social innovation
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Innov8Social Featured on The Foreign Policy Project [video]

As much as we love doing interviews and podcasts on Innov8Social, it is always an honor to be interviewed and featured on other great impact platforms across the web.The Foreign Policy Project is starting off with exactly that intention in mind. Founder and Executive Director, Kelsey Suemnicht launched the TheForeignPolicyProject.org with the intent to provide international relations and diplomacy career mentorship for young women.One of the ways she is facilitating this outreach is through interviews with individuals who have some meaningful connection or application to diplomacy, foreign relations, or international service.

Kelsey was interested in my experience as a U.S. State Department intern and subsequent path in entrepreneurship. After she invited me to for an interview, we had a chance to connect and share our experience with diplomacy and our passion for social impact and social media. It was inspiring to see her focus on building her project and platform specifically to create new pathways and opportunities in international relations.

Stay tuned for an interview with Kelsey ahead to learn more about her fascinating journey and the vision she has for her new endeavor.

 

Video Interview on The Foreign Policy Project

Here is the video interview…which can be found on the Mentor Interview page of The Foreign Policy Project.

Gemma Bulos, Director of Global Women's Water Initiative
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Video Interviews with Social Entrepreneurs at Santa Clara University Magis 2014 – Celebrating Social Entrepreneurship

As detailed in the Photo Essay of Santa Clara University’s Magis 2014 Showcase for Social Entrepreneurship, the event brought together hundreds of social entrepreneurs, thought leaders, practitioners, and academic thinkers for an evening of exploration, reflection, and recognition.

One of the most impactful features of the event was the networking time before the speeches and evening meal. Flanking the auditorium were tables headed by social entrepreneurs, many of whom were GSBI graduates and current participants.
Here are video interviews with two of the participants. You will learn a little more about the kinds of social enterprises GSBI has incubated, what the program has meant to them, and about the why, what, and how that guides their work in the impact space.

Artisan Connect at SCU Magis 2014

 

Interview with Vrnda Dalal, Supply Chain and Artisan Partnership Manager at Artisan Connect., Artisan Connect is an online marketplace for quality home goods made by artisans in developing countries. It was founded by GSBI mentor Amanda North.

Global Women’s Water Initiative at SCU Magis 2014

Gemma Bulos, Director of Global Women’s Water Initiative , a nonprofit and GSBI alumnus, explains the organization’s work in training and building a movement of local women water experts to address water issues, that affect them the most. GWWI focuses on Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and has trained over 200 women to build over 30 rainwater harvesting systems, that provide over 300K liters of clean water to their communities.
Kim Meredith
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Interview with Kim Meredith, Executive Director of Stanford PACS & SSIR [VIDEO]

Interview with Kim Meredith, Stanford PACS

We have covered the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) website, the blog, a webinar, articles, and an event of Stanford PACS on Innov8Social. So it was a special experience to sit down with Kim Meredith, the Executive Director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS)–the research center dedicated to studying social innovation and which publishes the SSIR.

PACS is an remarkable ecosystem supporting academic research in philanthropy & social innovation. It produces and crowdsources ideas and experience through the SSIR online and print publications, conducts webinars, hosts free live workshops, and supports emerging research in this evolving field.

Its leader, Kim Meredith, is in an instant warm, knowledgeable, and engaged in the nuances of the field as well as the overarching high-level topics surrounding social innovation, philanthropy, and community engagement. She shared her broad vision for PACS and SSIR, what drives her work, and how the broader community can stay connected with the important social impact work being done there.

You can hear Kim explain the mission and work of PACS in this brief video:

Q&A with Kim Meredith, Executive Director of Stanford PACS

What is PACS?

[Kim Meredith, PACS]: PACS is a research center for scholars, practitioners, leaders, and publisher of the SSIR, focusing on topics of business, law, education in civil society. It emphasizes cross-sector collaboration, forming cross-disciplinary discussions and relationships, to be a center of knowledge-creation and sharing. It has 3 full-time faculty co-directors with backgrounds spanning organizational behavior, Political Science, and Law.
Interview with Kim Meredith, Stanford PACS

How has PACS grown since its start?

