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Collaborating for Good Through Games: co.lab

12 Dec Co.lab opening

There are a couple areas of social good that are becoming more and more intriguing these days: gamification and education. So when something launches that is a cross-section of the two, it’s exciting to share!

Recently such a new opportunity came up. I had the chance to talk with Zynga.org‘s executive director Ken Weber about a new joint venture between Zynga and New Schools Venture Fund: co.lab.

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The idea behind this incubator for startups involved with educational games is simple, yet ambitious. Zynga.org provides access to gaming best practices, Zynga staff, offices, tools and expertise, as well as playtests and feedback from both Zynga and schools (including students and educators). The startups provide their education technology products (apps and games), creative ideas, enthusiasm, and a burning desire to change the world for the better, just like the two supporting partners of the program.

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Zynga employee Nick leads students from San Francisco’s Balboa High School through a game design workshop. Creating excitement for STEM learning is part of the idea behind many of Zynga’s initiatives. Photo courtesy of Zynga.org

This new program was started just this fall. The application process for co.lab’s second cohort will open in early November. If chosen, co.lab provides for-profit or non-profit startups using technology products to help improve academic or social outcomes PK-12 with help in several keys areas of developing more effective ed tech products. These include developing learning game apps (content), measurement and evaluation tools (M&E), educational platforms that distribute games and apps (distribution) and/or other educational services that are looking to learn from best practices in commercial gaming to improve distribution, retention and engagement (gamification).

First-round cohorts include Kidaptive, LocoMotiveLabs, Motion Math, Pluto Media, and Edmodo. co.lab is a venture philanthropy initiative; the primary aim of co.lab is philanthropic: to generate a social, not financial, return.

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Ken Weber, Executive Director, Zynga.org; Mark Pincus, Founder of Zynga; Esteban Sosnik, Executive Director of co.lab; and Ted Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of NewSchools Venture Fund. Photo taken at the co.lab opening; courtesy of Zynga.org.

The idea is, as Weber explains, “to harness the power of all the good gamers out there and channel it into solving education and social problems in fun, engaging ways.”

To this end, innovative products, ideas or prototypes that demonstrate significant promise for producing transformative effects on teaching, learning and/or education in general receive preference. Each approved startup will house a team at Zynga’s offices, receive up to a $50,000 stipend and benefit from the the knowledge and talent of one of the world’s largest online gaming companies. Zynga is investing $1 million into the first year alone.

NewSchools Venture Fund provides co.lab with operational oversight and guidance, coordinates partnerships and playtesting with educators and schools and includes co.lab companies in activities with a larger network of of edtech entrepreneurs.

Volunteers from the game industry, including Zynga employees, are also a key part of co.lab’s approach to sharing best practices and advice on product development, marketing and distribution and other related topics.

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Like many companies, Zynga combines creative online social good opportunities with in-person community events to raise overall engagement, as well as to give back both globally and locally. Photo of employees building a community garden courtesy of Zynga.org.

Internally, Zynga see its involvement in co.lab as a win/win opportunity. Not only does it inspire their own employees, who also are heavily involved with “offline” volunteering like community projects, but it also draws awareness and excitement to a huge burgeoning field online: gamification for education and social good. Additionally, it creates excitement around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs and how STEM skills can be used for a wide range of interesting passions.

Passions that even — or especially — can change the world.

If you would like to be notified when the application for the next co.lab cohort is open, contact info@playcolab.org.

We Need YOU! Team #NoKidHungry Holiday Give-A-Thon 12/3/13!

27 Nov NKH Photo

We need you! Join us for our annual Team No Kid Hungry Holiday Give-A-Thon!

