Your Mark on the World readers chose Haitian social entrepreneur and publisher Daniella Jacques as the Changemaker of the Month. Daniella is a powerhouse who seeks to empower women by sharing news by, about and for them–giving them relevance in places where they’ve never had it before.
Watch my interview with her to hear her story in her own words.
Daniella has recognized from her earliest memories that women face challenges in the world that men don’t face, don’t understand and seem not to care about. Women are often not even in the room when men do talk about their issues.
She says it is time that women were part of the discussion. She launched Women’s Dophen News to be a platform for news relevant to women, not only in Haiti but around the world. She is already publishing in four languages, Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and English.
My take: Daniella Jacques will change the world and her name will become very familiar.
The eradication of polio has proven to be much more difficult than Rotary expected when it formally launched the PolioPlus initiative with the US Centers for Disease Control in 1988. Estimating a cost of $125 million for the job, Rotary raised $250 million to start its official race to end polio. Over $10 billion has been spent to date and close as we are, the finish line has not been reached.
Similarly, in 2014, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative comprising Rotary, the World Health Organization, the CDC, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set out an “End Game Strategy” to put polio behind us once and for all by 2020. Twice since that time, the GPEI has had to acknowledge that targets weren’t met and that more time and money will be required.
It is as if having run 25 miles in a marathon, we’ve come around a bend to see the biggest hill of the race so far and the finish line is still not in sight. We know it’s close, but we don’t know how many hills to climb, rivers to cross or boulders we may have to move to get there.
When Rotary began the effort to beat polio in the mid-1980s, there were about 350,000 cases of polio each year. Last year, there were just 22, representing a drop of more than 99.99 percent. Already in 2018, however, we’ve had 11 cases compared to just six at this point last year.
It is clear there are obstacles between us and the finish line, but hope is not lost. The biggest challenge in this race is the ongoing fighting in Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. Unvaccinated children in this region move around, sometimes ending up in cities, infecting children far from the fighting. In June, a cease-fire was reached between the Taliban and the Afghanistan army. The truce held and has been extended.
While there is no word yet on vaccination efforts during the cease-fire, you can be assured that all members of the GPEI are looking to this opportunity to bring the finish line clearly into view.
It is important to remember, however, that the marathon metaphor for the eradication of polio is a poor one. It puts the emphasis on the runners. The effort to end polio is not about the runners; it’s about the 15 million children who didn’t get polio over the past 30 years. It’s about creating a polio-free world where no child will ever be paralyzed by the disease again. A world where no mother will ever again be faced with the challenge of raising a child who may never walk again.
On Facebook this week, we started talking with our fans about creating a group there. There is great enthusiasm for the creation of a Your Mark on the World group, but before we launch it, we want to understand your goals and objectives. We’ve created this first survey question to help guide the type of group we create. Feel free to use the comments on this post to make clarifying comments. Once we have chosen a broad direction for the group, we’ll ask more questions within the group to establish further guidelines.
This week’s announcement from the FTC that it, along with
all 50 states and the District of Columbia, was filing a complaint against four
nonprofits that had reportedly used virtually none of the $187 million raised
for charitable purposes, has sent shudders through the nonprofit community.
Organizations are afraid what this news will do to fundraising.
Here’s why you should continue to give to charity enthusiastically.
When you buy fruit at the grocery store, you know there is a
chance, in fact a near certainty, that some of the fruit you buy will get
thrown out. Some will be bad when you get it home, either because it was
already overripe or under ripe when it left the store or because it was damaged
in transit. Most fruit is sold by the pound, but there is hardly a fruit on the
market that you can eat entirely. Have you ever eaten a banana peel or an apple
core? Then there is the risk that the fruit is prepared for someone who doesn’t
eat it and finally the risk that no one happens to eat it before it goes bad.
How much of the fruit you buy actually ends up in someone’s tummy? You still
buy fruit because it is healthy and delicious.
When smart investors buy stocks, they buy lots of them. Most
mutual funds have many dozens of different stock positions in their portfolios
because they understand that some will go up and others will go down. Some may
even go to zero. In the middle some will be parked money, after decades still
worth only what was paid for them. Some stocks, however, will grow dramatically
and may after just a few years be worth 10 times or more than what was paid for
them. Smart investors buy stocks even though they know with certainty that some
of the money invested in stocks will be lost.
Venture capitalists and angel investors who invest in
startup companies know that it is so hard to predict which companies will
thrive and which will tank that they make sure to diversify their portfolios,
too. They know that when investing in early stage companies, easily a third of
the companies will flame out completely, a few will struggle on endlessly and
only a few will thrive, providing all of the return in their portfolios. Think
about that; early-stage investors give entrepreneurs knowing that there is a
very good chance they will never see a dime in return.
