Social Entrepreneur Seth Maxwell has the goal of providing clean water to every single community in Swaziland. And at age 28, he is on his way of doing it. A few years ago, Seth founded Thirst Project with his friends from college. Together, they set out to end the number one global killer of children: the world’s water crisis.
Since raising $1,700 at their very first fundraising event, Thirst Project has worked with students from over 400 schools to raise 8 million dollars. They've provided 300,000 people with safe drinking water around the world. Seth Maxwell is the recipient of VH1’s Do Something Award and was recently named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for Social Entrepreneurship.
Text THIRST to 97779 to get connected to a staff person from Thirst Project.
While living in Los Angeles, Seth Maxwell learned about the global water crisis at age 19.
According to Seth Maxwell, 1.1 billion people lacked access to safe drinking water at the time
Women and children will spend hours each day to find water, which adds up to thousands of hours per year
Animals defecate into the same water source, causing water-borne illnesses
Drinking contaminated water kills more children under the age of five than AIDS and malaria combined
“Clean water impacts everything.”
Without safe water, other development aid initiatives loses effectiveness
Seth started a club with seven friends on campus to raise awareness about the global water crisis around LA.
Seth and his friends spent $70 to buy bottles of water. They gave out the bottled water on Hollywood Boulevard so they could talk about the crisis.
People began to ask them to speak about the crisis at their schools
Within one month, they fundraised $12,000, which sparked Seth to create the Thirst Project
They started off by sending their funding to partner organizations
Soon, they started to implement the water projects themselves after forming a technical team made up of water experts
Swaziland is small, with 1.4 million people and is known as the country with the highest AIDS density in the world
For people with AIDS, drinking contaminated water is a serious issue due to their weakened immune system
In order to provide running water to the entire country of Swaziland (100% national coverage), Thirst Project needs to raise $40 million
As a youth, Seth Maxwell was passionate about theater and telling stories on stage
Seth admits that he was arguably the most selfish, introspectively-focused human being on the planet at age 19
Learning about the water crisis shattered his world view
“There was a lot of doubt. Could I do this? How do I lead a team? How do I fundraise?”
Seth focused on finding experts who would join his team and Board
Seth faced great self doubts as he started as a young person with a background in theater
Seth no longer speaks at school assemblies anymore, as he feels his shelf life has passed
The Thirst Project presentations tell the story of the global water crisis
During the first 2-3 years, Seth focused on making the presentations himself
Soon, Seth realized that speaking so much was not a sustainable model for the organization
Thirst Project now find students who get trained and give the presentations on behalf of the organization where they speak at at least one school a day
Seth feels that now at age 28, he doesn’t resonate with high school students compared to when he was 19
About 2.5 years into the organization, Seth went on a 3-month speaking tour where he spoke at 80 schools all over the country. He never stayed in a city more than 3-4 days. It was emotionally draining because he didn’t have a sense of community being such a traveling nomad
In the last year, Seth started to work out 3 times per week to better take care of himself
Seth is protective of his weekend so he can make time for himself as a person
At age 25, Seth was overly consumed with his work and had very little going on in his personal life
Our generation is making an impact in the world but it often means sacrificing personal time or fun activities
Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs are not necessarily big risk takers. They take calculated risks.
“Now is the time. Take risks. Build something. Break it down. Rebuild it. Figure out what works.”
“You have to try.”
Every high school or university that works with Thirst Project does it differently.
Their 45 minute presentations have lots of media, photos, videos
The students start fundraisers for Thirst Project, like basketball tournaments, video game tournaments, dances, walks, etc.
100% of these donations go to the water projects, as the Board pays for administrative expenses
Donors get personalized thank you videos from the project sites
The team making the content for the Thirst Project presentations is very young in age, allowing them to know what will grab the attention of their peers
The Thirst Project breaks down their content into three parts: 1.) The Problem, 2.) The Solution, 3.) The Call-To-Action
“Storytelling is powerful.”
People expect high quality content
It’s all about building relationships
Too often nonprofits look at donors as ATMS and volunteers as work horses
It’s about genuinely caring about the people behind the organization
Thirst Project communities have water committees and a strong sense of ownership
Seth breaks down the White Savior Complex issue
Seth reads business books
Thirst Project is creating a team called G20 that will support the cause in a huge manner
Thirst Project is partnering up with Key Club
“There was something exciting about that hustle.”
Imagine working out of a coffee shop to start an online movement for social good that gets shared by the World Bank, William Easterly, Kiva, Grameen America, Oxfam, Finca, BRAC, and Opportunity International. According to Dr. Shawn Humphrey (AKA The Blue Collar Professor), you can do it by following his four-step-plan. And for $50 or less.
In this episode, Shawn deconstructs how he starts online movements for social good and makes them go viral.
He also talks about his favorite books, how he responds to criticism, how to connect with influencers (like Seth Godin, William Easterly, and Jacqueline Novogratz), narrative humility, his “unusual” morning routine, his inner chatter, personal finance for social entrepreneurs, and tribal teaching.
Shawn Humphrey is a Board member for Students Helping Honduras and is an economics professor at the University of Mary Washington. Check out his blog at shawnhumphrey.com and his top posts: Pumping People Up About Poverty, Packaging Poverty, Making the Poor Pay.
Show Links for Shawn Humphrey
Show Notes for Shawn Humphrey
60 groups participated in the $2 Challenge around the world in 2016
The Month of Microfinance struck up a partnership with groups like Kiva, FINCA, BRAC, Opportunity International, Grameen America
The Sidekick Manifesto went viral and got posted by World Bank, Oxfam, and William Easterly
These movements had cost Shawn about $50 each (domain hosting)
Shawn uses Wordpress for his campaign websites
Running a traditional nonprofit organization is much harder than running an online movement
You need to “start too soon”
Shawn Humphrey emphasizes the process of: learn, make changes, iterate
It takes Shawn Humphrey about half a day to start an online movement
The four components of an online movement: 1.) platform, 2.) social media infrastructure, 3.) power network, 4.) content
The content in the online movement is the most important. What does it put on the table? An experience? Useful information?
The $2 Challenge has three levels: Beginner (3 days), Intermediate (5 days), Difficult (5 days plus randomized daily income)
For the “Difficult” level, there are also “shocks” like unexpected expenses
The $2 Challenge pulls participants out of their comfort zone
The $2 Challenge creates empathy in participants
The Sidekick Curriculum accompanies the $2 Challenge, which includes daily reading material and short films.
At the end of each evening, there is a group meeting and reading
Participants read Ivan Illich’s To Hell With Good Intentions
During the first year of the $2 Challenge, about 10 students participated and called their tent a “shantytown” which he is now embarrassed about. He later decided on the term, “makeshift shelter.”
“The first year, there were doubts everywhere.”
Shawn experienced poverty during his childhood in Ohio
Shawn describes his impression of me when I was a college student
Shawn dropped his research project to work on development aid in Honduras
Bragging and promoting oneself was not something Shawn was used to when he started the Blue Collar Professor
Shawn started attracting online trolls who criticized him for misspelled words, etc.
Several people were offended by his post, The Do-Gooder Industrial Complex
In the article, Shawn criticized the idea of in-kind donations as a solution to poverty, specifically with shoe donations. An online debate ensued.
A well-known blogger criticized the $2 Challenge and her audience rallied behind her.
Shawn has a rule: Wait 24 hours before sending an emotional email
Shawn responded to the criticism to start a conversation. That conversation turned into a friendship. Her community began to understand Shawn’s point of view.
Shawn welcomes criticism because it allows us to clarify, reflect, and question our own thoughts and methods. But it’s not easy to take emotionally.
Shawn’s PhD advisor, Douglas C. North, won the Nobel Prize in Economics through his research on economic development. Shawn applied what he learned in his programs in Honduras
Through the Sidekick Manifesto, Shawn practices Narrative Humility. How do you handle and share someone’s story? What biases do we have? How can we be their sidekicks and not their heroes?
For the Sidekick Manifesto, the Sidekick Manifesto itself was the Content. It had taken Shawn 10 years to write it.
Shawn released the Sidekick Manifesto on The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty to get maximum exposure
Shawn purchased the domain name on Godaddy for ~$10.
He hosted the site on Reclaim Hosting at no additional cost
He used Wordpress to build the site
He started the hashtag #sidekickmanifesto
Shawn already had 5 of his own social media handles pushing out the Sidekick Manifesto simultaneously
He then reached out to his power networks, including Students Helping Honduras, to build an audience
He simply asked, “will you Tweet this out?”
Who are your top 5, top 50, top 100 people in your network?
Shawn and William Easterly follow each other on Twitter and they had talked about Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance so he had been developing that relationship before the ask for a Re-Tweet
You need to give, give, give before making the ask
The homepage got 2,000 unique visits in two weeks
The total cost to run The Sidekick Manifesto was $40-$50
“I’ve been cold-calling and cold-emailing people since 2007. That’s how we got started.”
Shawn even emailed the marketing guru, Seth Godin. He replied back within 5 minutes.
Shawn cold emailed the founder of Kiva and started a conversation with her on the $2 Challenge. She shared Shawn’s content.
Shawn cold emailed Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder of Acumen Fund and author of The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between the Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
Each year, Shawn will create a list and reach out to 10 influencers
It took 10 years of relationship building for Shawn to get the influencers to share his content
“It is a long, slow, patient process. One grain of sand at a time. But it does pay off.”
Shawn gets up at around 4:50am. He goes to Starbucks on his bicycle as he fights his inner doubts and chatter. He orders his tall, black coffee without sugar, no cream. He starts typing away on his laptop and works away for one hour. He rides back home as he again fights his inner doubts and chatter.
“It’s every moment.”
Shawn is constantly criticizing himself inside his head.
Shawn is now 45 years old and is asking himself: “Is this it?”
