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Mashable's Social Good Summit Brings Social Good News

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 21, 2011 11:20 AM

News aplenty at Mashable's Social Good Summit taking place this week in New York (which continues through Thursday — watch the livestream here). A few highlights from the proceedings, starting with lessons learned by Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG movement:

• LIVESTRONG brought founder and chairman Lance Armstrong and president and CEO Doug Ulman talking about how the yellow wristband sparked a movement that democratized philanthropy (and a rainbow of other wristband-related causes). The $1 band de-stigmatized cancer and changed the conversation, and the organization is getting savvier at refining, targeting and leveraging social (esp. Facebook); more in the video above.

Serena Williams was announced as a new UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador. With 2 million Twitter followers, she can certainly leverage social media for change. According to Unicef.org, 300,000 people in the Horn of Africa will die in next few weeks, 20 million world-wide from severe malnutrition. “It’s not charity or pity – but supporting their courage,” says Williams. Texting contributions to UNICEF is being set-up.

In a related move, USAID's Raj Shah announced a new program: FWD (short for famine, war and drought), mobilizing aid for the escalating crisis in the Horn of Africa. Some 13 million Africans are suffering constant violence amidst the worst drought in 60 years and the worst famine in 20. 

charity:water launched its new Dollars to Projects initiative, tracking every dollar raised with complete transparency through GPS-produced photos so donors see what their money yields.

Christy Turlington Burns, the supermodel turned super-activist and filmmaker, discussed her Every Mother Counts campaign and film, stating, “We all can’t do everything, but we all can do something.” Her film, “No Woman, No Cry” reports that "every minute a woman dies from pregnancy complications."

One Young World Youthquake is leveraging technology to mobilize change. Founder David Jones finds today’s youth “the most knowledgeable, most powerful and most responsible ever. 84% believe it’s their duty to change the world, and 82% believe they can.”

Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child movement has placed 3 million laptops with children at the cost of $1 per week per child. “I ask this question every morning. Will normal market forces do what I’m doing? If yes – stop. If no – continue.” His next initiative: helping the 100 million kids worldwide who are not able to attend school learn how to read via a laptop whose cover is a solar charger and transforms into a game machine.

Alec Ross, Senior Advisor with Hillary Clinton, on the new face of power: “A seismic change in the transfer of power from nation states to individuals wrought by technology and social media. What cost Marc Andreessen for his basic Internet app start-up, $150k/month, totaling a raise of $1mm plus to begin, now costs about $1500/month through the cloud and can be underwritten by students in a dorm room. Technology is value-neutral reflecting the values of the user. Information networks are models of distributed leadership with no charismatic figures required to lead them. Bottom line, the 21st century is a lousy time to be a control freak.”

Actress Geena Davis, Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, discussed how gender images portrayed in the media are impactful and negative against women and hamper equality. Consider that only 17% of crowd scenes in movies include females, she stated, when they're not being hyper-sexualized as eye candy. Her goal: make unique unconventional characters the model for women and girls.

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, announced the launch of  a three-year project on October 11th, a partnership with ITVS and CPB, connecting people through social media and games. The themes: this year, War and Peace; next year, Half a Sky; and Kind Hearted Woman in 2013.

Asi Burak, Co-president of Games of Change, wants to institute a Public Gaming Network a la PBS. Games are code, software, and thus measurable. Data from Africa on games yields how quickly users finish, where they got stuck – invaluable information for shaping the future.

Beth Comstock, CMO and SVP of GE, stated that “Being open is good for business and helps business be good.” GE’s mission is to solve world problems and grow their bottom line which equals sustainable business. Their Ecomagination initiative – solving clean tech problems used social media to connect the dots. 70,000 clean tech enthusiasts submitted 5,000 ideas/biz plans for which GE could provide funding and scale. Healthymagination focused on cancer; what’s the best technology for providing $500 heart monitors in rural India exchangeable for the cost of a bottle of water? GE wants to be your partner of choice.

Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO R to Z Media, and the malaria-net NGO Nothing But Nets, announced the goal of ending malaria in the next five years. With 225,000 nets already distributed in Cameroon, one $10 bed net can protect a family of four from malaria for one year, she said. She also encouraged responsible travel and “activism in tourism.”

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