Collaborate To Succeed In Business (And Life)

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford

Collaboration leads to innovation.

Innovation leads to finding a better way – to accomplish a task, build a car, sell a product, run a Chamber of Commerce.

Terry and Ann

Terry and Ann

Fortunately the Winnetka Northfield and Wilmette Kenilworth Chambers Of Commerce are led by women who are collaborators and innovators: Terry Dason, Ann Smith, Nada Becker and Joan Fishman. And fortunately for Make It Better, they invited me to present “How To Earn More Money As A Local Business In The Digital Era” to their Women In Business luncheon last Friday. It was an inspiring group and an inspiring day.

Thank you Terry, Ann, Nada and Joan. Your work makes our beloved hometowns much better!

Dream More, Learn More, Care More, And Be More

Dolly Parton’s motto is “dream more, learn more, care more, and be more,” as cited in the Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

When you dream more, learn more, care more, what do you wish to be in your future?

Success is built by implementing that wish with heart and hard work. Just like Dolly did.

I dream about creating a better world where everyone gets to nurture their passions, talents, and dreams. Imagine how beautiful that society will be! I believe this can be achieved, too–by collaboration, innovation and determination.

Please let me know if we can innovate and work hard towards that better world together.

Measuring Lives Made Better

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates recommends that we solve world problems by measuring them.

That’s a good start. But we encourage him to catch up to Make It Better Media. We measure Lives Made Better by our work too. That’s authentic venture philanthropy or innovative business help. Make It Better is very proud of these numbers as of today:

Lives Made Better: 82,582
Money Raised For Not-For-Profits: $1,811,122

Would love to help you too!

The Make It Better 2012 Philanthropy Awards

Yesterday was AMAZING! Seven MIBs (Make It Better staff), one photographer, one volunteer driver and a four-person TV crew caravaned across Chicago and through the North Shore delivering eight Philanthropy Awards in celebration of National Philanthropy Day.

The reactions from the Award recipients made our year – particularly when they learned that their prize included a professional video intended to bring their worthy missions to life and generate more support.

Seeing these great organizations in action proved that our award process worked too. Each one of these nonprofits is a model of success to promote online, in print and in person.

Below you can meet the deserving winners and organizations in the order we visited them:

Mark Mulroe of A Safe Haven Foundation

Our first stop was A Safe Haven Foundation. Founder Mark Mulroe accepted the local Inspiring Mission Award on its behalf (tied with Girls in the Game). Because I am such of fan of their model – keeping families together in safe housing to deliver all the recovery, job training and other services under one loving roof – which has far better impact for cost than the usual programs, I was particularly delighted to start the day delivering this well deserved award. I was sorry to miss Mark’s beautiful and charismatic wife, CoFounder Nellie Vawquez Mulroe, though.

The ladies of Girls in the Game, along with myself and MIBS

The other local Most Inspiring Mission award went to Girls in the Game, whose mission is to promote sports and fitness opportunities – and the general well-being – of girls. What a lovely, inspiring group of ladies!

Spark Executive Director Sarah Mayeda accepting the award for Spark

Our third stop was Spark, the winner of the national Most Inspiring Mission award. They help youth in under-served community schools by offering them amazing apprenticeship opportunities through mentorships with professionals in careers that might “spark” their interests.

The amazing team at the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, along with myself and MIBS

The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund was our fourth stop and the winner of the local Educational Innovation Award. Their work lies in “igniting potential, enriching lives” by providing scholarships to parochial and independent high schools for high school students with great academic potential. They draw on the Evans Scholars model too. What a noble cause. We met 4 Daniel Murphy scholar alums at the office and included in the photo above. What an impressive group!

Ladies from the By the Hand Club and myself

Our fifth stop was at the By the Hand Club to present the Lives Made Better award. Started in 2001 with only 16 student in Cabrini Green, this organization takes at risk kids “by the hand” figuratively and literally to keep them safe, supported and on track for success and stays with them into and beyond college. Almost 900 students are served this year; their ultimate goal is to help 5000 a year. The Founder gave up a big career as the President of an advertising agency to start By The Hand; she still works full-time and receives no pay. She said that the roots she has grown with all the kids that By The Hand supports are invaluable.

A smiling Seth Weinberger from Innovations for Learning, myself on his right, some of his team, and MIBS

Innovations for Learning was our sixth stop as the winner of the national Educational Innovation Award. Executive Director and Founder Seth Weinberger accepted the award on his nonprofit’s behalf.

The Project Music team, myself on the left, and MIBS

Family-run nonprofit Project Music was our seventh stop and winner of the Fundraising Innovation award. The Michelson family in Glencoe felt moved to do more to help the orphans at Lydia Children’s Home than just volunteer. They grew an annual fundraising concert that sends those orphans to summer camp for 2 weeks each year and underwrite the entire expense of the event. Guest at the concert know that 100% of their donation helped send a kid to camp.

Representatives from the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) and myself in front of the camera

Last but not least, our eighth stop was at the Great Lakes Adaptive Sport Association (GLASA), winner of the Most Improved Fundraising award. They support those with physical impairments by providing inclusive fitness, recreational, and sports-related activities. Their goal: 100% participation – no one unable to compete. We particularly loved hearing GLASA credit their event partnerships with Make It Better for helping them achieve such spectacular growth – proof that the Make It Better goal of creating win/win/win scenarios for our audience and the nonprofits and businesses they support works!

Please plan to join us at the celebration of these winners coming early in 2013.