workshops.

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

Revenue model: We have a mixed portfolio containing several different revenue streams. We receive funding on one end from philanthropic supporters and foundations, as well as government grants, donations from corporate partners. We are moving to increase self-financing options, which include revenue streams from projects carried out by our students in collaboration with tech companies that we source (part of which would go to the students and part of which would be re-invested back into their education), hiring fees paid by employers to recruit long-term from our pool of students and a freemium model of payment for the program.

Scale: Since our creation in November 2016, Konexio has welcomed more than 120 students through 16 promotions, received support from more than 100 volunteers who have donated more than 2000 hours of engagement, and developed more than 30 local and international partnerships in tech, government and the nonprofit sector. In terms of the target outcomes achieved by our students, of the Konexio alumni surveyed, 70% have gone on to find work, launch their own entrepreneurial projects, or continue their education, 94% continue to use the digital skills learned in our courses in both their professional and personal lives, and 94% reported feeling more socially included and connected to their local communities. In 2018, we won the Quick Pitch Prize at the Global Social Venture Competition, and are current finalists in two social innovation tournaments organized by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission.

Jean Guo

Jean Guo’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/jean-guo-73a75514/

Jean Guo is the CEO and co-founder of Konexio. She co founded Konexio based on her research as a Fulbright fellow investigating migrant policy at the Paris School of Economics, graduated from Stanford with dual degrees in economics and human biology, and worked as a strategy consultant before moving to Paris.  

For both her and Binta, as children of immigrant families, they saw firsthand the challenges their families faced in navigating the social, cultural, educational, and professional challenges of settling in a new country.

Binta Jammeh
Photo Credit: Maria del Mar Rodriguez

Binta Jammeh’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/binta-jammeh-60b488161/

Binta Jammeh is the COO and co-founder, Konexio. She’s a passionate advocate for global education and intercultural communication, with several years experience in education with vulnerable populations. She has worked with refugee communities in the United States, in early language education in Thailand, and more recently at a high-school in an at-risk community in the suburbs of Paris. Her dedication to helping migrants navigate the cultural and socioeconomic complexities of adapting to life in their new host countries lead her to co-founding Konexio.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

18 Impact Investing Trends You Haven’t Seen Before And 1 You Have

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Below are 19 trends in the impact investing world that are most likely unknown to you, because they are developing in pockets and corners of the arena where most people don’t have visibility. One or two of these may be familiar to readers who work in the space.

One thing is generally recognized. Impact investing is growing. Quickly.

The Global Impact Investing Network recently estimated that there are $228 billion invested in impact, double the prior year estimate.

The trends observed below hint at opportunities for both impact investors and social entrepreneurs. They also suggest hope for the future.

Stephanie Gripne CREDIT: IMPACT FINANCE CENTER

“Zebras fix what unicorns break,” says Stephanie Gripne, founder and CEO of the Impact Finance Center, suggesting a shift to investing in real solutions rather than fictitious ones. “A new stable of investments: if angels invest in unicorns (10x), and heroes invest in racehorses (10%), what about the catalysts (0%) and champions (-65%)?” She is seeing roles for investors across a spectrum of returns—including negative financial returns for the most philanthropically minded investors.

2.

Dave Richards CREDIT: CAPRIA

Dave Richards, managing partner at Capria, has placed investments around the developing world. He observes, “International ‘airplane investing’ is being replaced with investing via smart, professional, on-the-ground investment teams.”

3.

Cecile Blilious CREDIT: IMPACT FIRST INVESTMENTS

International impact investor Cecile Blilious, founder and managing partner at Impact First Investments, observed two parallel trends—one of which she doesn’t like. “Startups adopting business models serving society without saying the word ‘impact.’ Unwanted trend: funds misusing the word ‘impact’ as a marketing tool.”

4.

Morgan Simon CREDIT: CANDIDE GROUP

“People are becoming more conscious consumers of impact investing,” says Morgan Simon, the founding partner of Candide Group. They are now asking, “Is the impact truly transformative, or just making poverty a little more bearable?”

5.

Thane Kreiner CREDIT: THANE KREINER

Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, sees “the mobilization of capital to address refugees, migrants, and human trafficking survivors.”