[Kim Meredith]: PACS has seen remarkable growth in the past few years—both in size of the center and its reach. PACS started out employing one full-time faculty member and now employees nine employees, and has scaled six times in two and-a-half years.

What goals have guided your work at PACS?

[Kim Meredith]: I learned about the position opening through my daughter, who was attending Stanford at the time. The vision and goals put forth regarding PACS fit well with my executive experience at Planned Parenthood and I was enthusiastic about pursuing the growth potential of PACS.
The goals that have guided me have been simple:
  • Acquire SSIR, which was originally housed in the Stanford business school.  The addition of SSIR has facilitated a deeper degree of knowledge-sharing, and has brought that publication into the same building as other impact-related research initiatives.
  • Fund valuable research. I outlined this as a priority so as to establish PACS as a center of learning and knowledge creation. It has been remarkable to see the level of engagement and sharing that PACS represents today—through publications, curriculum, and events.
  • Go global.  Our team has been working closely with Peking University in China to create a research center for Stanford faculty, students, and field practitioners to research philanthropy and civil society in China. The efforts resulted in Stanford PACS Peking (note: read an interesting interview with Kim Meredith re: the Peking campus)

What kinds of events does PACS host?

[Kim Meredith]: Recent PACS events have included:
Philanthropy Educators Symposium: The largest-ever convening of philanthropy educators, hosted by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS) in partnership with the Learning by Giving Foundation and Giving 2.0.
10 Years of SSIR: 10 year anniversary celebration with remarks by Paul Brest, PACS faculty co-director,and others
Donors Choose + charity: water: Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Stanford PACS Founder and Board Chairman, leads a conversation with Charles Best, Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, and Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of charity:water.
GoodJobs event: A challenge focused on open data, jobs, and the social sector. GoodJobs invites Stanford students to create mobile and web tools that will help young people access social impact jobs.

Who are the current faculty directors?

[Kim Meredith]: Stanford PACS is guided by three thought leaders in the impact space.
  • Woody Powell, Professor of Education and by courtesy Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, and Communication;
  • Rob Reich, Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty Director of the Program on Ethics in Society and, by courtesy, of Philosophy and the School of Education; and
  • Paul Brest, Professor of Law, Emeritus and Former Dean of the School of Law, and formerPresident of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

What is “civil society”?

[Kim Meredith]: It refers to what is popularly called the “third sector”, independent of government and business.

What is the role of foundations in philanthropic giving?

Interview with Kim Meredith, Stanford PACS
continued reading: Giving 2.0,
SSIR 10th Anniversary edition,
upcoming event flier…thanks Kim!
[Kim Meredith]: Foundations only account for about 14% of philanthropic giving. Individuals give the lion’s share, i.e. over 80%, of giving. Beyond monetary contributions, foundations are drivers of change, they raise awareness about key issues, and work strategically to achieve outcome-oriented action.

What is the “new social economy”?

[Kim Meredith]: It encompasses the space between public, philanthropic, and private sector. The new social economy often involves nonprofit, as well as hybrid structures, and has opened up a new kind of discussion about mission-based ventures.

Do you see funding institutions that embrace this venture philanthropy mindset?

[Kim Meredith]: Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (sv2) and Full Circle Fund are two funds that are actively engaged in this space.

What role do you think bloggers and entrants to the social innovation space can have? 

[Kim Meredith]: Bloggers and newcomers to this field can play a vital role in identifying, sourcing, and analyzing relevant, big data. There is an increasing need for qualified data, and writers and researchers in the field may be well-poised to address this need.
Answering these questions such as who is collecting data, how is it being collected, and where is it stored, creates an informed discussion about giving, philanthropy, and impact

Do you have any book recommendations?

[Kim Meredith]: Giving 2.0
and The Dragonfly Effect
are books that frame the social innovation and philanthropy issues and provide insight into emerging trends.

