2020 Vision: Charting the Path

by Jim King

Change University has primarily provided information related to Global Change and Global Change Makers via our website www.ChangeUniversity.org.  We have hoped that this information would be inspirational and educational to future makers of global change.

NOTE: If you missed any of the blog posts about our most recent three Champions of ChangeU, click HERE to check them out.  You DO NOT want to miss the stories of these three Champions!!!

ChangeU has evolved in minor ways over our almost two years of existence.  However, everyone involved. and even those looking in from the outside, wished for ChangeU to take a more “action-oriented” role in making global change.  So for about six months, we have examined where we have been and where we would like to go.  From those examinations, we have developed a “2020 Vision”.

With this current blog, we would like to share the 2020 Vision with each of you.  Please click on the following link and a new window will open with the 2020 Vision.

2020 Vision Document

You will see more about the 2020 Vision in coming months.  But don’t worry.  We are still going to be bringing you information about new Champions of ChangeU and other stories as the 2020 Vision becomes reality.

We really appreciate your continued support…and we hope that each of you will join us in raising up the next generation of global difference makers!


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:  http://www.changeuniversity.org/about/ .


Not For Sale!

by Jim King






Do those statistics make you mad?

They make David Batstone mad!

Do you know how close those numbers live to you???

Our newest Champion of ChangeU David Batstone does!     And he decided to do something – many somethings – about it!

Please read on…


David Batstone has been a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.  He wrote Saving the Corporate Soul.  He is currently a social entrepreneurship professor at the University of San Francisco (www.usfca.edu/management/faculty/david-batstone).

Human slavery became real to David when he learned that many staff members at his favorite restaurant were actually labor slaves.  He learned this when the trafficking ring was exposed due to the death of one of the trafficked young people.  He was determined to learn more about human trafficking and slavery.  He was determined to make a difference.

David’s quest led him around the world where he stared trafficking in the face; where he met those in the fight against trafficking and slavery.  Those experiences led him to join the fight – and to fight in the ways he was most skilled; in ways that allowed him to have the greatest impact.

If you do not do anything else related to this blog post, please watch David’s TEDxTalk about his journey.  It is not a long video.  But it is a GREAT story:



David started “Just Business” (www.justbusiness.is), a social impact investment organization, and a not-for-profit foundation, “Not For Sale” (https://www.notforsalecampaign.org/).  Not For Sale is a network created to grow self-sustaining social projects with purpose-driven business to end exploitation and forced labor.  Through and for these enterprises, the following social impact organizations have either been created or partnered with.  Please visit the websites of Just Business and NFS to see more related enterprises…and please, please, please support each of these efforts.

REBBL – www.rebbl.co

Square Organics – www.squareorganics.com

Z Shoes – www.zshoesorganic.com

Dignita – www.eatwelldogood.nl/en

Boll & Branch – www.bollandbranch.com

St. Clare Coffee – www.stclarecoffee.com

Alex And Ani – www.alexandani.com

All Saints – www.allsaints.com


In 2017, David was awarded the Peace Award by the United Nations Women for Peace Association.  He was also awarded the 2017 Harari Conscious Leadership and Social Innovation prize by the University of San Francisco’s School of Management.  We are so excited to name Dr. David Batstone our newest Champion of ChangeU.


Please join David and Change University in the fight against human exploitation!!!




Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:  http://www.changeuniversity.org/about/ .


This is LOVE…This is HOPE


by Jim King w/ contributions by Emily Smith


Economic freedom for more than 1,700 women.

Over 9,200 nights of safe housing for women recovering from life on the street.

$1,000,000 in salaries and wages for women survivors.

20 social enterprise partners from 16 countries on 5 continents.


Welcome to Thistle Farms…and Becca Stevens, the newest Champion of ChangeU.  (www.ChangeUniversity.org)



Thistle Farms’ mission, according to their website, is to HEAL, EMPOWER, AND EMPLOY women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. They do this by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners.  At Thistle Farms, they believe that in the end, love is the most powerful force for change in the world.  (https://thistlefarms.org/pages/our-mission)

Here are a couple of links about Thistle Farms (www.thistlefarms.org):

A Survivor’s Story     https://thistlefarms.org/blogs/community-blog/trish-reflects-on-second-chances-and-finally-finding-her-way-home

The Café at Thistle Farms    https://thecafeatthistlefarms.org/


More about Becca and Thistle Farms in a moment.  Becca has something else going on right now that we want to introduce…



The current Syrian refugee crisis has women and their children trading an unsafe home for unknown waters.  With almost nothing but life vests, they arrive in an unfamiliar world in search of a new life.

