76 posts categorized "Video"

[Video]: Animating Data in Real Space (Hans Rosling)

December 19, 2010

Last year, when I was posting TED Talks on Sunday mornings, one of my favorite "talkers" was Hans Rosling, the Swedish global health researcher and data visualization wiz. In this talk from 2007, Rosling dazzled the TED crowd with a startling two-dimensional presentation depicting the dramatic progress made by countries in sub-Saharan over the last fifty years.

Time, and technology, marches on. In this new made-for-the-Web presentation, Rosling leaves the two dimensions of his computer screen behind and, with a little help from his friends, translates his eye-opening data into the three dimensions of real space. It's enough to make you want to take a statistics course.

(Running time: 4:48)

-- Mitch Nauffts

Sir Ken Robinson on Changing Education Paradigms

November 27, 2010

I'm still plowing through dozens of posts that were written for the Day of National Blogging for Real Education Reform this past Monday. The brainchild of Michigan State University researcher Ira Socol, the blogfest was a rousing success and even generated a post in response by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

I hope to post my own thoughts about the day and its themes in the next week or two. But in the meantime I thought I'd share this animated version of a recent talk given by educator and creativity expert Ken Robinson at the London-based Royal Society of Arts.

Sir Ken, whom PhilanTopic readers got to know in this TED Talk, is nothing if not passionate about education reform, and he is as dismayed by most countries' continued insistence on "trying to meet the challenges of the future by doing what they've done in the past" as he is by the "misplaced, fictitious epidemic of ADHD." Whether you agree with him or not, it's hard to argue with a man who can draw as fast as he speaks. (That's a joke.)

What do you think? Are developed countries in general, and the United States in particular, still wedded to a production-line model of education? Are we penalizing our children, who are living "in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth," for being distracted? And what, in the twenty-first century, is the purpose of education?

-- Mitch Nauffts

A 'Flip' Chat With...Lesley Chilcott, Producer, 'Waiting for Superman'

November 19, 2010

(This is the eleventh in our series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our chat with Kate Robinson, producer of "Saving Philanthropy," which is scheduled for release in the spring of 2011.)

With more and more documentary films finding an audience among the general public, a growing number of funders and nonprofit leaders have begun to ask whether film can be used to raise real money for their causes. According to the panelists at a Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising panel discussion ("Film it. Fundraise. Repeat") I attended earlier this week, the answer to that question is an emphatic yes.

Part of the center's Philanthropy 3.0 speaker series, the event featured Lesley Chilcott, producer of the new ed reform documentary Waiting for 'Superman'; Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, executive director of Witness.org, a nonprofit that uses video to expose human rights abuses; Asi Burak, co-president of Games for Change and co-founder of the ImpactGames; Chris Kazi Rolle, co-founder and creator of The Hip Hop Project, which highlights Rolle's journey from poverty to entertainment success; and Kaoru Tozaki Wang, a first-time filmmaker.

Led by moderator Marcia Stepanek, founding editor-in-chief of ContributeMedia, the panelists described how social issue documentaries can be used not only to highlight an issue, but to start a movement. Indeed, in the case of Waiting for 'Superman', that's exactly what Chilcott and director David Guggenheim have done.

During her presentation, Chilcott explained that before the film was released, the "Superman" team reached out to communities across the country, encouraging them to mount "pledge to see the film" campaigns. The team also partnered with DonorsChoose.org, which pledged $5 toward a classroom project of a donor's choice for the first 50,000 people who took the pledge; First Book, which promised to donate 250,000 new books to schools and programs in low-income communities; and NewSchools Venture Fund, which committed to invest $5 million in innovative education organizations if 150,000 people took the pledge. To date, more than 261,000 people have pledged to see the film.

After the event, I had the opportunity to speak with Chilcott about the film and the state of education reform in the United States. During our chat, Chilcott also explained why she believes the film has struck a nerve and what she and the "Superman" team are doing to keep the issue of education reform in the spotlight.


