Nelson Mandela University SEED Workshop Presented by The International Social Impact Institute®

Introduction

On September 22nd 2022, Nelson Mandela University and The International Social Impact Institute held a workshop, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela University Student Employability and Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) project, titled “You Matter And So Does Your Story; How To Attract The Right Opportunities To Live Your Best Life.”

The Nelson Mandela University SEED project is designed to help students develop entrepreneurial thinking, improve their employability, collaborate with like-minded individuals, and engage with experienced peers through a customized mentorship program.

The workshop was presented by Elizabeth (Liz) Ngonzi, Founder and CEO of The International Social Impact Institute and facilitated by Jonathan Najoe, Community Engagement Officer at Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator.

Discussion Overview

Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy continue to inspire not only the nation of South Africa but also humanity at large. Nelson Mandela’s story matters, because he was brave enough to stand up against oppression, and prescient and resourceful enough to use his experience to drive real change. Nelson Mandela was a towering force for good and had a tremendously positive impact on his country and the world.

The students of Nelson Mandela University can use the lessons offered in this workshop to help define their purpose, craft their stories, and use their unique talents to create real impact, taking inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s example as a teller of his own story. The workshop was created to provide the tools and knowledge that can empower Nelson Mandela University students to create the kind of impact that can change the world.

Although students were the primary audience for this workshop, the material presented has relevance both for students (whether they are seeking employment or applying for graduate school admission, for fellowships or for internships) and for professionals looking to engage with clients, investors, or donors.

The discussion covered a broad range of material but generally centered around the idea of Purpose. Liz Ngonzi emphasized the importance of defining your purpose and values, which will ultimately help inform your story. She described how you can clarify your purpose and values to develop your story. The discussion highlighted important tools to use in this process, including a personal SWOT analysis, a diagram representing a personal “digital storytelling ecosystem,” and methods of developing a network of collaborators and partners whose core values are aligned with your own.

Clarifying Your Purpose and Values to Develop Your Story

Ms. Ngonzi advised that in developing your story, it is critical to first identify your purpose and values. In order to help find and clarify your purpose, she suggested conducting a personal SWOT analysis, asking key questions that will allow you to identify a set of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and external threats.

Ms. Ngonzi suggested asking yourself the following questions in order to identify your purpose and values:

  • What did you love to do as a child? What do you love to do now?
  • What must you accomplish during your lifetime, such that you will consider your life to have been well lived?
  • What do you consider your role to be in your community?
  • What is missing from your life? And what are some of the external factors that are affecting your ability to pursue your passions right now?

Once your purpose and values have been clarified, these should find expression in the various outlets that make up your “Digital Storytelling Ecosystem” – in other words, the online presence through which key audiences will first become acquainted with your story.

Ms. Ngonzi then shared a “Storytelling Framework” that can be used to craft your story. The framework focuses on four critical elements of your story:

  • The first step in the framework is to identify one or more problems that you are equipped to help solve for a potential “stakeholder.”
  • Next, identify the solution that you are offering. How are you able to uniquely solve your stakeholder’s problem?
  • What is the impact of that solution? Why does your solution matter to your stakeholder, and to their stakeholders?
  • Finally, what is it that you would like your stakeholder to do as a result of hearing or reading your story?

Ms. Ngonzi then discussed the importance of developing a network of collaborators. Your collaborators can provide leverage and increase your impact, and it’s especially important to develop an ecosystem of collaborators who share your core values. Ms. Ngonzi reminded her viewers of how critical it is to maintain strong positive influences in your life, whether you are a student or a working professional: “Your network is equal to your net worth.” A clear set of values and a clear purpose will help you to determine whether you have the right kinds of people in your network. As Nelson Mandela University students, workshop participants are already part of a network and an ecosystem that represents a set of values and priorities – one that places particular emphasis on service to society and on helping with the development of a more sustainable, socially just world.

Conclusion

Ms. Ngonzi concluded by referring to a Ewe-Mina Proverb: “Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story.” This workshop offered lessons and tools to help audience members move forward with the process of becoming their own storytellers.

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Optimizing Stakeholder Engagement Through Events

On August 14th 2022, The King Baudouin Foundation United States hosted an interactive webinar delivered by The International Social Impact Institute, focused on the importance of optimizing stakeholder engagement through both virtual and in-person events. The webinar also provided examples of strong donor engagement across various types of events. It also provided a successful, repeatable framework to effectively conceptualize, plan, market and execute an event, along with case studies that illustrate key concepts, and methods to ensure strong stakeholder engagement.