The magnitude of the situation?  Read on…

In September 2017, over 3,000 people arrived on Lesvos island by boat. Most of the people arriving were women and children. Officials say 6,500 people are now stuck on the island; the Hope Refugees organization believes the numbers to be closer to 7,500 people.

The notorious Moria refugee camp – built with capacity for 1,800 people – is now at its breaking point with around 5,500 residents – more than double its capacity. And with this camp at breaking point, many tired and vulnerable refugees are having to live in flimsy festival tents outside the camp.

Comparing the number of arrivals in September 2017 to August 2017, there has been a 264% increase in the first 10 days of September alone! As winter approaches, children will once again be facing the freezing temperatures of Europe in inadequate tents and behind razor wire.

Women refugees have come together with Thistle Farms to start the first social enterprise in Ritsona, Greece. Women are weaving welcome mats that include the fabric from life vests worn by refugees on their journey to Greece. Thistle Farms has partnered with “I AM YOU” (www.iamyou.se) to help these refugee women gain economic freedom.

The Welcome Project (https://thistlefarms.org/pages/the-welcome-project) is committed to helping women find their path forward.

Here are a few links that will give you more information on The Welcome Project.

Another Survivor’s Story     http://www.beccastevens.org/blog/lovewelcomes

A Sermon by Becca     http://www.beccastevens.org/blog/sacredthread

People Magazine story     http://people.com/human-interest/nashville-priest-teaches-syrian-refugees-to-transform-life-vests-welcome-mats/


Now…More About Becca

The following information is taken from Becca’s website (http://www.beccastevens.org/#aboutbecca):

Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home.

Twenty years later, the organization continues to welcome women with free residence that provide housing, medical care, therapy and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four social enterprises. The Global Market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities.

Becca has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC World News and NPR, was recently named a 2016 CNN Hero and a White House “Champion of Change.” She was featured in the PBS documentary, A Path Appears, named Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America and inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. Stevens attended the University of the South and Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has been conferred 2 honorary doctorates.

You can find over 100 articles, videos, pictures and other Becca-related materials at the following link:  https://brandfolder.com/beccastevens .

You can find information about Becca’s new book, Love Heals, at the following link:  http://www.beccastevens.org/loveheals/ .


WOW…Becca Stevens…what a Champion!


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:  http://www.changeuniversity.org/about/ .

Emily Smith is the Public Relations Manager at Thistle Farms.  (http://www.thistlefarms.org)




Fully Alive

by Jim King


“I had to figure out how to navigate the darkness.”

These words ring in each of our ears when we are faced with the destruction of natural disasters; when we are trying to understand deadly attacks on human-kind; when loved ones die; when the helpless and marginalized are taken advantage of; when we are truly lost.

These were also the words of Tyler Gage when he first set out for Amazonia as a teenager. These same words were Tyler’s when he was faced with big decisions related to the company he co-founded to make a difference in the lives of the marginalized indigenous people he grew to respect and admire.

When we face undesired and unnatural circumstances, we cannot just “throw in the towel” according to Tyler, co-founder of Runa, a socially and environmentally focused enterprise with roots in Amazonian Ecuador.  “Runa” is the Kichwa word for “fully alive”.  Fully Alive is also the name of Tyler’s book which shares his journey from an anxious teenager to a successful and impactful social entrepreneur.

It is with excitement that Change University (www.ChangeUniversity.org) announces that Tyler has accepted our request to become a Champion of ChangeU.  Tyler’s invitation was made due to the impact that he has had through Runa (social, environmental, & economic development impacts) as well as his personal impact on other future social entrepreneurs and business leaders through speaking and writing about his experiences and the lessons he has learned through those experiences.

Instead of writing another “book” in this blog post due to all of Tyler’s and Runa’s impacts, I am going to direct you to a few web resources.  First, be sure to check out www.tylergage.com. When you first hit that site, do not fail to sign up for Tyler’s newsletter.  In addition to getting on the mailing list for a very inspirational newsletter, you will be sent the link to the Introduction to Tyler’s book, Fully Alive.   The subtitle of Fully Alive is “Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life”.  Be prepared to tag along on an exciting journey via this book.  Be prepared to have your life’s mission challenged!