(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

(Running time: 4 minutes, 12 seconds)

What do you think? Have you seen Waiting for "Superman"? Did you like it? Hate it? Are you optimistic about future of public education in the U.S.? And if you're a filmmaker, what advice would you give others interested in producing social issue documentaries?

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With...Will Maitland Weiss, Executive Director, Arts & Business Council of New York

October 22, 2010

(This is the ninth in our series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can access other chats in the series here, including our conversation with Allison Fine, co-author of the Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Change)

Every year, the Foundation Center hosts a series of events in October that focus on funding for the arts. This year is no exception, and last week I had the opportunity to attend a Dialogue with Donors event at the center's New York library featuring panelists Perian Carson of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Susan Feder of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Stuart Post of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. (For more information about the event, be sure to read my colleague Tracy Kaufman's post at the Philanthropy Front and Center – New York blog.)

I had hoped to interview panel moderator Will Maitland Weiss of the Arts & Business Council of New York after the event, but he was already late for another appointment. So, earlier this week I stopped by the ABC/NY offic to chat with Weiss about the council and its work.

ABC/NY, a chapter of the national organization Americans for the Arts, "serves both the arts and the business communities of New York, with programming in volunteerism, professional development, leadership development, and economic impact." The breadth of services provided by the organization's five-member staff is vast, impressive, and especially welcome in this period of economic distress and uncertainty.

During our chat, Weiss described what the funding climate is like right now for arts organizations and discussed how social media has the potential to increase individual giving for the arts. He also offered some advice to nonprofits interested in partnering with business.

If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.

(Total running time: 8 minutes, 7 seconds)

As the Great Recession continues to exact a toll on artists and nonprofit arts groups, PND is especially interested in examples of the arts and the business community working together for mutual benefit. Are you seeing more or fewer examples of successful partnerships between arts groups and business in your community? What do those programs look like, and what do they have in common with partnerships in other fields? And what advice would you give to nonprofit arts groups looking for support from the business community? Feel free to share your thoughts/opinions/advice in the comments section.

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With...Allison Fine, Co-Author, 'The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Change'

September 30, 2010

(This is the eighth in our series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can access other chats in the series here, including our conversation with Liz Dwyer, education ambassador for the Pepsi Refresh Project.)

In the blink of an eye, it seems, we have gone from "the Information Age to the Connected Age, from silent majorities to connected activism." So writes New York-based social entrepreneur Allison Fine in her first book, Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, the 2007 winner of the Terry McAdam Book Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Nonprofiit Managment.

That connectedness, argues Fine, is being driven by a set of digital tools -- e-mail, cell phones, blogs, wikis, and social networking sites
-- collectively known as "social media." And the interesting thing about these tools is not their whiz-banginess but their low cost and ubiquity, which makes interaction, and therefore social change, "massively scalable." But in order to succeed in the Connected Age, says Fine, each of us will have to leave behind our old ways of managing and controlling information and learn, in every aspect of our work, how and when to use these tools to achieve an end.

In her new book, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Social Change, co-written with Beth Kanter, author of the long-running and widely read Beth's Blog: How Networked Nonprofits Are Using Social Media to Power Change, Fine introduces the concept of the "networked nonprofit" -- organizations that are comfortable with the social media tool set and use those tools to encourage two-way conversations, simplify their work, and make themselves more transparent to stakeholders, constituents, and potential donors. The book is also a wonderful how-to guide for nonprofits thinking about testing the social media waters or looking to further leverage their social media efforts.

Continue reading »

CGI 2010 Highlights [Video]

September 26, 2010

It was a busy week here in New York, and I'm still trying to process the dozens of sessions that were webcast from (or in conjunction with) the UN Millennium Development Summit and the sixth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

For many, CGI and the MDG campaign epitomize everything that's wrong with international development as practiced by rich donor governments and their NGO partners: an addiction to grand schemes; an over-reliance on technocrats; and an unwillingness or inability to address some of the most important contributing factors (agricultural subsidies, resource exploitation, corruption) to global poverty.

