So, my TED Fellows application is due today…and I’m hoping you can help. Your feedback and suggestions in the comments or by email to stacey@EpicChange.org or by tweet to @StaceyMonk are much appreciated! Since it’s due by the end of the day, the more specific you can be, the better ;) Most responses were limited to 150 characters, except where noted. Thanks!
If a friend were to describe your accomplishments in up to three sentences, what would he or she say?
Stacey Monk created Epic Change (http://www.EpicChange.org), an innovative nonprofit that makes interest-free mezzo-loans ($10,000 – $200,000) to grassroots changemakers, then helps them share their “epic” stories of hope in ways that generate income for repayment so that loans may be paid forward to create “change” in communities across the globe. Since launching in September 2007, Epic Change has loaned nearly $70,000 on its pilot project to expand a locally-founded school in Tanzania where, as a direct result, the student population has tripled and the school recently ranked #1 of 117 schools in Arusha on national exams; in just over a year, profitable storytelling efforts have repaid over 15% of the original $35,000 loan disbursed in 12/07. Loan capital has been raised from nearly 1000 donors in large part through savvy application of free social media tools, most notably TweetsGiving, a groundbreaking Twitter fundraising event, which raised over $11,000 in 48 hours.
What other achievements would you like to share?
Our loans have directly funded land, five classrooms and a school bus at a school that serves over 300 children, and have had significant additional impact:
Epic Change has benefited since its inception from serendipity; we’ve made countless fortunate discoveries by accident (or universal engineering, if you so believe). For us, simply being in the right place at the right time to meet great people and share fresh ideas has yielded inspiration, connections, resources and attention – the seeds of our early success.
In Africa, I wasn’t searching for a new career; I was travelling – but a chance encounter with “Mama Lucy” Kampton, our Tanzanian partner who dared to change the world by starting a school with money she made selling chickens and eggs, inspired me to create a model that empowers local leaders like her to use their own assets (i.e., their stories) to finance community improvements.
Last May, I was on Twitter after midnight looking only for distraction – but when Sam Lawrence, popular blogger at Go Big Always and outgoing CMO at Jive Software, tweeted he didn’t feel like writing for the following day, I volunteered a guest post that resulted in new donors, volunteers, Twitter followers and coverage in places like ZDNet, TriplePundit and What Gives.
Last November, I wasn’t aiming to create a Twitter fundraiser – I’d just read a touching note of gratitude and wondered what would happen if we all gave thanks publicly, and gave to a common cause in celebration. TweetsGiving was born six days later and, in 48 hours, the site had over 15,000 visitors, raised over $11,000 from over 350 donors, and appeared in over 100 blogs from Mashable to the NonProfit Times.
I wasn’t looking to speak at South by Southwest but Jeff Pulver invited me when our paths crossed as a result of TweetsGiving.
I view TED as an opportunity to swim in a sea of amazing people and great ideas; I can only imagine the serendipity that might be engineered there to help Epic Change in the form of inspiration, next steps, connections, resources and improved awareness of our efforts. I do not have any specific expectations because I know the best possible outcomes from my attendance at TED are those I could not possibly anticipate.
What do we need to know about you that we didn’t ask? (Limit 350 words)
Here’s who I really am – in 10 random (f)acts:
Can you share a memorable anecdote from your life that will give us a further sense of what makes you tick?
My sister suggested: “share the time in fifth grade when you painted your younger siblings like clowns, and paraded us through the neighborhood on a random summer day singing and collecting change for our ‘entertainment’.” Perhaps this silly story captures me: I am quirky, rarely bored, seldom boring, spunky, entrepreneurial, creative, willing to risk failure and foolishness, resourceful – and I think delivering belly laughter door-to-door is a mighty fine use of spare time.
Absent Ashlee’s recommendation, I may have shared that at the most painful moment of my life – when I lost my brother Josh to an overdose – I was most sad that he couldn’t see that the universe is a profoundly beautiful place, and that hope exists even (maybe especially) in the most unlikely places. What makes me “tick” is shining whatever light I have on the beauty and hope all around us so it simply can’t be overlooked.
If you had help in completing this application, please explain the circumstances, who helped you, and to what degree.
Well, my sister reminded me of that silly clown-faced wandering minstrels story. Then, I posted this application to my blog and asked for feedback from friends and blog readers. I’ve incorporated some, but not all, of their suggestions.
If you have ever been convicted of a crime, please explain the situation below:
Not yet – but if I ever am, it’ll be in an impassioned struggle over something in which I deeply believe.
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