Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We're moving...

If you're reading this, you need to get the new link! The new blog is over at Please update your subscriptions. Thanks!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008 launches fundraising IPO

According to a recent press release:

Borrowing private sector techniques, Do Something is issuing an IPO that promises significant Social Return on Investment (SROI). The growth capital investment will foster exponential growth and bolster the organization's self-sustaining programming.

OK, this is cool, but really just an interesting way to put out a call to donors and raise funds. Will it work?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nominate Youth Social Entrepreneurs!

Ashoka’s Youth Venture and Changemakers is partnering with Staples to launch their first global competition to recognize young leaders who are finding new ways to create positive change in their communities. They are seeking the most inspirational ideas and projects led by young people between ages 12 and 24. Spread the word about this initiative and nominate young leaders with fantastic ideas! Now through October 15, 2008. Winners will be announced November 12, 2008.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Unprecedented victory against measles

Here's some encouraging news. The Measles Initiative partnership recently announced that worldwide measles deaths fell 60% from 1999 to 2005, from 873,000 down to 345,000 deaths per year. That's 528,000 lives saved every year.
“One of the clearest messages from this achievement is that with the right strategies and a strong partnership of committed governments and organizations, you can rapidly reduce child deaths in developing countries," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We've seen that it can be done. What's next?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Get talking, America!

Doctors Without Borders recently released a list of the 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2006, which they say "accounted for just 7.2 minutes of the 14,512 minutes on the three major U.S. television networks' nightly newscasts for 2006."

  1. Central African Republic
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Chechnya
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. Malnutrition
  6. Democratic Republic of Congo
  7. Somalia
  8. Columbia
  9. Haiti
  10. Central India

Thursday, May 18, 2006

World's Deadliest Catastrophe

On May 14th, the UN sought to remind people that the Congo remains world's deadliest catastrophe. The problem is, who in the world even knows that 1,200 people are dying there every day, or that three months ago the United Nations launched an appeal for $682 million to provide the needed water, food, medical assistance, shelter and protection? Yes, we're all distracted. Yes, there are other crises to tend to in Africa and elsewhere around the world. But let's face it, there are countries in the world who can, and should, step up. The people of the Congo have suffered long enough.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Reducing birth defects benefits the entire population

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born in Ghana without the tibia in his right leg, leaving it deformed and useless. His father abandoned him. His mother was told to kill him. That is just what it means to be disabled in Ghana.

Fortunately, his mother was strong, and raised Yeboah to have high expectations for himself, even if nobody else did. In 2002, at the age of 25, he rode a donated bicycle 360 miles across Ghana – with one leg – and showed his entire country that the disabled could be very able indeed. His story became a movie that continues to inspire.

When I heard Emmanuel’s story, I too was inspired by his incredible triumph. I was enraged by the plight of the disabled in Ghana. But even more, I wondered what causes all those disabilities in the first place? Could they be prevented, and if so, what effects would that have on Ghanaian society?

The March of Dimes Global Report on Birth Defects might offer some answers, and will hopefully spark some positive change. According to a March of Dimes press release about the report:

“…it is a common misconception that attention to birth defects will draw funding from other priority public health efforts -- when, in fact, increased efforts to reduce birth defects in children contributes to the health of the entire population.

Experience from high-income countries shows that overall mortality and disability from birth defects could be reduced by up to 70 percent if the recommendations in this report were broadly implemented…

Among the interventions that would have immediate impact are:

  1. folic acid supplementation to prevent neural tube defects;
  2. iodination of salt to prevent severe congenital hypothyroidism; and
  3. rubella immunization to prevent congenital rubella syndrome.”

I think it’s a great place to start. If you agree, go to

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mountains Beyond Mountains

If you ever find yourself searching for inspiration about the feasibility of attempting to change the world, then you must read Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder. It is about the efforts of Dr. Farmer to bring health care to the poorest of the poor, mostly in Haiti, through his organization Partners in Health. While he focuses on the needs of his individual patients, Dr. Farmer has achieved and continues to work for true global change. Tracy Kidder shows that Dr. Farmer is an extraordinary human being, but is nonetheless extraordinarily human.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Simply elegant

I first learned about the Riders for Health organization on PBS' Rx for Survival television series. The concept is simple: give motorcycles to Africa's health workers and train them to ride and repair them themselves. With this transportation, they can effectively distribute aid and administer basic health care to remote villages. The impact is nothing short of revolutionary. You can see a brief movie about the program here.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Global Health Blog

Time magazine's Christine Gorman blogs about the latest international health news on the Global Health Blog (and yes, it has an RSS feed).

Cool maps

Maps make it so much easier to really see the problems sometimes. Check out from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Be sure to click on a Data by Topic link and then get the map for each topic. Here's an example: Malaria Deaths. Very elegant.

Friday, January 13, 2006


What does one of the world's most famous rock stars know about poverty? Plenty. Bono not only makes great music, he is making big changes in the world as well. In 2002, Bono founded DATA, Debt AIDS Trade Africa. He now influences popular culture AND the world's most powerful leaders. In recognition of his achievements, TIME magazine named him one of 2005's Persons of the Year.

Social Capitalist Awards 2006

From the FastCompany web site: "Introducing the Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Award winners--25 entrepreneurs solving the world's toughest problems with creativity, ingenuity, and passion. Because they can't stand a vacuum. "

How to Change the World

The book that started all of this for me was How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein. He profiles people who have made a change in their world, focusing on nine individuals who were selected for fellowships by an organization called Ashoka. Ashoka's mission is "to shape a citizen sector that is entrepreneurial, productive and globally integrated, and to develop the profession of social entrepreneurship around the world."

I found each of the individual's stories to be an inspiration. The things that they accomplished were indeed extraordinary, yet the people themselves did not seem to be that much different from anyone else that I know. What made them stand out was their conviction, determination, and perseverence. Maybe we don't necessarily need to be smarter, richer, or better connected to make a difference. Maybe we just need to try.

Change making launch

Over the past few years, I've been increasingly drawn to social entrepeneurship and the power to change the world that has been demonstrated by individuals. With the rise of technology, globalization, and wealth, the power to create positive change in the world is ever-increasing. Still, there are serious global challenges that humanity must face. This blog will highlight individuals and organizations who are solving problems, not just treating them, in new and interesting ways. It is my hope to inform and inspire others to rise to the challenge and create an upward spiral of change making throughout the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS.

Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS is a global Campaign to alert the world to the fact that children are missing from the global AIDS agenda. It provides a platform for urgent and sustained programs, advocacy and fundraising to limit the impact of HIV/AIDS on children and help halt the spread of the disease. Policymakers and the global public must become aware that AIDS not only affect adults, but is having a devastating affect on children throughout the world. Please find out more at