I'm not an aid expert. But I found myself (as I have in the past) inspired by much of what I saw and heard this week in New York. Yes, the UN, which was established by charter in 1945, is showing its age. At the same time, one has to be impressed by a new generation of activist-geeks who want to open-up and energize the MDG campaign with social media. And sure, there are all sorts of agendas in play at a CGI meeting. But as Bill Clinton reminded those in attendance (and all of us watching on the Web), the folks making commitments, taking time out from busy schedules, and/or flying halfway around the globe to be part of a panel don't have to be there; they want to be there.

So without further adieu, here are three of my favorite sessions from this year's CGI meeting:

Continue reading »

A 'Flip' Chat With...Liz Dwyer, Ambassador of Education, Pepsi Refresh Project

September 17, 2010

(This is the seventh in our series of "Flip" chats with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can find others here, including our last one, with The Economist's New York bureau chief Matthew Bishop.)

Since January, hundreds of nonprofit organizations and individuals have become agents of change in their communities with support from the Pepsi Refresh Project. Through the contest, which Pepsi is conducting in partnership with GOOD, Global Giving, and DoSomething.org, anyone can submit an idea in one of six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education. At the end of each month, the ideas with the most votes win a portion of $1.3 million.

While a number of questions have been raised about the Refresh project (How is Pepsi measuring the impact of the grants? Is the competition engineered to reward popularity over merit?), the project has succeeded in creating a great deal of buzz -- for Pepsi as well as around online giving contests in general -- and has provided much-needed financial support for a lot of worthy causes.

Earlier this week, I had a chance to sit down with Liz Dwyer, ambassador of education for the project, to talk about the project and how Pepsi is measuring its impact. With more than fifteen years of experience in the field of education, Dwyer also shared her thoughts about what we need to do to increase graduation rates and teacher effectiveness.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

(Total running time: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)

Last week, Pepsi announced that it will expand the project in 2011 to Europe, Latin America, and Asia, as well as continue to fund it in the U.S. and Canada. What do you think about the Refresh project and the company's decision to expand it? Are there any problem's with the model that need to be addressed before it goes global? And is this a model that other multinational corporations should be emulating? Use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With...Terry Lawler, Executive Director, New York Women in Film & Television

August 13, 2010

(This is the fifth in our series of "Flip" chats with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can find others here, including the previous one with Ben Esner of the Brooklyn Community Foundation.)

Last week a sold-out audience filled the Foundation Center's training annex to hear Terry Lawler, executive director of New York Women in Film & Television, lead a panel discussion on the subject of raising money for independent films. Lawler was joined on the panel by Randall Dottin, film director and faculty at New York Film Academy; Matthew Seig, media specialist with the New York Foundation for the Arts; and Angela Tucker, director of production at Arts Engine. (For more information about the event, check out my colleague Susan Shiroma's post at the Philanthropy Front and Center – New York blog.)

Before the event, I had a chance to chat with Lawler about the state of independent filmmaking in the U.S. Because my knowledge of independent film is limited to old home movies shot by my grandfather, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how independent filmmakers today are working to link their messages with the programs and interests of various foundations. Lawler also pointed out that social media increasingly is both a proving ground and fundraising tool for independent filmmakers. And she ended our chat by reminding PND readers that independent film, as a career, is no picnic. As Lawler puts it, you've got to be someone who can take "no" for an answer and yet not take "no" for an answer!

If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.

(Total running time: 5 minutes, 9 seconds)

-- Emily Robbins

A 'Flip' Chat With...Ben Esner, Senior VP for Programs, Brooklyn Community Foundation

July 28, 2010

This is the fourth in our series of "Flip" chats with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can find others here (Ami Dar, Idealist), here (Nancy Lublin, Do Something) and here (Lucy Bernholz, Blueprint Research & Design).