In addition to getting access to Fully Alive at www.tylergage.com, you will also be able to access Tyler’s speaking schedule and to look into what he has been up to.  You can read stories that have been printed about Tyler and Runa and you can also watch videos of Tyler’s appearances on a number of T.V. and news programs.  I strongly recommend that you watch and listen to Tyler via the videos.  Nothing beats hearing his own words.  Nothing!

Finally, be sure to go to www.runa.org.  It is not really so much about Tyler…but then again, it is all about Tyler.  Or at least what has helped Tyler “navigate the darkness”.  It is more than the story about a tea company.  It is about using nature’s resources to impact humanity.  It is about the value of all people.  It really is about one person’s journey – a journey from nowhere to somewhere; from taking to giving; from status quo to impactful change; from teenager to a Champion of ChangeU!

Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:


Change University + Kiva = HOPE




Change University now has a lending team at KIVA (www.kiva.org).  Please join our lending team.  Here is the link for where to do that:





Your money is ALWAYS your money!  But when you join the ChangeU lending team at Kiva, you are helping bring attention to the efforts of Change University in making a difference in the world.  Make sure that you join the Change University lending team before you make a loan.

In case you do not know what Kiva is, here is a little synopsis from their website:

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.

100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes to funding loans. Kiva covers costs primarily through optional donations, as well as through support from grants and sponsors.




In the 12 years since Kiva was founded, it has secured loans in excess of $1,000,000,000!!!  Yes…that is ONE…BILLION…DOLLARS!!!  And those loans have been secured from people like you and me providing loans – not gifts – of as little as $25!!!  Here are some of the numbers:

1,010,000,000 $$$ in loans (over $1B)

2,500,000 borrowers (micro and small business entrepreneurs around the world)

(estimates are that this directly impacts over 10,000,000 people)

(estimates are that this indirectly impacts over 100,000,000 people)

81% of borrowers are women (over 2,000,000 women AND their families helped)

1,600,000 lenders (with loans as small as $25)

84 countries (most considered developing or emerging)

97% repayment rate (ask a banker how great this is)




Everyone always has one or more questions about how Kiva works.  Here is a link to all of the answers:





One final request: please share this announcement with your family and friends.  Share it all across social media.  Change University gets no money out of this.  But the more people that know about Kiva, the more people we will see impacted around the world.  That is what Change University is about!!!




Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:




Frustration leads to Action >> Action leads to Change


Jim Estill.

Jim Estill = Action.

Action = the lives of over 200 Syrian refugees changed!


Jim Estill = Champion of ChangeU!


That sums it up.  We could all go check out some other Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter stuff now.  Or you business types might hit LinkedIn.


I will not write a lot this week.  Others that get paid to write a lot have already written a lot about Jim Estill.  I cannot do better than them.  But I can introduce Jim Estill to a bunch of people and organizations that have never heard of Jim Estill – and try, try, try to interest you in learning more.  So here goes…

Jim Estill grew frustrated watching the lack of results, and many times the lack of actions, of governments and organizations around the world to positively impact the Syrian refugee crisis.  So Jim took it into his own hands – and his own personal wallet – to make a tangible difference.  Jim put together a volunteer based (800 volunteers!), collaborative effort in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, to bring to his hometown over 50 Syrian refugee families – over 200 Syrian refugees!

Jim and his team did not just bring them over.  The collaborative effort also helped with the transition, English skills, employment preparation – and jobs!


I am including the link to one major news program’s TV broadcast of Jim’s story plus the links to four great online stories.  Watch the video and read the stories to really see Jim’s passion, his ability to construct a difference-making team, and the impact that his “frustration-turned-to-action” has produced.

You will NOT be disappointed!

Yes, you will see and read about Jim – and his team.  However, you will also read the “after” stories of some of these over 200 refugees.  Please don’t miss out.  Your heart will be blessed – and challenged!


CBS Sunday Morning video clip     (8 minutes of awesomeness!)



BBC News



The Guardian



Toronto Life



Financial Times     (warning: you might have limited access to this one)



What will you do about the challenge that Jim’s story put in your heart?

Will you take your frustrations over human issues at home and around the world and turn those frustrations into actions??

Will you become the next Champion of ChangeU???


Jim Estill short bio

Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Appliances, is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. Jim started a computer distribution business from the trunk of his car while in university. He turned that modest business into a company doing $350,000,000 in sales before selling to SYNNEX in 2004. He then became CEO of SYNNEX Canada and grew sales from $800,000,000 to $2 Billion over five years. He has been an active investor and advisor to many technology companies, including a founding board member of Research in Motion/Blackberry, before the company went public.

