Seniors in Need
[Posted on Social Entrepreneurship for Everyone] by Claire Neeland
Today I came across Seniors in Need [http://www.seniorsinneed.ca/], a grassroots organization stemming from the inspiration of philanthropist Peter Cook, who been assisting with the business of elder caring since 1985. Through his company, Seniors for Seniors, Peter encountered seniors so poor they couldn’t afford groceries, medication or rent. Deciding to give back, in late 2011, Peter reached out to the healthcare professionals asking them to submit details of the neediest seniors in their communities , and donated $1000 per month to two seniors in need for one year.
The response was overwhelming…
Not only did the healthcare professionals provide hundreds of candidates who desperately needed help, but Seniors For Seniors was inundated with offers from concerned Canadians who wanted to donate everything from services and groceries to medical supplies and time.
Peter quickly recognized an opportunity to unite seniors in need across Canada with those who wanted to directly help and Seniors In Need™ was born.
“We know from our experience, that sponsoring organizations often feel they can’t get enough of the resources they need , or that the senior’s need cannot be met through their organization’s mandate.” That’s where we come in.” -Peter Cook
Through this website (which has recently gone national), you can donate to seniors in need in your community; from assistance with medication, rent, exercise, etc. This website is proving instrumental in helping seniors in need. If you know a senior in need and or wish to assist, follow the links! At the very least, let’s spread this around and strengthen it’s presence in Alberta and help out some seniors in our own community. :)
Seniors in Need is a great example of social entrepreneurship at its most basic level: people helping people in new and innovative ways. I encourage people to visit their website and see if you find any inspiration among it.
And as always, head over to Social Entrepreneurship for Everyone, register for a free membership, and contribute to our discussions. There we have individuals looking to make connections with motivated community members in hopes to improve the society we live in. Get involved.
United Nations Rio+20 Summit: Global Environment Outlook Report Warns Of Irreversible Damage
[Posted on Social Entrepreneurship for Everyone] by Mark Durieux
An incredibly important report issued by the United Nations warns that we are on the verge of irreversible planetary damage.
Here are a few summary snippets. I encourage our members to read the full article and begin a social entrepreneurial discussion around the issue.
- Population growth, urbanisation and consumption are set to inflict irreversible damage on the planet, the United Nations said on Wednesday, and called for urgent agreement on new green targets to save the environment.
- The GEO-5 report, three years in the making and the United Nations’ main health-check of the planet, urges governments to create more ambitious targets or toughen existing ones, most of which have failed to deliver.
- The GEO-5 report said goals with specific, measurable targets demonstrated the most success, such as the bans on ozone depleting substances and lead in petrol.
- Most of the impacts from climate change will be felt in many developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, where population growth and rising consumption are putting more stress on dwindling natural resources, the GEO-5 report said.
What is your reaction to the article? Post comments here on our blog or continue the discussion on our Environmentalism group on Social Entrepreneurship for Everyone.
Can our political system be changed to inspire more innovation and positive change?
Democracy seems to be the political system that the western world will be using for the unforeseeable future, and it makes sense. It is the only system that seems to work once in a while. Each other system (monarchy, communism, etc..) has their own positives here and there, but democracy seems to be the only thing that has stuck and has a chance at evolving into a long term solution. But as David Suzuki said last year at the Occupy Vancouver demonstrations:
Capitalism, economies, corporations, markets and currency are not forces of nature. We invented them. If they don’t work, we can and we must change them.
This seems to be a concept most people forget or don’t understand: these things are all social constructions. We invented the money we use, we created capitalism, we decided how our economies would run, and we decided how the political system should work. If one of these social concepts break down or begin malfunctioning, we have a right and the duty to fix it. A lot of these systems are all pretty broken right now, but perhaps the best place to start would be with the political system.
Currently, most western countries run their democracy based on a party system, meaning candidates run based on a platform of ideologies that voters can easily identify with and more easily understand based on which party they are a member of. Voters then pick which party best represents their political motives and needs at the time.
However, this party system can end up meaning the party itself is more important than the individual actually running. Individuals then feel compelled to govern and enact policies that are in favour of the party they belong to, even if it is something they may not perfectly align with their personal opinions.
This leads to my main issue with party politics: politicians are so afraid of doing something that could potentially lead to them not getting elected, that they more often than not, end up doing nothing at all.