One of the great things about working for an organization like the Foundation Center is being able to meet nonprofit and foundation leaders who participate in events at our New York City library. Most recently, I attended an event where five panelists -- Ben Esner of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Armanda Famiglietti of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Jonathan Goldberg of the Surdna Foundation, Rossana Martinez of the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, and Susanna Zwerling of Verizon -– discussed the pros and cons of online grant applications and reporting. (For more information about the event, be sure to read my colleague Tracy Kaufman's post at the Philanthropy Front and Center – New York blog.)

After the event, I had the opportunity to speak with Esner, senior vice president for programs at BCF, about the foundation's funding priorities. In the video, Esner also shares some background about the foundation, which began life as the Independence Community Foundation, an independent private foundation associated with the Independence Community Bank (since acquired by Sovereign Bank), became a public charity in October 2009, and announced its first round of grants earlier this month.

If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.

(Total running time: 9 minutes, 54 seconds)

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With...Lucy Bernholz, Founder/President, Blueprint Research & Design

July 23, 2010

(This is the third in our series of "Flip" chats with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. In the first, we spoke with Ami Dar of Idealist.org, while Nancy Lublin, CEO at youth-volunteering organization Do Something, sat down with us for the second.)

Earlier this week, Blueprint Research + Design founder and philanthropy blogger Lucy Bernholz stopped by the Foundation Center's New York City office to talk to the center's board about her monograph Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and the Future of the Social Sector, which she co-authored with Ed Skloot, former president of the Surdna Foundation and current director of the Center for Strategic Philanthropy & Civil Society at Duke University, and Barry Varela, a staff member at CSPCS.

In exchange for a cappuccino, Bernholz agreed to share with PND her thoughts about data as a disruptive force and how philanthropy and social change work are being changed by digital technologies. Bernholz also addresses the question of whether the continued penetration of networked technologies into philanthropic practice poses any downsides for philanthropy and why donors need to embrace the networked future.

If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.

(Total running time: 5 minutes, 24 seconds)

-- Mitch Nauffts and Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With…Nancy Lublin of Do Something

July 06, 2010

(This is the second installment in our "Flip" chat series. You can find others here, including the first with Ami Dar of Idealist.org.)

On a beautiful, cloud-less day in New York City, I dropped by the Do Something office for a chat with CEO Nancy Lublin, founder of Dress for Success and author of the new book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business. Founded by actor Andrew Shue in 1993, Do Something is a nonprofit organization that helps young people take action to improve their neighborhoods and communities. (You can read a profile of the organization here.)

During our chat, Lublin explained how not-for-profit "rock stars" have made an impact on a shoestring and offered lessons for corporate leaders who want to succeed in the new economy. She also shared her thoughts on the most surprising and "sticky" lessons in the book and offered advice to nonprofits about doing more with less -- or nothing.

Although it's a business book, Zilch is quite sassy. In fact, Lublin suggested readers read it "while listening to [Lady] Gaga in the background."

If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.

(Total running time: 6 minutes, 8 seconds)

For more on Lublin and Do Something, check out this Q&A.

-- Regina Mahone

A 'Flip' Chat With…Ami Dar of Idealist.org

June 18, 2010

This is the first in what we hope will be a regular series of video "chats." This one's a little rough around the edges (fuzzy image, lots of background noise), but we thought it captured some of the personal qualities that, over the last fifteen years or so, have helped make Ami Dar such an inspiring nonprofit leader. Do you have any Flip tips to share? Anyone you'd like to see featured in future installments of our "Flip" series? Leave us a comment below or drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org.

Last week, my colleague Alison Alford and I had the pleasure of attending the third event in the Meet the Change -- What Happens Next Is Up to You! series hosted by Pursue -– a partnership between American Jewish World Service and AVODAH: the Jewish Service Corps. Held at Lolita Bar on the Lower East Side, the event featured Ami Dar, founder and executive director of Action Without Borders/Idealist.org.