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California Congressman Mike Honda Speaks to Emerging Leaders [VIDEO]

A lively gathering of young South Bay progressives gathered in downtown San Jose on Thursday evening, March 28th, 2013 to connect, network, and honor Congressman Mike Honda as part of a Young Progressives Spring Mixer.

A Gathering of Emerging Progressive Leaders

Campbell Mayor Evan Low welcomed attendees—who represented groups including the Silicon Valley Young Democrats, NextGen Bay Area, SJSU Campus Alliance for Economic Justice (CAFEJ), and the Young Workers Council.

Silicon Valley Young Progressives Mixer with Congressman Mike Honda
Campbell Mayor Evan Lowe

Mayor Lowe provided a funny, poignant introduction to the evening. Lowe is a trailblazer himself, who was elected as the nation’s youngest openly gay mayor in 2010. As an Asian American, he also maintains strong ties to the community. He concluded his opening by noting that though he can officiate marriages, he cannot himself marry; and though he can host Boy Scout groups at City Hall, he is not welcome in the organization.

California Congressman Mike Honda

Congressman Mike Honda took to the stage to share his own experiences and observations about the importance of young progressives taking an active role in shaping their communities and local offices.
Silicon Valley Young Progressives Mixer with Congressman Mike HondaCongressman Honda, representing California’s 17th congressional district, was born in the Bay area (Walnut Grove) in June 1941—six months before the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  He spent the majority of his first five years in a Japanese internment camp in Colorado—one of 100,000+ Japanese and Japanese-Americans physically relocated and excluded from society.
Over a decade later, in 1953, Honda’s family returned to California and he completed high school in San Jose and went on to pursue a teaching credential, interrupted by two years of service as Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. His career as an educator spanned 30+ years and his first foray into local government was when he successfully ran for election to the San Jose Unified School Board in 1981.
Honda served as an elected official in various capacities before running for U.S. Congress in 2001. He has been re-elected four times consecutively.
Here an excerpt of Congressman Honda’s remarks on equality, justice, and leadership.

“When We Oppress Other People, We Become Oppressed.” – Rep. Mike Honda

References:

Mike Honda (Wikipedia)
Japanese American Internment (Wikipedia)
California 17th Congressional District (Wikipedia)

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Infographics: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

You may have seen images and heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive swirl of plastic pieces off the coast of Hawaii. These infographics, one by 5W Infographics on Visual.ly and the other published by Good.is, break down what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is, look closely at the plastics that comprise it, and examine the impact it has.Good.is also reports that Method, a maker of environmentally-friendly & sustainably packaged cleaners and home products, is releasing a new dish soap packaged in plastic sourced from the  Pacific Ocean. Reportedly, the new bottle is made of recycled plastic, 10% of which is from the Pacific Ocean.It’s a first of its kind—and shows the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and business.  By ‘commoditizing’ ocean plastic, the company has created a product that you literally cannot purchase anywhere else. Just like museums display parts of the Berlin Wall or rocks from the Moon, this bottle enables everyone to own ‘a piece’ of the massive gyre of plastic whirling in our oceans. It takes something that is undesirable waste, and makes it into something that people may covet partially because of its novelty.Scroll below to see Method’s video about the Great Pacific Garbage patch and visit their ocean plastic page to see additional videos, including one showing how the plastic was created and processed to create the new bottles.

 

 

Good.is infographic: Through the Gyre

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Crowdsourcing Change for Crimes Against Women in Delhi, and Beyond

The facts are grim and disturbing. It’s mid-December 2012, and a twenty-something year old physiotherapy student and a guy friend, both originally from the Indian state Uttar Pradesh but now living in Delhi, catch an evening movie at an urban cineplex in South Delhi. They then board a 9pm-ish bus home. The bus veers from its route, and the driver bolts the doors. What transpires over the course of the next hour has catalyzed over 10,000 protestors, broad public outcry, and a crowdsourced demand for change.

india.blogs.nytimes.com

Crimes Against Women in Delhi

According to Reuters, New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes of all major cities in India. A rape is reported to Delhi police every 18 hours. Many women’s rights groups claim that due to underreporting, the true number of sex crimes in the city is far higher. And, according the New York Times, even when rape cases are reported, the perpetrators are often not found or arrested.