A politician running for office may make huge promises on the campaign trail and inspire millions to vote for them. But once they actually get elected and reach that office, they become too afraid to do any of the more radical or controversial things they originally planned or hoped to do because it could destroy their chances of getting re-elected in the future. Because it turns out they are doing it more for themselves than for us. If they truly wanted to get elected to help their citizens, they wouldn’t care if a new policy is unpopular or could lead to not getting elected if it is something good that we need.
My suggestion is this; get rid of party politics and have candidates run as individuals. Make them campaign as themselves, simply putting forward their own platform and the things they believe in. Maybe then they would feel compelled to actually make or change policies that could lead to some good because they know by the time the next election comes along, there will be a dozen more individual candidates and their chance of re-election would be slim anyways unless they improve things. Maybe then they will feel compelled to do as much good as they can for everyone, not just the party who elected them.
If we can scrap party politics, or at least change it in a way that more can be achieved, perhaps there will be a better environment for social entrepreneurs. A market based more on innovation and co-operation. Things like oil dependency can be a thing of the past when more funding goes to companies who invest in renewable energies rather than oil and gas companies. Or maybe we are doomed and the system is too far gone to change. But we need to start somewhere.
Member Spotlight: Hunter O’Brien
We here at Social Entrepreneurship for Everyone would like to welcome Hunter O’Brien to our network and thank him for his involvement in our cause. Hunter, like the rest of us, has noted interests that many of us will relate to. Taken from his personal blog, which can be found here, his interested consist of:
Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, and Pragmatic Environmentalism.
Hopefully he can find ways to connect with our members and provide some valuable insight. Perhaps ideas relating to both the production of food and more innovative methods of producing and distributing that more healthy and organic food. As Hunter wrote himself on one of his blog posts:
Think outside the box.
Hegemonic ideologies rule our society. These are beliefs that are so naturalized that alternatives are beyond the limit of the thinkable.
Maybe together we can start creating more ideologies that are environmentally friendly and slowly change the current paradigm.
To participate in the discussion and share any ideas you may have, go to our website and become a member yourself.
TOMS Shoes: Revolutionary Idea or Lackluster Attempt?
TOMS Shoes is quickly becoming one of the more popular brands on the footwear market after only 6 short years of business. The main reason for the market popularity is customer eagerness to share brand information to their friends and family. Why? Because TOMS operates based on their slogan of “One for One” meaning for every pair of shoes that someone purchases, TOMS will donate a pair of their shoes to a person who needs them, usually in a developing country. They count on their customers feeling good and moral about their recent purchase, in attempts to expand the market and improve brand awareness. Recently, TOMS has expanded from simply selling shoes to also selling sunglasses, vowing to donate a pair of glasses for each pair of sunglasses sold. It is a honourable business plan that ventures from the norm in attempts to improve living conditions for the worlds citizens. But the question that seems to be brooding and bubbling to the surface is: how much good is TOMS actually doing?
Take for instance an article published on Ecouterre. In it the author questions the TOMS business model and whether the good TOMS claims to do is just the very minimum required to “make consumers feel morally superior” [source]. The author also questions why TOMS is focusing solely on footwear (and now glasses) rather than more important and vital things like infrastructure and economic stability. The article goes on to say:
TOMS isn’t designed to build the economies of developing countries, Davenport says. Rather, its goal is to make first-world consumers feel morally superior. “Mr. Mycoskie didn’t ask villagers what they needed most or talk to experts about how to lift villages out of long-term poverty,” she says. “Instead, he built a company that felt good and that was good enough for him and TOMS’s nascent consumers.”
From a business perspective, the company is also vulnerable to what Davenport describes as a “finite and unpredictable market for the feel good value proposition.” In other words, consumers are fickle creatures. With the growing number of brands adopting TOMS’s central paradigm, TOMS will likely fall out of favor without a more distinctive—and less replicable—product offering.
“And therein lies the real peril,” she says. “Those ‘helped’ by TOMS are, in the long-term, no more able to afford shoes or address the real social, economic, and health issues that they face than they were before. Once their free shoes wear out in a couple years, the children TOMS ‘helped’ will be just as susceptible to the health and economic perils associated with bare feet as they were before.”
So there are points to both sides. On one hand, TOMS has managed to create a highly successful business whose sole focus point is social good. But on the other hand, and from a social entrepreneur perspective, they are still focusing on profits and there is so much more good left to be done. However, it is hard to attack TOMS as they are at least trying, and if their idea could potentially lead to some change in the paradigm of mainstream business, they should be applauded for their efforts.
What do you think? Leave us a message to let us know, or even better, register as a member on Social Entrepreneurship for Everyone and continue the discussion on our website.
Links & Sources:
- ~ 1 of 4 ~
- Older →