Webinar Overview

Kady Sylla, Senior Advisor at The King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS) opened the discussion with an introduction to KBFUS and the value proposition it provides for those looking to donate outside of the United States. She highlighted key focus areas for the organization, which include collaborating with subject matter experts, elevating local solutions, and building bridges. She further reiterated the importance of collaboration, noting the ongoing KBFUS partnership with The International Social Impact Institute, and its founder and CEO Elizabeth Ngonzi.

The webinar then highlighted core principles for optimizing stakeholder engagement, presented by Elizabeth Ngonzi, Founder/CEO of The International Social Impact Institute. She noted that the late Dr. Maya Angelou once said she “learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” a sentiment which absolutely applies to your donors and how they view your events.

Elizabeth started by sharing examples of successful stakeholder engagement, across many different types of organizations, donors and events. Elizabeth highlighted material from her own work and experience, demonstrating the criticality of knowing your audience and personalizing your events. She then shared a strategic event management framework, including key elements required to effectively plan, organize, market, produce, and evaluate both virtual and in person events. Following this, she also shared an event support analysis framework, covering various types of support, and how to align this to different supporters with a wide range of interests.

Elizabeth also covered many different types of marketing campaign elements, and how to successfully integrate these elements for your event. To cultivate and engage donors, whether individuals, or representatives for government entities, corporations or foundations, Elizabeth noted the importance of understanding the audience and their priorities, including how their priorities align with your own.

Conclusion

Elizabeth ended the webinar by sharing resources that will help elevate stakeholder engagement, often in creative ways, across many types of events. She discussed the significance of follow-ups and thank yous, and her belief that you can never say thank you enough. She also outlined creative ways to further activate support, including aligning your event with special days on the calendar.

The webinar also highlighted the significance of partnering with others, and the severe limitations you face when attempting to do it all on your own. Bringing in expertise, applying these core principles, and using the frameworks outlined in this webinar will help you optimize stakeholder engagement across both in person and virtual events.

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Youth Giving Summit Transformation Talks Series

The inaugural Youth Giving Summit (YGS) spotlighted five Youth Giving Ambassadors, through the Transformation Talks Series, which took place throughout July and August 2022.

The Youth Giving Ambassadors are comprised of a dedicated group of social-impact driven youth, contributing their time, treasure, and talents to help make a more equitable world. These young leaders are inspiring, connecting, and activating their peers around the world, and amplifying the voices of like-minded change-makers.

Through the Transformation Talks Series, each of these speakers shared their own inspirational stories alongside practical advice for getting involved. The speakers highlighted the importance of building and leveraging an ecosystem, finding purpose, letting go of fear, and jumping to action. Together, this Youth Giving ecosystem can help to catalyze the impact of young people in today’s world.

Ambassadors: Dillon Carroll and Mark Kreynovich

Ambassadors Dillon Carroll and Mark Kreynovich are the co-founders of #MissionTo. This dynamic duo, inspired to take action by what was happening in Ukraine, and driven by a sense of duty, left their respective homes in New York in March of 2022, to work overseas helping Ukrainians.

Mark Kreynovich and Dillon Carroll have been best friends since they met at Cornell University. A week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, they dropped everything and flew to Eastern Europe to help those affected by the catastrophic war. Mark is originally from Kharkiv, Ukraine, and Mark’s family and friends still live there today. To get started, Mark and Dillon created a crowdfunding page on Spotfund, which raised $10,000 in the first 24 hours, and today has over $260,000.

When asked about their inspiration, the pair spoke about being confronted with thousands of people who had lost everything, forced to flee with their remaining belongings in a single backpack. Seeing this hardship, and hearing firsthand from those who suffered, helped cement their purpose and drive, inspired them to work harder, and was above all, a humbling experience. According to Mark, it would have felt wrong to do nothing.

Mark and Dillon had the following advice and words of wisdom for those looking to get started:

  • Find something you are passionate about and get out there
  • Professional objectives are not mutually exclusive with passionate goals
  • Share what is going on – this is very important
  • Don’t let a linear perspective of how you think things should be, prevent you from doing good

The duo discussed helping people, letting go of fear, and getting comfortable relying on others for help and guidance. While they believe the power of human connection is boundless, they also stressed the importance of community, and having a reliable ecosystem, noting it takes a village.

Ambassador: Sam Ggomo

Sam Gqomo is the Director of Womandla Global Network, founder of the Womandla Foundation and co-founder of Grow My Business Africa. Sam is an increasingly influential leader in the Women’s Empowerment space. Her current responsibilities include building and maintaining stakeholder relations and implementing brand awareness campaigns.