Six individuals were taken into custody for gang rape and assault charges. The female student remains in critical condition. Though she has been under intense hospital care, she has worked with police to report what happened.

Mass Protests

Protests have cropped up at New Delhi’s historic India Gate and across the country, reaching a fever-pitch with tens of thousands of individuals seeking more serious, expeditious treatment of the over 100K crimes against women reported in the nation’s capital and across the country. Mass protests in Delhi have been met with governmental resistance—the Delhi government passed a late anti-protest ordinance (which has been largely ignored), city officials closed various transportation routes leading to India Gate where the protestors gathered.
The protests began peacefully but have also seen rowdy behavior including the overturning of a Parliament member’s car and provoking police. The police have responded with their own intensity–including tear gas, water cannons, and arrests.

The Call to Social Innovators

For social innovators, the news in Delhi is especially tough. India is one of the hotbeds for meaningful and innovative social impact initiatives. From new education measures to experiments in local farming, creative and driven thinkers in India forge new paths ahead.
The history for social entrepreneurship in India has been sometimes-inspired by the likes of prominent humanitarians within the country such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa, and great entrepreneurs such as Tata and Birla.
The victims’ calls for help weren’t answered in time. But the protests, responses, and online coverage is an active call that seeks response. It may be time for social innovators to support legislative changes that can help address issues of women’s safety, but also to think beyond the government to architect new ways that all people can be made more safe to study, work, and play in any city they find themselves in.

3 Things You Can Do, Now

1. Sign Online Petitions
2. Read 

The Great Inequality: What it’ll take for a Brighter Future for Women Worldwide (SocialEarth)

3. WatchIndian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit:

Jaya Bachchan, Actress/Politician:

social innovation

15+ Articles and Multimedia Posts on Social Impact Bonds

We posted earlier about what a social impact bond is. This innovative model is disrupting traditional modes of financing social change. It makes the societal issue the ‘common enemy’, while putting non-profits, the government, and private investors on the same team. If the social goals are reached, it can deliver be a win-win-win situation.There is a growing body of news, posts, and media about social impact bonds online. Here are a few promising resources we came across.

15+ Articles and Posts on Social Impact Bonds

 

social innovation

What is a Social Impact Bond? [3 MIN VIDEO]

A social impact bond (SIB) is a unique form of impact investing that leverages impact innovation results with funding. It is an agreement between multiple stakeholders where investors fund a social change solution and are repaid by the government only if the solution yields results within a frame of time.Here is a great 3 minute video by McKinsey and Company explaining what a social impact bond is and how it works:

 

You can also tune into Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Webinar with Tracy Palandjian and Sonal Shah on social impact bonds today (11 AM PST) or view later here.Here are a few facts about the social impact bond:1. It’s not a bond. It’s an agreement between multiple stakeholders–such as nonprofits, government, and investors and involves an intermediary.
2. It was first implemented in England. The first social impact bond to be introduced was launched to target recidivism rate among young men near London. Social Finance UK was the intermediary to deliver better outcomes for lower cost. The first SIB yielded great results.
3. It has other names. It is also known as Pay for Success Bond or a Social Benefit Bond.
4. MA and NY have implemented in the US. The SIB’s addressed issues of recidivism and homelessnes.
5. The goal is to target institutional capital. Beyond using philanthropic capital, Social Finance Founder Tracy Paladjin says that the goal is to attract traditiona/institutional capital to fund SIB’s.

Also, you can find a list of 15+ articles and multimedia posts here.
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What is TriplePundit?

TriplePundit.com was founded by Nick Aster in 2006 as a new media platform for the conversation on sustainability in business.  Intended to feature news and editorial blog posts, the focus has been on serving as a catalyst for conversation about social entrepreneurship for a business audience. The site gained momentum in 2011 and merged with Sustainable Industries in October 2011.

The name triple pundit alludes to the triple bottom line concept of assessing a company’s success by a triple bottom line of impact on people, planet, and profits…rather than the traditional bottom line of profits only.