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Childhood hunger affects more than just the 16 million kids going to school hungry—it affects us all. We can put an end to that. In order to end childhood hunger, Team No Kid Hungry needs to continue raising critical funds to put programs in place that provide access, education, and awareness.
On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the annual Team No Kid Hungry Holiday Give-A-Thon will be taking place in conjunction with #GivingTuesday, a movement and day dedicated to giving. This is a one-day social media blitz with the goal of raising $25,000 for No Kid Hungry. And this year, Tyson Foods will match the donations—dollar for dollar—giving us the potential to raise $50,000 in a single day, providing hungry children with access to 500,000 additional meals.
Here’s how you can you help Team No Kid Hungry reach our goals:

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WHAT: Team No Kid Hungry Give-A-Thon on #GivingTuesday

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m.—9 p.m.
• Sign up for the Thunderclap to spread the #NoKidHungry and #GivingTuesday message simultaneously on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
• Make a donation—and encourage others—at www.nokidhungry.org/givingtuesday. Not only will you be doing good, you’ll have a chance at some awesome prizes!
• On Twitter:
• Follow @NoKidHungry and @TysonFoods, and retweet messages about the Give-A-Thon from both accounts.
• Use the hashtags #NoKidHungry and #GivingTuesday in all your tweets.
• Sample tweets:
• Join @nokidhungry & @tysonfoods for the Team #NoKidHungry Give-A-Thon! Change kids’ lives on #GivingTuesday. http://bit.ly/16sKOzB
• No kid should go hungry. Donate to the Team #NoKidHungry Give-A-Thon today with @nokidhungry & @tysonfoods! http://bit.ly/16sKOzB #GivingTuesday
• Join #NoKidHungry & @TysonFoods Holiday Give-A-Thon! Can we provide 500K meals to hungry kids in US? http://bit.ly/16sKOzB #givingtuesdayOn Facebook:
Like the No Kid Hungry page.
• Join us on Facebook all day on 12/3 and share ourposts about the Give-A-Thon with your Facebook friends.

NKH Thunderclap

We can end child hunger in America. Just $1 connects a child to up to 10 meals. When we reach our goal of $25,000 and Tyson Foods adds in their generous match, we’ll provide hungry children with access to 500,000 additional meals.

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Please join us. We hope to see you on #GivingTuesday for the Team No Kid Hungry Give-A-Thon!

3 New Emerging Technologies for Good

9 Oct

This is a guest post by Missi Winterburn.

3 New Emerging Technologies for Good

New technology is constantly being developed to solve all kinds of problems, from making our everyday life easier to truly revolutionizing the way we interact with the world around us. Social media is undoubtedly one of these developments, and when harnessed in the right way can offer excellent reach and communication for non profit organizations and charities. Because communication is so fundamental to organizing and impacting positive change, it’s important that we share some of the newest, most promising technological developments that could impact our quality of medical care, long term sustainability and access to clean water.

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Technology is continuously allowing new solutions to appear that can help solve problems.

The Nanotube Sponge

Developed last year, the carbon nanotube sponge has some very interesting properties, and huge potential for limiting environmental disasters such as oils spills and providing access to clean drinking water. The sponge itself is made of carbon nanotubes which are essentially sheets of carbon rolled into cylinders. The sheets themselves are only an atom thick. Being made of almost pure carbon, the sponge naturally repels water, but attracts oil. As a result, this material could prove invaluable when it comes to cleaning up oil spills, and elegantly simple approach. Furthermore, the sponge itself is magnetic, which offers some options as to how these might be deployed in a large scale, and recovered. Additionally, the sponges are extremely durable and resistant to burning, which makes them have a long life span. It is also being explored as to how this technology might be further developed to allow the filtration of microbes and harmful bacteria from unsafe drinking water. Currently, this is being explored by coating more traditional polyurethane with carbon nanotubes, and additionally with silver nanowires. The sponges then form a very good conductor, and can cleanse contaminated drinking water with a very low voltage input.

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Nanotube sponges can solve challenges like cleaning up oil spills, and cleansing drinking water.

Robot Doctors

One of the major problems that medical staff often face, especially doctors, is having enough time to get around and visit all their patients. Robot avatars have been developed to enable doctors to interact with patients and do their rounds while being somewhere else entirely. There are currently around seven hospitals in the US making use of the avatars, and one hospital in Northern Ireland is also implementing the technology. This enables doctors to focus on attending to patients from any point in the hospital, while still retaining the advantage of face to face contact and direct communication, in essence. The avatar, developed by iRobot, is still relatively new, but is likely to see more widespread use in the future. Additionally, the advantage of using the avatar is that the doctor has access to volumes of medical documents and information while communicating with the patient directly, but it is not the only new medical technology being developed. According to Licensed Prescriptions, along with some of the other advances in the field, we could see the way we receive care in hospitals become much more efficient – and this could lead to better, faster diagnosis and result in saving more lives.

