Achieving Global Good

It’s hard not to get inspired when talking with Carrie Rich, co-founder and CEO of the Global Good Fund (GGF). GGF is a leadership development enterprise built by and for social entrepreneurs taken into the program as Fellows. Some of this year’s Fellows are working on green jobs for poor girls and women in Nepal, low-cost animal feed derived from agricultural waste in Nigeria, and closing the achievement gap in the United States’ education system. One World Education’s Founder and Executive Director Eric Goldstein is a 2014 Fellow.

GGF helps young social entrepreneurs learn and develop their leadership abilities so they can solve complex social problems more quickly and effectively, thus achieving global good.

When Rich was 25 years old she worked for Inova Health System. As she says, “I was blessed and lucky to have a boss who mentored me and helped me grow.” Rich made the connection that because she was mentored, she was able to in turn contribute to growing the organization she worked for and ultimately fulfill its commitment to benefit the health of the community. “I saw that my work was a part of social well being."

“So I had a conversation with my boss (Knox Singleton) saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we could support young people who are working for social change around the world, people who might not otherwise have access to world class mentorship or resources. At the time he said, ‘Yes, great idea, now get back to work.’ Then my 26th birthday came around he gave me a card with a $100 check in it saying, ‘This is the money I would have spent taking you and your co-workers to lunch. Use this for your idea.’”

Rich wrote to six different organizations and explained her idea of growing this seed money into $1,000 for each organization to help the community. “I believe that small amounts of targeted funding can make a huge difference.” So she expanded from those first six companies by emailing hundreds of people from her personal contacts. Over the next two weeks that followed, she raised over $6,000.

“Then I got an email from someone I’d met at a conference a year back. The note said, ‘I’d like to stay anonymous. I’d like to give $1 million. Where do I send the check?’ I thought it was a joke, but we met and I was handed a cashier’s check for $1 million. I probably didn’t plan as much as I should have because I really wasn’t sure the donation was real. All I could think to do was go back to my boss and say I needed help. He said he’d help under two conditions: 1) At work I report to him. At GGF he reports to me. 2) He said he’d match the gift. So two people, a vision, and $2 million became The Global Good Fund.”

Rich developed what was percolating and GGF became a reality, helping people learn and grow their skills so they, in turn, can affect change and create global good through entrepreneurship.  

For Rich, it all ties back to improving the health of the world.  “Research shows education is the one of the highest determinants of health and well being. People are more likely to be healthy when they are educated. You can’t do a lot with your life without your health.”

When a person can connect learning to improving their own life and what they are passionate about, big change can happen. As an undergraduate Rich says her education prepared her “to think and develop skills that were transferable and adaptable across populations and settings. Millennials change jobs every few years, so we need to be adaptable. I chose to study and learn in a way that involved practical application in the community. Experiential learning is a powerful way to learn about social impact."

“At GGF we are heavy on experiential learning. We believe most learning happens on the front lines when people are working in their respective organizations. We want people to learn from others in a way that is individualized and tailored to their needs.”

The Global Good Fund has connected with the students in our One World Writing Program. GGF staff member Lily Berkle was a judge at One World’s College and Career Writing Fair, where she watched D.C. public school seniors present their four-minute arguments for social change. In April, four of One World’s students were invited to GGF’s Summit Dinner where they talked with people from around the planet who are making a difference−working to change our world for the better through entrepreneurship.

The students left that dinner invigorated by witnessing people from around the world who are actively living out their passions for social good.

One student said the event “truly inspired me to look at the world from a different perspective. And from this, I hope to one day have the ability to empower another (person) who may be less fortunate than I, to strive for success.” Another excellent example of Carrie Rich and The Global Good Fund walking the talk for the greater good.

 

 

 

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