In 2010, he published his first book, Time Leadership – Lessons from a CEO, and followed that publication three years later with Zero to $2 Billion: The Marketing and Branding Story Behind the Growth which became the subject of his TEDx talk.

You can follow Jim on his blog, CEO Blog—Time Leadership, which documents his philosophies on leadership and time management.  Jim currently lives in Guelph, Ontario.


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:




It’s Troy Anderson’s fault…sort of…


If you have not read last week’s post, it might prove beneficial to read it before reading this post:



In my previous two posts, I shared that I recently returned from Thailand with a team of university students. We were very fortunate on one of our first nights in Bangkok to hear from Troy Anderson.  You can read more about Troy in one of our previous blog posts:



For those of you that do not know Troy and did not click on the link, Troy is the Founder and International Director of Speak Up, an international NGO serving girls in poverty.  Troy studied law at the UCLA School of Law and served as a Los Angeles County District Attorney.  Troy now spends most of his time in Bangladesh.  We were fortunate that he was in Bangkok at the same time and was able to meet with our team.

Troy shared about why he created Speak Up and how things were going. He discussed struggles and successes. He also discussed expansion plans.  However, the thing that resonated the most with me was Speak Up’s emphasis on providing university education to the most at-risk females around the world. Little did I understand at the time why this resonated so much with me.


Thank you, Troy Anderson!

Dang you, Troy Anderson!!


Over the following two weeks, I was to experience four life situations which brought Troy’s words to life for me – and that challenged my mind and heart!

Experience one: I spent ten hours riding in taxis with my female, 30-something guide/interpreter. You learn a lot about each other and your respective families over about ten hours in taxis. Suffice it to say, life had dealt this warm, charming, smiling, genuine, young lady more than her fair share of sorrow and bad situations – not the least of which was no chance at a university education. I choose not to share her entire story.  But, after only the first day, my heart ached for her and her daughters – and for every young lady in her spot – and every young girl destined for the same fate, maybe her daughters.  I have seen a lot and experienced a lot in many BAD places. However, those experiences never caused my mind and heart to need the hours of counsel I received early the next day from a friend that lives in Bangkok.

Experience two:  I met a 30-something single mother working in a coffee shop, desperately seeking to put her 20-something son through a university because she was never able to attend one herself.  She did not want her son to labor away for unmerciful hours every day just to survive.  She wanted a better life for her son and she knew that the answer was higher education.

Experience three: While at a restaurant, I met a 20-something female server that had one of the most positive personalities I have ever seen.  However, after multiple conversations, it became apparent that this personality was “masking” something.  Turns out that this young lady is a product of divorce and from being on her own since she was 15, working all types of legit jobs just to be able to put a roof over her own head and survive the world in a place where females are very exploited.  No chance to go to a university.  No chance to step out of manual labor.  No chance to beat the odds.  But always that mask.

Experience four:  This one resulted in a more positive story.  But, it was no less important to me emerging out of Thailand with a different view of the world than were the other three stories.  We met an outgoing 20-something female that had “leader” written all over her.  She was a “get it done” person with a beautiful personality.  Yet, she, too, could have ended up just like the single mother of five or the mother struggling to put her son through university or the “masked” server at the restaurant.  Worse still, she could have ended up like any one of the at least hundreds of thousands of other females in the world that have been denied the chance of attending an institution of higher education. She could have…if not for the chance to attend a university made possible by a positive life intervention.  She has made the most of the opportunity that so many other young females just do not have.  If we could just have more of those positive life interventions around the world.  Why can’t we have more???


Troy Anderson is not really so bad.   After all, positive life interventions is what Speak Up provides for young ladies around the world.  And they are about to do more.

So I could ask, “What about you?”  But that’s not my plan.  Here’s my plan…


How about joining us at Change University to make a difference?  How about we start by making higher education available to those most at-risk for whom it has not previously been possible?  Don’t send us money.  Send Troy Anderson money (www.speakupforthepoor.org).  Find other impact enterprises that are making a difference in lives of girls.  Check out Second Chance Bangkok (www.scbkk.org).  They are making a difference in the lives of girls in the largest slum in Bangkok.