3-D Printers

The concept and development of 3-D printers has been around for a few years now, but the current advances and implications are staggering. While the basic technology has in fact been around since the 1980s, recent developments have led to major breakthroughs in efficiency and practical application. One of the most fundamental aspects of 3-D printing is that it generates zero waste, and when paired with sustainable materials truly offers a fantastic option for ecologically sounds manufacturing. Not only that, it could completely revolutionize the way we manufacture anything and everything. Currently, 3-D printers can make just about anything you can imagine, from chocolate to glass, titanium to nylon. Once the technology becomes widely available, we could see a huge reduction in manufacturing waste and energy usage, not to mention that almost anyone will be able to print extremely complex and detailed products.

These are just some of the truly innovative and potentially groundbreaking technologies that are becoming a force for good in the modern world. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we can expect to see many more in the coming years, whether in the form of ‘hard’ tech such as robot avatars, or innovations in accessibility to communications and social platforms. All of these offer us great potential to help shape the world into a better, fairer and more sustainable place.

57 Easy, Free Ways You Can Make Someone’s Day

9 Jun

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

57 Simple Ways to Make Someone’s Day

Amy Neumann

Social Good and Technology Devotee; Director SEO/SEM/SMO at Cleveland.com

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and start with the person nearest you.” -Mother Teresa

Recently, I ran across something that got me thinking again about the beauty of a simple kindness. And about the astonishing power and positive impact even the smallest kind word or deed can have on someone’s day — or life.

The story has been repeated countless different ways for ages, and here is one version.

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Photo courtesy of Amy Neumann

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.– adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

Are you looking for ways to make that difference to one person today? Or for a few simple ways to spread kindness anytime?

Here are 57 ideas to get you started:

1. Smile at a stranger
2. Put change in an expired parking meter
3. Send someone a hand-written card
4. Hold a door open for someone
5. Volunteer virtually for a few minutes or hours: Sparked.com
6. Give a friendly wave to a neighbor
7. Do a simple, free, quick kindness for a charity — eight examples here
8. Tell a friend you appreciate them
9. Plant a tree

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Spend time in nature yourself, and maybe later, plant a tree to share with others.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir. Photo courtesy of Amy Neumann
10. Walk instead of driving and absorb the wonders around you
11. Teach a group in your community about something unique you do or enjoy
12. Collect books to give to a school or shelter
13. Drop off dinner or groceries to an elderly friend who can’t get out much
14. Start an affinity group to share a hobby with others — MeetUp.com
15. Mentor someone, a child or an adult
16. Create a blog for someone who loves writing but isn’t technical
17. Help someone get set up with social media
18. Call your family just to say hi and find out what they’re doing
19. Invite a friend you haven’t seen in a while to the movies or coffee or…
20. Find a fun project to volunteer for: VolunteerMatch.org
21. Sign up for an unusual class at a community college and see who you meet
22. Read a book on something new to gain new perspective
23. Make a Top 10 (or 25 or 100) List of things you’re thankful for and share it
24. Give a plant to someone
25. Ask someone for a recipe of theirs that you love
26. Ask a wise person for insight
27. Talk to elderly people and listen to their stories to learn about life
28. Give a stranger a sincere compliment
29. Say “Thank You” often
30. Do pro-bono work for a favorite cause: Catchafire.org
31. Say “I Love You” often
32. Organize photos in a virtual or paper album for a host/ess as a thank you
33. Ask someone how their day was, and listen attentively
34. Invite someone you admire to lunch to hear their ideas and insights
35. Speak on a topic you know to a community group who wants to learn
36. Buy a charitable magazine subscription and send it to a nursing home
37. See the positives in a tough situation
38. Sell some cool stuff online and give the proceeds to charity: KarmaGoat.com
39. Read these 25 amazing social good blogs for inspiration
40. Share inspiring quotes and stories online
41. Donate your airline miles