So, here’s the question for you? Is it reasonable for you to
expect that every dollar you give to charity will go directly to a noble
purpose and that none will ever be wasted? The frank answer is simple.
Absolutely not. Some nonprofits will use your money to create fantastic social
impacts. Some will not. How many millions of dollars for cancer research have
yielded only another compound that doesn’t work? Does that mean we shouldn’t
fund cancer research? Of course not! A cure will only come from more funding.
Sometimes I hear people say, “I will only give to this one
nonprofit because…” I have news for you. There isn’t a perfect nonprofit out
there. While some may use volunteers to allow 100% of donations to go directly
to programs, those organizations may not have the same impact as other
organizations using professional staff to do more with the same donation, even
after paying the staff.
Does this mean that you should give
indiscriminately? No, of course not. See my tips for smart giving here. But it
does mean that you should keep giving!
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork, founders of LuminAID, were offered deals from all five of the investors on ABC’s Shark Tank earlier this year; they successfully closed a deal with Mark Cuban.
Perhaps what made them both different and successful on the show, was a focus on social entrepreneurship, a double bottom-line that balances making a profit with having an impact for good. Their solar lights are not only terrific for camping, but perfect for long-term use in areas without power and great for use when power can’t be relied upon for evening studies. One of their largest customers is ShelterBox, featured here a few weeks ago.
Visit their site to buy and/or give a LuminAID.
Sreshta explains, “LuminAID’s core technology–solar lights that pack flat for ease of distribution– was created to address both the need in an emergency and to make it easier for aid workers to distribute supplies on the ground.”
She adds, “We have learned a lot from working with our NGO customers and partners like Shelterbox. They put out our lights into some of the toughest areas and situations in the world, so we like hearing from them about what worked, what worked less well, and how we can continue to support their efforts.”
On Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Sreshta and Stork will join me for a live discussion about their experience on Shark Tank, as well as their success and their impact since. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Luminaid:
LuminAID develops innovative, solar-powered products for humanitarian relief aid and outdoor recreation. The company’s first product, the LuminAID light, is a solar-powered, inflatable lamp that packs flat and inflates to create a lightweight, waterproof lantern suitable for outdoor recreation and emergency situations. The LuminAID light has been sold to individuals in more than 30 different countries, and outreach projects with NGO partners have put more than 10,000 donated lights on-the-ground in more than 50 countries countries including Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines. LuminAID has supplied its lights to Shelterbox, Doctors Without Borders, and several organizations in the United Nations for distribution on the ground after disasters and in refugee camps. Earlier this year, LuminAID was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, received offers from all 5 of the Sharks, and made a deal with the billionaire investor Mark Cuban.
Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork
Andrea Sreshta is a second-year student in Chicago Booth’s Full-Time MBA Program and co-founder of LuminAID. The company was awarded the 100k Early Stage Prize in 2013 through the Clean Energy Trust in Chicago and the U.S. Department of Energy and was named the winner of Booth’s John Edwardson Social New Venture Challenge in 2012, and awarded a Toyota Mother’s of Invention Grant at the 2014 Women in the World Summit. Andrea previously worked in and studied design and architecture. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a Master’s in Architecture from Columbia University prior to attending Booth.
Anna Stork is co-founder of LuminAID Lab. She was a 2012 Kauffman Global Scholar at the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship. As a Kauffman Fellow, she was an Operations Intern for the retail start-up Warby Parker. Anna has also worked in product development at the Department of Defense with a focus on developing new technologies for military in remote locations. She completed her Masters in Architecture at Columbia University and earned her B.A. in Engineering and Studio Art from Dartmouth College.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Her bestselling book Activate Your Goodness shared her take on the impact of doing good on people. Her new book, The Doing Good Model, provides a thoughtful look at 13 values that are intended to help business leaders rethink their impact on individuals, their communities and the globe.
One of the most intriguing values that Arison puts forward in her book is “purity.” She explains it in the book, “Think of the many types of behavior that can affect you as a human being as well. For example, you might ask yourself, what am I putting in my body–is this good for me or not? What am I listening to? Is it something that is uplifting like music, or is it gossip that is unkind?”
Her thoughts on volunteering sound conventional to nonprofit leaders, I suspect, but may strike business leaders as a flash of insight. She says in the book, “The most motivated volunteers are the ones with passion for the cause.”
She goes on to share an anecdote to make an important point.