Womandla Global Network is a marketing and communications consultancy for small and medium agencies and businesses, which aims to build sustainable communities for women and girls. This started as a blog when Sam was a student at Mandela University, and eventually grew into what it is today. The foundation amplifies women’s voices through storytelling.

In 2019, Sam was named a Cape Town Hero by the Cape Town Local Government, in recognition of her activities in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality and women’s empowerment). She has also been invited to the United Nations ESCAP and World Youth Forum in Egypt. She participated in the first US Embassy Academy of Women Entrepreneurs in South Africa, and she was listed as one of Glamour South Africa’s top women in 2020.

Sam shared advice for today’s youth, including the following:

  • Be willing and open to learning new things
  • Build relationships, and keep up to date with people
  • Nurture your relationships to create an ecosystem, because “you can’t make it alone”
  • It’s important to recognize that you don’t know everything

According to Sam, nobody can make an impact alone. Sam believes that empowering young women in Africa is an under-represented issue, and she has continued to do what she can to connect those in need with opportunity.

Ambassador: Wanjiru Ndegwa

Wanjiru Ndegwa is Youth Giving Ambassador and 16-year-old creative from Nairobi, Kenya. In this feature, Wanjiru shared what drove her to create the Art for Change Initiative – a series of workshops that expose students to photography, painting and art.

Since starting this initiative, Wanjiru has launched creative photography workshops, donated art supplies to schools with no existing art curriculum, and recently curated an event sponsored by Canon! Wanjiru is not shy about expressing her dedication to preserving the environment; she adds an eco-friendly component to all of her initiatives, such as planting trees, or spreading public awareness of the environment through photography, showing how we can leverage passion and purpose to create impact and also save our environment.

Wanjiru talked about how art can sometimes be considered less significant, when compared with other subjects like math and science. She encouraged young people to branch out and use their creative platforms to inspire big change in the world. Creative talents can make a difference, and she believes for that reason it is critical to develop one’s creativity.

Wanjiru shared the following guidance to other youth looking to get started:

  • Connect with an ecosystem to make larger change – this is important
  • Find a support system of friends and individuals who support the same cause
  • Make sure your venture is something you love
  • Develop your passions and look at how you can positively affect your community.

Wanjiru noted the benefit of starting small and staying consistent over time – small change can ultimately lead to much larger change.

Ambassador: Abigail Osei

Youth Giving Summit Ambassador, Abigail Osei, shared her story about writing the groundbreaking book, “Let’s Learn Twi.” Abigail is a global philanthropic leader and author, and a Ghanaian living in New York City.

After unsuccessfully attempting to find Twi-speaking toddler playmates for her two-year-old niece, in 2021 she decided to embark on a mission to bring Twi to children in the African diaspora. Abigail’s love for Twi and Ghanaian culture led her to create “Let’s Learn Twi” – it was the perfect start.

With over a decade of experience and expertise in private philanthropy and grants management, Abigail is currently the Assistant Vice President of The Starr Foundation, providing operational leadership in grants management technology, reporting, and external communications. Abigail also holds a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Lehman College and a bachelor’s degree in International Politics & Economics from Middlebury College.

Even when she leaves her busy day job, she continues to make an impact by supporting families in their journey and helping them embrace their heritage — specifically Ghanaian heritage. Abigail’s book “Let’s Learn Twi” provides an introduction to the Asante Twi alphabet. She proudly supports Ghanaian families in the diaspora through her writing in Twi and English, enabling them to share this culture with their children and respective communities.

Abigail provided the following advice for today’s youth:

  • Everyone is unique, and everyone has a unique voice – get comfortable sharing your voice
  • It’s about more than money; instead, ask what you can really do to change the world
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Be present and “hands on
  • It’s important to tap into community

According to Abigail, nobody should have to give up their culture in order to survive. She believes it is important for us to preserve our culture, especially our language.

Ambassador: Dr. Bernard Kivuma

Dr. Bernard Kivuma is a Medical Doctor, researcher, and GivingTuesday Starling Collective 2021 alumnus, working in sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS care, and mental health. He also manages a number of health programs and development projects in Tanzania. Dr. Kivuma has a particular focus offering services to key and vulnerable populations. In addition, he works as a program manager for Disability Repro-Light (NGO) an organization that promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for persons with disabilities.

When asked what inspired his work, Dr. Kivuma spoke of being inspired by his family. When it comes to services and care for those without access to resources and education, he feels a responsibility to help solve these disparities, and to bridge the gap.

