I had coffee last week with Caroline Bernadi, one of the co-founders of an interesting site called Freepledge.com. Here's how it works. Online shoppers click on a nonprofit registered with Freepledge that they want to support, they shop at their fav online store (i.e. Amazon, eBay, Orbitz), Freepledge gets a referral fee from the online store (i.e. Amazon's referral fee is 4% of the sale), Freepledge gives the nonprofit the referral fee. Pretty cool, huh?
Freepledge is a finalist in the Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Here are some of the winners from last year's competition and their descriptions of their projects.
1st place: Coal Cleaners
CoalCleaners is developing a process to remove sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury pollutants from coal-fired power plant exhaust by turning these pollutant liabilities into marketable by-products of hydrogen, sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Our technology sets the precedent for "greening" coal, and accelerates a more efficient and environmentally responsible coal future. Our technology makes coal plants the front line of hydrogen production for the evolving hydrogen economy.
2nd place: UV AquaStar
Worldwide, 1.6 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Our for-profit social venture will bring breakthrough low-cost water purification technology to the developing world, starting in India. We plan to introduce the UV AquaStar--the world's lowest cost UV water filterto the 30 million lower middle-class Indian households in urban slums and village.
3rd place: FluencyLab, Inc
FluencyLab, Inc is a social venture that has the potential to become the world's leading provider of stuttering treatment solutions. FluencyLab's proprietary technologies allow clinicians to effectively treat and evaluate stuttering. Our principle product is a computer-based system that uses biofeedback principles to train patients who stutter to achieve speech fluency. There is no commercial product on the market or treatment report in stuttering literature that has comparable results.It's too bad that ABC's American Inventor isn't America's Social Entrepreneur. Interestingly though, one of the finalists (yes, I did watch the last two episodes) was a man named Mark Martinez who invented a one-man, one-scoop sandbag shovel to be used in disaster relief and the winner was Erik Thompson, who designed a "Receiver's Training Pole" that he uses to train young football players in low income neighborhoods to improve their skills and get athletic scholarships to college.