Today’s Solutions: June 18, 2024

While economic upheaval has caused many businesses to fail, Ode has interviewed several entrepreneurs who have found ways to thrive and remain focused on positive social change. We interviewed them about their companies, how they view the current economic situation, how they define success, and how they came to combine their business skills with their passion for change.

Ode Editors | March 2009 issue

Photo: FarmsReach

Melanie Cheng, founder of FarmsReach

Melanie Cheng has years of experience in the nonprofit sector, most recently launching FarmsReach. FarmsReach helps connect local farmers to organizations that want to buy local produce, reducing carbon footprint and costs to farmers by reducing transportation distance and middlemen. Alistair Croll also contributed to this interview.
Click here to read Ode’s interview with Melanie Cheng

Photo: Better the World

Steve Croth and Mark Bachman, Better the World

Steve Croth and Mark Bachman have recently launched Better the World, a social enterprise that allows internet users to raise funds for nonprofits—even if they don’t have extra money. It’s a creative way to fundraise during a period of economic hardship.
Click here to read Ode’s interview with Steve Croth and Mark Bachman

Photo: The Carrot Project

Jake de Grazia, founder of The Carrot Project

After microfinance work in China, Jake de Grazia started The Carrot Project, a brand comparison tool that focuses on social and environmental responsibility. He hopes this tool will help people consume responsibly and tap into their world-changing potential.
Click here to read Ode’s interview with Jake de Grazia

Photo: FORGE

Kjerstin Erickson, founder of FORGE

After volunteering at a refugee camp in Botswana and seeing the inefficient and inhumane treatment of refugees, Kjerstin Erickson founded FORGE. FORGE turns the negative experience of refugees into a positive opportunity to develop skills that will rebuild their communities after they return.
Click here to read Ode’s interview with Kjerstin Erickson

Photo: Kaiser Permanente

Preston Maring, founder of Kaiser Permanente Farmers’ Markets

Preston Maring has been a doctor at Kaiser Permanente for 38 years and founded its first farmers’ market. These farmers’ markets both support local farmers and encourage a fresher, healthier diet with more fruits and vegetables.
Click here to read Ode’s interview with Preston Maring

Photo: Epic Change

Stacey Monk, founder of Epic Change

Founder of Epic Change, Stacey Monk assists local organizations in creating positive change and sharing their stories. Epic Change makes loans to these organizations and helps them repay the loans by finding innovative ways to tell their stories and generate income.
Click here to read Ode’s interview with Stacey Monk

Photo: Global Grassroots

Gretchen Steidle Wallace, founder of Global Grassroots

As founder and president of Global Grassroots, Gretchen Wallace empowers women to begin personal transformations and social change. By providing training in self-awareness and social enterprise skills, Global Grassroots helps women develop and launch their own viable programs for a positive social impact.
Click here to read Ode’s interview with Gretchen Wallace

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