Dr. Kivuma has been deeply moved by the stories of the people he has encountered through his work. He believes that an ability to leverage storytelling as a tool is extremely important. Dr. Kivuma has also been inspired by the response to his work, notably the positive feedback from those he has been able to help.

Dr. Kivuma had the following advice for youth looking to get started:

  • Recognize the importance of participating in a community
  • Build and maintain a strong team or group around you
  • Most importantly, start wherever you are – regardless of circumstances, just start somewhere

Dr. Kivuma believes that one big thing leads to another. The more you can be curious, open new doors and try new things, the more you will be able to grow, develop existing ideas, and invent new things!

Conclusion

The Youth Giving Summit shows the importance of creating an ecosystem and connecting with like-minded change-makers to deliver impact. These Youth Giving Ambassadors are inspirational, action-oriented young leaders, with similar themes that have helped contribute to their success.

The common ideas appearing throughout the Transformation Talks series include the importance of (1) building an ecosystem, team, or support system to sustain your initiatives, (2) addressing fear directly and stepping out of your comfort zone, (3) Being hyper-focused on action, starting small to build larger gains over time, and (4) finding your passion, and connecting your passion to a purpose.

Leveraging an ecosystem with a focus on youth giving has enabled these young individuals to take real, impactful steps towards their goals of helping people around the globe. The power of this ecosystem is clear, especially the ability to connect with other like-minded young leaders, to collaborate, and ultimately to deliver impact that can change the world.

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Youth Giving Summit Part 3 – Activation

On August 26th 2022, Candid and The International Social Impact Institute held Part 3 of The Inaugural Youth Giving Summit, the final discussion in the three-part series. Two prominent speakers, with practical organizational and entrepreneurial experience, came together for a moderated conversation on how to put ideas into action, taking inspiration from the words of Nelson Mandela – “vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.”

This discussion brings the three-part series to a conclusion, with a focus on going from inspiration to action, while also keeping generosity and love at the core of what we do. The speakers highlighted the importance of building ecosystems to drive impact and sustain future endeavors, as well as valuable practical advice on getting started, scaling existing focus, and joining efforts that are already underway.

Discussion Overview

Cesar Del Valle, Director of Global Partnerships at Candid, hosted the session, highlighting Candid’s youth initiative and recognizing today’s youth as today’s leaders. Elizabeth Ngonzi moderated the session, which included speakers Chinedu Echeruo, a serial entrepreneur and founder of HopStop.com, and recent co-founder of the Love & Magic Company, and Kathleen Murphy Toms, the Director of Digital Strategy for GivingTuesday, the biggest philanthropic movement in history. Both speakers, and their respective organizations, have a proven ability to catalyze movements, with broad experience ranging from finding ideas to practical implementation.

Speaker Contributions: Kathleen Murphy Toms

Kathleen Murphy Toms, Director of Digital Strategy for GivingTuesday and Adjunct Faculty member at the NYU Center for Global Affairs, has helped to drive and catalyze movements. When asked how she got started, and why, Kathleen shared that while her “why” is constantly changing, her current why is heavily centered on youth, “being inspired by young people and helping them grow.” Kathleen shared that GivingTuesday started in 2012, with the intention of creating a day that celebrates generosity, solidarity, and humanity. It is a group of people who value “radical generosity,” the notion that another person’s suffering should be as intolerable to us as our own. GivingTuesday exists to create the world that we all imagine to be possible.
Kathleen shared that she is a huge fan of building on existing work, but when that is not possible to do, then it is time to go the entrepreneurial route. Kathleen explained that GivingTuesday has built ecosystems that foster these efforts, elevating change-makers of all different age groups, and serving as a catalyst for change.

When asked how today’s youth should get started, identify their own talents, and apply them, Kathleen acknowledged that this can be very hard for any age group, especially in today’s challenging world. Kathleen suggests asking yourself the following three very important questions:

  • What resources exist so I can better educate myself?
  • Who is already doing work around the initiative?
  • What capacity do I have within my being to offer concrete support, and how can I be constructive?

When asked to leave one final piece of advice on how to get started, Kathleen urged visiting GivingTuesdaySpark.org, a global movement that inspires youth to take action around the causes they care about most, enabling today’s youth to create and foster positive change.