Shawn allows himself two existential crises per year
Being married and having a child gave him constraints that have helped Shawn
Shawn does not work after 5pm so he can focus on his life outside of work. He rarely works on weekends
Shawn is very protective of his time so he can stay productive
Though Shawn puts Tim Ferriss’s teachings from The Four Hour Workweek into practice, he cautions himself to not get caught up with the idea of working less and building wealth to accumulate material things or go on exotic vacations. For the social entrepreneur, doing the work (and doing it better) is the reward.
If you want to be in the social impact space, you have to be counter-cultural and accept the fact that you won’t be wealthy and find the value in the work itself. You won’t have the traditional, American lifestyle.
Shawn is getting ready to launch Tribal Teaching where he will teach students to stop seeking perfection, to re-wild themselves, to tear down the status quo, to ask why.
Social entrepreneur Brandon Chrostowski was arrested in Detroit at the age of 18 and faced a long jail sentence. Instead, he received a second chance and was sentenced to just one year in probation. That was when he decided to turn his life around. He finished high school and went to a culinary institute where he peeled carrots. His relentless work ethic found him restaurant jobs in New York City, Chicago, and then Paris. It was there that he began telling himself to "quit screwing around, quit making excuses, quit overthinking things. Just do it.” In Paris, Brandon realized that "hard work doesn't have a language."
Yet becoming a successful chef was not enough for Brandon Chrostowski. He thought to himself, “I’ve got to do something even bigger with my life. It may take a long time, but I’m going to start today.” His dream was to give a second chance to ex-convicts. During his time off from his 80hr/week restaurant work, Brandon began teaching culinary skills in a local prison. He spent $2,000 of his life savings to buy all the equipment.
As his project grew, he built Edwin's Restaurant and Leadership Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. Not only is it a top rated restaurant, the staff who work at Edwin's Restaurant are ex-convicts who receive training and housing. Brandon attributes the success to his work ethic and trust in his instincts: “People think you have to rest one day. You don’t have to. You can work on a project. You can work 100 hours per week. You just do that seven days a week. When you hit it like this for a decade, things start to happen. You really chip away at what needs to get done and built.”
Brandon was recently named a CNN Hero.
Brandon Chrostowski began working in the restaurant industry in Detroit before he was 18
Brandon Chrostowski got arrested at age 18 and faced a 5-10 year jail sentence. Instead, he received a second chance and was sentenced to just one year in probation.
He was a high energy child who loved to push the limits
He started working in the restaurant industry in New York, Paris, and Chicago
Back in Detroit, friends were getting killed or going to jail
The idea of race was a big issue for Brandon
“I’ve got to do something bigger with my life. It may take a long time, but I’m going to start today.”
When Brandon started Edwin’s Restaurant, he was still paying off school loans
“You can work 100 hours per week.”
Edwin’s schedule when starting Edwin’s Restaurant: 8am-10am Edwin’s Restaurant, 10am-midnight work at a restaurant, midnight-2am Edwin’s Restaurant
“You just do that seven days a week.”
“People think you have to rest one day. You don’t have to. You can work on a project.”
Brandon works from 8am until 1am six days a week currently, and 10-12 hours on a Sunday
“When you hit it like this for a decade, things start to happen. You really chip away at what needs to get done and built.”
Brandon had to figure out how to start and run a nonprofit organization
While Brandon worked as a full-time chef, he started small, by teaching culinary skills in prison. That’s how he started
A documentary about Edwin’s Restaurant will be coming out in early 2017, with 4 years of footage
“Nobody’s going to invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself.”
Brandon invested $1,000-$2,000 to purchase the startup equipment like knives
Small family foundations began supporting Brandon
One in three people have been involved with the justice system in the US
Stigma makes it hard for people with criminal records to find jobs
Yet it’s a crutch. If you have a special skill and the desire to work, there is no trouble finding a job, even with a felony. It’s hard, but that’s if you don’t have a skill.
“Hard work doesn’t have a language.” About succeeding in France
50% of people who leave prisons go back to prison eventually
In the prison program, a typical student will get trained for four hours each Saturday on the fundamentals of cooking
At the restaurant, students get interviewed and join the training academy
The first three weeks of the academy is extremely challenging. Students memorize many facts and get tested.
Half of the students quit during the training
Applicants are not judged based on previous offenses or education level
Edwin’s Restaurant will help students get licenses, bank accounts, insurance, and other life basics
Students go through an additional 5.5 month training program where they rotate through all the different positions: host, server, bartender, food runner, pastries, cold food, fish, meat, prep working, business management, etc.
The days are 10-12 hours each day of class, setup, restaurant work, meetings, etc.
Case managers help the students in their lives
“You need a MAKE IT HAPPEN kind of approach no matter what.”
Building up the self-esteem of the students is a high priority for Brandon Chrostowski. He does so by giving bigger challenges and helping them overcome those challenges, day after day
“It’s about coming together as a family.”
If a student is having problems with drug addiction, Edwin’s Restaurant will help them through rehab, sponsor programs, strengthen their network, uphold them to high standards
Before, drugs affected 30% of the students at the academy. It has been reduced to about 10% now.
“Everyone here has a life plan. And as they are succeeding in their life plan, they’re winning. And that winning is addictive... And anything that might make you lose… you’re more apt to say no.”
Some of his students were homeless and slept on couches.
In three months, Edwin’s Restaurant raised $1.3 million to build a campus with free housing, 25 beds for his students, including a fitness center, library, and basketball court.
Brandon’s mentor used to challenge Brandon to do more, teaching him the MAKE IT HAPPEN attitude
“Continue trusting your instincts.”
Brandon does not own a TV to avoid the fear-driven media
Brandon had no doubt that the project was going to work. It was simply about building it.
Brandon felt thankful everyday, and very little fear
Being a social entrepreneur is tough. Brandon went through a divorce because he wife thought he was too obsessed with the project. Twice he was left without a home.
Brandon Chrostowski feels grateful for life and for being alive
Brandon Chrostowski is hoping to add a butcher shop
“It’s a day at a time.”
The first days of Edwin’s Restaurant was like the “Wild West.”
Alvin was one of the first students. He was sent to jail mid-way through the training but he kept studying in jail. He persevered and is now running a restaurant in Detroit.
95% of the customers know what the restaurant is about when they come.
Edwin’s Restaurant is rated as the #1 restaurant in Cleveland
A hamburger at Edwin’s Restaurant costs $33!!
The cost to run the academy is offset by the profits made through the restaurant
“People will come for the mission maybe once. But they’re not coming back unless the experience is stellar.”
According toBrandon Chrostowski, the potato-wrapped grouper in a red wine butter sauce is the best meal at the restaurant
“Quit thinking about it. Just do it.”
“Shoot, aim, fire.”
“Quit screwing around, quit making excuses, quit overthinking things. Just do it.”
You don’t have to be in New York City to start an innovative program
“Sometimes the right place is where you’re at.”
Social entrepreneur Gavin Armstrong is the founder of Lucky Iron Fish, a social business and B-Corp aiming to combat iron deficiency. Nearly 3.5 billion people around the world suffer from iron deficiency or anemia, resulting in constant fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating at school or at work. The Iron Lucky Fish is a piece of iron cast in the shape of a fish. When boiled with food or broth, it releases enough iron to provide up to 90% of the daily necessary intake.
Turning this simple idea into reality was no easy task. Gavin started the B-Corp in Cambodia while simultaneously pursuing a PhD. He went for years without a salary. He made mistake after mistake and things didn't work out as planned. Yet Gavin kept tinkering and iterating.
The Lucky Iron Fish is a global phenomena now. Gavin was recently named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for social entrepreneurship.
Many people in the developed world also suffer from iron deficiency. You can buy a Lucky Iron Fish ($25) for yourself and the company will give one to a person in need. The Lucky Iron Fish is a great holiday gift for friends and family.
Gavin’s experience during college volunteering at a refugee camp in Kenya made him want to fight world hunger
Researcher Christopher Charles had a project called Happy Fish that sparked Gavin’s interest. The original thesis paper can be found here.
Chris abandoned the research project
Gavin continued Chris’s research in Cambodia
Cambodia has an extremely high level of iron deficiency due to nutritional and genetic factors
Iron deficiency is the world’s most common micro-nutrient challenge
Half of the world’s population suffers from this preventable condition
Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, and even death
Iron deficiency leads to a loss of $70 billion to the world’s GDP
Women, especially, suffer from iron deficiency
Iron deficiency does not discriminate between the poor and the rich
Iron supplements have negative side effects and are expensive
Gavin pursued a PhD in Canada revolving around this project while starting the company in Cambodia
He spent many days on airplanes
The lucky iron fish is a simple health innovation product
You boil the piece of iron with the food for 10 minutes, which releases iron into the meal
The iron is reusable for 5 years
The lucky iron fish doesn’t change the food’s color or taste
The product is in the shape of a fish because the fish is the symbol of luck in Cambodia
The Lucky Iron Fish received $180,000 from the university to start the company
“We were very lean in the beginning.”
