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Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Child Entrepreneur Partners With and Supports Nonprofits

This is a guest post from Max Ash, 10-year old Creator of MAX’IS Creations with help from his Mom, Jennifer.

Hi, my name is Max Ash and I am an inventor and entrepreneur. I am in 4th grade and I go to The Carroll School in Waltham, Massachusetts. I have dyslexia, a language-based learning disability, and so do a lot of people at my school.  Dyslexia makes it hard for me to understand what I read and to find the words in my head when I am talking.  

But dyslexia is also a gift that got me to think of putting a basketball hoop on a mug for throwing marshmallows into hot chocolate.  I like sports and hot chocolate and that’s why I did it.


I was invited to present my idea at The Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College.


And then my parents helped me submit my idea to The Product Pitch at Fenway product innovation contest. I was one of ten finalists and winner of the community vote. And it wasn’t even a contest for kids!


They wrote about me and my mugs in places like the Boston Business Journal and the Boston Herald. 


As a follow-up to the contest I got to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.  My Indiegogo campaign helped raise over $900 for dyslexia research at my school as well as about $5000 to start my business, MAX’IS Creations (spelling is mine).

With help from my mom and dad and a team of 3D designers and manufacturers in the US and Thailand, I was able to bring The Mug With A HoopTM to market.


My first container arrived in September of 2014 and I sold 18,000 mugs (over $400,000 in retail sales) before New Years!  My mugs are sold at places like UncommonGoods, Nordstrom, The Grommet and Hammacher Schlemmer. Even the Basketball Hall of Fame contacted me to sell my mugs!


I just got a patent for my basketball mug and I have a full line of patent pending sports mugs coming to market.  My mugs are not just for throwing marshmallows into hot chocolate. You can toss cereal into milk, pitch crackers into soup, or flick toppings onto ice cream! My vision is that the world would be better if we could play with our food!


There is a banner at my school that says:  Kids with dyslexia see the world differently.  Isn’t the world lucky that they do? My parents say that my idea to put a basketball hoop on a mug shows the world the upside of dyslexia and the importance of celebrating neurodiversity the same way we celebrate other kinds of diversity.  


Photo Credit: Cindy Ord, Getty Images for Reimagine Learning

Five percent of the profits from the sale of my mugs go to charities that support dyslexia and other learning differences. I am proud to support organizations such as The Reimagine Learning Initiative, and The National Center for Learning Disabilities who are helping to raise awareness and support for the 1 in 5 kids with learning and attention issues.  

I recently got to share the stage at the WME/IMG New Profit Reimagine Learning Initiative launch with another successful entrepreneur who happens to have dyslexia: Shark Tank star and Board of Advocates member Daymond John.  

This is an excerpt from my speech at the event:

My parents and teachers understand how my brain learns. I am understood.
Every kid deserves to be understood.  
I dare you to imagine what other good ideas our world will have when ALL kids who think and learn differently are understood?

If you want to buy one of my mugs or learn more about my story you can go on my website  If you are a mom or dad of a child who is struggling with learning and attention issues check out  You’ll find personalized recommendations, daily access to experts, a safe community of parents, and more.  And it’s completely free!

Twitter @maxiscreations
Twitter @understoodorg


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