For many of the young New York City "changemakers" in the audience, Dar is something of a celebrity, and we were looking forward to hearing how he launched Idealist in 1996 with just $3,500 and a dream.

According to Dar, he never planned for Idealist to become a "job site" -- it just turned out to be a great way to generate a steady income while achieving the organization's mission "to connect people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives."

Before the event was in full swing, Alison and I sat down with Dar and asked him about his career at Idealist and the state of the nonprofit sector.

(Total running time: 2 minutes, 12 seconds)

For more information about the event, be sure to read Jonathan Horowitz's post at the Pursue blog here.

-- Regina Mahone

3rd Annual Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting

April 17, 2010

Cgi_logo2 The third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) has descended on the University of Miami campus, where more than a thousand college students, dozens of university presidents, and various nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs will spend all or part of the weekend participating in workshops and meetings focused on five topics of importance to college students: education, the environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. This year's meeting also will focus on reconstruction efforts in Haiti.

As at all CGI events, participants are expected to make "commitments to action" -- a comprehensive, formal commitment to address a specific problem on their campus, in their community, or somewhere in the world. This year, participating students volunteered a thousand new commitments, while various universities and national youth organizations offered an additional sixty. When fully funded, the value of those commitments is expected to total roughly $42 million and will improve the lives of more than 290,000 people around the globe.

The following commitments (among others) were announced today:

Maren Gelle, Kayla Johnson, Sarah Carlson, and Daniel Novas will offer bike rentals for students on the St. Olaf College campus. The goal of the project is to encourage a bicycle culture on campus while reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Gelle, Johnson, Carlson, and Novas also will work with the local community to donate bikes to Haiti to be used as bicycle ambulances.

• Syracuse University undergraduates Tim Biba, Gregory Klotz, Kate Callahan, and Allison Stuckless will launch a literacy and nutrition program -- Books and Cooks -- for children in low-income housing in Syracuse, New York. In addition to improving students' reading skills, the students will teach workshops devoted to cooking and nutrition.

• New York University student Michelle Pomeroy, in partnership with the Tibetan Women's Association, will lead a two-week leadership skills course in India for exiled Tibetan women. The course will train women in leadership, settlement officer responsibilities, conflict resolution, and gender sensitization, with the goal of preparing the women to be elected or appointed as settlement officers.

• University of Miami undergrads Kaitlin Birgenthal, Safia Alajlan, Kelley Winship, and Sara Johnson will work to expand Ocean Kids to Boston, Washington, D.C., the Bahamas, and Kuwait. Ocean Kids currently brings underserved elementary school students to the University of Miami campus, where they learn about marine life and science.

• Rockland Community College undergrads Mark Svensson and Tarik Abdelqader will work to combat the modern human slave trade in the U.S. by lobbying state officials in New York and urging them pass a resolution that aims to stem the flow of enslaved people into the country. Each year an estimated 14,000 to 17,000 people are brought to the U.S. to be traded as human slaves, with New York state functioning as one of the largest trafficking hubs. In 2009, the legislature of Rockland County passed a memorializing resolution co-authored by Svensson and Abdelqader, and the two plan to target other county legislatures as well.

• Bates College student Razin Mustafiz will create financial literacy workshops for the Somali and Somali-Bantu community in Lewiston, Maine. The workshops will cover the basics of financial planning, from opening a bank account to saving money for education. Mustafiz' commitment is supported by the Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships and Adroscoggin Bank.

• MIT student Christopher Moses will develop a course called "Sana Lab" to teach medical personnel and students in the Philippines how to adapt a mobile medicine system developed at MIT to poor, remote locations. His commitment ultimately aims to extend medical care to the conflict-ridden area of Mindanao.

