Change the Story, October 1, 2015
On October 1, 2015, we paid tribute to three remarkable social entrepreneurs. This year’s recipients are promoting conflict resolution and collaborative change among youth, providing mentor-driven financial literacy training to low-income youth, and re-integrating homeless individuals into society. This year’s theme: Change the Story.
2015 In Harmony with Hope Honorees
Rose Broome, Co-founder and CEO, HandUp http://www.handup.org
Unwilling to ignore the shivering cold folks on the SF streets, she – with programmer Zac Witte – became their champion. She created a mobile friendly Web site that allows people to donate directly to people in need. The crowdfunding site features vignettes showcasing individual people in need that include a description of the resources necessary to give that person a hand up. The charitable giving platform is a simple, elegant and direct way for donors to immediately impact the lives of their less fortunate neighbors, tho se HandUp calls their “members.” Potential new members sign up with HandUp through any number of well-respected social service agencies with which HandUp has partnered. A caseworker makes a professional assessment of the member’s need and encourages them in the crafting of their online story, which is then posted on the site. Donors visit the site and contribute to a member’s goals after reading through these stories and selecting the one (or more) that speaks most directly to them. Donors can also elect to contribute directly (recurring or one-off) to the National Fund. <<detail page>>
Eric Dawson, Co-founder and President, Peace First http://www.peacefirst.org
A childhood experience with violence as well as his parents’ work with high-risk youth in his home of Columbus, Ohio, both informed his life’s direction. In high school, he created what would today be called an “anti-bullying” organization to change student attitudes. That commitment to working for others has never left him. He was exposed to an annual festival called Peace Games through his involvement with Harvard University’s volunteer association. In the playing of cooperative games and shared visions for peace, Eric found his calling. While still in college, he grew Peace Games from an annual festival into a yearlong conflict resolution program serving thousands of Boston area youth. Nearly 20 years later, Peace First (as it’s now called) is a national movement whose aim it is to spark a national conversation about the potential our young people have to create positive and meaningful change. The broad-based engagement platform inspires, celebrates, and connects youth in creating a more peaceful world. <<detail page>>
Ted Gonder, Co-founder and CEO, MoneyThink http://www.moneythink.org
On the eve of the 2009 financial collapse, Ted Gonder and fellow students in the Blue Chip Investment Club at the University of Chicago were ruefully examining the existing data about our nation’s financial illiteracy. Examining these numbers in the context of our country’s growing inequality made the students think: what if college students served as mentors teaching financial literacy and investment skills to low-income high school students? Today, Moneythink’s more than 600 volunteer mentors from 30 different college campuses reach 2,200 students each week with a powerful, relatable program on financial planning. Taking advantage of the similarities in age between the students and their mentors, the exciting lesson content is culturally relevant and engaging. In the past year, the successful model has been further enhanced by the introduction of MoneythinkMobile—an Instagram-like app that puts financial learning firmly in the hands of students where they need it most, outside of the classroom. <<detail page>>
Corporate Partner: Wells Fargo Bank
For the fifth year in a row, Wells Fargo has committed to supporting the awards program with a generous $10,000 contribution. Beyond the financial award that is given to honorees, the event also provides an opportunity for an exciting exchange of ideas when past and current honorees meet and discuss their shared vision for a better America.
Performing Artist: Alexei Bondarev
Alex’s narrative began in Grozny, Chechnya, where he began writing music at a young age. During the First Chechen War, he and his family immigrated to the United States. Living in the Bronx, Alex assimilated quickly, and, at 14, started A Mo-ment’s Worth, his first band, with his closest friends. The band’s brand of optimistic rock resonated deeply with audiences as they won the first College Battle of the Bands and the Elfenworks Social Justice Award for their song “Dedicate.” In 2013, the band and Elfenworks began working together closely to spread a mes-sage of hope. AMW has worked with companies such as Google and Verizon, and has appeared on local & national television stations. To date, their work exceeds one million streams on SoundCloud. Alex is currently working on a solo project, Conversing with Oceans. Collaborating with a Grammy-nomi-nated production team, his debut EP will be released later this year. Alex is passionate about his work with Musicians on Call, an organization that brings live music to patients and their families in hospitals across the US, and is committed to writing and performing music that changes our national narrative. <<detail page>>
Celebrity Emcee: Elijah Kelley
We are thrilled to announce that this year features a special guest Master of Ceremonies, acclaimed actor Elijah Kelley. We loved him in The Butler, Red Tails, and Hairspray but we really appreciated his heart for social justice when he partnered with Campus Moviefest as our emcee announcing the Elfenworks / Campus Moviefest Student Social Justice Award. Fast on the heels of our event, Mr. Kelley will soon be starring in NBC’s production of The Wiz Live!
About the Award
The In Harmony with Hope Award was created to accelerate and celebrate the success of social entrepreneurs who are working to bring compassionate vision into action. The list of alumni honorees includes visionaries like Rosalynn Carter and Dr. Paul Farmer. For more about the award, visit our overview page.
Social Media Information
- Social entrepreneurs receive $75k from @elfenworks for #peace #hope #homeless #change #inspire #mentoring #inharmonywithhope
- These stories are game-changers @elfenworks #hope #peace #entrepreneurs #inspire #mentoring #inharmonywithhope
- Who is changing America? @elfenworks honors 3 for #hope #peace #homeless #mentoring #inspire #inharmonywithhope
- #antibullying #change #entrepreneurs #homeless #hope #inharmonywithhope #inspire #mentoring #peace