How to Spend $75 Billion – or Just $75 – to Make the World a Better Place

“For every dollar spent, how much good will be done in the world?” – Strategy followed by the globally respected Copenhagen Consensus Center

According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal the highly respected international think tank, Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC), offers a smart strategy to solve the world’s most difficult problems. Every four years it convenes a group of leading economists, including Nobel Laureates, to debate policies and rank them by their likely effectiveness. The basic criteria – for every dollar spent, how much good will be done in the world?

The group last met in 2012 and published a book with its recommendations called How To Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place.”

The WSJ article’s author, Matt Ridley, who is also a member of the British House Of Lords, posits that the United Nations and other global leaders would be wise to follow a similar cost-benefit analysis.

But really, we would all be wise – and probably happier – if we exercised a similar strategy for our own expenditures too.

What’s the best way to spend $75 and make the world a better place?

Delightfully, the answer to that question is usually something that feels good too. Shop local and you make your hometown better. Purchase from a naional retailer who gives back – like Tom’s Shoes or Starbucks – and you enjoy great taste and a good conscience. Attend a fundraiser, enjoy fun with friends while raising money for a good cause. Buy fresh organic food and improve not only your nutrition, but also the environment too.

It’s heartening to know that great minds are making good global recommendation. But it’s even better to know that your daily choices can make a significant difference too.

We’re proud of our new way to help you support local treasures – independent book stores.  Thanks to Make It Better’s new partnership with, you can now purchase ebooks through your favorite independent book store.  Please learn more and download the free app here:


The Win/Win/Win Possibilites of the Ouilmette Foundation’s 1st To Play! fundraiser & it’s 3 Es – Educate, Enhance and Enrich

“The Ouilmette Foundation for the Parks was revitalized this year with the mission to educate, enhance and enrich the parks and community life.” - Chairman Tom Nathan

Tom Nathan, Chairman of the Ouilmette Foundation for the Parks

It could be your privilege to support the Foundation and be the 1st to play on the Wilmette Park District’s newly renovated golf course if you sign up for the !st To Play! golf outing here:

It’s a privilege to live or work in the same town as strategic thinking, long sighted individuals like the supporters of the Ouilmette Foundation for the Parks, which will use private donations to accomplish greater public good without raising taxes. Learn more here:

And it’s a honor for Make It Better to be the media sponsor of it’s inaugural event.

Jesus + Tennis + Grammar = Love And A Well Lived Life – The Debby Jannotta Legacy

"Don’t keep track. Just do, do, do for others." – Debby Jannotta on the secret to her 60 year marriage to Ned.

Debby and Ned Jannotta in the February, 2012 Make It Better story "Love For Life"

Debby Jannotta‘s quote on how to enjoy a long, loving marriage also applied to the other areas of her well-lived life too. "Don’t keep track. Just do, do, do for others."

That is why 4 children, 14 grand-children, 100s of devoted friends and 1000s of beneficiaries of her prodigious philanthropic efforts mourn her death as we also celebrate how she made us better with her love and spirit.

Erudite word-smith Dr. Bill Evertsberg, senior minister of our beloved Kenilworth Union Church, added a unique, but spot-on perspective at Debby’s memorial service today.

Dr. William Evertsberg, Kenilworth Union Church

Debby = love of Jesus, tennis and grammar.

This produced a loving, other-centered, determined, competitive, beautifully spoken, well-mannered, beloved matriarch. Or, in other words, a quintessential Make It Better Woman.

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Women Are Blazing Trails And Throwing Ladders Down Just To Help

“Women owned and women led businesses all over the globe are taking off at quite a nice clip.  Women are blazing trails and throwing ladders down just to make it better for other women too.” – Susan Rounds, Senior Vice President, Senior Director of Planning, Business Advisory Services, Wells Fargo Bank

Women Business Leaders Awards at the North Shore Womens Business Conference

Now is the perfect time to be a woman!

10 Tips To Help You Become A Better Leader

A few weeks ago, General William H. McRaven gave the most engaging commencement speech ever – to the University of Texas. He offered 10 ways any person can make the world a better, based on navy seal training. His recommendations included:

1. Measure people by the size of their heart, not by the size of their flippers.
2. The little things in life matter, start each day by making your own bed.
3. When you are up to your neck in mud, start singing.

If you haven’t yet seen McRaven’s speech, I highly recommend it to you here.

Last week, I enjoyed the good fortune of hosting the Women Business Leadership Awards at the North Shore Women In Business Conference, which is sponsored by 21 Northeastern Illinois Chambers of Commerce.