• St. Lawrence University student Grace Ochieng will work to expand the Pads for the People Project that she started in her village of Lwala, Kenya, with the help of the Lwala Community Alliance and thirteen local women. Women who participate in the project are trained to sew menstrual pads and encouraged to sell them for a profit. Over the next six months, Grace will form partnerships and work to make the program more financially sustainable.

John Trimmer and Scott Teagarden, undergraduate engineering students at Bucknell University, will construct a rainwater harvesting system that will provide the three hundred residents of Tumaipa, Suriname, with reliable, clean running water year-round. Local labor and materials will be used in the construction of the rainwater catchment system, and a water committee will be established to take ongoing ownership for the project.

Cynthia Koenig, founder of Hippo Water International and a graduate student at the University of Michigan, in association with Hippo Water International, will work to expand Hippo Water Rollers to India, providing Rollers to women and families. The Hippo, an innovative water transport tool designed to alleviate the problems associated with lack of access to water, makes it possible to collect twenty-four gallons of water, five times the amount possible using traditional methods, in much less time and much more easily.

• Makerere University graduate student Divinity Barkley will build an energy-efficient recording studio for the Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association (AGYA) Learning Center, a community center she founded in Kampala, Uganda. Her commitment will provide digital technology training to the Ugandan youth at AGYA, empower them to produce and market their own music, and serve as a source of revenue for AGYA's arts and educational programs. In addition, the recording studio will utilize solar power for 35 percent of its energy.

• Wesleyan student Kennedy Odede, in conjunction with Shining Hope for Communities and American Friends of Kenya, will work to empower and educate women in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa. His commitment has two parts: a Home Birth Network, through which women will be trained as home birth attendants; and the Women’s Microfinance Empowerment Project, which will use sustainable gardening techniques to grow vitamin-rich vegetables that provide desperately needed sources of nutrition at affordable prices.

• Purdue University student Keith Hansen will create the iRead Foundation to deliver childrens books to community health centers in Indiana. As vice president of the Purdue Engineering Student Council, Hansen oversees a group that puts on the largest student-run job fair in the nation, bringing over 350 of the nation’s biggest engineering companies to campus and raising nearly $500,000 dollars annually. A portion of those funds will be used to set up the foundation.

• Miami Dade College student Ximena Prugue will distribute 10,000 solar-powered lamps in India's rural communities, with the goal of reducing and/or eliminating kerosene lamp use. The D.Light Design Company lamps will be provided by Bogo Light at wholesale price, and Ximena will work with PTK Honor Society at Miami Dade to raise the money neccessary to purchase the lamps.

• MIT student Sreeja Nag will work to bring renewable, sustainable, and affordable energy to rural regions of India. After consulting local citizens, NGO representatives, and staff at Selco Solar India, Nag has created a report outlining how to bring energy to these areas. One of her ideas, for example, is to create detachable table lighting systems for students to carry home from a solar-powered charger at school.

• University of Miami students Kristina Rosales, Arielle Duperval, Austin Webbert, and Lissette Miller will establish two new community centers in Cite Soleil, a slum located in Port-au-Prince. The community centers will provide educational progams, cultural activities, mentoring, and opportunities for intercultural exchanges between the south Florida community and Haiti.

Khushbu Mishra, an undergraduate student at Mount Holyoke College, will open an art institute in Mithila, Nepal, to display and sell the cultural folk art of local women, empowering and improving the lives of their families. After it's completed, the center will be run by local women who will then train other women in the arts, thereby expanding the reach of the program.

Jessica Yamane, an undergraduate student at the University of California-Riverside, will design an experimental course on how communities can promote healing for domestic violence victims. Partnering with Alternatives to Domestic Violence, Path of Life Ministry's King's Hall Transitional Housing Program, and With Her Strength, Yamane hopes to modify this curriculum for integration in K-12 health and wellness programs throughout the Riverside School District.

Christine Meling, an undergraduate student at Luther College, will purchase the materials and sewing machines for women in Yari, Sudan, to make school uniforms for families that cannot afford them. The women also will receive training on how to sew and use the profits from uniform sales to sustain the program.