Gavin worked with a foundry in Cambodia to make cast iron material that met international specifications
Gavin made sure the iron was safe, bio-available, and contaminate-free
Much of the iron in Cambodia was contaminated by arsenic
They made the prototypes out of wood and approach local focus groups in rural communities to get their feedback
Rapid prototyping was key
Gavin went to all the focus group meetings
He observed people’s facial expressions
The fish’s surface area was important to be able to release the right quantity of iron per use
The Cambodians called the prototype models the “Heavy Black Fish”
Gavin wanted to brand the product better so he stamped the front of the face with the Cambodian symbol that means “good” and people began calling it the “Good Fish”
The smile of the fish is designed so that after five years, it fades away… so when the smile fades away, the families know they need to trade it in
Lucky Iron Fish is a top ranked B-Corps and not a nonprofit organization
B-Corps (Benefit Corporations) is an international certification given to social enterprises that make a social impact
Gavin was frustrated by the sustainability of nonprofit organizations, which are unable to get investments like for-profit companies
Understanding the distribution model was a major challenge
There was no established trust with the communities in the beginning
They tried a travelling road show, which didn’t work
They pivoted their model to sell the product to NGOs in the area that already had built up trust with the target communities
The NGOs are the front-line workers for the Lucky Iron Fish
These NGOs were already buying iron supplement pills, and these pills were much more expensive than the pills
The purchase price of the Lucky Iron Fish ranges from $5-$10 for NGOs
The iron pills can cost $30 per person per year
The NGOs are in charge of the distribution
They use a tuk tuk
Lucky Iron Fish has an eight-person team
Cash flow becomes critical so you can pay your staff members each month
Two big challenges Gavin had to overcome were obstacles with the Cambodian government and funding
During a low point with his work, the BBC ran a story on Lucky Iron Fish that went viral
Oprah said that Lucky Iron Fish was “off the hook”
“Success can be temporary. Failure can last a lot longer” Gavin’s outlook on humility
The families are usually concerned whether Lucky Iron Fish will affect the taste of the food
Gavin has faced criticism because of his age or sexual orientation
“The only thing you can do is to prove them wrong.” Gavin on critics
People can buy a Lucky Iron Fish and give one in the Buy One Give One model
Gavin feels very well-versed at trial and error and especially the error part
Gavin though the travelling road show was going to be a huge hit but it did not work out because he didn’t understand the market at the time
Lucky Iron Fish is expanding to India
Gavin loves going back out into the field in Cambodia to get reinvigorated and not get caught up in the mundane tasks ahead
Gavin’s favorite Cambodian food is spicy peanut chicken curry
Gavin takes time for himself to unwind. Exercising, cooking.
Gavin loved his mother’s cooking and he often helped out
Gavin didn’t earn a salary during the first few years of starting Lucky Iron Fish
“Never forget the power of one person and their ripple effect.”
Gavin feels a bit of imposter syndrome despite all of his success
He remembers the times that haven’t been easy and so is mindful of the importance of the team
Gavin is grateful for his entire team and recently he hosted a team retreat
Growing up as a child of Korean immigrant parents, Robert Lee experienced hunger first hand. There were times where all his family could afford was instant ramen.
While studying at NYU's Stern School of Business, he joined a campus organization that delivered leftover cafeteria food to local homeless shelters. It was there that Robert learned that one in six Americans struggle with food insecurity. Yet strangely, 40% of food in the US goes to waste.
After graduating, he worked for JP Morgan where the pay was high. Simultaneously, he started the nonprofit organization Rescuing Leftover Cuisine and ran it during the weekends and evenings. As a social entrepreneur, Robert worked doggedly. “If something is important to you, you make time. And you do it," he said.
Eventually, he quit JP Morgan so he could work for Rescuing Leftover Cuisine full time. People discouraged him, thinking he would regret leaving such a lucrative job. Yet he persisted: “I had this crazy belief that I was right and everyone else was wrong.”
At first, the NGO had very little resources and faced rejection after rejection when speaking to the local restaurants. Robert was full of self-doubt. “I wasn’t sure if I was the right person to be leading the organization,” he said of his early days. Only five out of a hundred restaurants were willing to donate their leftover food. Yet after each rejection, Robert Lee repeated a mantra to himself: "For every no that you get, you’re one step closer to a yes.”
Robert Lee's original vision was to end food waste in New York City. Soon, the movement spread to 12 cities and the NGO is on track to deliver its millionth pound of leftover food to the hungry. Rescuing Leftover Cuisine works with partner food providers and matches them with local volunteers that carry leftover food to local homeless shelters and food kitchens. Nearly 200 cities want to start a chapter of the organization, and it's only a matter of time that Robert Lee will accomplish that.
In 2015, Robert Lee was named a CNN Hero.
Robert Lee’s parents immigrated to the US from South Korea
They grew up poor and sometimes could only afford to eat ramen
His family never tolerated food waste
Robert went to NYU on a full scholarship
At NYU he joined a club (Two Birds With One Stone) that delivered leftover food from the cafeteria to a local homeless shelter
When he joined the club, Robert entered with curiosity
As a freshman he wanted to expand the outreach for the club
40% of the food we produce in the US goes to waste!
We produce enough food to feed everyone in the world
Global hunger is a matter of distribution
Much of land and water is used to produce food, so all that is going to waste
Food waste produces methane gas
Food waste ranks third globally in terms of carbon emissions from food waste
Restaurants are concerned about getting sued for donating food that gets people sick
Research shows that it is extremely unlikely for a business to get sued for donating food
Robert Lee worked for JP Morgan for about a year after graduating from NYU
He wanted financial stability
Robert worked on Rescuing Leftover Cuisine part-time while working at JP Morgan
Robert figured out a way to automate a lot of the delivery process through technology
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine has a tiered volunteer model
In 2013 they won $1,000 in seed money on campus to start Rescuing Leftover Cuisine
“You never have time. You make time.”
“If something is important to you, you make time. And you do it.”
200 cities wanted to start a chapter of Rescuing Leftover Cuising after the CNN Heroes coverage
They have chapters in 12 cities at the moment
Sustainable and organic growth is more important
Food waste and hunger are caused by distribution problems
Initially, they had too many restaurants partnering and not enough volunteers to transport the food
Robert Lee helped hand deliver the food himself during the startup phase
A trained lead rescuer leads the volunteer groups
A corp rescuer with a license manages all of the trained leaders
Volunteers are ordinary citizens wanting to make a difference
During Thanksgiving in 2015, they brought turkeys to a homeless shelter that had ran out of food
“There should be more individualized definitions of success.”
People told Robert that he was throwing out his degree from NYU Stern for entering the nonprofit world
He was gung-ho and according to Robert himself, somewhat delusional when he started
“I had this crazy belief that I was right and everyone else was wrong.”
“I wasn’t sure if I was the right person to be leading the organization.”
Robert lacked confidence, charisma, and persona when he first started
In the beginning, only 5% of the restaurants he approached to seek out partnerships accepted
Robert talks about his mistakes in the past, like being too aggressive and outright rude to some of the restaurants that rejected a partnership.
“My passion pushed me through all of the rejections.”
Robert worked as the pickup driver, loader, salesperson, everything!
“For every no that you get, you’re one step closer to a yes.”
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine receive grant funding from JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Clif Bar
They focused on corporate funding
Two of his main colleagues at Rescuing Leftover Cuisine were friends from NYU
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine uses Trello for project management
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine uses Slack for team communication
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine uses Salesforce for their CRM and email marketing
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine uses Google Ad words
To Robert, nonprofit organizations are like two separate businesses: one that fundraises and the other that creates impact
Unlike for-profit companies, a nonprofit cannot simply provide a great product or service. They have to market it and fundraise to survive
Earned revenue is critical for nonprofits nowadays
Restaurants pay Rescuing Leftover Cuisine to take the leftover food because the restaurants 1.) get huge tax deductions 2.) have to pay a hauler anyways to pick up the leftover food 3.) want brand association with RLC
The hauling industry is not transparent at all about prices
They charge 10-20% of what a hauling company would normally charge
At one point Robert was at an all-time low when funding was drying up and he started to feel like what he was doing was just a bandaid solution
Instead of trying to address hunger, RLC decided to focus on food waste
Robert Lee misses meeting the volunteers and doing the pickups like in the old days
As a social entrepreneur not making much money, you must create a personal budget and works towards gaining more earned revenue
Robert does not waste time in the morning so he can use his fresh mind’s energy towards his three most important tasks for the day
For Robert Lee “Sleep is the best medicine” to fight burnout
Robert Lee enjoys hiking and kayaking
Robert Lee is afraid of growing too quickly
It was difficult for his parents to see Robert leave JP Morgan because they had sacrificed everything for his future
His parents were one of the first donors for RLC!!
“Growing up, I was the child who loved school. I was obsessed.”
Coming from Haiti, snow days were confusing for Nedgine Paul
Nedgine’s father was a school teacher before he became a priest
“It’s not enough to just take in knowledge. It’s about using it to do good.”
Nedgine worked at Achievement First Public Charter School Network for three years
“Zip code is not destiny.”
Social justice was important to Achievement First
Continuous improvement was important for the staff at Achievement First, a trait that Nedgine has taken to Haiti
People really asked for the HOW and the WHY at Achievement First
“Who are you as a leader and how do you show up?”
Nedgine Paul was active in the Haitian American community during her youth
“I want to create and contribute to a new narrative of our mighty nation.”
Her father is one of Nedgine’s north stars
The power of “one person’s quest” as a story
The organizational culture at Partners in Health is: doing whatever it takes, being local rooted and locally informed
PIH has maintained credibility and legitimacy for decades through authenticity
AT PIH it’s not about working for or with a community. It’s about being “of” the community. Nedgine hopes to bring that culture to Anseye Pou Ayiti
Staff members at Anseye Pou Ayiti spent years getting to know their communities in the beginning
PIH maintained their roots and knew how to improve from criticism
“Scale in global education has become about numbers and not about depth.”
“It’s not about scale in numbers but in depth.”
It took Nedgine and her team four years of planning before launching, talking to community members
Their approach was to be “slow and steady”
“As the Millennial generation, we want to rush to the next best thing, the next bright thing, the next thing that will go viral.”
It’s time to pause and listen, especially to our elders
“Why do we think that everything in Haiti’s educational system is broken?”
They asked for a assets instead of deficits in their communities
Before launching, Nedgine worked on Anseye Pou Ayiti part-time, during nights and weekends
Echoing Green’s fellowship and funding allowed Nedgine to pursue Anseye Pou Ayiti full time.