How about this: don’t let me tell you what to do.  Let Change University help you figure out how you want to change the world…and then become that change!  It does not have to be higher education for marginalized females.  You decide on the change that you want to be.   This “be the change” idea brings back the ChangeU Challenge that Jon Burns, founder of Lionsraw (www.Lionsraw.org), gave us when Change University started:



As for Change University, here is what we plan to do with respect to impact opportunities like higher education opportunities for females in marginalized situations:

  1. Please allow me to introduce our first Student Vice President, Ms. Pimwalan Gisele (Gigi) Mungsing. Gigi is a third year student in the Sripatum International College at Sripatum University in Bangkok.  Gigi has a heart for making a difference in the lives of those in marginalized situations. She has been involved in multiple such projects.  Gigi will give us a voice within leadership that we have been missing.


  1. ChangeU Global Young Champions Network” – Discussions are being conducted with 20-somethings from approximately ten countries, including developing countries, who are either university students with hearts geared towards community development/impact or already working in the field. These discussions are related to these young people leading efforts to impact not only higher education opportunities for females in their countries, but also global, regional and local impact needs relative to their respective countries and regions.  Discussions already include young people on four continents.  These young people will help frame solutions that existing ChangeU leadership cannot frame – and support each other’s change efforts at the same time.


  1. We need you! The “ChangeU Team” needs to include you!  We want more than passive team members.  But at least start out by visiting each of the following links so that you can stay up on everything at ChangeU – and make contributions with comments, recommendations, etc.  Be sure to “Like” or “Follow”.

https://www.facebook.com/changeuniv        (best option to stay involved)



https://www.linkedin.com/company/changeuniv/         (note: a new work in progress)


  1. We need you! Please say “yes” when we come asking for help.  Now is not the time for currency.  We need minds, hands, feet, voices, eyes, and hands from experts and semi-experts.  We work with 20-somethings.  Remember what you were like at that age?  We need all kinds of help.  Please say “yes”.  Most volunteers spend less than one hour per week mentoring, etc.


  1. We need you! Do you head up an impact enterprise?  Let us share your story.  Let us join you in the field.  Join us in the field.  What are you waiting for?  Feel free to grab us before we grab you!


  1. We need you! Please, please, please share the Change University story.  “Like”, “Share” or do whatever else you have to do on social media to make ChangeU known.  Everyone can click a mouse or touch a screen for ChangeU.   But will you?    Please do!


I’m out of breath and all I have done is type!  We are tremendously excited about the future of Change University.  But, we are even more excited about the changes possible in the world through the lives and experiences of you, our friends and supporters.  Bless you all!  Thanks for hanging in there until the end of this post.  Now…

Who’s in?


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:


The Reboot at ChangeU!


If you have not yet had a chance to read my previous post, you will want to read it before you read this one.  It explains the genesis of this post.  Here is a link:



Our Invitation to Each of You

In the beginning was Game Changers::Difference Makers, a group of less than 100 really smart, really talented athletes that graduated from high schools around the USA in 2015 – and me.  It all started out as “mentoring” – until it got past two mentees.  Thus the group, GC::DM, was formed.  There is a GC::DM Facebook group, a GC::DM Facebook page, and a GC::DM LinkedIn group.  The members of Game Changers::Difference Makers can still associate with each other via any of those options.

Change University was created as a place for GC::DM members to fuel their corporate desires to truly make a difference in the world.  The idea was to create a space where stories and videos of existing difference makers around the world could be shared in one spot.  The plan was to challenge and inspire not only GC::DM members, but everyone that wished to be a difference maker. It would be up to these smart, talented GC::DM members to stock the website with stories, information, advice, etc.

In theory, it was a wonderful idea.  In practicality, it was not.  All of the group’s members were in one of about a dozen universities around the country.  Some of them were playing intercollegiate sports.  All of them were getting involved in way too many activities and were studying way too much – the things that got them into GC::DM in the first place.  Change University was at best a virtual table at which they each had a seat.  Out of sight, out of mind has a way of settling in on activities that are virtual, especially when competing with “real” activities.

Long story short, a very few members were saddled with all of the responsibilities – and we all know what happens after that.  Each of them, one at a time, wears out.  This unfortunately happens before what we think will be the ultimate benefits of GC::DM and ChangeU have been realized.

So…a reboot is in order.

We need minds, hands, hearts and all other aspects of our Change University friends.  We have a stellar web manager. Yet, he is in one of the toughest engineering programs in the country.  We have social media managers.  Yet, they are all now doing internships and traveling the world making a difference as juniors and seniors.  We have a few writers that are great at sharing stories of Champions of ChangeU and about speakers that come to campuses and at writing about cool stuff happening around the world.  But they are now writing their own blogs or working for websites or writing books.  That’s what they should be doing.  The problem is that this story is never ending – and it will always be never ending.