A funny thing happened to me right after I was talking to my editor on the phone going through this chapter on volunteering. I was called away and needed to rush out to a meeting outside my office. I went to another office building, and when I came out of my meeting, in the elevator on the way down, there was a husband and wife talking. The woman said to her husband, “Isn’t it amazing tha the doctor goes to Africa every six months and volunteers his time to perform surgery?” She went on to say, “Do you know he’s an eye doctor?” I smiled to myself as I was walking out of the elvator, thinking abou what a coincidence it was that I was just writing about volunteering. So you see, as I said, one can volunteer basically anywhere in the world, according to one’s talents, passions and time.
On Thursday, May 21, 2015 at noon Eastern, Arison will join me for a live discussion about The Doing Good Model. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Arison Group:
Arison Investments, the Arison Group’s business arm, houses companies that provide responses for the basic human needs of large populations, while yielding high financial returns. Shari Arison directs her businesses to maintain a diversified portfolio of ventures that have moral responsibility at their core. Arison Investments business companies include Bank Hapoalim, Shikun & Bunui, Miya and Salt of the Earth.
Shari Arison is an American-Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, owner of the Arison Group that operates in more than 40 countries across five continents to realize the vision of Doing Good. Its business arm, Arison Investments, operates in the fields of finance (Bank Hapoalim), infrastructure, real estate, and renewable energy (Shikun & Binui), salt (Salt of the Earth), and water (Miya). Its philanthropic arm, The Ted Arison Family Foundation, houses the organizations Essence of Life, Goodnet, All One, and Ruach Tova that operates Shari’s global initiative Good Deeds Day. She is repeatedly ranked by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world, and as one of the world’s greenest billionaires. In 2013, Shari was named Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by George Mason University.
Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced a joint complaint with all 50 states and the District of Columbia against four nonprofits that were reportedly operating as anything but legitimate charities.
The four organizations named in the federal court complaint are Cancer Fund of America, Inc. (CFA), Cancer Support Services Inc. (CSS), their president, James Reynolds, Sr., and their chief financial officer and CSS’s former president, Kyle Effler; Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CCFOA) and its president and executive director, Rose Perkins; and The Breast Cancer Society Inc. (BCS) and its executive director and former president, James Reynolds II.
It is tempting today interpret this news as suggesting that
you shouldn’t give to nonprofits because there is no way to tell the good ones
from the bad. That is simply false! Not only can you tell, it isn’t that hard
Here are a few quick tips:
Give to organizations you know. There are
countless well known charitable organizations that have been vetted every which
way to Sunday, that have great reputations, including Doctors Without Borders,
American Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy and many others. Giving to
organizations you recognize and can trust is a safe way to continue giving.
Go to work. Most organizations that are
legitimate need volunteers; be one. When you give your time to an organization
you get to know more about them than you could ever learn online. If you don’t
want to volunteer for an organization, you probably shouldn’t be giving them
your money anyway. If you think you’re ready to give, you should be willing to
donate a few hours first. This is a great way to not only do your due diligence,
but also to double the impact of your money.
Check Charity Navigator. There are a number of
online resources for vetting nonprofits. None of them is perfect, but if you
are asked to give to an organization that you haven’t heard of before, visit
charitynavigator.org and search for their name. For many organizations, you can
quickly see the Charity Navigator star rating (on a scale up to five) and key
metrics like the percent of funding spent on programs versus administration and
Whatever you do, don’t stop giving. Resolve to give more and
give smarter instead.
This is a guest post from Love Bottle founder Minna Yoo.
Every day we have to drink water for survival and good health. Each time we drink there is the choice of what to drink out of. What is best for our planet, and what is best for our bodies? What is the most sustainable choice we can make? The answer is glass.
Currently, about 50 billion single use plastic water bottles are consumed every year in the USA alone. Over 200 billion are used globally every year. However, only about 20% of this staggering number is recycled. That means the rest ends up in our landfills and our oceans. This plastic problem has created floating plastic islands in our oceans, called gyres. These gyres are releasing dangerous microplastics into our ecosystem and into our oceanic food chain.
It is not only our oceans that are at risk, but our bodies as well. Plastic bottles can leach into the water that we drink and those chemicals affect our internal systems. This creates a problem. We want to drink more water for our health, but what should we do when the water contains things that are dangerous to our bodies?
The solution is glass. Glass is made from three natural ingredients: sand, limestone, and soda ash. It is stable and doesn’t leach anything into our water or our planet. In fact, glass is endlessly recyclable, so the glass you are using today can become the glass someone else will use in 100 years. Glass is also time tested as the safest and healthiest way to store food and beverages. It doesn’t impart any flavor, which is why we like to enjoy the best things in life out of glass. Imagine drinking your favorite wine out of plastic or stainless steel. Gasp, the horror, right? We reach for glass when we want the best drinking experience.
So why is it when we reach for water, anything will do? Water is the most important thing we put into our bodies. Our bodies are actually 60-70% water. If we have the opportunity to constantly replenish 60-70% of our physical make up, we should reach for the cleanest, healthiest, most delicious vessel possible. This is why I am such a fan of glass. It is the ultimate way to experience water.
When we enjoy our water drinking experience, we are likely to drink more, which is vital to our health. When I was working as a Nutritionist, I found that many people disliked drinking water and thought of it as a chore. Most of them were drinking out of a cloudy looking plastic container that made their water not very enjoyable. Transitioning them to glass water bottles always resulted in them drinking more water. When we personalized their bottles to make them more special to the drinker, we found that they drank even more and enjoyed it. All of this led me to start Love Bottle, a reusable glass water bottle company.
As a business owner and mother, I am always thinking about my footprint in this world and what I am doing to help leave a beautiful planet for my children. Choosing glass lets me know that I am providing them with the healthiest water drinking experience as well as a chance for a brighter tomorrow.
This is a guest post from Liz Deering, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of 121Giving.com
In 2011, when I became the marketing director for a large nonprofit organization in Central Texas, I realized very quickly that the technology platforms and business processes that had fueled earlier successes at startups where I had worked– including Picasa, InnoCentive and EnPocket – were greatly lacking in the nonprofit sector.
At that time, I encountered pushback when introducing new technologies. I felt would improve fundraising efforts, or attempting to incorporate more tried-and-tested business practices into the organization. Challenges presented themselves in other ways, too, whether recruiting volunteers, raising funds, buying operational supplies or convincing companies to care enough about what we were doing to get them truly engaged and willing to donate equally.
That’s when I knew there had to be a much better way for nonprofits to run their businesses. I partnered with my future co-founder, Mark Courtney, who shared the same passion. He envisioned a model that would help nonprofits become more commercially efficient and make an even bigger impact by adopting available technologies that businesses were using successfully, and enlisting corporate support to improve their outcomes.
We set out to build 121Giving.com (pronounced one-to-one giving) and better the business of giving. 121Giving is an online product marketplace and crowdfunding platform that brings together nonprofits that need products to fulfill their missions, companies who want to support those nonprofits in order to help make our world a better place, and givers who are willing to support these transactions, too – especially if they can see exactly where their giving is going.
Unlike many of the traditional crowdfunding platforms that are focused on raising capital for ideas or concepts, 121Giving brings together three distinct audiences – consumers, companies and charities – whose collective power addresses and fulfills specific needs in tangible ways.
Online crowdfunding can help address so many of the challenges that today’s nonprofits, socially conscious companies and donors face in wanting to make a tangible impact. For nonprofits, crowdfunding provides a new vehicle for creating visibility, awareness of their immediate needs and, of course, fundraising. They can spend more time solving problems instead of raising money for the day-to-day items they need.
Companies, likewise, are able to participate in ways that provide what consumers demand today: results. With increasing skepticism about where donor dollars go, or how companies are making an impact, each product-specific campaign identifies how many items are needed, what the goal is, and how many individuals/families will be helped. 121Giving’s interface logs the progress of each campaign, providing transparency into questions around “Where is my money going? How is it being used?” And donors benefit from the knowledge that their contributed amount – regardless of its size – creates something tangible toward a better world.
In March 2015 during SXSW, our vision finally came to life when we officially launched 121Giving in Austin, Texas.
Since then, we have hosted nonprofit campaigns that address agencies’ uncomplicated, yet profound and immediate needs. New beds and mattress for an HIV/AIDS hospice facility. Move-in kits containing pillows, cookware and silverware for homeless individuals and families. Cases of Ensure nutritional supplements for cancer patients. Wheelbarrows and stepladders for volunteers who repair the homes of low-income families. “House in a Box” kits for 140 victims of a devastating tornado that destroyed their homes.
Each donation is logged, and the website’s campaign tracker keeps supporters updated about how many items have been purchased, how many items are outstanding, how many clients have been helped, and how many days remain in the campaign. Results are visible, transparent and measurable.
Our goal is coming to life at 121Giving: to be the most tangible giving experience online for nonprofits, companies and donors alike.
Liz Deering, Co-founder, Connector and Strategist
Liz Deering is a social entrepreneur, strategic thinker and risk taker whose experiences with both category-disrupting startups and traditional nonprofit organizations provided the skills and fueled her passion to help launch 121Giving (pronounced One-to-One Giving) – a first-of-its-kind digital marketplace that harnesses the collective buying power of hundreds of thousands of U.S. charities, matching their needs with corporate discounts and new crowdfunding capabilities.
No one knows who said this phrase, but it is an important idea to consider for many reasons. For example, how do we talk about courage? How do we talk about intimacy? How do we talk about identity? We talk about the face. We face our fears. We discuss important things face-to-face. We know someone when we can put a name to a face. The face is the conduit for expressing the most basic and fundamental human emotions.
These are the ideas the Daniel Wennogle, a Denver-based Civil Litigator and Trial Attorney, brought to light back in November at the Fourth Annual Restoring Hope Event (hosted by DecorAsian to benefit Mending Faces). Before Dan found his passion for practicing law and participating in court, and before he became a die-hard Broncos fan and an avid fly fisherman, he was a child born with a cleft lip and palate.
If you have never heard of a cleft lip or cleft palate, it isn’t as rare as you might think. In fact, according to a study by the World Health Organization, a child is born with a cleft lip or palate somewhere in the world approximately every two-to-three minutes. While the cause is currently unknown amongst medical researchers, it is one of the more common birth defects worldwide.
“I was lucky,” Wennogle says. “I was born with a cleft lip and palate in the United States of America with a caring and devoted family that had access to top notch medical resources. As a result, I had a normal, happy and healthy childhood. I’ve also been able to make friends, be outgoing and have good social relationships. I’ve been captain of sports teams, played lead roles in plays, and most importantly, I’ve been able to know what it feels like to fall in love.”
Now imagine another child half way across the world living in the Philippines that isn’t afforded the same opportunity to gain access to medical care like Dan received. In these situations, ear disease and dental problems can occur frequently, as well as problems with speech development. These children are also typically shunned by society and therefore cannot experience the same quality of life as “normal” children without a cleft lip or palate.
A cleft lip and/or palate surgery is by no means simple, but it is not as involved as some major surgeries performed for children with more serious health issues. Yet, this manageable level of medical care can literally change the world for a child and their family because it can change the way he or she interacts with people. “Our faces are how we interact with the world,” Wennogle continues. “A smile, a kiss, a spoken word; all of these things are difficult and compromised with a cleft lip and/or palate. Yet these things lie close to the core of what it means to feel human. This surgery is much more than cosmetic because it changes lives for the better and I am a living example of that.”
Dan is correct. Research shows the recognition of faces is an important neurological mechanism that an individual uses every single day of their life. Our brains are literally hardwired to trigger instant reactions based on the image of a human face and any distortion in that image makes it more difficult to pick-up on nonverbal communication, such as emotion. Those that are born with a minor birth defect like a cleft lip can suffer deeply from this subconscious differentiation.
And it is because of this neurological construct that Dan recognizes, along with the life he has led, happiness he’s enjoyed and the passion he shares that inspires him to want to give back to children in need. “I wanted to get involved with a local grassroots nonprofit called Mending Faces that brings wonderful people together that share a strong commitment to making a large impact on children’s lives that were born with a cleft lip and/or palate.”
In February of 2015, a group of volunteers (with both medical and nonmedical backgrounds) travelled to Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines with a goal of performing 60 cleft lip and palate surgeries for children in need and at no cost to their families. The group also raised the funds necessary to bring along supplies, equipment and care packages to help the children and their families cope with the hardship of surgery. This took a lot of planning, effort and money to get these volunteers (who donate their own time and pay their own way) and the necessary supplies to the children in need.
What’s amazing is in just six days, Mending Faces exceeded our goal – we treated 83 patients and conducted 87 total surgeries – both records for a Mending Faces mission! By the numbers that included 54 cleft lips and 33 cleft palates. That’s $1,000,000 in services! This annual medical mission would not be possible without our partners in the Philippines, the U.S. and around the world including generous volunteers and donors.
From my perspective, it is hard to digest the happenings of this week and put the experience into words. First and foremost the volunteers are what made everything so exceptional. Regardless of race, religion or country of origin, everyone came together to do something truly inspiring for generations to come. We each played our separate parts well and when all of those efforts came together, the results spoke for themselves. Now an impoverished, but extraordinary group of children have reason and ability to smile and communicate without fear or limitation.
“For a child with a cleft lip or palate to receive the opportunity of a lifetime, all it takes is a small amount of support that will make a difference for an entire lifetime,” continued Wennogle.
A surgery to repair a cleft lip or cleft palate is roughly $250. This is due to the fact that our volunteers donate their time as well as cover their travel and lodging expenses to participate in the medical mission.To support or learn more about Mending Faces and its most recent medical mission, please visit: http://www.mendingfaces.org/.