Nedgine Paul questioned herself a lot in the beginning
Nedgine Paul had a “brain-trust” of allies
“We have to be solvers AND learners at the same time.”
All the operational stuff was really difficult for Nedgine, coming in as an educator and not as a manager
Nedgine was told at Echoing Green that “Failure is okay in social entrepreneurship”
Many social entrepreneurs struggle with fundraising during year one
Anseye Pou Ayiti is part of the Teach for All network
Teach for All operates in 40 different countries now
Anseye Pou Ayiti is recruiting and training LOCAL teachers
Anseye Pou Ayiti went on a national recruitment campaign
Current teachers could apply at first, and now they make up a majority of the corps members
“The best is yet to come.”
Anseye Pou Ayiti has a mixed cohort approach
Corps members get leadership training and additional stipend (paid by Anseye Pou Ayiti) beyond their regular salaries (paid by the local schools)
Only 30% of children in Haiti are passing primary school
Her team was “lean and mean” in the beginning
Staying up late was critical
They did not want to be just “marginally different” than everything else
Anseye Pou Ayiti leverages partners that can provide specific teacher training workshops
Their training sessions are held in rural Haiti where logistics are “hairy” but it allows them to live their values
Past corps members come back to help with training
Blackouts are challenging
Not having a Staples in the area makes it hard to just go out and buy supplies when needed
Co-founder Ivanley Noisette and Nedgine are able to listen to and criticize each other
Nedgine’s students keep her ego in check
“The elders must be brought back into the conversation.”
Getting fellowships is a great fundraising strategy
In terms of fundraising, ask yourselves who would care about your cause
For Nedgine, giving gratitude is important
She asks herself, what went well today?
Funding was not going as well as Nedgine wanted it to recently, so she had to reach out for help
That moment of crises reminded her to be more humble, and to more willing to reach out for help
Nedgine gives thank to her professor, Dr. Lillian Guerra, who encouraged her to keep going
Nedgine is worried about the negative narrative of Haiti
Nedgine loves hearing about the progress inside the classrooms of her fellows
Amanda Fennell was adopted from an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia in 1990
It was around the time of guerrilla warfare, and the orphanage had bomb nets over them, and military was everywhere
Amanda Fennell grew up in New York
Amanda wants to adopt one day
She wants to visit Colombia, her birthplace, but is unsure of when and the circumstances of her situation, and facing her fears
Amanda feels a tremendous amount of gratitude for her situation
Amanda's sister, Lauren, was adopted from the same orphanage four years before Amanda was adopted
Lauren was Amanda's very first friend
She doesn't remember when she found out or realized she was adopted
Lauren was killed by a drunk driver when Amanda was a senior in high school
Amanda has a tattoo of Lauren's fingerprint together with her own fingerprint to format a heart shape
She was bullied a lot in middle school because she was outcasted as a "church kid"
Her "ugly duckling phase" lasted a while, especially since she went into college with braces
I use the word antifragile to describe Amanda Fennell
She has always been resilient and "overly" optimistic
Amanda thrives on stress and a sense of urgency
Amanda decided to attend Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland because of their strong nursing program
She wanted to be a pediatrician back then
Because of the loss of her sister, Amanda almost didn't attend college
Instead of wallowing in sadness, Amanda enrolled at Towson
In a strange way, going to college allowed Amanda to "run away" from her trauma
She wanted nothing to do with the medical field due to the loss of her sister, so Amanda majored in Family Studies and Community Development
She searched for student clubs to join.
Joining Invisible Children club was intimidating for Amanda because it was for the "cool" crowd
She then joined Circle-K service club
She ran for President as a freshman!
Amanda met two of her best friends, Kari Adlington and Jessa Coulter, during freshman year
The Circle-K initiatives were too small and low-key for Amanda, who wanted to do more
Amanda (along with Keri and Jessa) and I met at a Circle-K Convention where I gave a keynote speech
Amanda thinks that I am quirky!!! LOL
When Amanda wanted her Circle-K club to get involved with SHH, she was labeled “awful” and as the “worst President”
Leaving Circle-K to start Students Helping Honduras on campus caused rifts in friendships and personal hate against Amanda
Honduras was Amanda’s first trip outside of the US
She didn’t realize the SHH service trip would have so much of an educational component to it
Amanda met and talked to the families in Villa Soleada when the project had just started
SHH introduced Amanda to concepts like the ethics behind development aid
She helped build the Villa Soleada Education Center, which was the prototype project that later turned into the Villa Soleada Bilingual School
Eduardo “Chilo,” a small boy from the village spoke to the group to thank them for providing the education
The Education Center would provide Chilo his first books and computers ever
Amanda is careful about over-romanticizing development aid and volunteering
“I was so idealistic and naive.”
It was difficult to convince the Towson administration to let the chapter go down to Honduras, then considered the most dangerous nation outside of war zones
Dr. Santiago Solis helped as a faculty advisor and mentor to Amanda
The Towson Chapter raised $13,000 during their first year
They then returned to Honduras with 33 student volunteers
The following year they raised $30,000
During Amanda’s senior year, the chapter raised $53,000
In four years, the Towson Chapter had raised about $125,000 for Students Helping Honduras
Jessa Coulter was the co-President of the chapter alongside Amanda
They didn’t have much of a hierarchy
The chapter members became best friends
Some members spent more time on SHH than on school work
They organized 3-4 events every week
Each semester they did one massive event, like a benefit concert
Having compassionate, empathetic leadership is key
Fundraising was fun despite the sense of urgency
A lot of other chapters envied Towson and Amanda’s success
Leadership Week has fostered competition while building friendships between SHH chapters
Amanda became a community director for March of Dimes after graduation
She posted photos from Honduras all over her desk area at March of Dimes
Amanda was always interested in international maternal and prenatal health
I reached out to Amanda for help, as SHH was under so much stress due to lack of staff members and security threats in Honduras
Amanda saved up for a year working at March of Dimes and quit there to work for SHH on a shoestring salary as the Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Amanda feels really lonely while working out of her laptop in New York
At around 11:30pm one night—I was on the brink of shutting down SHH because of all the turmoil in Honduras and its consequences—I called Amanda to ask her for help and to join SHH
Amanda and I consult each other on everything just naturally, going all in together
Humility is something Amanda and I value in staff members
I needed someone to support me
Amanda doesn’t like being placed on a pedestal
Amanda is as loyal as it gets
At Towson, Amanda had a sense of community and personal success
It’s hard for Amanda to not have that sense of community as she works alone in New York
Amanda’s boyfriend Chris is supportive of her, always
Amanda’s best friends are mostly from SHH, though many of them are far away
Amanda is a social butterfly so it’s hard to work alone for her
“The work day is never over."
She’s learned to pace herself, delegate, avoid burnout
SHH could use some help with grant writing, social media, chapter recruitment
People are much more motivated when they can work face to face, instead of remotely and isolated
There is no reason to constantly second guessing herself as the COO of SHH with all the trust that I have in Amanda
Amanda has to remind herself that there is value in what she does for SHH
Amanda and Chris have started a succulent arrangement business on the side, BEAR STREET COLLECTIVE
The succulent business allows Amanda to interact with other people, something she missed doing
Jessa Coulter and Amanda Fennell are like the Yin and the Yang together
Amanda Fennell drinks a lot of coffee!
Amana is a night owl, working late into the night
She likes being “zesty” with life : )
The person Amanda Fennell was most grateful for that week was her boyfriend Chris
They recently visited Denver, Colorado together
While studying at the University of Maryland, Melissa Frankenberry raised more than $30,000 for Students Helping Honduras. In this episode, she breaks down her process step-by-step and talks about facing her own fears when making the ask.
Ever since Cristy Falcone was a little girl, she wanted to go places on a bicycle with a sleeping bag
According to Cristy, I was an enthusiastic and energetic guy back in college
She had done one previous grand tour, going 1,800 miles from Seattle to San Diego
Her touring pace is about 12 miles an hour
Her plan was to do 45-50 miles per day!
Scandinavia was the hardest part of the trip for Cristy
She used the Kona Sutra touring bike
You must use a touring bike that puts your body in a comfortable position
Most touring bicycles cost $500+
She worked at Bike Works , a bicycle shop in Fredericksburg during her senior year in college where she learned the basics of bicycle maintenance
At the least you should know how to change your tires, fix a flat tire, adjust your brakes, adjust de-railers, and fix your gears
You can get panniers and strap them on the sides of your bicycles to store your stuff
Backpacks are not recommended because it makes your back sweat
She carried 25-30lbs of gear (food, water, sleeping bag, tent)
She went on an unsupported tour where she had to carry all her stuff with her!
“You basically carry your life with you."
Cycling maps are essential
GPS systems for bicycles can cost $400-$500!!
She set up a Facebook page and coordinate a Fundaround page with Colette Eustace
She had to face her fears while fundraising
Her dad gave out fundraising flyers and gave them out at his work
She was moved by her father’s gesture
You need friends and family to support you while on a grand tour
She posted photos and updates during her grand tour
Leading up to the trip, she was scared, nervous, excited, anxious
“The first day was totally ridiculous."
To fly a bike, you have to take it apart and stuff it into a box
On the first day, it poured rain and everything got soaking wet
They had to dry everything overnight on a campsite!
Advice: Put all your stuff in trash bags inside your panniers
In Scandinavia, she saw lots of farmland, coastal sea, beautiful scenery
She ate a lot of picnic food to stay fueled, and also fish in Scandinavia
She ate a lot of sausage in Germany
France has great fruit
She stayed in hostels sometimes, the cheapest ones in Europe cost about 20 Euros per night
She camped out in random places
Her two biggest threats were bike accidents and men
Her then boyfriend went along with her for the first month
She met other cycle tourists and would ride along with them sometimes
Europe has very developed and organized bicycle routes
She regrets not having a gadget to listen to podcasts during the tour
“You can work a lot of things out, alone on a bike."