“Wherever these is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”
-Seneca

42. Pick up an errant piece of trash and throw it away, just because
43. Offer to babysit for a single Mom or Dad
44. Run an errand for a busy friend
45. Donate event tickets to local charity organization
46. Recycle anything, correctly
47. Give a gift of housekeeping service to a new parent
48. Set aside a bit more than last year for charity and add a new one to your list
49. Tell someone you see regularly at a business how they make your day
50. Be appreciative and gracious for compliments
51. Be patient under pressure and use compassion as a guide for disagreements
52. Smile just because
53. Dance in your car even (especially!) with people watching
54. Learn how to tell a few great clean jokes
55. Create a blog post about a few people you admire and why
56. Share something without being asked
57. Compliment a job well done, or a kindness

Amy Neumann is a passionate fan of social good, and is dedicated to leveraging technology to change the world. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

12/20 #NoKidHungry Give-A-Thon: We Can All Help End Childhood Hunger!

19 Dec

Happy Holidays!  This is the time of year when we all are even more touched by that giving spirit, and I am honored to be part of an amazing cause and campaign, #NoKidHungry, that’s fun, rewarding, and easy to participate in!  Just follow the #NoKidHungry hashtag to see the generosity live in action, all day on 12/20!

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On Thursday, December 20, please join in the effort to help end childhood hunger by helping spread the #NoKidHungry word through tweets, Facebook posts, emails, and/or direct (gentle?) nudging of friends and family. 😉

We will be having a Give-A-Thon all day 12/20, with some amazing surprises and prizes for those generous souls who spread the workd and MAKE A DONATION!

* A generous Share Our Strength donor decided to do something extraordinary this holiday season: personally match all gifts up to $500,000. This means the impact of our Give-A-Thon will be doubled at the end of the day, making twice the difference for kids struggling with hunger!

Team No Kid Hungry Holiday Give-A-Thon

Our Partners

No Kid Hungry Give-A-Thon 12/20/2012 to end childhood hunger

Author note: Join us! Help us spread the word this Thursday! Visit the Team fundraising page.

This Thursday, December 20, we are excited to work with our amazing online community to hold a Team No Kid Hungry Holiday Give-A-Thon. Why now? Why in the middle of the holiday season? There are a number of reasons.

Primarily, hunger doesn’t take a holiday. When EVERY child should be excited for winter breaks, many know exactly how many school meals they will miss over the holidays, and don’t know from where their next meal will come. It is important for us to remember these children and their families during this time.

Fortunately, you can help. A $25 donation can connect a child to up to 250 meals. Are you wondering what to get that family member who has everything? Or are you trying to find something special for a friend? Consider giving the gift of No Kid Hungry this holiday season – a meaningful, and truly life-changing gift.

Through our countless online advocates and our Team No Kid Hungry community, we are making a day of it, and hosting our Holiday Give-A-Thon, complete with incredible prizes throughout the day that will amaze you! If we hit $10,000* in donations, one lucky donor will receive an iPad mini. Drawings will take place all day, so please spend the day with us!

Are you on Facebook? Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow our posts this week. On Twitter? Follow us here, and join in the #nokidhungry conversation. Check back on Facebook as we post our list of giveaway items!

How can you help prior to the Give-A-Thon? Share our Facebook posts, retweet our Give-A-Thon tweets, and spread the word. Plan your holiday shopping list, and do some one-stop, tax-deductible shopping here on Thursday.

The day will be hosted by our No Kid Hungry Social Council. Find out more, and consider getting involved!  Click “Join the Blogger Council” and we will be in touch. Thank you for all you do, for sharing your strengths with us.

Special thanks to friends (and Good Plus Tech client) AnchorFree for donating many annual HotSpot Shield Elite annual subscriptions (valued at $29.95 each!) , to be given to donors around various goals during the day on 12/20!  Stay safe keeping in touch, shopping, and making donations on all those mobile devices!

 

New: Google’s Global Impact Awards, $23 Million for Nonprofit Innovation!

5 Dec

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Global Impact Awards Give $23 Million to Charities to Spur Innovation, Help Girls and Minority Students

Posted: 12/04/2012 9:00 am
Nonprofits have longed for years to have access to the best technology. Often, even the best of ideas have challenges when technology is involved, whether it’s a technical or a funding issue. That’s where the newly-announced Google Global Impact Awards come in.