TriplePundit regularly posts on topics related to clean tech, social entrepreneurship, eco-friendly products, micro finance, poverty solutions, impact investing, and issues surrounding water.

QuarterWater’s interview with TriplePundit founder [VIDEO]

Founder of QuarterWaters.com, Dwight Peters interviewed Nick Aster in December 2011 in “Triple Pundit: How to go from 0 to 200,000 viewers a month – with Nick Aster.” In the open discussion, Aster outlined the history of the site, various revenue streams, and how TriplePundit grew from being a side project to being his full-time venture generating six-figure revenue annually, and gaining momentum.

 

Yellow Leaf Hammocks Kickstarter
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What to Know Before Launching a Crowdfunding Campaign, Q & A with Social Enterprise Yellow Leaf Hammocks

A Closer Look at a Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign for Social Enterprise

We have looked at crowdfunding through investment by following federal legislation that would make it easier for start-ups and small businesses to raise capital from non-accredited investors.

But what about crowdfunding through donation? How does it work, and what is it like to actually choose a crowdfunding platform and launch a crowdfunding campaign?

Meet Yellow Leaf Hammocks

We turned to a social enterprise that is learning about crowdfunding for donation first-hand. Yellow Leaf Hammocks is an innovative company that produces unique hammocks handwoven by artisan weavers using proprietary designs made of over 150,000 interwoven loops and spanning up to 4.5 miles of yarn. The weavers are members of an indigenous tribe in north Thailand who have been able to create economic and empowerment opportunities through their artistry.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks launched a Kickstarter campaign in mid-November 2011 to raise $10,000 to build and initiate manufacturing of a new Swiss-designed hammock stand prototype. They are 9 days and about $3K away from from their goal. You can see the video explaining the product and campaign below.

Then, see below for a Q&A with Yellow Leaf Hammocks founder Joe Demin on his company’s decision to launch a crowdfunding for donation campaign, their initial steps, and what they have learned through the process.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks Kickstarter Campaign

What to Know Before Launching a Crowdfunding Campaign: Q&A with Yellow Leaf Hammocks Founder Joe Demin

Q | Innov8Social: Thanks Joe for taking a few minutes with us and congratulations on the success of the Kickstarter campaign so far. As an initial question, how did you first decide that launching a crowdfunding campaign might be a good fit for your social enterprise?

A | Joe Demin, Yellow Leaf Hammocks: For a long time, we’d been kicking around the idea of a furniture product that supported our hammocks. The Sitting Hammock is relatively compact, so it is a great option for urban hammockers and people who want to be able to hammock indoors- except that there has not been a good stand out on the market.

We knew that designing and manufacturing a hammock stand would be a huge project to take on!

For a young boot-strapped company like ours, we have to carefully consider budget in everything we do. From the beginning, we have wanted to build this company independently to make sure that we can remain focused on our vision and not lose sight of our social mission.

Crowdfunding encompasses lot of the traditional steps to product development- its market research, product design, an investor pitch, a marketing campaign and pre-sales all in one exciting campaign- so it seemed like the perfect alternative to raising money from investors and taking on a huge risk!

By going directly to the public, we are assuring ourselves that there is going to be an audience for this cool new product we’ve designed and we feel more confident about jumping into manufacturing and pushing this out for the spring.

Q | Innov8Social:  How did you assess various crowdfunding platforms? And what were the deciding factors that ultimately led you to Kickstarter?

A | Joe : There is definitely a crowdfunding boom going on right now- you’re right, there are a lot of options and even niche platforms that target specific types of projects, like non-profits, music, etc.

For us, Kickstarter appealed most because it is the largest funding platform. We’ve learned that you can’t really count anyone out when it comes to hammocks- hammock fanatics come from all age ranges, industries and regions.

We appreciated the fact that they have a thorough vetting process, so there is not a lot of clutter to cut through- the projects on the site are inspiring and crazy and daring, but the people behind them know what they’re talking about.