She loves bicycle touring but got homesick
Her brakes kept failing on her during the expedition for an unknown reason
She got sun burn and saddle sores
In Basil, Cristy got into a serious accident and got badly injured
Her bicycle tires got stuck in a trolly track and she crashed in slow motion
She had to sit down and cry in the shade for a little while : (
She got a beer afterwards to recover
She could barely make it on the bicycle the next day
She ended up sleeping (“nestling”) in her tent in a random community garden!
The owners of the garden plot caught her and Cristy was terrified hearing them rustle around and speaking in German
The German family took her in like a little child, feeding Cristy and even gave her coffee and pastry
Her rain gear was not adequate
Scandinavia has a strong wind going against you
It gets very hot in the summer in France
She’s injury-prone and has scoliosis, but avoided any major injuries
She rode 5-7 hours per day on average
She had to end her trip in Paris and not in Spain as planned because her visa expired
At the end, she felt sadness, relief, homesick
She had to stop putting up photo updates because of a potential stalker
“I can’t wait until my next tour."
After the trip, she slept a LOT but didn’t eat too much
European coffee is very strong and bold
“You’ll be scared every step of the way. But you should do it anyways."
“I was scared during the entire phase of the process."
Before the trip, Cristy was working on a farm and at some odd jobs
Her dream is to work in biotech and live on a homestead
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." -John Muir
Johnny found out about Students Helping Honduras from his classmate George at the Coast Guard Academy
He was a cadet for four years and then was commissioned for five years in Honolulu, Hawaii and then in Seattle
He was a swimmer growing up and into many physical activities
Later on in college, Johnny got into mountaineering and rock climbing
His friend Kyle told Johnny about mountaineering in Colorado and about the fourteeners
He realized that he could combine his passion for mountaineering with his passion for SHH by climbing for Honduras
Johnny focused on "scrambling" which is kind of like hiking but on steeper terrain, like cliffs
He took a year-long alpine mountaineering course through mountaineers.org where he learned skills getting getting out of crevasses
Rock fall was a serious threat
Redundancy in equipment is important for safety
Johnny worked on his cardio and leg strength for fitness training.
You must be able to run 3-5 miles consistently
Everyone handles altitude changes differently, with headaches, appetite loss, vomitting
He did a lot of camping next to his car, which carried everything he needed
Colorado has convenient camping locations and regulations
He carried a water filter with him and get drinking water from a nearby streams
He took food, water, and snacks, emergency gear with him during the climbs
Sunglasses and sunblock are important
Johnny encourages the use of trekking poles to preserve your knees, even if it's a stick you pick up on the side of the road
Johnny had gotten a certificate in fundraising from the University of Washington through a year-long course
He learned to make a website through www.codefellows.org
"Learning about fundraising in the classroom was one thing. Applying it in the real world was a whole new experience."
Johnny used Fundaround.com as the online fundraising platform
He marketed Climb for Honduras via word of mouth, Facebook
Right before the trek, Johnny felt terrified and was full of doubts and uncertainty
He knew that life was uncertain after the expedition, or even during the dangerous expedition
He brought a Honduran flag with him everywhere, including on the expedition. People signed it as he trekked along
People from his church network in Colorado helped him and even joined him during parts of the expedition
Johnny prefers climbing with his friends instead of going alone
Chicago Basin, Colorado, was the most beautiful landscape Johnny witnessed during his expedition
He worried about his fundraising while on the treks and continued to work on it during his rest days back in civilization
He would climb 4-5 days of the week and take 2-3 days off
Camping up in the mountains was peaceful, especially the places with less people
There was the threat of encountering black bears
He saw many marmots!
At one point it started snowing, even though it was August
There were many moments where Johnny felt in danger
Due to frost, Johnny fell and injured his right hip. He kept going despite the sharp pain.
He saw rain, snow, thunderstorms, and even hail
Johnny ate a lot of dehydrated food that he heated up with hot water. They were mostly stews
Johnny's favorite flavor was chicken and rice
The sunrise hikes were breathtaking
When the sun comes up, all your worries melt away
The last peak was Mt. Huron, and in preparation they had brought a champaign bottle with them
He had lost 12 pounds of weight
He loved In-And-Out Burgers when he got home
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." -John Muir
Social entrepreneur Sophia Sunwoo believed in her mission so much that she worked without a salary for the first 2.5 years of starting The Water Collective. To make ends meet, she worked at a bakery during the day and built up the NGO at nighttime.
Entrepreneurial at heart, Sophia built a clothing company (celebrities like Miley Cyrus wore her clothesline) and sold it while still in college.
She remained in the corporate world for several months after college. But for Sophia Sunwoo, creating social impact was her calling. She quit her job, and began working at a bakery in New York. With co-founder Josh Braunstein, Sophia created The Water Collective to help provide clean drinking water to partner communities in Africa and India.
In this episode, Sophia talks about the challenges of working in the developing world as a female leader and dealing with petty community politics. You'll also learn what it's like to run an NGO with a co-founder and why for Sophia it's like "like a marriage without all the fun parts."
Sophia was listed as a leading force for social entrepreneurship on the Forbes' 30 Under 30 List in 2016.
www.omprakash.org - a site that connects NGOs, people, and projects
Show Notes & Summary
While in college, Sophia started a clothing line out of her dorm room with her roommate
She wanted to be a clothing designer since she was 9 years old
Miley Cyrus wore one of her hoodies
Despite her success, Sophia was unhappy
Sophia sold her company while she was still in college so she could do what she was passionate about
She was inspired by a professor asking his students to do something about climate change and social impact
She regimented a very strict schedule while in college to accomplish everything
She wanted to enter the nonprofit and social impact industry but nobody would offer her a job due to her lack of experience. She got rejected every time!
She returned to the corporate world, at a art consulting firm
She learned to project manage, production schedules, conflict resolution in the corporate world
Within 7 months, Sophia was ready to quit the corporate world
Her parents took a step back and trusted Sophia and her decision
Sophia met her co-founder, Josh Braunstein, at the bar on the day she quit her corporate job
Sophia worked in a bakery while starting The Water Collective
Sophia had never met an Asian American social entrepreneur for her first five years in the social impact space
Josh's Jewish network was supportive of their work. The Korean American community was less willing to support Sophia because charity is not a part of their culture as much.
Immigrant parents have a hard time understanding the risky decisions that their second-generation children may take in entrepreneurship or social entrepreneurship
You need to leverage your immediate network early on to be a successful social entrepreneur
They had many false starts in the beginning and projects kept falling through for an entire year
Co-founder Josh Braunstein had worked in the nonprofit industry, specializing in clean water. He had noticed that many projects simply did not work on the ground.
They noticed that many water systems stopped working after a few years
Maintenance, troubleshooting, and finding spare parts were largely unaddressed
Super high-tech or electric-powered water systems were problematic due to technical problems
Sophia found partner organizations in Africa mostly on-line
They received an email from a farmer in Cameroon who came from a village that did not have access to clean drinking water
They hopped on a flight to go meet the farmer in Cameroon
It's extremely difficult for NGOs to work in Cameroon, such as roads not being paved. Mud roads got washed away when it rained.
The Water Collective had dealt with much of the legal work finished during the first year to make things easier for the second year
Managing community relationships and dynamics is challenging due to competing interests that people within the community may have
Each community has a village chief and it is crucial for The Water Collective to foster those relationships
The Water Collective never fully funds a project so that the community can feel as if they are true stakeholders by fundraising and building
Working with different village chiefs is challenging, as they may or may not have the support of the community or certain members
Seemingly small relationships within the communities are important
Sophia believes that you can always create a system or process that can help you, even when managing key relationships or choosing partner villages
The Water Collective vouches each community where they ask questions, observe, and gather anecdotal data to see if the community would be a good fit as a partner
Sophia is all about testing ideas, getting feedback, and iterating
Sophia is a Tim Ferriss fan!
Sophia needed a confidence boost after being in a country where women are not respected as much and where people don't know how to handle a women in a leadership position
People gave her more authority when she told them that she was American
People from work would invite her for a meeting but would cross the line with their romantic approaches
People would make offhand comments about Sophia because she was a woman
She now does not show a hint of her feminine side when in these communities. It's awkward for her because she's all about women's rights and equality.
She picks her battles when it comes to standing up for women's issues in developing countries because she wonders if it is her responsibility and it takes away from her efficiency getting the projects done
Someone of power in Cameroon is usually overweight, since that means he is wealthy enough to eat a lot. Sophia is a tiny Asian girl, the opposite of what most leaders look like.
Demonstrating a sense of self-worth is important for women in development aid, not accepting sexist comments or unwanted advances or being treated as a plaything
The co-founder relationship is complicated, it's "like a marriage without all the fun parts"
You can go from being best friends to not talking each other constantly. It can get very emotional.
Building a startup is an emotional process
"It's always about execution. It's never about the idea."
A close staff member in Cameroon passed away recently, and dealing with death was difficult for Sophia and Josh. They considered closing down and became depressed.
The Water Collective has an important gala coming up in New York
Sophia and Josh meet at least once a week, usually in person
In one community, the intra-community problems were too deep that The Water Collective could not moderate even with the help of moderators and political leaders. The community chief did not have the support of his community
It was not in Sophia's philosophy to try and be the white knight that would throw money at the problems the community struggled with to try and solve it for them.
They had to abandon that particular community partnership
The Mundame community partnership is Sophia's proudest project
The Water Collective has a rigorous water maintenance program
They teach the communities how to fix and repair the systems so that it becomes second-nature, kind of like how everyone nowadays know how to use a smart phone
The Water Collective uses mostly water catchment systems where they will get water from a stream, and sometimes wells
It's important for Sophia that women are involved in the communities
Sophia and Josh worked for The Water Collective without a salary for the first 2.5 years
It's important to stay on the pulse when it comes to fundraising so you can evolve
It's important for an NGO to have a strong Board that can financially contribute a certain amount each year
Sophia like to host intimate, private dinners to update key donors
Sophia finds Board members that she can get along with and will support each other
They found Board members by searching for specific qualifications
Sophia likes to meditate and write down how she's feeling about certain projects
Sophia loves the Tim Ferriss Podcast!!
