The world’s problems—poverty, disease, climate change, pollution, and ignorance, to name a few—can seem overwhelming, but there is a growing group of talented innovators who are working hard to come up with solutions. Many have left behind lucrative careers to focus on their passions. They don’t always make it into the spotlight but we believe in highlighting them and telling their story.
They are referred to by different names— social entrepreneurs, social innovators, changemakers, and heroes—but they are all focused on using their skills and good ideas to create a positive impact and disrupt the status quo.
Daniela Silva / Rodada Hacker
Daniela: “The technology world is dominated by men. Through our organization in Brazil we empower woman of all ages to learn programming…we also instill values like leadership, independence and collaboration. We want the female gender to have a greater say in the industry’s future.”
David Lubell / Welcoming America
Welcoming America is a national, grassroots-driven collaborative that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans.
David: “Many communities in the United States see immigration as a threat rather than an opportunity. Our organization works across the country to empower local leaders from all sectors to welcome immigrants and make them productive members of society."
Eduardo Cauduro Mallmann / Green Social Bioethanol
Green Social Bioethanol helps the world’s poorest rural communities to escape energy poverty and its complex outcomes by providing them with an innovative bioethanol micro-distillery.
Eduardo: “More than 1.3 billion people in the world have no access to electricity. This triggers a series of environmental and socioeconomic effects, which widen social inequalities. Social Bioethanol is a viable solution to bring energy to the poorest and most remote communities on the planet.”
Ernesto Canales Santos / Institución Renace
Institución Renace defends unjustly prosecuted low-income people in Mexico who cannot defend themselves or pay an adequate defense. By identifying cases unjustly accused and detained in state prisons, they help innocent people avoid institutionalization and unfair penalties.
Ernesto: "Only 15% of crime victims in Mexico report them to authorities, therefore 85% of crimes go unpunished. Our project aims to transform the Mexican criminal justice system to be transparent and efficient."
Flor Cassassuce / Grupo EOZ
Grupo EOZ is a non-profit organization that develops, manufactures and distributes water purifiers to rural communities in Mexico.
Flor: "62% of the water consumed by rural communities in Mexico is contaminated with fecal matter, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Our project seeks to bring clean water to 1.7 million families by providing special filters and health education campaigns."
Gabriela Enrigue / Prospera
PROSPERA’s mission is to provide solutions to micro entrepreneurs in vulnerable situations in Mexico; especially female-headed households.
Gabriela: “Through our empowerment program for microenterprises led by women we propose a solution to social problems such as inequality, poverty and unemployment that directly affect our society".
Guadalupe Ortiz / Canasta de Semillas
Canasta de Semillas’ mission is to establish seed banks in rural communities to meet the challenges of climate change in agriculture, and promote the formation of organic seed producers and their entries into the organic market.
Guadalupe: "In the twentieth century we lost over 75% of the varieties of food crops in the world. Our seed banks recover and promote local seed exchange with other communities to conserve biodiversity and ensure food security of the planet."
Jurgen Griesbeck / Streetfootballworld
Streetfootballworld unites close to 100 organizations throughout the world that use football as a tool to empower young people, and to address such issues as HIV/AIDS prevention, social integration and peace building.
Jurgen: "Football is a global language that generates passion, integration and empowerment. We support organizations in 64 countries to use sport as a tool for social change and address pressing issues such as HIV/AIDS, education, peace building, gender equality and employment."
Rafael Álvarez / Genesys Works
Genesys Works changes the life trajectory of underprivileged high school students in the US by facilitating meaningful internships for them at major corporations during their senior years in high school.
Rafael: "Young people who grow up in poverty have the mindset that they can only excel in low-income jobs. We approach them starting in high school to train them and then hire them as employees to provide computing and accounting services to large companies in the United States."
Sascha Meinrath / Open Technology Institute
The Open Technology Institute’s Commotion Wireless Project facilitates free, universal, safe communications for everyone on the planet—using mobile phones, Wi-Fi-enabled computers, and other Wi-Fi-capable personal devices to create peer-to-peer wireless communications networks.
Sascha: "The cost of telecommunications is beyond the economic reach of billions of people worldwide. Our organization researches and develops technology to provide inexpensive telecommunication services and shapes political reforms to support open-source innovation. "