Therefore, ChangeU needs you!

First, we have already started contacting some folks that we know have some needed skills to help ChangeU move forward.  But. if you have not been contacted, don’t think it is because you are unwanted.  We just might not know that you have a skill that we need.  Let us know.  Web gurus? Social media gurus? Writers? Other?  Can you share 1-3 hours per week?

Second, one of the absolute biggest ways that everyone can help is to “Like” and “Share” items that we post.  That does not take long.  But it spreads our name and, more importantly, our message.  That helps everyone associated with ChangeU.  And you don’t have to sign up to help us in that manner.  Just click those buttons.  Please click those buttons!

Third, we are “crossing borders”.  My time in Southeast Asia in May and my conversations with folks that are truly making a difference in that region of the world (as well as similar visits in other regions over the past twenty years) reawakened me to “global”.  I know “global”.  But, sometimes it is hard to see over the tall grass and you miss the bigger picture.  Time for unintentional blinders to come off.  Sure, anyone in the world could always read the posts at ChangeU and the social media outlets related to the website.  However, I am talking about involvement.

You are going to read in my next post that we have created the role of Student Vice-President.  The person in this role is going to put a student’s voice into the administration of the group and ChangeU.  And “she” is not from the USA.  We will also be grabbing some of the brightest minds for change from all around the world to join in as region and country directors/managers.  Some have already been asked.  Some have been targeted and not yet asked.  Nevertheless, it is never too early for you to recommend such a young person.  For now, they need to be university students.  Ultimately, some will transition into similar roles as graduates.  Can you help us?

Finally, it is time to get active in more ways than just writing.  We hope to partner with organizations that have experience in leading service-learning and social impact excursions.  Some are travel orgs.  One is a cruise line.  How cool would it be for a company like Whole Foods (just as an example – no pressure – seriously) to sponsor four GC::DM members on one of these experiences and to send one of their own staff along, too?  I think cool. I think smart business!

Some of our Champions of ChangeU have internship opportunities.  Some of you have internship opportunities.  Who better to place in those positions than GC::DM members and our student liaisons from around the world?  THEY ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST!  And they already want to be difference makers.  We are going to recruit you to recruit them.

We also want to have a physical, visible presence on campuses.  We actually want to “make a difference”, not just talk about it.

So who is ready to step up to the plate to help us get active?  Ideas? Sponsors? Partners?  You have to let us know!  Please?!

It is time to stop this writing stuff.  No, not on the website.  We will still be “educational” in that way.  Rather, it is time to finish this post.  It is time for “change” at Change University.  It is time for a reboot.  The main question that remains is:

Who wants to jump into the boat with us?  Now is the time…


Click here for Part 3 of 3: https://www.changeuniversity.org/uncategorized/its-troy-andersons-faultsort-of/.


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:


When it gets personal – a reboot at ChangeU!

Sometimes all it takes is a small negative to lose your way or to allow yourself to become lazy.  Too often it takes a much-greater-in-scope situation to cause corrective action to be taken.  So it is with the too long awaited reboot of the Champions of ChangeU blog series. However, the wait is over.  The reboot will occur on Friday, June 2.


This current post is intended, in a way, to explain the months-long gap in blog posts. But mostly it will share the slap in the face that it took to bring about the timing of the reboot; the type of reality check it sometimes takes for one to wake up – really wake up.


The small negative that started the slide into “penlessness” was actually a technical glitch. The non-secure Web server on which our content resided went down. It took only a short time to recover what had been on that server and move it to a secure server. But yet-to-be posted posts were lost. That’s all it took. That’s all it takes when you are stretched thin. That’s all it takes when no one else has extra capacity to cover for you. That’s all it takes to stop recruiting support staff. That’s all it takes to make excuses to yourself and others for why the posts just stopped.


Then comes the slap in the face – and it was my face. I had taken four student consulting teams (four students per team) to Thailand to help for-profit extensions of not-for-profit organizations. Business plans, marketing strategies, promotional materials, financials, inventory management.  Basic business stuff that is sometimes missing in such organizations. I try to hit each work site each day. The locations were up to an hour in separation making the visits difficult – even if there had been no language barrier – which there was.  So one of the not-for-profit organizations very generously provided a guide/translator. The guide/translator turned out to be a smart, happy, tough, funny, caring, smiling, friendly young mother of five daughters, ages 7 to 17.