Sophia is currently coaching social entrepreneurs secure revenue for their projects at sophiasunwoo.com
Social entrepreneur Marquis Taylor started Coaching for Change by racking up $15,000 in credit card debt. He believed in his mission that much.
Marquis Taylor grew up in a rough, gang-riddled neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. For him, basketball was the only thing that mattered. Using his talent and dogged work ethic, Marquis got a scholarship to play NCAA basketball.
After college and a number of years in the real estate industry, Marquis took a giant leap of faith forward. He left it all to start Coaching for Change to help vulnerable students become college and career ready. Coaching for Change organizes business training, mentorship, and academic support through the one thing that he loves: basketball. The organization works with low-income, disengaged high school students who are on the verge of dropping out.
Marquis Taylor is an Echoing Green Fellow and CNN Hero.
echoinggreen.org (Echoing Green is a social innovation fund that acts as a catalyst for impact. With access to funding, grants, and strategic foundational support, they can accelerate the positive vision leaders have for the world. )
Show Notes & Summary
California is not all palm trees and sunshines as people may think
He saw the worst and the best of humanity growing up
Marquis struggled through school, unable to read until the third or fourth grade
Basketball was his one escape, his "one and only motivator"
Marquis describes himself as a mid-range player who was like a "gnat"
Over the summer during high school, Marquis trained three times per day
He trained under Wayne Slappy at UCLA during the summers
Marquis noticed that the NBA players focused on the little things
He worked in the sub-prime mortgage industry, kind of like as Cristian Bale's assistant in the movie The Big Short
After college, Marquis wanted to make a lot of money
When the industry collapsed, he moved to the Mississippi Delta for a new job.
Marquis felt like he was in the third world being in the Mississippi Delta seeing all the dirt roads and lack of opportunity
They call these areas Mail Box Communities because everyone is living off welfare
It was there that Marquis realized the importance of education and how privileged he was relative to the people there
Witnessing the poverty, Marquis decided to become an educator to help
He got a master's degree in education but realized he didn't want to be a teacher
He started Coaching for Change without much of a fallback plan
Marquis truly hustled to start Coaching for Change, from sleeping on couches and in his car to getting into credit card debt
"It's not rocket science. It's persistence and hard work."
The program evolved from just training high school students to become basketball coaches
Coaching for Change then helps the students get jobs, graduate from schools, and mentor middle school students
"People label these kids we work with as the bad kids. I believe that they are just misunderstood."
These kids have a lot of things to deal with at home, such as parents being in jail
"Through small successes, young people begin seeing that they CAN actually do this."
Coaching for Change started with just 15 kids
Some of his high school students had never met a person who was in college
One of his high school students was struggling in school because he was dealing with his father being imprisoned for drug dealing. He overcame immense challenges and became a mentor to middle school students and is now attending college
His kids are required to organize sporting events, like 3v3 basketball tournaments and run them like businesses, selling t-shirts, running concession stands, charging entry tickets
The learn the elements of business through a fun process
Marquis racked up $15,000 in credit card debt to start Coaching for Change and to keep his promise
He won the Echoing Green Fellowship and $70,000 award by being honest
"When you put forth the work and effort, luck will follow."
Principles, teachers, and parents have competing interests
Marquis stresses the importance of fighting for moments and embracing them
The public schools pulled out of Coaching for Change because they did not want the organization to start including charter schools in their program
Marquis hadn't realize the dark side of politics behind education system until then
They had plans to impact 350 kids from 7 schools and all the public schools pulled out of the program just because Marquis wanted to also include charter schools in the program
There is intense competition for funding between public and charter schools
They had to shut down their programs as a result
Schools are able to custom design the programs like the Nike ID Lab
The students Coaching for Change works with have a 6,000-hour learning gap (equivalent to 5 years in the classroom by the time they are graduate due to a lack of extracurricular activities compared to students who enjoy them in higher-income neighborhood
He had to start all over again, going from seven schools to just one
Instead of working district by district, Coaching for Change started working with individual schools
Marquis was inspired by Geoffrey Canada, the founder of Harlem Children's Zone
Geoffrey Canada has the ability to mesmerize a room through his story telling
People tried boycotting Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone whey it was first starting off due to its audacious nature
The secret to recruiting busy college students is to get them passionate about the project by having them meet and spend time with the kids in the program. They also get paid, which helps.
Most high school students are too busy with school work, video games, and their social lives to do much else. But Chris Cao, a 17-year-old senior at Thomas Jefferson High School is raising the bar for his generation.
At age 15, CNN Hero Chris Cao became a social entrepreneur. He started Reboot for Youth, a nonprofit organization in northern Virginia that recycles, repairs, and delivers refurbished computers to youth in need.
His core team is made up of his friends who go to different high schools in the Fairfax area. Each Saturday, Chris gets the team together at a friend's basement to further their mission. Of course, pizza is essential at these gatherings.
In two years, Reboot for Youth has delivered 418 computers (as of October, 2016) to youth in the Washington D.C. area, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Leave your comments here: www.shinfujiyama.com/ChrisCao
Started the operation at the basement of his friend's house
Chris Cao has several online classes at his high school
He spends his weekend like any normal teenager, hanging out with friends and catching up on school work.
Chris was tutoring a kid named Sebastian who couldn't afford to have a computer at his house
"Students in our very own neighborhood don't have access to computers."
Chris began tinkering with and fixing computers at age 10 by watching YouTube videos
Chris's parents were supportive of his interest in computers
Chris's grandfather was a doctor from Vietnam and worked in philanthropy, offering free medical care to the poor in Vietnam
The process of becoming a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization was "tedious" for Chris. He found most of his information on WikiLinks.
It's difficult to juggle school work, a social life, and Reboot for Youth simultaneously
Homework gets in the way of running Reboot for Youth
Chris has a great team he can rely on
Chris was only 14 when he started Reboot for Youth, and because of his young age it was difficult to get adults to see them as a legitimate organization
Every Saturday the Reboot for Youth team meets for two hours at a friend's house. They form an assembly line to repair the computers together. Pizza is essential at these meetings.
Families in the Washington DC neighborhood could submit a request for laptops on the Reboot for Youth website
Reboot for Youth uses Keepod USB drives to provide operating systems for the refurbished laptops.
The first international shipment was to El Salvador
Sometimes Chris focuses his attention towards his personal issues and away from Reboot for Youth, which is frustrating for him
Sometimes Chris gets overwhelmed, feeling like his back is against a wall and there is nowhere to go
It was extremely difficult for Chris to take his AP exams while Nickelodeon was filming his efforts all day
Chris Cao describes how he felt when CNN called him for the CNN Heroes program. He was happy that Reboot for Youth could finally display their work to the entire world. The showing resulted in many laptops donated.
At first not everyone believed in Chris nor in Reboot for Youth's mission
Chris felt a tremendous amount of pressure not to let down his donors, but he used it as motivation to work harder
When the Reboot for Youth team encounters a disagreement, they make decisions by voting and through peaceful means.
For the Costa Rica project, the Reboot for Youth team had to refurbish 20 computers in one week all the while they had to go to school and finish homework. They stayed up until midnight to finish the project.
Chris is learning to be a leader through trial and error.
He picked up his leadership skills while a freshman intern at an IT firm in DC. The CEO of the company taught Chris Cao about leadership, recommending him books like Good to Great.
The CEO selected Chris as a project manager even though he was only a freshman in high school, leading a team of developers to make a website for the company. He had to lead people who were older. Chris doesn't think he was a great leader when he did that.
He learned many leadership skills at the internship that he can use for Reboot for Youth
The CEO saw in Chris drive and the willingness to learn and progress as a person
Chris believes that the youth today are very inquisitive and self-motivated to further themselves
Intrinsic self motivation is important for Chris
Having parents who were not too strict has helped him
We live in a world where Asian Americans are underrepresented in the media and in leadership positions. Chris wants to be a trendsetter for Asian Americans.
Yang Yuanqing, the CEO of Lenovo tweeted at Chris after watching CNN Heroes to congratulate him
Lenovo donated 75 new laptops to Reboot for Youth, which became a turning point for Chris
Chris is now finding a new group of high school students to run the local operation so he can head out to college
Chris plans to expand the international reach of Reboot for Youth
"You're never too young to make an impact. I've met entrepreneurs younger than me."
Chris is grateful for his family and brother who have helped him along the way.
Ned Norton could deadlift 660 pounds. But that's one of his smaller accomplishments in life.
Ned is a social entrepreneur and a Top 10 CNN Hero from Albany, New York. He is the founder of Warriors on Wheels. In this episode he tells his story all the way from growing up as a scrawny kid (like me) and how that motivated him to become a competitive athlete and power lifter. He became a fitness trainer and trained several Olympic athletes, helping them win gold medals.
But even that wasn't enough for Ned Norton. He needed a greater challenge. Through a series of random events, he began to train a friend who had been paralyzed from an accident. Soon, many people in wheelchairs and with physical disabilities like spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injuries began to seek his help.
So in 1988, Ned started the nonprofit organization, Warriors on Wheels, opening a gym at his home town specialized for individuals with disabilities. At one point, he trained five members at his gym to bench press 300+ pounds.
Through his newest initiative, The Hercules Project, Ned ships free fitness and rehab equipment to individuals with disabilities in more than ten countries, including Mali, Darfur, Guatemala, and Somalia.
Ned has a saying at his gym: every person who comes in our front door will become their own success story.