Inspired by the General’s speech and by the winners and organizers of the Leadership Awards, I offered the following 10 ways anyone can make the world a better place and be a great business leader. The recommendations include the names of the women who inspired them too.


Be a lifelong learner and incorporate the best ideas you learn into your work with others.

- Joy Foster, Deerfield Bakery


Inspire others with what you say and what you do to become the example you sought when you where younger.
- Buffalo Grove Fire Department Battalion Commander & Inspirational Speaker Wendy Durkin


Always see the best in others, help them see it in themselves too.
- Deb Guy, Executive Director of the Women’s Exchange

Collaborate well and create win/win opportunities for outstanding businesses, nonprofits and their communities. These virtuous circles help everyone grow.
- Megan Holbrook, Advertising Sales Manager, Make It Better Media


Do great work, but prioritize family, empathize with others who do the same. The most empowering words of all can be “I struggle with that too.”
- Susan Rounders, Senior VP of Wells Fargo


Pay it forward. Count your blessings and share them widely.
- Susan B. Noyes, Make It Better


Consider the people you work with as your greatest assets, never as liabilities.
- Adriane Johnson, Founder of Populus XP








Entwine your family, business and community. Create opportunities for each to support the other.
- Megan Quinlish Van Treeck, Owner of Irish Connoiseur 

Feed them well and they will come. Love of good food, good times and feeling good by giving back are the great common denominators.
- Julie Chernoff & Mindy Fauntleroy


Never stop improving, even when your work is already great.
- DBR Chamber Director Vicki Street & Wilmette Chamber Director Nada Becker


Are you an arts advocate too? If so, please donate in honor of Dick and Suzy Kiphart to help.

Are you an arts advocate too?

“The arts matter because they have the power to shape our destiny, shape our future, shape our actions. The arts matter because they shape our world.” – Iman Khan, EMBARQ in the “I Am An Arts Advocate” video here:

We’re so fortunate on the North Shore!

The arts are everywhere – taught in schools and available extensively as extra-curricular activities, in community centers, as entertainment, as community schools like “School Of Rock.” If anything, we suffer a surfeit of opportunities. I regularly regret that I can’t see/do/support what is available to me each day.

But, unfortunately, the North Shore is not the norm.

Thankfully, organizations like Arts Alliance Illinois and philanthropists like Dick and Suzy Kiphart are committed to growing opportunities to participate in the arts for everyone.

Dick & Suzy Kiphart receiving the Citizen Advocate Award at the annual Arts Alliance Illinois luncheon “Voices Of A Creative State.”

The Kipharts are as passionate about providing all children with the opportunity to explore the arts now as they were about guiding and loving all children when Suzy was the beloved Christian Education Director at Kenilworth Union Church.

As you know, I’m passionate about making it as easy as possible for you to support outstanding nonprofits. I feel as strongly about this now as I felt about developing great values in my children when Suzy was their Christian Education Director. (And I thank God that she and Dick influenced their development.)

If you are an arts advocate too, please consider donating to Arts Alliance Illinois through the link below, as your donation will be matched by the Sun Times Foundation and Chicago Community Trust.

Thank you!

Temple’s 13 Tenets For Raising Successful Geeks, Nerds, Socially Awkward And Other Children

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., Inventor, Professor, Best Selling Author and Rock Star Champion Of Best Parenting and Educating Practices

"Geeks, nerds, socially awkward and autism spectrum really are all the same thing—and Silicon Valley is full of them,” declared Temple Grandin, Ph.D., during a recent interview and her speech to 1000s In Northwestern’s Welch Ryan Arena.

She should know, Grandin is one of them – diagnosed with autism at age 2, but now a super successful inventor, professor and best selling author. Her mom’s determined support was a key ingredient to her success too. Mother & daughter both spoke at Welch Ryan Arena.

Their advice is spot on for raising and educating all children. Please see Temple’s 13 Tenets For Raising Successful Geeks, Nerds, Socially Awkward, Autism Spectrum and Other Children here:

Because A Day Without Music Is A Wasted Day


“A day without making, playing, writing or thinking about music, it’s a wasted day.” -Andre Previn

Alexandra and John Nichols feel similarly to Andre Previn. So they donate their time, talents and treasure generously to create music opportunities for others.  Alexandra’s leadership considerably broadened the reach of the Music Institute of Chicago. The full interview with Andre Previn is on the Make It Better website.

This is one of the reasons that the Nichols received the Cultural Visionary Award on Monday at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Anniversary Gala, where Previn was also recognized. But the Lyric, CSO, Art Institute, CPS programs and more have benefited from their commitment to the arts. The Nichols are Civic Treasures indeed!