Cause & Purpose is the show about the leaders, innovators, and change-agents dedicating their lives to making this world a better place. In each episode, we'll feature a different leader, social entrepreneur, founder, or executive who has spent their careers pursuing positive social impact - either at nonprofit organizations or social enterprises. Enjoy!
Comfort Cases: Transforming the Foster Care System with Rob Scheer
In this episode, we are joined by Rob Scheer, founder and CEO of Comfort Cases, an organization that supports kids in the foster care system. Rob, who grew up in foster care himself, shares his personal story and sheds light on how the foster care system functions. He emphasizes that empathy is not innate but taught, and discusses the need for dignity and basic necessities for kids in the system. Rob challenges the notion that the system is broken and instead highlights the importance of understanding and supporting children in foster care. Tune in to hear more about Rob's inspiring journey and the work of Comfort Cases.
"If we're going to pay for these children's tuition, we need to pay for all the wraparound services to make them healthy humans of our society, because that's what we want."
[00:01:36] The shattered foster care system.
[00:04:30] Homelessness and resilience.
[00:07:44] Creating a supportive foster system.
[00:12:11] Rebuilding the foster care system.
[00:15:28] Investing in our future.
[00:19:47] Foster care and dental hygiene.
[00:22:39] Dignity for children in transition.
[00:28:20] People experiencing homelessness.
[00:32:19] Foster systems around the world.
[00:33:37] Obscure but badly needed niche.
Pathways Out of Poverty: Empowering Rural India with Karya.in
In this episode, the founders of startup Karya.In discuss their mission to create pathways out of poverty for people in low-income communities. Drawing from their personal experiences growing up in India, they share the challenges they faced and the emotional drive behind their entrepreneurial journey. The conversation explores the intersection of entrepreneurship and impact, emphasizing the importance of the smartphone application that connects rural Indian workers to tech companies, allowing them to earn income. The conversation also touches on the challenges and solutions in India's nonprofit sector, the importance of measuring impact and worker satisfaction, and the economic value of Indian languages.
“I think both the desire to create a nonprofit and the desire to tackle poverty comes from my childhood. For me personally, it's such an intense desire that I feel like . . . working on anything else always felt like a waste of time because it was almost existential.”
(00:07:47) Growing up in poverty
(00:15:09) Entrepreneurial Journey and Impact
(00:22:28) The Impact of Travel
(00:29:55) Karya: Empowering Rural Indians
(00:36:37) Challenges and Solutions in India's Nonprofit Sector
(00:43:18) Working with Gates Foundation and Microsoft
(00:50:36) Measuring Impact and Worker Satisfaction
(00:56:59) Amplifying Existing Human Forces
(01:03:33) The Economic Value of Indian Languages
(01:11:20) The Importance of Compassion
Reshaping Nonprofit Giving: Technology, Collaboration, and Impact with Woodrow Rosenbaum
In this episode, Woodrow Rosenbaum, the Chief Data Officer at GivingTuesday, discusses the challenges and opportunities in nonprofit giving. He emphasizes the importance of funders understanding the impact of the organizations they support and the need for nonprofits to set themselves up for long-term success. The conversation touches on the role of technology, specifically artificial intelligence, and the importance of collaboration with other stakeholders. Woodrow highlights the increase in giving in 2020 due to COVID-related needs and racial justice movements, but also notes the risk of over-reliance on large donors.
“We're about relationships over technology, so we're in many ways a tech company; but we build the technology on the relationships.”
(00:06:32) Engaging More Donors
(00:12:57) Unlocking Donor-Advised Funds
(00:19:02) The Importance of Donor Engagement
(00:25:15) Understanding Generosity
(00:32:00) The Importance of Collaboration and Effectiveness Measures in Philanthropy
(00:38:36) Data interoperability and AI in the social sector
(00:45:21) Blind spots in the social sector
Nature, Privilege, and Environmental Conservation with Clara Rowe
In this episode, Clara Rowe, CEO of Restor, delves into the intersection of nature and social impact. She shares her personal experiences in sustainable development and conservation, emphasizing the need to address privilege and the legacy of colonialism in natural resource management. The unequal contributions to climate change and the importance of transforming how we value nature are explored, alongside the role of philanthropy and non-monetary relationships. The challenges of navigating palm oil supply chains, reforestation efforts, and the work of Restor are also discussed.