Show Notes & Summary
Ned Norton was a scrawny kid growing up
When Ned was 12, his uncle gave him a set of weights, which was a great discovery for Ned
At his peak, Ned was deadlifting 660lbs
He loves going to the gym, he can't wait to get there each day (like me)
"It becomes part of your life. Like brushing your teeth."
Ned Norton is 58 years old
He got his dream job, to work at a gym. He became a trainer.
He worked with a few Olympic gold medal winners
He was a strength coach for three Olympic teams, basketball teams, football teams, bodybuilders
He learned about a 20-year-old guy who had gotten paralyzed after falling off a tree. The kid was so depressed that he was suicidal
Ned started training him at the gym, which instantly boosted the kid's confidence and self-esteem, eventually leading him to return to college and find a job
Nobody at the hospital could believe he was the same guy. This inspired 6 other people from the hospital come in to train with Ned
He had no specialized equipment
They called themselves the Warriors to have a cool name
The guys were making social and psychological transformation through Ned's training
60 people began to seek Ned for training after a story was published in the local newspaper
Ned saw the need and formed a nonprofit organization to help his disabled trainees
They get that feeling of well-being, confidence, progress, positivity
He found an abandoned floor in a public housing project which he was able to use for free for the new facility
People thought he was crazy for working in the "projects"
He charges a fee at his gym, but if people can't afford it, they don't need to pay
Less than 25% of his members are paying
When Ned got the phone call from CNN, he thought it was some kind of joke from the fire department guys
So many times things were so tough he was on the brink of closing the doors
It was on the day that Ned was contemplating how he was going to close down the gym and sell the equipment that he go the phone call from CNN Heroes
The ups and downs of running a nonprofit organization is extreme
Ned does it ALL ALONE. He runs the gym, he does the social media, the website, takes care of his family
The CNN glory gave Ned about a year of fame and funding. After that, he has had to return to the grind. "It never ends lol."
He was out meeting celebrities, movie stars, and on TV. Soon after, he was back in the projects hustling and grinding to keep the gym afloat
Raising money is the most frustrating thing about running Warriors on Wheels
Ned has a hard time asking for money (he's like a giant teddy bear)
After being on CNN, people with disabilities from all over the world began contacting him for help
A guy from Cambodia asked for help for landmine survivors and that sparked the Hercules Project where Ned sends resistance bands for free all over the world
Ned partnered up with the United Nations Mine Action Service
He will be sending workout equipment to Cali, Colombia (I'll be there during October-November, 2016)
He sent equipment to patients from a mental hospital in Somalia, where people had been chained down and their muscles had atrophied drastically
One girl in his program lost a leg to bone cancer at age 18, then at 24 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which put her on a wheelchair, then she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to get a double mastectomy. Yet she still never misses a workout.
Ned has a strict morning routine where he works out at the gym and/or goes for a long run to "outrun the thoughts in his head."
To help the people in wheelchairs bench press 300+ pounds, Ned followed the strategy: Less is More. He only had them do 3-5 bench press sets per workout using his 6-8 weeks program.
Because his athletes dominated so many competitions, Ned eventually felt like he was the "evil coach" from the Karate Kid movie lol
I decide on the show to name our home gym at the Villa Soleada Children's Home the "Warrior's Gym Honduras"
Ned read up on Arnold and Franco's workout tips during his early days, before the internet was available
Arnold said to Ned in a seminar: "Don't ever do any of the workouts I talk about in the magazines. I never did any of them!"
Ned's "go-to" fitness resource is Muscle and Fitness
"Once you get hooked into enjoying it [fitness], it opens up a whole new world for you."
"You can always do more than you think you can. Never give up."
"You've only tapped into 40% of your potential."
He calls his best friends at the gym "the smelly monkey butts" lol
Ned trains people with Down's Syndrome. They oftentimes are good at powerlifting and bench pressing because they have shorter limbs.
When people come into the gym for the first time after recovering from an injury, they have terrible self-esteem
Sometimes doctors, family, and people at the rehab office focus on telling their patients what they can't do, what not to do. Whereas Ned talks about the amazing things they will be able to do after his 3-month training program.
In today's episode, we have Jessica Heinzelman ("a white woman who doesn’t discriminate against lovers based on race") and Teddy Ruge ("an educated, angry African--a rare species in the development sector").
They are the founders of Jaded Aid: A card game to save humanitarians (Wayan Vota, the third co-founder, couldn't make it for the call). As friends, they loved to drink and laugh together. And all three worked in the international development aid sector.
One day at a bar in Washington, DC, the three founders realized that existing power structures and humanitarians’ propensity to take themselves too seriously were inhibiting honest dialogue about the industry that could catalyze transformative change for improved results.
They decided to create a card game similar to Cards Against Humanity, except that this one would be for development workers, created by development workers.
They used Kickstarter to fund the idea. Within 48 hours they surpassed their goal, eventually raising $50,000+ on the platform. They were featured on several news outlets and sales began to climb.
As a humanitarian who has worked in Honduras since 2007, one card in the deck made me laugh out loud: “giving up any hope of a stable relationship.”
Learn how these founders created Jaded Aid to help the development industry... all the while making beer money and having fun.
Show Notes & Summary
They crowdsourced the card idea to the online community of aid workers
They received more than 2,500 admissions for card ideas
They held design parties to get feedback
Jaded Aid is fashioned very similar to Cards Against Humanity
There is a donor card (a statement with a blank or question) that is read out and recipients submit their proposals to answer or fill in the blank using the recipient cards
Jessica talks about the process they went through to come up with their cool logo, a play on the USAID logo and the donor-industrialization of the industry. Also the black, bleeding heart inherent cynicism of the industry
How the three co-founders divide up their roles despite their busy lives
"It helps that we're friends first and co-founders second."
Why friendship makes the working environment vibrant
If you love it enough, you'll make the time
When overachievers find something that is fun and worthwhile, they'll figure out a way to do it
The co-founders see Jaded Aid as a side hobby. They all have other full-time jobs
"If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it." LOLOL So true!
It's harder get the stuff done that's not fun, like how to move product around
Jessica explains what a design party looks like for Jaded Aid, where there are lots of people and alcohol. They ask for feedback and watch for reactions and get people to weigh in what they like/dislike
The expansion pack coming out soon has the theme: Peace Corps
Themes on violence and sexual assault were deemed "too much" and were tossed out
Their $50,000+ Kickstarter strategy was simple: Wayan
Within 48 hours they had reached their funding goal
Jaded Aid was featured on many major news outlets despite not having tried that hard to get their attention
The founders had tapped into a particular sentiment of frustration in the industry that nobody else was willing to talk about. They were addressing a taboo and doing it in a funny, real, and approachable way.
Once you get one major media captures your story, the other media sources jump on the bandwagon to not to miss out
The cards can take you to some crazy places and the combinations are nearly endless. They can be benign, uncomfortable, outrageous, squirm-worthy
The Diva Cup is a menstrual cup that can be re-used
Shipping through Diplomatic Pouch Services
Jaded Aid ships internationally, although it can be expensive
It's a very dedicated and loyal market but not huge enough to make Jaded Aid profitable enough for the founders to work full-time on it. It's enough for beer money.
The founders want to be a part of the effort to change the industry. They love their work and the humanitarian in themselves and want to help the industry pivot for the better
They want to act as the trigger for conversation, innovation, and improved impact in the industry
"Here are the problems. Let's discuss them out in the open."
They can't ever stop working in the development industry though, since they have to keep generate new ideas for cards lol
Today’s guest is our very own Caroline Gray, a staff member here at Students Helping Honduras. She began teaching in 2011 in a low-income neighborhood in Bridgeport, Connecticut through Teach For America. Her first year there, she taught reading and writing for grades K through 8. She then taught third grade for two years.
Caroline moved to Honduras in 2014 to teach third grade at our Villa Soleada Bilingual School, helping her students achieve 1.6 years of growth in reading each year. And she did that twice. She is now the Academic Director of the school.
You can follow her on her personal blog at carolineegray.wordpress.com
For show links, go to www.shinfujiyama.com/carolinegray
Show Notes & Summary
She oversees the curriculum
Why Honduran parents want to send their children to a private bilingual school
The tuition for bilingual schools can range from $100-$400 per month plus material costs in northern Honduras
The Villa Soleada Bilingual School's tuition is around $25/month
Caroline shares the story of a student from Villa Soleada who has been making tremendous growth despite coming from a challenging home-life and having parents who are illiterate
The evolution of the bilingual curriculum at the school, especially aligning the content taught in Spanish and in English
In Pre-K and Kindergarten classes, the majority of the classes are taught in Spanish
As they move through the grades, less Spanish is spoken and more English is spoken
By the upper grade levels, the majority of classes are taught in English
Teacher training at Villa Soleada Bilingual School has evolved tremendously, going from a few days to five weeks
We use the S.M.A.R.T. (Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) framework when setting goals
We assess the students three times per year in phonics, sight words, reading comprehension, and math
Our school shares many values with Teach for America. A big one is in the belief that all students regardless of where they come from deserve equal access to an excellent education as their wealthier peers
We also align with TFA in the belief that great behavior management and high quality instruction can lead students to find success in the classroom no matter where they are
Time management is Caroline's greatest challenge
Caroline has many self-doubts and insecurities, only being 27 years old and running Villa Soleada Bilingual
Her Spanish was poor when she began in Honduras
Caroline understands her limitations and reaches out to a wide range people who support her
A special shoutout to Maxie Gluckman
Caroline loses sleep when she is worried about her students who come to school with black eyes or when families are assaulted
She understands the need for a holistic pathway out of poverty to supplement the work that the school is doing
Teachers who didn't succeed at VSBS failed to become a part of the greater community in El Progreso, which serves as an outlet. It gives them a way to relax and make friends. Small things like joining the local gym
The teachers who succeed have the heart for this kind of work. They have a sense of purpose.
The students who come from wealthier neighborhoods have superior early childhood education. The children from lower-income families have to catch up already in pre-K and Kindergarten.
Earning the trust of the community and parents has been challenging for Caroline. It took years for her to build that trust, especially in an environment where parents are used to foreign staff members coming and going each year
The school is looking to provide more extracurricular activities to the students
The Summer Enrichment Program allowed children to participate in many extracurricular activities
Caroline is the head soccer coach of the school. Our team has lost almost every single game, but our kids have learned to play with heart and humility; to lose with grace and dignity; to improve.
The first and last victory of the year was huge. It was 120 degrees outside. The victory was for the team and for the school and the entire community. The entire community cheered on the team and celebrated.
Caroline's goal for the team is to continue improving technical skills and approach everyday with courage
She wants our kids to be on par with their peer in high performance schools in the US by the time they graduate from our school at the 9th grade
The kids who graduate would go onto a bilingual high school in the city or continue to work on conversational English with us
Fluent English speakers can work at the growing tourism and call center industries, even as managers.
Jobs that require English pay much better in general in Honduras
Get ready for our very first graduation ceremony in the year 2020!
Michael Driscoll was an active member of Students Helping Honduras during his time at Virginia Tech, helping build several schools in El Progreso. During his senior year, he served as the Chapter President on campus.
Upon graduation, as his classmates were signing contracts to work at high paying corporate desk jobs, Mike took a different path. He became a middle school teacher in a low-income neighborhood in Miami through Teach for America.
After serving TFA for two years, Mike flew down to Honduras to work for the Villa Soleada Bilingual School as a 4th grade teacher.
In this episode, Mike talks about his experience with TFA in Miami and what his days are like now living and working in Honduras.
Check out the show notes & photos at www.shinfujiyama.com/michaelDriscoll
"The idea of sitting in a desk for eight hours everyday wasn't appealing to me."
"Some days I felt like... what am I getting myself into!?"
"There were days I did not want to get out of bed."
A day in the life of Michael
The meal plan of a typical teacher at Villa Soleada Bilingual School
What the gym in El Progreso is like
Michael compares the teacher training process between Teach for America and Villa Soleada Bilingual School
The biggest difference that Michael has seen between schools in the US and in Honduras: unexpectedness
Many teachers at his school in the US transferred out to other schools due to their unsatisfactory experiences
His goal this year is to help his students reach 80-100% proficiency in grade level math and 1.5 years growth in reading levels.
Mike is working on a CRM (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) program in his science class
Mike is collecting data and tracking the progress of his students
Each week Mike has been highlighting a specific character trait with his class. This was inspired by the KIPP schools. This past week he highlighted grit.
"Grit is about never giving up. It's trying your hardest. And doing your best."
Something has been keeping Michael awake at night, worried.
What the first day of school was like for Mike, working for Teach for American and then at the Villa Soleada Bilingual School
On the first day in Miami, one girl says to him, "Middle School fucking sucks!!!" That inspired him to make sure nobody finishes the year with that mindset.
"This is when I figured out what it meant to have high blood pressure."
"My students are like my cup of coffee in the morning."
His biggest challenges in Miami were to get kids to listen to him, behavioral management, low test scores
What his weekends are like in Honduras (salsa lessons, tutoring friends in English, gym, night out in town)
Mike's favorite dance club in El Progreso is Zona 504. They have air conditioning!
He encourages people interested in working at Villa Soleada Bilingual School to come visit the program first for a short period of time
Don't miss Mike's moving shoutout, Academy-awards style.
In this episode, Natalie Jesionka and I discuss volunteer travel and current trends in the NGO industry. Some of the questions asked during the episode:
Natalie is a lecturer, reporter, and human rights advocate. Natalie is the founder of the Prizm Project, the first human rights education organization for young women. She has researched human trafficking, the arms trade, and women in conflict throughout Asia.
She is also the Editor of Shatter the Looking Glass, a human rights and ethical travel publication examining the complexity of moving across borders in the modern world. She serves on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA. She is currently a sociology professor at Rutgers University.
Natalie and I originally met in Thailand in 2010 where she was a Fulbright Scholar.
Show Notes & Summary
Social entrepreneur Caitlin McHale is the Co-Founder and Director of Project Esperanza (esperanzameanshope.org), an NGO dedicated to serving the Haitian immigrant population of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in the areas of education, social aid, and community development.
They run a group home for street children and two school projects, mainly for children from the "Batey" slum communities near the sugarcane fields. In the D.R., it is said that nearly half a million Haitians live in 400 Batey slums. Many children from the Bateys face trafficking, indentured servitude, prostitution, a sense of "statelessness," and illiteracy.
Caitlin began volunteering in Dominican Republic while an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech. Upon graduation, she left everything behind to pursue her calling to grow the nonprofit organization. She continues to live on the Caribbean island, now married and with children.
Show Notes & Summary
Check out the links and related articles at www.shinfujiyama.com/richard
There are many ways to help orphans and children who have no home to go to, and there is a heated debate to figure out what programs are best or in some cases harmful.
Traditionally, orphanages helped these children. As the years have gone by, foster care, family reunification services, and adoption have become the dominant options. Today, some people are skeptical or even against the idea of orphanages, believing that it's an outdated and sometimes harmful way of helping these children. Recently, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, tweeted a series of criticisms against orphanages and young people who volunteer in such institutions. In one tweet, she says, "Orphanages cause irreparable damage, even those that are well run."
Dr. Richard Mckenzie is a professor emeritus of economics and management in the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. He has taken on a life-long mission to support and advocate for high quality orphanages in the US. As a child, Richard grew up in the Barium Springs Children's Home in North Carolina. He has conducted research studies and surveys of orphanage alumni, collecting data on their life outcomes.
He is the author of a number of books, including: The Home: A Memoir of Growing Up in an Orphanage, Miracle Mountain: A Hidden Sanctuary for Children, Horses, and Birds Off a Road Less Traveled, Home Away From Home: The Forgotten History of Orphanages and Rethinking Orphanages for the 21st Century.
In today's episode, Dr. Mckenzie defends the role of orphanages in today's day and age.
Show Notes & Summary
Two college buddies studying engineering--Greg Mcgrath and Wes Meier--started EOS International with no money. They had to travel on chicken buses, ox carts, and by foot for years in Nicaragua. Today, their NGO provides under-served communities with access to low-cost appropriate technologies that generate income, improve health, and preserve the environment. Together with other engineering students, they began working in Mali (where Wes served for the Peace Corps) and in Nicaragua.
Learn how these two young social entrepreneurs built up EOS while they worked full-time and how they distribute products and services that provide clean water, drip irrigation, biogas, fuel-efficient ovens, and solar power throughout Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Show Notes & Summary
When sloths are in trouble in Suriname, people call today's guest for help. Social entrepreneur Monique Pool is a CNN Hero and the founder of Green Heritage Fund Suriname. She's rescuing homeless sloths in South America who are facing deforestation of their natural habitats. It all began from a chance encounter at the animal shelter that led to her facing what history called the "sloth Armageddon." She is also helping other animals in Suriname, such as anteaters and dolphins.
Learn what a rescue mission looks like, how she built an animal sanctuary in her own house, and why she wakes up at 4am.
Check out the show links at shinfujiyama.com
Show Notes & Summary
Kelly Phoenix is the former Executive Director of Nourish International, a non-profit organization that partners with communities to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty. With the fundraising efforts of their 60 campus chapters, they've invested in 113 long-term, community-based programs to fight poverty. Learn how this NGO reached this level of success.
In this episode, you'll get a behind-the-curtains look at what it's like to be the Executive Director of a growing nonprofit organization. Kelly talks about the things that keep her awake at night as well as the issues and tasks that get her excited. Learn about the tools, books, habits, traits, mindset, and conferences that helped Kelly in her journey.
Kelly is currently heading Nourish Insurance. Check it out at nourishinsurance.com if you'll be volunteering abroad and need travel insurance nourishinsurance.com
Check out the show links at www.shinfujiyama.com
Show Notes & Summary
Social entrepreneur and CNN Hero Jock Brandis is the founder of The Full Belly Project. He is the winner of the MIT Ideas Award and the Purpose Prize. He is known as the modern-day Thomas Edison, having invented the "holy grail" of sustainable agriculture and more. His universal peanut sheller and other appropriate technologies have helped tens of thousands of people in many countries across the world. His nonprofit organization works out of a factory in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Jock is an old guy with a great sense of humor. He made me laugh out loud many times during the episode in between his inspirational stories. He talks in depth about embracing failure in this episode.
This episode is mostly about Jock's involvement with... peanuts!
"The peanut (or groundnut as it is called in West Africa) is an important subsistence crop to hundreds of millions of people across the world. Not only is it important nutritionally, as it provides a convenient source of protein and 30 essential nutrients, but it is also an important source of income for these communities. Often referred to as a "women's crop" in Africa, women traditionally grow, harvest and shell them to supplement their families' diets, but also as a product to bring to market." - The Full Belly Project website
Check out the show links at www.shinfujiyama.com
Show Notes & Summary
Sebastian Africano is the founder of ENASA, a consulting firm for fuel-efficient cooking stoves. He now works for Trees, Water & People in Colorado as their International Director. Sebastian manages TWP's clean cookstove, solar energy and reforestation programs in Central America and Haiti.
In 2008, Sebastian worked with SHH to replace 30 traditional stoves with 30 fuel-efficient cookstoves in Honduras.
If you're deciding whether to become a social entrepreneur or to work for a traditional non-profit organization, this is your episode. Sebastian talks about and compares his work as a social entrepreneur in Central America and in East Africa vs. his non-profit desk job at TWP.
He discusses the lifestyle differences, and the different skills required for the two kinds of work.
Show Notes & Summary