I think some people can be intimidated by the “all or nothing” model on Kickstarter (if you don’t raise 100% of your goal, you don’t receive any funds). For us, this was absolutely the way to go. We wouldn’t want to have half the money to build out the prototype because it would be tough to deliver on the promises made to backers! Plus, it gives you a ton of motivation to set your goal carefully and then work like crazy to reach it!

Q | Innov8Social:  How was the process of setting up the campaign? What was the most challenging aspect? The most surprising?

A | Joe : The first thing we had to do was design the stand!! We worked with an amazing engineer, Bryce Gibson, to go through several rounds of designs and come up with the sleek, versatile design that is at the center of the campaign. It was a little bit like hammock-stand “Survivor,” with a group of friends and advisers weighing in and voting on each round of the designs.

The hardest part for us was creating the video- we had so much that we wanted to share, between our mission and our current products, before we even got to the stand itself!! We ended up with a really long video by Kickstarter standards- but we have gotten a ton of compliments on it and I think it’s been a huge help in terms of energizing people with the story and getting them excited about “Do Good. Relax.”

A big surprise was realizing that a lot of media want to cover something that’s already succeeding- so you are really on your own in terms of creating that initial momentum before media start to pick it up and spread the news! We also realized that there’s really no guarantee that Kickstarter itself is going to take an interest in your campaign. They can be really instrumental in sharing and highlighting specific projects within their vast community, but they haven’t shown much interest in our campaign. You never know what the considerations are behind the scenes for other people!

Q | Innov8Social: What are 3 things you would suggest to social entrepreneurs thinking about starting a crowdfunding for donation campaign online?

A | Joe :  A generous timeline and some groundwork are essential. I would already love to go back and give myself twice the time to prepare! I read a lot of articles (like this one!) about other people’s experiences and spent some time observing campaigns I admired. Sometimes it seems like all you hear about are the runaway successes that raise $100,000, but a lot of campaigns don’t work, so that was important to me. I wanted to understand why campaigns fail as well as why they succeed.

Creating rewards that excite and engage your backers is another key to success. The point of crowdfunding is that you aren’t simply asking for donations. You are creating an experience for people- they get to be a part of your mission and take home a tangible reminder of their support. At this time of year, we knew we were going to see a lot of holiday shopping traffic. Because a part of our mission is to spark creativity, we decided we wanted to offer our backers a chance to design their own hammock. But each of our rewards was designed to help recreate that feeling of “Do Good. Relax.” and engage people for the long-term. The most exciting reward, of course, is that you can be one of the first to receive a customized Sitting Hammock Stand!

Once you’ve outlined your project goal and the rewards you’re going to offer, it’s critical to have a solid launch. You need to have some built-in momentum before you click that “launch” button. We should have been more aggressive about our PR strategy in advance of the campaign, but we did a good job reaching out to our internal network and community. They backed us early and we hit $1000 within three hours of launching. I think there is a statistic that if you reach 20% of your goal within the first 4 days, your chance of a successful project is 90%- that’s how important your launch is.

Q | Innov8Social:  Finally, what are your hopes for this campaign. What do you hope to get, and to give?

A | Joe : We’ve got a little more than a week left and we are on track to hit our $10,000 goal! For me, that is the number one hope right now.

In the long term, I am excited to have introduced ourselves to so many new people this month. I know it’s a little insane to expect people to go crazy for hammocks in the middle of winter, but we really think that this stand can revolutionize the way people relax year-round.

I really can’t wait to start sending out the rewards! I think people are going to love what they receive in the mail. We’ve got cool things heading their way that will help them feel connected to our mission and our weavers and will help them relax at a really hectic time of year!

The feedback we’ve gotten and the growth of our community has just been amazing already. I’m glad we could share our experience and I hope I can help future social entrepreneurs succeed in their crowd- funding efforts!

Innov8Social:  A big thank you to Joe and Yellow Leaf Hammocks team for sharing their experience and insights. We look forward to following up after the campaign concludes on Sunday, December 18th 2011. You can help them reach their fundraising goals by donating here.