Speaker Contributions: Chinedu Echeruo

Chinedu Echeruo is a serial entrepreneur who founded HopStop.com in 2005 and recently co-founded the Love & Magic Company, an award winning “solution studio.” Chinedu believes that individuals are powered by imagination and that information can solve virtually any problem.
When sharing his “why” and what drives him, Chinedu said he has long been obsessed with wanting to solve humanity’s resource challenges; to create a world of abundance. As a child, he focused on Africa’s hunger issues, using his own personal savings to create a rabbit farm that he could use to feed the hungry. According to Chinedu, you need to have a clear understanding of who it is you want to help, and understand what it is they need, outside of your own perspective; this is the only way you will be able to truly help them.
When sharing his thoughts on where to begin and how to take action, Chinedu offered the following advice for today’s youth:

  • It starts with empathy. Empathy allows us to have a clear call to action. It is one thing to see an injustice, and it is another to ground that injustice in another human being’s experience.
  • We need to ground our action. We need to understand what the people we want to help truly need.
  • Don’t let the lack of resources hold you back. Knowledge is unlimited on the internet, and sites like YouTube can become indispensable resources for learning across many different and valuable disciplines.
  • “It takes a village. If you want to go fast go alone, If you want to go far, go together.”

Chinedu believes the ecosystems we create can serve as the practical and modern depiction of the village. In building these ecosystems, we need to organize ourselves to bring about the change we need. Chinedu refers to imagination as the set point, or anchor for our action. Imagination is a critical ingredient, and everyone has it. By truly imagining our possibilities, we can crystallize what we want to create, then take the actions necessary to bring it to life!
When asked to leave one last piece of advice for how to take action, he shared Startup School of Alchemy (startupschoolofalchemy.com) for valuable knowledge on how to move forward with new ideas, from inception to action.

Conclusion

Elizabeth Ngonzi closed the discussion, reiterating the importance of coming together, and growing the global youth giving ecosystem in order to catalyze the impact of young people in today’s world. The speakers for this session provided critical advice, with salient examples to show the impact that today’s youth can have through organizing their efforts and working together. It clearly takes a village, and that village is comprised of people from all regions and disciplines, as shown in this session, from entrepreneurs to the non-profit sector, and everything in between. Having a tribe, and leveraging the ecosystem, will help provide the resources to turn ideas into action!


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Youth Giving Summit Part 2 – Connection

On August 19th 2022, Candid and The International Social Impact Institute held Part 2 of The Inaugural Youth Giving Summit on World Humanitarian Day, bringing together two extremely inspirational fifteen year old entrepreneurs for a discussion on the power of community and connection. The event, inspired by the words of Nelson Mandela “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” highlighted these young individuals, and their ability to execute ideas that deliver powerful change. Hearing from these young leaders provided real examples of how the youth of today can also be the leaders of today, especially in the face of so many difficult and global challenges. These young leaders have clearly recognized that the opportunities to collaborate have never been greater.

The theme of this year’s World Humanitarian Day is “it takes a village” and the speakers for this event both embody that theme as they expertly leverage community and connection to accomplish great things. By building a virtual tribe, and leveraging a global youth giving ecosystem for support, resources, and common purpose, today’s youth can drive the change they want to see in the world.

Discussion Overview

Arif Ekran, Youth Giving Program Lead Manager at Candid, hosted the session, emphasizing Candid’s strong belief in the importance of empowering our youth. Elizabeth Ngonzi moderated the session, which included speakers Khloe Thompson, Founder of Giving Tuesday Spark and Khloe Cares, and Benjamin Wong, CEO of Kid CEO Media.

Speaker Contributions: Khloe Thompson

Khloe Thompson is a 15 year old international philanthropist, author, innovator, entrepreneur, and a clear example of the power of youth engagement. She is a trailblazer in many respects, who knew at 8 years old that she wanted to help people and inspire change. She founded Khloe Kares, a nonprofit organization that distributes “Kare Bags” filled with toiletries, hygiene products, and other necessities for the Los Angeles homeless community. Khloe learned to sew from her grandmother, a skill she eagerly put to use in creating Kare Bags for those in need.

Khloe has also written two books, one titled “The Girl Who Became The Change,” a children’s book based on her own life. She hopes that she can inspire other youth and girls to go after their dreams, and also to “Be The Change.” She works hard to help young people identify and cultivate their passions. Khloe has practical guidance for those who want to get involved, even if it’s difficult to know where to begin:

  • Find something you are passionate about, and use that passion to do good – this shouldn’t feel like work
  • Connect your passion with purpose…then go out and do it!
  • Build community and connection, both are critically important

Khloe continued to return to the importance of community throughout the discussion. When asked how she built her tribe to amplify her own impact, Khloe shared that it all began with Giving Tuesday. She recognized the lack of youth participation, and wanted to do something that would inspire kids to get involved. Khloe created Giving Tuesday Spark, a global initiative that provides a safe space for other proactive youth to come together and give back. With Giving Tuesday Spark, Khloe identified a need, and leveraged the power of community to bring her ideas to life.

