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The Rockefeller Foundation

If you invest $30,000 in three specific stocks, you could triple your money in 10 years.

At least that’s what acclaimed financial analyst Malcolm Berko wrote in his advice column last year.

The stocks you’d have to invest in, he said, are Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin — three defense companies. In other words, what he’s saying is: You could triple your money in 10 years, but you’d be capitalizing on the U.S. revving up its defense spending.


But here’s the thing: Some investors, especially millennials, aren’t concerned with only the returns.

Image via iStock.

As a generation, millennials want to put their money into stocks that are good for the world.

They’ve seen firsthand how much can change in 25 years. They’ve seen technology move at warp speed, lived through major policy shifts, and watched the world’s population grow. They know they can effect change in the next 25 years — and they know we need change.

Millennials are also more apt to distrust financial institutions. As a generation, they had to enter the workforce amid record high unemployment rates, stagnant wages, and larger student debt bills than any previous generation. That’s why many millennials want to take financial matters into their own hands.

In the next several decades, an estimated $30 trillion will be passed down from baby boomers to younger generations. That means $30 trillion of the world’s assets could be reallocated into humanitarian endeavors.

In addition, by 2020, millennials will comprise 46% of the workforce, and as they become the primary earners, they will have an even greater effect on investing in this country.  

Image via iStock.

In fact, they may well be the first generation that considers making the world a better place along with investment returns.

And it makes sense if you think about it: This is the generation that was promised a return on investment on their college tuition and instead got stuck with a massive bill and waning job prospects. The world they grew up in taught them to put less stock into promised returns and care more about tangible value.

But there is a smart way for millennials to invest in making the world a better place. It’s called impact investing.

Impact investing essentially means putting money into causes that effect social change, explains Adam Connaker, an associate at The Rockefeller Foundation, a foundation that is working to solve the world’s biggest and most entrenched challenges through innovative finance mechanisms.

“You have a right as an investor, no matter your size, to ask what impact your investments are having in the world,” says Connaker.

If the projects do well, the investors see good returns on their investments. It proves altruism and making money on your investments are not mutually exclusive.

Eric Letsinger, founder and CEO of Quantified Ventures, says we are witnessing the largest transfer of wealth in our country’s history, while simultaneously seeing government funding for health, social, and environmental programs dry up. As a result, impact investing will likely get a huge boost from millennial investors thanks to inherited and newly accumulated wealth.

Many of these impact investing projects allow members of a community to invest in public works that will improve their own neighborhoods. For example, Jason Anderson, president and CEO of Neighborly Securities, worked on a deal in Burlington, Vermont, that encouraged residents to invest in public projects like building sidewalks, rehabilitating bike paths, and improving waterfront access to Lake Champlain.

Photo via Garrett Brinker/Neighborly.

“We've talked to resident investors up in Burlington who told us that the main reason they invested in the issuance was because they commute to and from work on that bike path every day,” says Anderson. “Because of their investment in the city, they can have a direct impact on that rehabilitation project.”

Putting money into city-centric or environmental initiatives allows investors to directly affect the future of our communities.

Image via iStock.

Letsinger says that in 2016, they worked on an environmental impact bond with DC Water. The project financed green infrastructure as an alternative to building large concrete tunnels for Washington, D.C.’s water utility.

“If the project succeeds, it presents a win-win to both the investors and DC Water: The investors earn a higher return than they would have on a standard municipal bond from DC Water, and DC Water has then proven that green infrastructure is highly cost-effective,” explains Letsinger.

In addition to the high returns for investors, the DC Water investment helped create green jobs and improve neighborhoods, and the success of this project will have future implications when it comes to making cities more environmentally friendly.

Because many millennials are a generation that would rather see green infrastructure go up in their neighborhood than watch their bank balance go up on a computer screen, they’re the first generation that could make impact investing the norm.

If the millennial generation commits to investing in causes, it could change how we see money.

Image via iStock.

In fact, Letsinger says that most of the impact investors his company works with are millennials. Working with clients who are motivated not just by making money but by improving the world for future generations allows impact investing firms to target niche causes in various communities around the world.

He also says 2017 was a particularly good year for impact investing, which bodes well at such an early stage. He means that the returns on investment were good — but also that they saw more interest among people looking to make a difference.

With impact investing, “values and returns can coexist, allowing investors to fight climate change, produce more affordable housing, and develop clean energy,” says Anderson.

If this trend continues, 20 years from now, financial advisers might be primarily offering environmental causes to invest in, rather than defense stocks.

Putting some savings into investments is something most people either already do or are going to do in the coming years. That doesn’t need to change — what can change is where we put that money.

We can no longer rely on our government to fund the social and environmental efforts needed to improve our society and planet as a whole. This financial shift to impact investing will allow us to pool our money with other people who also want to create positive change. As a result, it can happen on a larger scale than we ever thought possible. Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll likely find you can do well for yourself while simultaneously doing good in the world.

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot — or will not.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

This article originally appeared on August 27, 2015


Oh, society! We have such a complicated relationship with relationships.

It starts early, with the movies we are plopped in front of as toddlers.

GIF from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

And continues through adolescence, still through entertainment.

"I'd rather die than stay away from you."

GIF from "Twilight."

And then guess what happens? We're peddled some more of what we're supposedly meant to be aiming for when we're adults.

"I was the one girl he chose from 20 other girls to be with. Now I know I'm special!" — me, mocking probably very sweet people.

GIF from "The Bachelor."

There are so many examples of this, it's difficult to narrow them down. Not to mention all the social cues coming in all stealth-bomber-like to beat one's psyche into submission. Like when single people go to weddings, their family members casually ask them, "When will YOU settle down?" And when a friend goes through a breakup, it's almost instinctive to reassure them that there's someone out there for them.

But what if not everyone is supposed to pair off? What if some people are — wait for it — happier when they're single?

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

@elenisabracos on TikTok

Look, it’s a sad situation for anyone to hear that Adele will not be gracing the stage any time soon. The beloved singer woefully announced on Instagram last Friday (Jan 21) that her planned residency in Las Vegas “wasn’t ready” due to coronavirus. Half of her crew had been infected, making it “impossible to finish the show.”

But for one fan in particular, who has tried—and failed miserably—to catch Adele live on three separate occasions, the news hit particularly hard. Luckily, her sense of humor proves that any tragedy can turn into comedy gold.

This story, with all its hilarious twists and turns, is quite the delightful saga. And though it doesn’t erase all the gutting disappointments left from pandemic cancellations, it does serve as wholesome entertainment.

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Freya from Maya Higa's YouTube video.

Ever wonder what an ideal date for a lemur would be? Or a lizard’s favorite Disney princess?

Thanks to one YouTube poster with a passion for animals and an endearing sense of humor, all questions shall be answered. Well, maybe not all questions. But at the very least, you’ll have eight minutes of insanely cute footage.

In a series titled “Tiny Mic Interviews,” Maya Higa approaches little beasties with a microphone so small she has to hold it with just her thumb and forefinger. And yes, 99% of the animals try to eat it.

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