There is a long story that will not make the pages of this blog. It is her personal story, not mine. But her story – her history, her life – was my slap in the face. The story unveiled itself through hours of conversations in taxis. Suffice it to say that this young mother has dealt with more negatives in her 35 years than I imagine I will encounter in my entire life – yet never did she complain to me. Hers was a story of hope and victory that I really could not comprehend. The events of her 35 years caused me emotional grief that required immediate counsel from a friend who just happened to be one of the leaders of the organization which had loaned her to me.


My emotional grief was three-fold:

1. I felt real pain for this young lady. While she is now a lioness, tenderly caring for and fiercely protecting her five young daughters, she has suffered greatly in a multitude of ways beginning at age three. And she still deals with where those things have left her in life – yet with grace and a smile.

2. Her story was only the first of four life stories I had the opportunity to hear over two weeks.  All different.  Yet all the same.  And those four are just four out of the tens of thousands of similar stories of young ladies in Thailand and the hundreds of thousands of stories of children, women and men around the world.  It is overwhelming to conceive of the collective pain put upon and endured by those in constant oppression, distress and poverty. Literally, trying to come to grips with this global situation is physically and emotionally – and even spiritually – overwhelming!

3. I am a dad.  I am a granddad. I provide, protect and fix. I take care of people and situations. But I can’t fix this. No, not the hundreds of thousands of situations and people.  Just this one situation.  This was unacceptable!


Yes, I could throw money around like a good westerner. But that does not fix it. I felt helpless in wanting to provide hope. I have been to a lot of places and I have seen a lot of unpleasant and unsetting things.  But these three things together ripped at my emotions like no situation had ever done before. My students saw it in me and heard it from me and felt it through me.  Thank God my friend gave me two hours of counsel the next day. Yes, he counseled. But that counsel included lots of very candid comments and advice and his own personal experiences with such situations – and lots of crying.  And a little understanding.


What I wanted was a happy ending that I helped create/provide. What I realized is that I wanted the happy ending of movies in the U.S. in which I could take pride.  What I realized is that I have no clue what a “happy” ending means to the people of the streets and slums of the most-gritty places on earth. And I felt helpless in my desire to make a difference – my desire to create hope – my desire to fix “it”!


The time with my friend and the subsequent time with the lioness and others with stories in Thailand got my emotional train back on track.  No, I still don’t have all of the answers.  But I am more determined to be more intentional about all that I do.  And that includes ChangeU.


So what about ChangeU?  I have a renewed deep appreciation for our Champions of ChangeU.  Their stories on paper are really cool. But what is even “cooler” is that they roll up their sleeves every day and dive into the deep end of marginalized lives around the world – the lives of women and men like my lioness friend in Thailand. I am deeply humbled as I watch them lay their lives down every day for others. And I want to recognize their efforts now more than ever.


I also have a renewed deep obligation to our next generation of change-makers to provide examples of current change-makers as well as information related to change in the lives of the marginalized peoples around the world – and to encourage them to dive into the deep end as do our Champions of ChangeU.


So with deep regret I apologize for these past few months. At the same time, June 2 is the light at the end of the tunnel. Stay tuned…

… reboot …

… reboot …

… reboot …


Click here for Part 2 of 3: https://www.changeuniversity.org/uncategorized/the-reboot-at-changeu/


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:



What in the World…

by Jim King


What in the world is a Harvard MBA doing in the poverty riddled areas of San Jose, Costa Rica?

Making a difference in the lives of children that live in those poverty riddled areas!

Champion of ChangeU Chris Dearnley, the Harvard MBA, would not have it any other way.  Chris is the Founder and President of FundaVida, a social enterprise established in San Jose “to bring life-giving hope to children and youth trapped in the destructive cycle of poverty.”  (http://www.fundavida.org/?lang=en)

Listen to the passion in Chris’ words as he talks about why he is there: “Poverty enslaves young people with a mentality of entitlement that demands: “I’m poor. You owe me!” Despair leads to desperation and desperation to violence, drugs and prostitution. At FundaVida we believe we can break this destructive cycle through caring people and programs that address the multiple needs these children face. We bring hope and opportunity within reach, empowering them to take responsibility, encounter their God-given talents and share those talents with others…Together we can break the cycle of violence and poverty in Costa Rica.  Hope changes everything.”