When you think of advancements in technology, engineering and creativity, you probably think Google. But the tech powerhouse also has a generous philanthropic side. Its new Global Impact Awards program has a mission for funding innovation that solves critical issues.

Supporting tech-driven philanthropy, Google’s Impact Awards focus on creating large, paradigm-shifting changes in social good.

Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Charitable Giving and Advocacy at Google, shared some insight on why this was an important mission for Google to tackle.

“Google looks for opportunities with explosive, innovative impact. The organizations here have an entrepreneurial spirit, embrace technology, and are in the sweet spot between technology and impact that can create massive, positive change.”

Fuller also notes that like Google, these nonprofits aren’t afraid to take informed risks, or “fail forward fast” and learn quickly from mistakes through metrics and measuring results. Following the Google model of “launch and iterate,” they will be on a constant learning and recalibrating adventure, making rapid technological strides.

The first round of $23 million in Global Impact Awards funding goes to seven nonprofits:

* charity: water
* DonorsChoose.org
* Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
* World Wildlife Fund
* Consortium for the Barcode of Life
* GiveDirectly
* Equal Opportunity Schools

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Learn more about Google’s Global Impact Awards and this year’s grantees by clicking above to go to the Google Impact Awards video. Graphic courtesy of Google for Nonprofits

Each organization is already doing outstanding work, and these awards for specific, new technology will help advance that work.

The clean-water nonprofit charity: water will leverage their $5 million Global Impact Award grant to pilot the installation of real-time water monitoring technologies at 4,000 water points across Africa by 2015. The impact of being able to monitor and measure water well performance on this scale will provide invaluable data not only to charity:water, but also to help other NGO’s and governments with their own well projects. This rapid learning and cataloging of information will allow new advances in building, operating, and maintaining more working wells.
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More than 800 million people globally do not have access to clean drinking water. However, charity:water is working to change that. Photo courtesy of charitywater.org

Scott Harrison, CEO of charity: water, explains it this way:

“We have embraced technology at charity:water since we started, with things like GPS units on every well so people can see their money in action on Google Maps. This project takes that transparency to another level. Now people can also see how much water the well they donated to is pumping, how many children, men and women in a community are now able to have clean drinking water. Information we learn from this data can be acted on to proactively create better training, maintenance, and building plans. And when people ‘check back in’ years later, they can see how their well is doing.”

DonorsChoose.org will use their $5 million Global Impact Award grant to provide public schools across the U.S. with materials to create ~500 new Advanced Placement Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses, partnering with College Board. In the U.S., girls and minority students are less likely to study math and science in college or pursue related careers than their counterparts. More exposure to these programs at public high schools that commit to AP STEM enrollments reflecting their school’s overall diversity can lead to more growth in this area.


World Wildlife Fund
‘s $5 million Global Impact Award grant will be used to help detect and deter poaching in Asia and Africa. The illegal wildlife trade, estimated to be worth $7-10 billion annually, is emptying our forests, landscapes and oceans. This grant will help implement specialized sensors and wildlife tagging technology, and ranger patrolling guided by analytical software to help nature’s front line curb this poaching.

At the forefront of promoting gender equality in children’s media and entertainment, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media will use its $1.2 million Award to support the development of automated technology that analyzes female portrayals in children’s media.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) will use their $3 million Global Impact Awards grant to create and begin implementing ‘DNA barcoding’ as a cost-effective, rapid, standardized, and actionable tool for protecting the world’s most endangered wildlife. More than 35,000 of the world’s 1.8 million named species are considered to be in danger of extinction, and of these, 2,000 are protected from illegal international trade by the strictest trade regulations under a UN treaty. CBOL will build a public library of DNA barcodes that law enforcement officials can use to identify confiscated material.

With their $2.4 million Global Impact Award grant, GiveDirectly will scale up its model of direct mobile technology cash transfer to Kenyan families living in extreme poverty, and expand operations to a second country. Despite assumptions, cash transfers are a proven approach to lifting people out of poverty, with substantial positive impacts including business profits, farm profits, investment and savings, adult work hours, children’s school enrollment, children’s health, and infant birth weight. GiveDirectly’s mission is to make direct giving available to donors everywhere, and in doing so to set a new benchmark for the nonprofit sector.

Equal Opportunity Schools will use their $1.8 million Global Impact Award grant to identify 6,000 high-performing yet under-represented students in 60 high schools and move them into advanced high school classes. Every year over 600,000 low-income students in the U.S. miss out on the opportunity to be placed in advanced classes that could provide the training they need to succeed at college. EOS results show that AP pass rates increase or stay the same in more diverse classrooms. Students will be selected using data that demonstrates potential to succeed and readiness for greater challenges.

As these projects progress, nonprofits and social good fans will have an opportunity to learn from the processes the six grantees are going through in their innovative journeys.

You can learn more about the Google Global Impact Awards here. If you are part of a nonprofit, there are also many resources available through Google for Nonprofits.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas. Amy is also Director of Public Relations for POGCO, the People’s Oil and Gas Collaborative – Ohio, a grassroots organization focused on sustainability, regulatory, safety, and property rights issues in the oil and gas industry.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Social Entrepreneurs Help Small Businesses: BU’s Urban Accelerator Program

31 Oct

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Boston University’s Urban Accelerator Program: Helping Businesses and Social Entrepreneurs

Posted: 10/30/2012 4:05 pm

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Starting back in high school, Nathan Bernard dove into a succession of fundraising driven social endeavors in places like Ecuador, Kenya, and Tanzania. Through projects like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, he helped fund AIDS orphanages, housing programs and more.

When he attended Boston University, the passion continued to grow with work in Ghana with Community Water Solutions, Inner Mongolia, with micro-lender ACCION International, and India with his first start-up, AnaGenesis.

A keen interest in sustainable charity, or creating pathways for people to help themselves, led Bernard to pitch an idea for an Urban Business Accelerator program to Dean Kenneth Freeman, former-CEO of Quest Diagnostics, KKR Board member, and current Dean of the Boston University School of Management. The pitch worked, and the Boston University Urban Business Accelerator program (BUBA) was born.

Bernard is now the director of the program, which he runs in collaboration with Professor Erik Molander of the BU School of Management, and MBA student Tiffany Israel. Together they oversee the teams, training, and strategic direction of BUBA.

The BUBA program accomplishes two objectives. First, it helps local small businesses in underprivileged areas gain the tools and training on financials to help manage their small businesses. Second, it helps create student social entrepreneurs with leadership skills and a deeper understanding of the impact that their university education can have on the business owners.

The 10-week program forms teams of one graduate student and three undergraduates. These teams review financials, make baseline comparisons, identify areas for improvement, and teach the business owners how to use the accounting software QuickBooks to streamline and monitor their progress. The goal of the 180-hour, free program is to give business owners a strong level of financial literacy that can be applied to improve their bottom line.

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Nathan Bernard pitched the idea of an Urban Accelerator program at Boston University that is now active and creating stronger local businesses as well as social entrepreneurs. Photo Courtesy of Boston University

So far, businesses have saved an average of $9,000 from the experience, as well as retain five jobs per business. BUBA has also created one full time job through the initial pilot launch.

“BUBA helps small businesses take it to the next level, and also creates socially-inclined leaders in the process,” notes Bernard.

Partners of the program, like Intuit’s QuickBooks, Google’s free Get Your Business Online program, the City of Boston, and ACCION USA, are providing tools, support, and training for both the BUBA student teams and the businesses.

Based on the pilot launch, a program curriculum, coined by Bernard, “BUBA in a Box,” has been created to speed the learning process for the BUBA teams. This 105 page how-to guide is what Bernard hopes to share and expand in partnership with other universities in the near future.

As Bernard says, “We’re creating a program with the goal of replicating it on a national scale. My vision is for the BUBA methodology to be applied in more urban businesses and universities across the country. It’s an impactful and successful learning experience for everyone involved.”

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The startup team for the Boston University Urban Accelerator program this summer. Photo courtesy of Boston University

To learn more about the program, contact Boston University .

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Boston University , Boston University Urban Accelerator , Nathan Bernard , Buba , Social Entrepreneurship , Urban Development , Impact News

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