This Wikipedia founder's new venture? A cellphone carrier that puts your bill to good use.

Most people probably wouldn't peg their cellphone carrier as being particularly ethical.

Let's start with the fact that their plans and pricing are really confusing ... on purpose.


What is a "convenience fee"? We feel you, bearded Christian Bale.

Not to mention, the horrendous customer service at telecommunication companies is practically legendary. Some of these retailers reportedly don't even treat their own employees well.

So, even though we use our cellphones every day and pay a pretty substantial price for that convenience, it's not always a transaction we feel good about.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says it doesn't have to be that way.

Jimmy Wales is chairman of The People's Operator, a new(ish) mobile carrier that gives 10% of your bill to a charity of your choosing.

Jimmy Wales is best known for finding a better way to organize the world's knowledge. Now he's finding a better way to provide cell service. Photo by Nadine Rupp/Getty Images.

Here's how it's supposed to work.

You sign up for The People's Operator (TPO) the same way you would any other mobile company, except once you're enrolled (service is month-to-month) you get to pick a charity to receive 10% of your monthly bill.

TPO has been around in the U.K. for a while, and over there, you can pick any legitimate nonprofit organization. Customers in the states will pick from a list of TPO's current charity partners, including WWF, ASPCA, and the Children's Health Fund.

Not a bad deal for a cost you'd have anyway, but TPO does want something in return. They'll give your money to charity instead of buying ads if you agree to tell your friends to switch to their service.

TPO even hosts an ambitious, if a little redundant, social networking platform to rally support around specific causes.

OK, so it looks suspiciously like Facebook, with a sort of newsfeed-looking main page and trending topics on the side. But what it lacks in novelty it makes up for in purpose.

In a letter on TPO's website from Jimmy Wales himself, he asks users to "Pledge to yourself to move a big part of your digital life here. Make it a real living and breathing community force for good."

Here's the main page of TPO's social networking site. Image from TPO.com

The main draw here, then, is the "causes" pages, where you can interact directly with issues you care about and easily donate money.

Image from TPO.com

The most important question remains, though: Is TPO actually viable as a cellphone carrier?

Because what good is donating a portion of your bill if you don't get a working cellphone in return?

This is what cellphoning should look like. GIF from "Saved by the Bell."

The People's Operator uses Sprint's network, so coverage should be as strong as you're used to. (Smaller carriers like TPO, also known as mobile virtual network operators, essentially sell customers access to the big networks, but with their own brand, pricing, customer support, and marketing.)

TPO's prices also compare favorably to competitors like Straight Talk and Page Plus Wireless, though it's nearly impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison across carriers. (Remember the whole thing about these plans being purposefully confusing?)

Still, TPO is so new to the U.S. that it's tough to say for sure if the service is all it's cracked up to be.

Whether TPO will really change the cell service game remains to be seen. But kudos to them for trying to do some good in a yucky industry.

On top of the monthly bill proceeds, The People's Operator has also pledged to give 25% of its profits to charity. Unfortunately, TPO has yet to become profitable.

In a lot of ways, The People's Operator still feels a lot like a wobbly-legged start-up with good intentions. To that end, the venture will only be a success in the U.S. if it can attract a big enough customer base to actually make a difference.

Let's hope The People's Operator stays afloat and finally gives us a cellphone carrier worth rooting for.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

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Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!