More

This campaign is recognizing incredible innovators fighting for social change.

Today, global impact starts with a click of the keyboard.

This campaign is recognizing incredible innovators fighting for social change.
True
Comcast NBCUniversal & NationSwell

A solution for food waste and hunger, getting undocumented immigrants citizenship, an anti-cyberbullying app — these are things the world desperately needs.

And thanks to a handful of social innovators, we now have them.

The minds behind the technology and programs above have been named in the class of 2017 Tech Impact AllStars by the social impact media company NationSwell and Comcast NBCUniversal.


"The main goal is to find and uplift the everyday heroes who are changing their communities and slowly but surely, changing the nation and the world," writes Greg Behrman, CEO and Founder of NationSwell. "These are the people in your neighborhood who feel a fire in their belly to solve challenging social issues."

(From left) Seth Flaxman, Zakiya Harris, and Riku Sen. Images via NationSwell.

Two years ago, NationSwell partnered with Comcast NBCUniversal to start recognizing these technology trailblazers for their endeavors and give them a leg up on their path. Comcast NBCUniversal is playing a defining role in shaping the future of media and technology, and believes social innovation  like the Tech Impact AllStars Campaign is good for communities.

Together with NationSwell, they've endorsed some extraordinary talent that more than deserves the attention:

But they also need your endorsement to be honored. You can vote for your favorite 2017 Tech Impact AllStars from Oct. 2 through Nov. 2 by clicking here.

Today, technology is often the power behind grand-scale social impact projects. That's why Tech Impact AllStars are using it to solve major problems.

Raj Karmani speaks about his company, Zero Percent. Photo via NationSwell.

"[Technology] is more relevant than ever before, and it’s changing the way we approach age-old issues," Behrman explains. "Technology provides the ability to scale solutions in extraordinary and rapid ways."

"Technology innovation is the fuel that moves our business forward," writes Jessica Clancy, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility at Comcast NBCUniversal, in an email. "We also believe it has unsurpassed power to solve complex social issues and improve communities."

The program specifically recognizes up-and-coming social innovators from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and the hope is that the recognition they receive as Tech Impact AllStars will propel their mission so that they can make an even greater impact.

"We’ve seen past AllStars graduate from the program and receive new funding or corporate partners, additional coverage on platforms like Nightline, NPR, + TED, and increased visibility and interest, helping them scale their work and do more good," writes Emily Chong, senior vice president at NationSwell.

If your social impact efforts utilize tech in some way and you're domestically-based, you can be nominated to be a Tech Impact AllStar.

Karen Washington of Black Urban Growers. Photo via NationSwell.

For example, Karen Washington started Black Urban Growers to encourage primarily black communities to help turn vacant urban lots in the Bronx into thriving gardens.

In a somewhat different vein, Rose Broome created an online crowdsourcing platform called HandUp that solicits donations for homeless and at-risk people.

Neither endeavor would be possible if Washington and Broome weren't adept at utilizing technology to inspire people to do good.

And they're just two examples of a ever-expanding population of Tech Impact AllStars.

Every year, the program has grown exponentially, both in visibility and the number of nominations.

Raj Karmani, a recipient of the Tech Impact Award, with the NationSwell crew. Photo via NationSwell.

Obviously the tech impact world appreciates the boost. Since 2015, there's been a 70% increase in Tech Impact AllStars nominations. What's more, views of this particular group's content has increased by 500,000, so finalists are indeed getting a considerable amount of notice that no doubt draws greater attention to their missions.

"As the program grows, each Tech Impact AllStars class becomes more competitive, more incredible and generates greater visibility and impact for them and their solution," Chong writes.

It's understandable given all the things they will receive. All finalists get a three- to five-minute video about their work made by NationSwell producers, a feature article to accompany it, an all-expense-paid trip to New York City, where they'll be given a speaking slot at the NationSwell Summit of Solutions, and the chance to win the Tech Impact Award — a $10,000 grant to help further their work.

Social innovators like these are exactly who this country needs right now to help bring opportunities to those who are struggling.

AllStar Zakiya Harris, co-founder of Hack the Hood. Photo via NationSwell.

"These are the innovations and the solutions that we’ll need to make our country a more equitable, inclusively prosperous place, and to have more people feel like the American dream is within their reach as well," Behrman writes.

Organizations like NationSwell and Comcast NBCUniversal are doing what they can to elevate the creators of these life-changing endeavors so that they'll reach as many people in need as possible.

These brilliant ideas can change the world as long as people know about them. Thanks to technology and solution-driven companies, many more people will.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

Keep Reading Show less