Watching Chris “at service” to the impoverished children of San Jose is a privilege.  Hearing him talk about them is captivating.  Hearing him describe the programs at FundaVida makes you wonder how he/they do it.  I have been there.  I have listened to Chris.  I have seen him in action.  FundaVida is making a difference.  FundaVida is bringing hope to places where none has existed for a long, long time.  Don’t take my word for it.  Read personal stories about this hope.  “See” the difference being made through Funda Vida.  Check out these stories at:


FundaVida’s stated mission is “To empower youth to overcome problems such as high-school desertion, violence and poverty through award-winning programs.”  It has a vision “To break the destructive cycle of poverty by offering God-given hope to at-risk youth in troubled neighborhoods.”  And it promotes the following values throughout all of its programs: “Hope, Purpose and Freedom”.  (http://www.fundavida.org/impact/mission-and-vision/?lang=en)

The programs at FundaVida include interactive computer centers, bilingual training, youth clubs, counseling, educational support, and meal programs.  FundaVida works in at-risk communities surrounding San Jose, Costa Rica, such as: Concepcion de Alajuelita, Cuidadela 25 de Julio and Linda Vista de Patarra.  And its programs take aim at drop-outs, drugs, violence and prostitution.  More will be shared in a future blog post about these programs. However, we encourage you to read more on your own at: (http://www.fundavida.org/?lang=en) .

As anyone at the helm of a services-based non-profit knows, keeping programs like those at FundaVida going takes money.  That is surely the case when a non-profit is in its infancy stage.  Chris and his family invested more than blood, sweat and tears into FundaVida in its early days.  They invested everything that they had.  But that could not be a long-term solution.

As I mentioned, Chris has his MBA from Harvard.  Probably his closest friend in the MBA program at Harvard was John Sage.  They shared similar beliefs and lifestyles. However, upon graduation, their careers took different paths.  A few years after graduation, while Chris was starting FundaVida, John was becoming a rising star at Microsoft and other tech firms.  While talking during a personal reunion, they found their stories converging again.  Chris had a vision for making a difference and a need for financial support.  John had money and a desire to find a passion through which he could make a difference.  Surely between them they could find a single remedy for both of their situations.  (Remember: these two guys were Harvard MBAs.)

Chris and John knew that sustainability was a necessary goal in order to achieve long-term impact.  So they put their business minds and their “make a difference” hearts together and came up with the plan for Pura Vida Coffee, basically a web-based coffee retailer whose profits went to support FundaVida.  (http://www.puravidacreategood.com/)   The business model they developed has not only been written up as a Harvard Business School case, it has also served as the basis for many new social enterprises over the past two decades.  Pura Vida Coffee not only raises some funds for FundaVida, but this business model has also benefitted hundreds of communities and thousands of impoverished people in developing countries around the world.  What a legacy!

Pura Vida Coffee has undergone a number of changes over the years.  You can read the history of the founding and those changes at:  http://www.puravidacreategood.com/history.  Even so, the focus is still on making a difference in the lives of impoverished people through the sale of great coffee.  What makes this point so interesting is that while Pura Vida does not provide as much support directly to FundaVida as Chris had once hoped, it now also impacts other parts of the developing world and remains part of the selfless legacy of Chris and his co-founder John at Pura Vida.

I wish that I could tell you that FundaVida has more money than it knows what to do with.  But that is no more true for FundaVida than it is for other impactful non-profits. While it does have creative avenues of support, the fact is that there are more kids to help than there are funds to help them.

FundaVida relies on the generosity of individuals who are willing to help in multiple ways. If you shop on Amazon, why not use  smile.amazon.com and choose The Create Good Foundation as your beneficiary. That will help FundaVida at no additional cost. Contact your church to see if they would be willing to serve Pura Vida Coffee or at least try a free sample.  Every church or school that serves Pura Vida Coffee releases a matching grant for the work in Costa Rica. Perhaps you would like to give Pura Vida Coffee as a unique Christmas gift or drink it each morning. Or maybe you could sponsor a child for $50 a month and change a life forever.  (www.fundavida.org)

Big or small, every action makes a difference!

FundaVida squeezes more output from its efforts than is feasible given the inputs.  (Sounds a little Harvard-ish to me.)  As long as Chris Dearnley is at the helm, the at-risk children and youth of San Jose will have a chance to become “something” and “somebody” in the eyes of their families and their peers.  And one day they will become the difference makers in their communities and in their country, thanks to the example of Champion of ChangeU Chris Dearnley.

Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link: