Panel combines social justice with business
The University Business Program participated in ’Deis Impact this past Sunday and sponsored a panel discussion titled “Social Entrepreneurship: Change the World One Business at a Time.”
Prof. Grace Zimmerman (IBS) directed the panel, which consisted of start-up founders from three organizations that work to make a positive impact in society through their respective businesses. The organizations involved were Good St. Plugged In Teen Band Program and Be Bold, Be Bald!.
Joe Teplow, one of the founders of Good St., introduced the venture and their mission. Good St. works as an online subscription program that runs online fund raising for a different cause every day—ranging from natural disasters to illnesses and diseases.
Each morning, Good St. sends out an email to its users with the cause and the organization of the day. Participants have the option to donate through the email a certain amount, even as little as $0.25. Teplow said that when Good St. first started, the three principles in mind were to make online giving easy, to have daily programs and to allow the participants to choose where to donate. According to the Good St. website, users have donated over $31,000 to over 800 charities in a year.
Jeff Freedman discussed his business Be Bold, Be Bald! which he started as a for-profit organization in 2002 with his friend Mike Connell. Freedman spoke about Connell’s struggle with stage IV cancer, which resulted in his death in 2007.
Tearing up, Freedman noted how “Mike was a very giving person,” and because of his kind nature and contributions, “all of those people who helped [Be Bold, Be Bald!] were people Mike helped.” Six years ago, Freedman’s charity organization started a national movement by having supporters wear bald caps for an entire day to honor cancer patients.
Freedman noted that his work “is not about raising money, it’s about doing good … and getting people to do good.” Be Bold, Be Bald! aims to give cancer patients the strength to feel comfortable after chemotherapy when they lose hair. Freedman noted the national movement to wear a bald cap exemplifies the respect people have for cancer patients.
Tom Pugh and Sandra Rizkallah represented Plugged In Teen Band Program, which also started in 2002, as a program to help kids and teenagers express themselves through music. Plugged In enables young people between the ages of seven and 19 to start bands and attend lessons with a music teacher. The culture that Pugh and Rizkallah established in their organization gives children a “kind of power,” according to Pugh.
Plugged In “focuses on compassion rather than ego,” said Rizkallah. Children gain confidence, learn to be kind to and play together to make great music. Each band’s achievement is through playing music and gaining money for charities. Rizkallah said that while society focuses on achievements, at Plugged In, “It’s all about coming together.” Zimmerman also praised the panelists’ organizations’ work, saying, “collectively … [they] think that [they’re] getting more than [they’re] giving, and that’s just amazing.”
The Business Undergraduate Department Representatives hosted the event.