Think investing is all about personal gain? Think again.
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The Rockefeller Foundation

Like so many immigrants, Leanna Wilson's parents came to America following the "American Dream."

Her father owned a small bakery in his homeland of Jamaica, but when the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, their dream of a successful business didn't pan out exactly as they had hoped.

Leah Smith, Wilson's cousin, also has small-business roots, although her parents chose to stay in Jamaica. And despite being gutsy entrepreneurs, they never managed to thrive financially either.


But this didn't stop Wilson and Smith from growing and deciding to follow in their parents' entrepreneurial footsteps and become business partners.

Wilson and Smith. Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation/Upworthy.

"I don’t know when it is that we decided to start a business," Wilson says. "I think we always knew. Maybe it’s just in the blood."

They started a small company called GroupOut — a dining concierge service that helps groups navigate party and event planning in the often spatially constricted New York City.

Their joint backgrounds in corporate event planning, finance, and design helped Wilson and Smith's business take off, and soon enough, they were turning a profit.

Photo via GroupOut, used with permission.

Suddenly, they were presented with a problem they'd never imagined — what should they do with the excess money? Enter impact investing.

Simply put, impact investing allows investors to focus their capital on causes or organizations that create social change while still seeing a return on their investment, just like they would with any other investment. For socially conscious individuals like Wilson and Smith, it's a win-win.

"We always wanted GroupOut to have a social impact," Wilson explains. "We’ve struggled with finding the right way to do it."

Wilson and Smith are not alone in their desire to put their money toward a better world.

According to a survey by the United States Treasury, millennials are choosing to invest in organizations and projects that prioritize the greater good more than any generation before them. Not only are they simply more driven by activism, many are still struggling with things like student debt and shrinking job pools, so they're less trusting of traditional investment practices.

Young women making art at the YWCA Chicago. Photo courtesy of the YMCA/Rockefeller Foundation.

It's likely the reason why they're interested in having their investment dollars focus on causes that align with nonprofits like the YWCA and NAACP, whose mission is to empower women and eliminate racism.

That's where Impact Shares came in for Wilson and Smith.

Impact Shares is a nonprofit financial advisor that helps people invest in companies that are aligned with the social causes they care about because they partner with nonprofits — such as the YWCA and NAACP — to create a financial portfolio of socially responsible companies. This provides an incentive for companies included in that portfolio to continue to be an engine for progress and it creates a roadmap for others to do the same

It also directly benefits nonprofits, like the YWCA and NAACP, financially too. When investing, there is management fee that usually goes to Wall Street, but with Impact Shares, that fee goes back to the nonprofits as a charitable contribution.

Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation/Upworthy.

This makes Impact Shares a win-win-win for all parties concerned.

"Impact Shares is putting forth a new model for the next generation of finance," Adam Connaker, Senior Program Associate in Innovative Finance and Impact Investing at The Rockefeller Foundation, writes in an email. "One where investors can partner with leading nonprofits to give them a voice on corporate citizenship."

"Other Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ETFs (Exchange Trade Funds) have made small charitable contributions, but this one goes to the next level by engaging the non-profits deeply and giving them the entire net management fee as a donation to support the incredible work they do on behalf of vulnerable populations," he continues.

Members of the YWCA Chicago. Photo courtesy of the YMCA/Rockefeller Foundation.

The YWCA ETF launched on August 27th and NAACP's was formally listed on July 18th for any other investors who might be interested in making an impact on women's empowerment.

If this is the future of investing, the world is in for some major improvements in social good organizations big and small.

For more on Wilson and Smith's story, check out the video below:

These millennial entrepreneurs want to invest their hard-earned money while also using it to make a social impact.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, November 30, 2018

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 John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via The BC Cancer Foundation

Testicular cancer typically affects men between the ages of 16 and 44 and is the most common solid tumor to occur in men of this age group. These tumors grow rapidly and can double in size in just 10 to 30 days.

The disease is potentially fatal if not discovered early and accounts for about 11%-13% of all cancer deaths of men between the ages of 15-35. An estimated 9,60 people were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020, resulting in around 440 deaths.

So it's incredibly important for people with testicles to check themselves regularly.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.