6.

Candace Smith CREDIT: MICROVEST CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

“Digital finance is making it cheaper and quicker to access financial services; key impact investors are ensuring that a deeply ethical approach will be part of any new delivery mechanism,” says Candace Smith, managing director of risk at MicroVest Capital Management.

7.

Matt Davis CREDIT: RENEW LLC

“Impact investing is cutting into philanthropic dollars earmarked for Africa,” notes Matthew Davis, CEO of Renew LLC. He says this is “appropriate for the African economic story that is unfolding.” Finally, he adds, “DAFs [donor advised funds] are becoming an enabling tool for impact investing.”

8.

Daryl Carter CREDIT: AVANATH CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

In the context of “more capital flows into the impact space,” Daryl J. Carter, CEO of Avanath Capital Management, sees three trends. First, increasing capital from “offshore investors,” second, “more focus on housing affordability,” and third, “increased emphasis on impact measurement.”

9.

Ross Baird CREDIT: VILLAGE CAPITAL

Ross Baird, president of Village Capital, notes that “81% of entrepreneurs raise neither venture capital nor get a bank loan.” He adds, “I’m excited to see investors innovating on alternative financing mechanisms for the vast majority of new businesses.”

10.

Mara Bolis CREDIT: OXFAM AMERICA

“Principles to separate impact investing from conventional forms of finance are coming,” says Mara Bolis, a senior advisor at Oxfam America. “They are critical for establishing impact integrity, for building community and reforming how finance behaves.”

11.

Alix Lebec CREDIT: WATEREQUITY

“Water and sanitation is gaining momentum among impact investors,” says Alix Lebec, executive vice president of investor relations at WaterEquity, which is affiliated with Water.org, famously supported by Matt Damon. “According to the Global Impact Investing Network, 42% of investors plan to increase their investments toward this global challenge.”

12.

Samim Abedi CREDIT: WAYVEMEDIA.COM

“The previous sense that investors were OK sacrificing some return to invest in compliant channels has shifted to the expectation that SRI is expected to keep up with or outperform the broader market,” according to Samim Abedi, global head of portfolios at Wahed Invest, a halal investing platform.

13.

Dave Fanger CREDIT: SWELL INVESTING

“Aligning impact investing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals is going to increase in the years ahead,” says Dave Fanger, CEO of Swell Investing. “The goals ensure investors’ dollars work towards solving the world’s greatest challenges.”

14.

Nancy Pfund CREDIT: DBL PARTNERS

“Impact investing: do well by doing good while also protecting nature,” says Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Partners, an early investor in Tesla. “The Muse survey finds workers value access to healthy outdoors.” DBL acted on this trend by investing in “America’s first memorial conservation forest.”

15.

Robert Kaplan, Circulate Capital CREDIT: CLOSED LOOP FUND

“As the world’s attention has focused on plastic pollution and health of the ocean, I see huge impact investing opportunity in the solutions to the root causes,” says Robert Kaplan, CEO of Circulate Capital, which was recently formed to take advantage of this opportunity.

16.

Robert Rubinstein CREDIT: TBLI

Robert Rubinstein, founder and chairman of TBLI Group BV, says, “Public transport infrastructure, community banks, small-scale agriculture and hospitality are major trends.”

17.

Joel Solomon CREDIT: RENEWAL FUNDS

Joel Solomon, co-founding partner at Renewal Funds, sees a trend in “the rising push for funding focused specifically on underserved communities of color and women-led companies.”

18.

Laura Callanan CREDIT: UPSTART CO-LAB

“The creative economy–food, fashion, media, entertainment—is what’s next,” according to Laura Callanan, founding partner of Upstart Co-Lab, which “identified 100 impact funds active in the creative economy.” She says, “We need a Creativity Lens to see what’s there.”

19.

Andrea Armeni,CREDIT: TRANSFORM FINANCE

Andrea Armeni, executive director of Transform Finance, sees “a shift in focus from the what–the product or service itself–to the how: how you create impact via an investment’s structure, its effect on all stakeholders, and for whom wealth is created.”

Each of these trends suggests a profitable lesson for impact investors or social entrepreneurs along with guidance for solving the world’s biggest problems.

Click here to get my free webinar showing the three myths that hamper and the two keys for nonprofit crowdfunding success.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Business Is Booming For This Social Entrepreneur and ‘That’s A Bad Thing’


John Hanrahan, co-founder and medical director of the People’s Health Clinic in Park City, Utah will provide 9,000 patient visits this year to uninsured members of the community. Business is absolutely booming and John says, “that’s a bad thing.”

Don’t misunderstand, he’s thrilled to do the work and proud of the service the organization offers as the primary health care provide for thousands of residents in this small, affluent resort town. His concern stems from the fact that but for this small, nonprofit organization, many of these people would go untreated–some would certainly die.

Hanrahan is also the incoming District Governor for Rotary for the district encompassing the entire state of Utah, including 46 clubs and about 1750 Rotarians. I’m not finished. He’s also the founder of the Hope Alliance, a humanitarian organization serving communities in the developing world.

Interview with John Hanrahan, the Medical Director, Co-Founder of The People’s Health Clinic.

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

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

Many people living of our 2 counties do not have any health insurance.  Because of their lack of insurance and access to health care, they do not receive preventive care or appropriate care for chronic conditions.  We provide this care. We keep them out of the hospital and the Emergency Room. We help them lead healthier and more productive lives. We are a medical home for this group.  

More about The People’s Health Clinic:

Twitter: @peopleshealthpc

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/peopleshealthclinic

Website: peopleshealthclinic.org

The People’s Health Clinic was founded in December 1999 to provide high quality health care for residents of Summit and Wasatch Counties who do not have health insurance.  We provide primary care for infants to seniors through staff and volunteer providers as well as some specialty care depending on our volunteer providers, as well as a prenatal clinic.

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

Revenue model: All patients are asked to make a donation of 25$ at each visit.  More than 85% of our patients are able to do this. People’s Health Clinic is additionally funded by private donors, philanthropic foundations, businesses and trade associations, and municipal governments.  Several fundraising events occur annually as well.

Scale: We are on track to have 9,000 patient visits this year.  This includes primary care, specialty care, referrals, lab visits, and educational visits.  We have one staff MD (myself) a staff Physician Assistant, and 10 additional staff. We have dozens of volunteer providers from various medical fields, as well as dozens of volunteer nurses, translators, patient assistants, etc.  We precept for 3rd year Family Medicine Residents from the University of Utah, medical students, Family Nurse Practitioner students, and physician assistant students. Some of our volunteer providers include infectious disease, Ob/GYN, pediatrics, pharmacy, chiropractor, orthopedics, nutrition, mental health,  neurosurgery, emergency medicine, and others.

John Hanrahan

John Hanrahan’s bio:

Twitter: @JohnHan73581043

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-hanrahan-md-1683b184/

John Hanrahan, MD is the happy father of 2 teens and happy husband of Maura for 30 years.  He is the Medical Director of the People’s Health Clinic, a non-profit providing care to local residents who lack health insurance.  John attended Haverford College, The University of Maryland School of Medicine, and East Carolina University Family Medicine Residency where he served as Chief Resident.  During Residency training, John was selected as the young family physician of the year for the state of North Carolina. He and Maura moved to Park City, UT in 1992 where he joined a private practice.  

John left medicine in 2000 to co-found and run The Hope Alliance, a small international humanitarian organization.  John has led dozens of volunteer groups on medical, public health, and other expeditions in many countries. He also helped found The People’s Health Clinic in 1999.  After years as executive director of The Hope Alliance, John was elected to the Summit County Council and served for 4 years. He reentered medicine in 2011 at his current clinic.  John has volunteered on multiple local Boards. John loves to ski, bike, hike and boat-Park City is perfect!

John joined the Rotary Club of Park City in 2000 and served on the Board for 8 years.  He led the first joint club and Interact expedition internationally to Mexico. John is the District Governor Elect for District 5420, Utah.

He is a member of the Rotary Cadre of Technical Advisors traveling to evaluate projects in Ethiopia and Jamaica. He has been awarded the Rotary Certificate of Meritorious Service, and the Service Above Self Award. John and Maura are major donors, Paul Harris Society members and Bequest Society members.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Design Thinking May Not Only Change Education, It May Change the World


Kathleen Fritz has been working to teach K-12 teachers how to teach design thinking skills to their students. Along the way, she’s helped them learn skills that improve their teaching in all areas.

Interview with KATHLEEN FRITZ, the Founder/CEO/Instructional Coach of CREATOMbuilder, INC.

The following is the pre-interview with KATHLEEN  FRITZ. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

I started this project five years ago to address the challenge, ” How do you make design thinking accessible to kids?”  I realized that you have to start with teachers first: without them there is no rigor. But this raised a bigger question, “How do you help teachers to make the shift from direct instruction to innovators and facilitators of learning?”

While coaching the teachers of Centennial Academy, Atlanta, GA during a National Science Foundation iCS (integrative computer science) grant (2015-2018) we were exploring ways to combine the design thinking process promoted by organizations like Stanford d.School, and the K12 project-based learning best practices from the Buck Institute.  One day, a 5th grade teacher asked me to create a graphic organizer to help her students follow the design thinking in project based learning process.

The Project Design Canvas was created.  It provides a project workflow, similar to project management, and a method for creating authentic challenges which address learning outcomes.  The project menus and cards help teachers discover opportunities from the curriculum (standards and learning outcomes) and activities so students can engage real end-users in their community.  This aids teachers and students to develop and manage their own authentic projects, and creates an environment to take the intellectual and emotional risks for innovative learning.

Kathleen’s Website:  www.kfritzdesign.com

More about CREATOMbuilder, INC:

Twitter: @creatombuilder

Facebook: facebook.com/CREATOMbuilder

Website: creatomsetgo.com

CREATOMbuilder, Inc. provides design thinking in project-based learning products and professional learning services to the k12 education space.  Our premier product is CREATOMsetgo: a hands-on human-centered design thinking tool which assists teachers in planning rich project based learning (PBL) experiences for and with students.  Its game-based design (project design canvas, menus and card deck) was developed with the input from over 150 Title 1 school teachers throughout the Southern United States. Our goal is to make design thinking accessible to everyone. CREATOMbuilder, Inc. is a for profit corporation registered in the state of Delaware.  Our website is www.creatomsetgo.com

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: We provide products and services through B2B and B2C .  Our products include the CREATOMsetgo project planning toolkit and a project planning guide which will be released in Fall of 2018.  Our services included professional learning in design thinking for project-based learning, teacher and coach-the-coach services, and strategic planning for school/district level administration, and educational organizations.  We also provide curriculum design and coaching to edtech companies and consultants.

Scale: We are a very small company of 1 full time employee (me), and a number of part-time contracting consultants. Since the release of the CREATOMsetgo toolkit on June 24th at ISTE 2017 , we have sold over 800 units to educators in 17 states.  We have coached approximately 350 educators (district and school-wide administration, instructional coaches, and teachers) in five states as contracted professional learning consultants, and have presented to another 300 educators as a conference speaker at ISTE and FETC.

Kathleen Fritz
Photo Credit: Imke Lass Photography

KATHLEEN  FRITZ’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathyfritzcreatombuilder/

Kathleen Fritz is the CEO and founder of CREATOMbuilder, Inc.: a coaching, project design, and strategic planning company for design thinking in project-based learning, and the creator of CREATOMsetgo: The project planning toolkit. She is a designer, educator and entrepreneur. The idea for CREATOMbuilder started when she was a 2011-2012 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar to India  There she worked with the students of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology to develop art and design integrated toolkit for teaching English, math, and computer literacy for rural Indian after-school programs.

Prior to starting CREATOMbuilder, Inc., she was a professor of Interior Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design 2007-2011, and was a lead designer and project manager of architectural interiors for tech, biotech, and life sciences companies, and k12 and higher education in the Boston and greater New England area (1998-2007). Her first career was as a Case Manager and Train-the-Trainer for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (1988-1998).

She holds a BA in Psychology from Gordon College, and a Master of Interior Design (MID) from the Boston Architectural College. She coaches educators and leadership teams throughout the country in design thinking and innovative practices for K12 education.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

This Coffee Shop Proves That Differently Abled People Can Be Well Qualified


After about eight cups of coffee, chatting about the idea of creating a company where they could employ people with disabilities, the pair suddenly hit upon the obvious. They started a coffee shop.

Aspire Chicago works with about 1,000 differently-abled people. To prove how capable they are of succeeding on the job, they created a coffee shop to employ a few. The project seeks to prove that those with disabilities can be well qualified for the job.

Interview with Jim Kales, the CEO of Aspire CoffeeWorks.

The following is the pre-interview with Jim Kales. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Currently, two-thirds of people with developmental disabilities are unemployed. When you combine that with the insufficient funding the state of Illinois provides for employment services for people with developmental disabilities (Illinois’ spending is among the lowest in the nation), the problem is further complicated. Worse yet is that only a small portion of people with developmental disabilities who are employed are actually working in integrated and inclusive workplaces, as opposed to workshops or other types of segregated workplaces.  

Aspire CoffeeWorks provides employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, currently employing five team members with disabilities. Additionally, through our partnerships with companies like Canteen Vending, our distribution partner, this number is expanded to eight team members with disabilities – and counting. In both of these situations, adults with disabilities work in fully integrated environments, side by side with people without disabilities. Lastly, Aspire CoffeeWorks provides crucial additional funding for nonprofit Aspire’s programming to lift up over 1,000 kids and adults with disabilities at Aspire. It’s our hope that through initiatives like Aspire CoffeeWorks, we can break barriers for adults with disabilities in the workforce and show companies the benefits that come along with a diverse workforce.

More about Aspire CoffeeWorks:

Twitter: @CoffeeContessa

Facebook: facebook.com/aspirecoffeeworks/

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/aspire-coffeeworks/

Website: aspirecoffeeworks.com/

Aspire CoffeeWorks is a social enterprise coffee company based in Chicago that employs adults with developmental disabilities. Additionally, 100% of the net proceeds benefit nonprofit Aspire, which provides services to support 1,000 kids and adults with disabilities, and their families, each year.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: The majority of Aspire CoffeeWorks’ revenue comes from office coffee sales, and we currently sell to almost 100 companies in Chicago, with an additional handful on the east and west coasts. We also sell direct to consumer through our website, and one blend of our coffee is sold in Chicagoland Whole Foods stores under our roasting partner’s label (Metropolis Coffee Company). We also receive grant funding periodically. For example, we received funding that enabled us to launch “frac packs”, which has given us access to a brand new level of client, as this is how larger companies often receive coffee for the office.

Scale: Our goal for the next fiscal year is to grow revenues to $100,000 so we can help fund more programs and services for kids and adults with disabilities at Aspire. While revenue is a large indicator of our success, so is the number of office coffee clients and the number of employees at those companies who learn about our mission of inclusion. For example, hundreds of people at Motorola Mobility, Beam Suntory and Relativity in Chicago are drinking our coffee every day and learning about the importance of inclusion for people with disabilities as a result. Another goal is to increase office coffee clients from 100 to 150 over the next year in order to generate more revenue and awareness. Lastly, we also hope to grow our team of adults with disabilities from five team members, with three employed at partner companies, to 10 total.

Jim Kales
Photo Credit: Aspire Chicago

Jim Kales’s bio:

Twitter: @AspirePrez

As CEO, Jim works with 200 dynamic team members and Aspire’s Board of Directors to craft strategies that guide Aspire’s four ground-breaking enterprises – Aspire Kids, Aspire Careers, Aspire Living and Aspire CoffeeWorks. Jim has dedicated most of his career to nonprofit (or “for purpose”) work, including serving as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lake County, and as the director of communications for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Jim graduated summa cum laude with honors from Bucknell University, and received his Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Could Crickets Be Our Future Food? Chirps Sells Chips From Crickets Today!


Animal agriculture as practiced today is not only cruel to the animals but also harsh on the environment, requiring huge tracts of land, vast quantities of water and producing millions of tons of carbon every year. Could eating bugs be the solution to save the environment?

Rose Wang founded Chirps to make tortilla chips out of crickets. These high-protein snacks taste great–say the daring kids who eat them.

Already for sale across the country, Chirps require less water and land to produce per pound than beef and produces only a tiny fraction of the carbon.

Interview with Rose Wang, the CEO/co-founder of Chirps.

The following is the pre-interview with Rose Wang. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

The livestock industry is the biggest contributor to environmental problems, and we can tackle the four largest issues in food today – clean water, food waste, food miles, and greenhouse gas emissions – with insect protein!

More about Chirps:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chirpschips

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chirpschips

Website: chirpschips.com

At Chirps, our goal is to fundamentally shift the food system by first replacing resource-intensive proteins, like soy and whey protein, with sustainable cricket protein, and in the future, create meat replacements with insect protein. Our first product is cricket chips, or Chirps. They are a tortilla chip with as much protein per serving as an egg white. We see Chirps as the first product in a line of insect foods from snacks to meat to get Americans excited about eating bugs!

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: We sell cricket chips 🙂

Scale: We’re in 1200+ stores across with nation, exporting to several different countries, and we are six full-time in SF.

Rose Wang
Photo Credit: Rose Skegg

Rose Wang’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosewang20/

Rose is the co-founder and CEO of Chirps, a company that makes healthy, delicious, and sustainable foods with insects. She is a Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur, ELLE USA Impact Award winner, Echoing Green climate fellow, MassChallenge Gold Winner, Harvard Dean’s Design Challenge winner, BHSI fellow, Global Good Fund fellow, and TEDx speaker. Rose worked in strategy and marketing at Abercrombie and Microsoft. She also has a passion for education and sits on the board of an education non-profit, Wema Inc., in Kenya. Rose is a graduate of Harvard College.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

With Help From Rotary, This Clinic Offers Leading Neurorehabilitation in Africa


Mo Sbai lost his brother to a tragic accident that left him struggling for years to regain full capacity. The loss inspired him to open a neurorehabilitation clinic in Marrakech. It has become one of the leading clinics of its type in all of Africa.

Mo lives and works in Salt Lake City but hails from Morocco. Working with his Salt Lake Rotary Club, he obtained multiple grants that include funds from the Rotary Foundation that have enabled him to launch this important piece of the healthcare system in his native country.

Interview with Mo Sbai, the Co-founder and CEO of The MAIR clinic.

The following is the pre-interview with Mo Sbai. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

We are creating first access to adequate neurorehabilitation in Morocco

More about The MAIR clinic:

Twitter: @MAIR_Marrakech

Website: www.mair-rehab.com

Located in Marrakech, Morocco (North Africa), MAIR is a private, not-for-profit clinic specializing in medical treatment and research in the field of neuro-rehabilitation. We provide services to children and adults with cerebral palsy and its complications, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and many other neurological conditions.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Not-For-Profit, self-sustaining in the long-term

Scale: We are not focused on making money, but we need to be self-sustaining in the long-term

Mo Sbai

Mo Sbai’s bio:

Mo is research professor in clinical neurosciences with the University of Utah Brain Institute and the School of Medicine. He he holds a Ph.D in neurosciences from the University of Paris and and MS in molecular neuro-receptology from the Ecole Normal Superieure and University of Paris. After completing a successful post-doctoral training in neuro-genetics and cloning a new gene at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, he was invited to join the New Jersey Medical School as a research faculty where he focused on cancer biology. In 2007, Mo’s brother, Moulay Ali, passed away as a consequence of a severe traumatic brain injury he suffered several years prior while driving in Morocco. This caused Mo to focus his teaching and research on neurological conditions (like TBI, SCI, Stroke, AD, PD, MS and others) as well as cutting-edge neuro-rehabilitation. In 2015, together with Imane Bentahar and many others, Mo co-founded the Moulay Ali Institute for Rehabilitation in Marrakech City, Morocco, the first of its kind. This facility is experiencing exponential growth and already having huge impact on so many lives.

Imane Bentahar

Imane Bentahar’s bio:

Imane is physical therapist by training but since getting involved in the MAIR project (early 2014), she developed skills in neurological rehabilitation. She is also the person who first collaborated in the opening of the MAIR clinic as a co-founder and a recipient of specialized neuro-rehabilitation training both in Morocco and the United States.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

These 2 Are Having Fun While Making Money and Doing Good


Zach Adamson and David Monhait, co-founders of DIVERTbrands, have found a way to do what they love, have fun, do good and make money. They are living the dream!

Interview with Zach Adamson, the Founder and CEO, and David Monhait, the Co-Founder & President of DIVERTbrands.

The following is the pre-interview with Zach Adamson and David Monhait. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

While interest has never been higher, action sports as they currently exist are out of reach to many due to geographic and financial barriers to participation. Concurrently, traditional education continues to exclude education in desired creative fields like music, art, media, and more.

These barriers and exclusions make at-risk youth more susceptible to negative influences and life choices.

DIVERT removes these barriers, making both the athletics and creative lifestyles more accessible to anyone. We DIVERT their attention away from negative influences and towards positive ones that align with the interest of today’s youth culture.

More about DIVERTbrands:

Instagram: @divertcollective

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/divertcollective/

Website: divertcollective.com

DIVERTbrands is a family of companies who believe that action sports have the power to inspire and empower on a massive scale. Because of that our shared goal is to make action sports and the surrounding lifestyles, like music, art, and media, more accessible.

The companies within DIVERTbrands are:

DIVERTagency – A boutique agency focused on creating cause marketing campaigns and initiatives that create new revenue opportunities for today’s top brands.

DIVERTcollective – A merchandise and apparel brand whose proceeds go to fund programs and initiatives that make action sports and the surrounding lifestyles more accessible.

DIVERTsessions – A 25000 sf facility that includes skateboarding, surfing, skiing and snowboarding that are enhanced with digital layers and virtual experiences. Supporting these attractions are a media lab, music stage, food/beverage, retail and more.

DIVERTcity – An 8 acre park that includes skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, mountain biking, a creative and media lab, music venue, food/beverage, retail, and more.

Together, these companies enable anyone to “Achieve Their I’mpossible”

For-profit/Nonprofit: B-Corp / Social Enterprise

Revenue model: DIVERTagency – services fees

DIVERTcollective – revenue from sale of soft and hard goods

DIVERTsessions & DIVERTcity – ticketing, events, rentals, retail sales, concession sales, programming and lessons, media, and more.

Scale: DIVERTagency – 3-5 employees / DIVERTcollective – over $350k revenue in first 3 months, over 50,000 units sold / DIVERTsessions & DIVERTcity – currently fundraising

Zach Adamson

Zach Adamson’s bio:

Twitter: @zach_adamson

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zach-adamson-94b95a35/

Zach is an accomplished entrepreneur, experience designer and operator. His previous work includes transforming facilities, events, products and organizations of Fortune 500 companies into world class experiences. His work with Disney Imagineers, and pioneers in experience design/operation have provided consistent applications in business strategy, implementation and expansion. His passion in Action Sports and social change, intersects with his talents in experience design and operation to create a powerful leader and change maker at DIVERTbrands.

David Monhait

David Monhait’s bio:

Twitter: @davidmonhait

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmonhait/

David grew up skateboarding and snowboarding in the suburbs outside of Chicago. These sports, and the subculture surrounding them, taught him valuable life lessons like creativity, motivation, resilience, and developed his appetite for risk.

He continued on to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied Architecture and Planning. Throughout college, David was a sponsored skateboarder and an All-American snowboarder.

He returned to Chicago where he worked as an achitect for 5-years. During that time, he started moonlighting on startup ventures. The first, Electronic Spotlight, a docu-series that started on Youtube and after being backed by CAA and Den of Theives, aired on TV. Around the same time, David and his friends created Sin Label, a live event consultancy and event promotions web application that enabled nightclubs and venues to promote using crowdsourced influencers.

After realizing his knack for creating startups, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue ventures that were more aligned with his passion – action sports.

He consulted on various ventures such as Revel, SpotKing, RideBlock, and more until he joined DIVERT.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!
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