An Thi Minh Vo, in association with the Office of Genetic Counseling and Disabled Children in Hue City, Vietnam, will provide microloans of $212 to thirty-five families with children disabled by Agent Orange. The project aims to increase borrowers' income and ease the hardship of families struggling to afford health care and other basic needs.

• University of the Pacific graduate student Harnoor Singh will work with local physicians to provide free blood sugar and basic cardiovascular health screenings for California's migrant worker and supply low-cost prescription drugs to those in need. The tests, which can be completed for less than $15 per person, are of vital importance to California's migrant laborers, the majority of whom lack access to basic healthcare services.

Nathan O'Hara, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia, in association with Makerere University and Vancouver General Hospital, will work to supply Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, with three hundred half-pins annually. Each year, there are unnecessary fatalities in Uganda due to a lack of vital medical supplies; half-pins, which are used to treat traumatic injuries involving fractured bones, are among those. A collection system in Vancouver-area hospitals will reprocesses the reusable pins, which will be delivered to Mulago Hospital twice a year.

Christina Newman, Sherley Codio, and Fabrice Marcelin, students at Virginia Tech, in partnership with Caritas and the Religious of Jesus and Mary in Gros-Morne, Haiti, will raise $60,000 and oversee the construction of a facility that can house more than 1,500 hens capable of producing 1,250 eggs per day -- 15 percent of the local egg supply. The three have already raised $23,000 and developed a business plan for the project. Their commitment will strengthen the local economy by reducing reliance on imports, and will empower local communities by providing much-needed employment opportunities.

Wow. As Margaret Mead famously said, "Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have." Hats off to those who have stepped up with commitments. You're an inspiration to us all.

To learn more about and/or view webcasts from the event, which ends tomorrow, click here.

-- Mitch Nauffts

American Express to Launch 'Game-Changing' CSR Initiative

March 07, 2010

Later this evening, during the Oscar's broadcast, American Express will become the latest Fortune 500 company (JP Morgan Chase, Target, Pepsi) to launch a social media-enabled CSR campaign. The Members Project, as the initiative is called, pairs the resources of Amex with the research and advocacy tools created by TakePart, an online community that "connects its members directly to the issues that inspire them to engage, contribute and take action."

According to the press materials I received, the initiative is like other online corporate giving campaigns in that it lets users help American Express decide what organizations to support. But that's only the beginning. At the Members Project Web site, "people can get informed about the causes they care about, connect to other engaged users, organize their own campaigns, and volunteer to drive real change." American Express and TakePart would like you to think of it as "CSR 2.0."

As I said, the intitiative will be launched during the Oscar's with two ads -- one featuring Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, and the other with Yvon Chouinard, founder/owner of Patagonia, the high-end designer/maker of outdoor clothing and equipment. If you're not planning to watch the Oscar's from beginning to end, you can preview the spots here.

Stay tuned over the next couple of days as we share more details.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: David Keith on Climate Change and Geo-engineering

December 13, 2009

Scientists have been concerned about the uncertain impacts of anthropogenic climate change for fifty years, says environmental scientist David Keith, and yet we have done almost nothing to slow or reduce emissions of manmade greenhouse gases. That's the bad news. The good news is that we can solve the problem of global warming quickly and relatively cheaply by putting fine sulfur particles into the lower atmosphere to deflect sunlight, much as volcanic eruptions do. But geo-engineered solutions to the warming problem create problems of their own, says Keith. First, who gets to decide what the appropriate action and timing of that action is? And how do we resolve what Keith calls the moral hazard implicit in any geo-engineered solution to global warming? After listening to his talk, you'll have a greater appreciation for the challenges confronting the negotiators at the climate change talks in Copenhagen. (Filmed: September 2007; Running time: 16:30)

Liked this talk? Try one of these.

-- Mitch Nauffts

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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