“I think it has to be a combination of, ‘are the right people using it to do the right thing, which is to get us toward that longer impact?’ and, ‘do we have clear cases of how this is making shifts not only for individuals, but for larger systems in social impact work?’”
00:06:20) Challenges in Climate Change Response
(00:13:14) Navigating Palm Oil Supply Chains
(00:19:26) Lessons from Conflict Areas
(00:25:42) The Power of Reforestation
(00:32:09) Tracking Impact and Building a Global Reforestation Community
(00:39:08) Measuring Impact and Building a Story
(00:45:38) The Future of Restor
(00:52:01) Ways to be part of the restoration movement
Ministry for the Future book
Unleashing Nonprofit Growth: Strategies and Success During Challenging Times with Matt Scott
In this episode, Matt Scott returns to the podcast for a second time and discusses the importance of having a growth strategy and hiring the right people to execute it in the nonprofit sector. He emphasizes the opportunity to stand out during challenging times, such as the pandemic, by focusing on growth and hiring. The conversation delves into the changes CauseMic has undergone and the challenges they faced during the pandemic. Matt also touches on building brand awareness for small nonprofits, managing organizational growth, and the significance of culture and communication in driving success, as he outlines in his new book, The High Growth Nonprofit.
“I think that it's actually a moment of opportunity when everyone else is running for the hills. It's a great opportunity to say, hey, here's our growth plan. This is where we're focused on hiring.”
(00:06:31) The Challenges of Building Brand Awareness for Small Nonprofits
(00:13:13) Rewarding Employees in the Social Sector
(00:19:37) Nonprofit Culture and Incentivizing Employees
(00:25:44) Culture and Growth
(00:31:32) Instilling a Sense of Urgency and Growth Mentality
(00:37:24) Importance of Communication and Growth in Change Management
(00:43:44) Leveraging Systems and Frameworks
(00:49:49) Proud Success Stories
(00:55:58) Fast Forward Program
The High Growth Non-Profit book
From Personal Perspective to Social Impact: Launching Altruous with Eric Barela
In this episode, Mike Spear and Eric Barela discuss the launch of their new project, Altruous, and share pieces of their personal backstories of how they got into this work. They highlight the significance of Altruous in addressing social challenges and amplifying unheard voices. The conversation explores the intersection of social justice and personal background, emphasizing the need to recognize and value diverse perspectives. They discuss expected value calculations, the debate between quantitative and qualitative evaluation, the role of human evaluators in an AI-driven world, and the importance of comprehensive evaluation methods.
“If we're going to pat ourselves on the back for doing good things, then we should actually be doing good things.”
(00:07:55) The Intersection of Social Justice and Personal Background
(00:15:06) High EV Calculation
(00:21:48) Quantitative vs Qualitative Evaluation
(00:29:11) The Importance of Qualitative and Quantitative Data
(00:38:01) The Role of Human Evaluators in an AI-Driven World
(00:45:47) Shared Passion for Impact Measurement
(00:53:32) Burning Man's Impact and Integrity
(01:00:25) Measuring Impact and Avoiding Harm
(01:07:30) Marks of Success for Altruist
(01:14:48) Democratizing Monitoring and Evaluation
Inspiring and informative
Highly recommend! Thanks for the intention and motivating content with C&P.
Informative and insightful
Thoughtful, and thought-provoking, conversations with leaders who are making social change. Mike and team do a great job. Look forward to more.
A thoughtful and important podcast for our times
The leaders on this podcast have important things to share. Mike Spear is a great host and interviewer. I’m impressed!