Speaker Contributions: Benjamin Wong

Benjamin Wong is a 15 year-old entrepreneur and visionary, who connects with other inspirational youths through his four Podcasts, which aim to help other young entrepreneurs connect and grow as a community. He is the CEO of Kid CEO Media, and his podcasts draw a diverse range of guests, inspired by Benjamin’s insatiable curiosity.

Benjamin developed a strong interest and passion for finance, entrepreneurship, and business early in life, and never truly “fit in” with his elementary and middle school classmates. In 2021, Benjamin left traditional school and entered into home schooling, which allows him to further develop his passions, and focus time and energy on connecting with other like-minded young entrepreneurs.

Benjamin stresses that it is “never too early to make a difference in others’ lives, communities, and the world.” When asked how he got started, Benjamin explained his first venture, selling homemade avocados as a child, with two friends and his younger sister handling their advertising by hand-drawing signs. The venture taught Benjamin some valuable lessons, including how to go after something he wants.

Benjamin has applied a few consistent principles throughout his life, which he feels are responsible for driving him, and which he encourages others to consider:

  • Try to get over your fear. Benjamin acknowledged that it’s normal to feel afraid and to be fearful when trying new things, but do what you can to get over it.
  • Be curious.  Benjamin follows his curiosity through his podcasts, and he believes others should follow be curious through whatever avenues are most natural to them.
  • Start small. Benjamin suggests that helping just one person can be much less intimidating, and over time it can build to hundreds, thousands, or more!

Benjamin emphasizes the importance of “diversity of thought” in his youth community, which he describes as a “virtual clubhouse” for like-minded youth to connect, collaborate, and learn from each other, including on topics as wide-ranging as business, investing, games, bitcoin, blockchain, NFTs and much more.

Conclusion

Nelson Mandela once said that “what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Khloe and Benjamin have both been helping others throughout their childhood. Both of these inspirational young leaders recognize the power of community when it comes to driving change, inspiring groups of people to come together and get involved, and the significant impact community can have. The speakers collectively focused the discussion on actionable steps young people can take, how to leverage community in order to amplify the impact, and the power of connection.

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Youth Giving Summit Part 1 – Inspiration

On August 12th 2022, Candid and The International Social Impact Institute launched The Inaugural Youth Giving Summit on International Youth Day, bringing together three distinguished speakers from different parts of the world, for a discussion about inspiration with a focus on their unique stories. The Summit builds on the Youth Giving movement, launched by Candid five years ago. During the Summit, the speakers each shared insightful details about their individual paths, and what inspired them to be so committed to improving the lives of others, both in their communities and around the world.

Nelson Mandela once said “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” but today’s youth are proving to be the leaders of today, responding to many large and complicated global challenges. The International Social Impact Institute aims to inspire, connect, activate, and transform, by providing access to networks that will enable individuals and organizations to build an ecosystem of like-minded stakeholders and collaborate. Such an ecosystem serves as a platform to highlight youth giving, and create a sense of community focused on youth causes.

Discussion Overview

Anne Mei Chang, CEO of Candid, hosted the session, introducing Candid’s philanthropic Youth Initiative and it’s centerpiece, YouthGiving.org, now part of the The International Social Impact Institute. Elizabeth Ngonzi moderated the discussion, which highlighted speakers Professor Muhammad Yunus (2006 Nobel Peace Laureate, Founder, Grameen Bank), Dr. Siyabulela Mandela, PHD (Regional Project Manager East and Southern Africa, Journalists For Human Rights), and Mohaiminul Raqib (Founder, BIHDP/Member, 3ZERO Club). Each speaker discussed their own journey and personal inspiration, with insightful recommendations for how to engage and empower the youth of today.

Speaker Contributions: Professor Muhammad Yunus

Professor Muhammad Yunus is a civil society leader and truly inspirational figure, with awe-inspiring credentials like the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. He founded the Grameen Bank, and is considered by many to be the father of social business and micro-credit, ideas that continue to benefit millions of people around the world.

When asked about his biggest challenges and how he overcame them, Professor Yunus discussed the mindset of people, and how many people already have their minds made up. As an example, he recounted the difficulty he faced challenging the incumbent banking rules and systems in order to create microcredit. Professor Yunus is devoted to solving problems, and he believes that poverty is not created by the poor, it is created by the systems in place.

Professor Yunus described his vision for a world of 3 zeros. The 3 Zero Club is an aspirational goal for a world of zero net carbon emission, zero wealth concentration to end poverty, and zero unemployment, by unleashing entrepreneurship in all.

Professor Yunus believes the youth of today can have find inspiration to change the world by:

  • Finding someone you admire, understanding their story, how they grew up, and what keeps them going
  • Learning the struggles of others, and figuring out how their challenges coincide with your own

Professor Yunus ended the conversation with words of inspiration for today’s youth “Nothing is impossible for a human being. All we have to do is make up our mind. We have the power, let’s use the power.”

Speaker Contributions: Dr. Siyabulela Mandela, PHD

Dr. Siyabulea Mandela, great-grandson of the late Nelson Mandela, and Regional Project Manager for East and Southern Africa at Journalists for Human Rights, spoke of his life as a history and political science student, and what inspired him to fight against injustice. When asked where he draws his own inspiration from, he discussed being inspired by previous generations. Dr. Mandela pointed out that despite all the challenges of the previous generations, people still set out to confront the issues of their time and push for progress. He continues to be inspired by the collective power of previous generations, and their resilience in taking on injustice, coming together, and working together for change.

Dr. Mandela urges the youth of today to focus on:

  • Pushing back against injustice, e.g., oppression and racism. We have greater resources available to us than past generations had; more must be done
  • Challenging yourself; it’s important to be brave, and get out of one’s own comfort zone. How can we change the world if we do not step out of our comfort zone?

Speaker Contributions: Mr. Mohaiminual Raqib

Mr. Mohaiminual Raqib, founder of BIHDP and a member of the Zero 30 Club, shared his personal story and where he finds his inspiration. Mr. Raqib shared that he lost his father as a child, and he understands poverty, especially what it feels like to not have opportunity. He learned from his supportive mother, who encouraged him to always strive for better. He spoke of the importance of community, and the recognition that we are all interconnected. Mr. Raqib grew from sharing his own story with others who were also suffering. He is inspired often by the stories of marginalized people.

Mr. Raqib shared the following advice for young people today:

  • Learn from the experience of others. Sharing your personal story and connecting will allow for much greater understanding
  • Leverage community, and work together to solve larger problems
  • Ease the suffering; Work to understand the suffering of others, learn their life story, learn how similar things have caused suffering for past generations, and help. What are you doing to help those who are suffering right now?

Conclusion

Hearing from these speakers, and witnessing the profound impact that today’s youth can have on the world, proves the youth of today are in fact the leaders of today.

This high-impact session discussed how to catalyze the impact of young people globally, focusing on the power of inspiration with three prominent speakers: Professor Muhammad Yunus, Dr. Siyabulela, and Mohaiminul Raqib. Each speaker offered encouraging stories of personal inspiration, coupled with real, actionable advice for today’s youth to continue driving change. On a collective note, the speakers tell the youth of today to never stop believing in yourselves, to understand that developing is a process, and to “Just do it.” The speakers ended with the sentiment that as young people, it is possible to be the change we need. As Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.”

Click Here to Watch the Part 1 – INSPIRATION

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Balancing People, Planet and Profit Series: Integrating Generosity into Social Impact-Driven Brand Stories

Introduction

On June 28th, 2022 NY NOW hosted a webinar titled “Integrating Generosity into Social Impact-Driven Brand Stories,” the second of a three-part social impact series titled “Balancing People, Planet, and Profit.” The webinar was hosted and moderated by NY NOW’s Senior Producer Dondrill Glover, with special guest Elizabeth (Liz) Ngonzi, Founder and CEO of The International Social Impact Institute® (ISII). The discussion aimed to help participants integrate social impact into their brand’s mission statement, showcasing the ISII’s Impact Story Development Framework, with practical examples.

Webinar Overview

Building upon the first webinar in the series, the second session focused on helping participants identify which aspects of the social impact equation – people, profit and/or planet – they wanted to incorporate into their brand’s mission. Liz Ngonzi, shared case studies with organizations that have successfully developed purpose-driven mission statements and corresponding brand stories. In order to leverage the social impact equation, Liz Ngonzi emphasized the importance of having clear values that drive your brand’s story; this method enables companies to attract aligned stakeholders, including consumers, investors, and philanthropic partners.

The case studies presented in this webinar illustrated the impact of having a mission statement that broadly aligns with the organization’s work and core values. In these examples, the speakers highlighted the importance of being able to draw a direct line from the organization’s mission to individual behaviors, core values, and key partnerships, including with philanthropic partners. Three main elements were highlighted in the discussion as being critical for impact-driven mission statements:

    • Identifying the challenge
    • Offering solutions
    • Showing impact

These three components should be clear and recognizable when developing an impact-driven mission statement and brand story. Liz Ngonzi shared multiple real world examples of this template in practice, and the impact it can have on an organization’s success.

Conclusion

Liz Ngonzi concluded the discussion by highlighting how these principles can affect stakeholder engagement, most importantly in finding and attracting stakeholders with aligned core values. The template offered by ISII provides significant advantages, and the speakers highlighted simple and straightforward ways to get started building a social impact-driven mission statement and brand story.

Watch the recording of Part 2 HERE

Part 3 of the Balancing People, Planet, and Profit Series will be happening on December 14th, 2022 at 1pm EST!

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Africa Day 2022 Celebration Featuring Nelson Mandela University

On May 25th, 2022, We partnered with King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS), Nelson Mandela University, Candid, GivingTuesday and Myriad Alliance for Borderless Giving, to host an Africa Day celebration featuring the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa. The celebration was held as a virtual fireside chat moderated by our Founder, Elizabeth Ngonzi, during which Professor Muthwa shared about the university’s purpose and impact as the academic expression of Nelson Mandela, developing a global ecosystem to create a sustainable and socially just world.

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HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND STORY

People who work in service to others, including those who work for the particular benefit of under-represented and underserved communities, have typically given a great deal of thought to their own purpose in life and have sought to align their work with their understanding of that purpose. They are fortunate in that respect because, in my opinion, success in finding professional fulfillment is directly related to one’s ability to engage with questions such as “What is my purpose?” and “What are my values?” Conventional professional success, unaccompanied by consideration of those questions, can lead to a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction…

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Balancing People, Planet and Profit Series: Developing Social Impact Driven Brands

Introduction

On November 22nd 2021, NY NOW hosted a webinar titled “Developing Social Impact-Driven Brand Stories,” the first of a three-part social impact series titled “Balancing People, Planet, and Profit.” The webinar was hosted and moderated by NY NOW’s Senior Producer Dondrill Glover, with special guest Elizabeth (Liz) Ngonzi, Founder and CEO of The International Social Impact Institute® (ISII). The series is designed to help achieve balance across people, planet, and profit, with the first session focused on helping participants and organizations develop social-impact driven brands.

Webinar Overview

Liz Ngonzi highlighted the importance of an organization’s brand, noting that brand is the primary driver of purchasing decisions in the mind of consumers. According to a survey from PwC, Liz Ngonzi shared that 92% of consumers choose brands they trust, 85% of consumers actively seek out local producers and stores for their purchases, and 76% of consumers focus on environmentally and socially responsible brands. Liz Ngonzi went on to explain the importance of an organization’s ESG story for their consumers, with the following being most important according to the same PwC survey: socially and environmentally responsible retailers, labor practices of suppliers, environmental impact of production, environmental impact of delivery, and retailer’s diversity and inclusion practices.

Liz Ngonzi recommended a focus on long-term results, especially with respect to driving sustainable profits. She described how organizations can do this by investing in the communities where they operate, and by taking care of their employees. Liz Ngonzi also believes that organizations should understand their environmental impact, whether related to product, packaging, or process; having a balanced approach across these areas is critical.

Liz Ngonzi showcased six organizations that have successfully balanced people, planet and profit, with strong brands that reflect their commitment:

    • Little Words project
    • Edtex Ghana
    • Buzzee Food Wraps and Bags
    • State of Being
    • Conscious Step
    • ESW Beauty

These companies are in different industries and geographical locations, however each has been able to balance people, planet and profits in its own unique way.

Conclusion

Liz Ngonzi concluded the discussion by introducing GivingTuesday, and highlighting how organizations can leverage events like GivingTuesday to integrate their values into their brand. She described how organizations can do this immediately, including through matching donations for a particular cause, designing a “challenge” for customers and employees, donating a portion of sales, or simply closing for the day to encourage volunteering. Liz Ngonzi ended with a preview of the upcoming sessions in this series, integrating generosity into social impact-driven brand stories, and activating social-impact driven consumers online.

Watch the recording of Part 1 HERE

Part 3 of the Balancing People, Planet, and Profit Series will be happening on December 14th, 2022 at 1pm EST!

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