Faces

Seeing the Face of Homelessness

Why am I telling you his story? Well, because all too often, we judge by appearance and assume someone’s character.


Animation by JannerBros is based on a real-life interview with a homeless man Brendan who was homeless for almost 2 years. We walk past homeless people every day of our lives, without stopping to ask questions or even judging them… Well here is an opportunity to hear from a homeless man.


As I walked into the dining room, my eyes fell on him. To be candid, at first glance he looked like a thug. Very thin, scrawny even, I wondered how well he would handle the physically difficult cooks’ position. His clothes were wrinkled and well worn. But what stood out was how eager he was, he even offered to start working on the spot.

As I offered the young man, a full-time job his face showed obvious relief. He apologized again for not wearing better clothes. I assured him it was fine. There was something about him. Perhaps it was the “mom” part of me, but he looked hungry.

I offered him a meal with an off-handed remark about how he needed to learn the restaurant menu anyway since he would be cooking. He eagerly agreed. He ate as if he truly was starving.

By Jannerbros

As we worked shifts together, he began to open up about his situation. He was a foster child, knew nothing of his birth parents and though he was adopted at age 11, he was treated as a live-in servant. His bed was in the basement and not allowed to eat with the family. He was used for work.

ourworldindata - homelessness

As soon as he turned 18 he was kicked out. This was two weeks before his interview with me. He had nothing but what he was wearing. I asked him where he slept, his answer was “Well, I don’t really.”

He explained that he would go from place to place until he got kicked out. Bookstores, the library or even busy fast food places. He would nap here and there and then move on if he felt like he was in the way.

I continued to be amazed by this man. A hard worker, no doubt. He was always early and would stay as late as needed. He thrived with every bit of encouragement. And yet he had no place to live, not even a car to sleep in. It was mid-winter and very cold. I asked him why he didn’t go to a homeless shelter, he said it was full.

He’d learned compassion from his hard life. He would regularly pull scraps from the garbage to feed to stray dogs out back. When I asked him why he did that he replied with a smile, “Cause being hungry sucks!”

He pulled himself out of extreme poverty. Not everyone can do that, physical limitations or having small children can make it impossible for some. I asked him what he thought would’ve helped him most, he said “Getting paid every day, waiting for the first two weeks was so hard!”.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life when they have nothing. Even a kind word or sitting down to chat. If you own a business consider adding flexibility to payroll structures, allowing daily payment for the first few pay periods. This could mean the end of homelessness and hunger for so many people.

One thing he said has always stuck with me. “I don’t have all the answers, but being kind is always a good choice.”

| Written by Tricia Elliott

| Visuals by JannerBros


Check out this great multimedia story: Portraits of Homelessness


Purchasing Power

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by looking at the deep struggles the world faces. Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping habits to invest in making a positive change. Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by looking at the deep struggles the world faces. Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping habits to invest in making a positive change. Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

Purchasing Power with Purpose

Changing the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.


@BillionBackRecords

Each year in the United States, individuals and corporations give about $400 billion to charitable causes, ranging from arts organizations to social services and religious organizations. For the ordinary person, that number seems staggeringly large. But, according to CBS News, that represents only a small fraction—2%—of the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.

$400,000,000,000 yearly

Charitable giving has gained increased attention in the last decade, with advances in communication technology, yet the amount given has stayed relatively stagnant giving around 2% of their income to charity—a strange parallel to the economy as a whole.

So how do we have a greater impact? How do we do more with our money, and make a bigger difference?

Americans give roughly 2% of the nation’s GDP to charity each year. The nation as a whole produces over $19 trillion in one calendar year according to the World Bank. What if there was a way to harness even just a fraction more of that incredible amount of production to combat the deepest issues our society faces?

Many people would love to give more to charity, but don’t have the means to donate cash out of their pocket. So how do we give more without having to give more? The answer—using our spending habits to make a difference.

Ben&Jerry Icecream

If the average person spends $5,400 on impulse buys each year, that is an additional $5,400 that we can leverage to impact the world around us. By spending money at companies which give back to the community, you are able to give back. One example is Warby Parker, an eyeglass store, who donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold. In the enterprise business world, Salesforce is committed to its 1-1-1 model, donating 1% of profits, 1% of employee time, and 1% of its product to charity. Or, if you happen to be walking down the freezer aisle in your grocery store, consider buying Ben&Jerry’s ice cream. The company awards more than $1.8 million a year to fund community action and change. Eating more ice cream is the kind of social investment most of us can get behind.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at the deep struggles the world faces. What can one person really do in the face of such large-scale issues? Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping trip to invest in making a change.

Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.


| Written by Benjamin Hoekstra

| Visuals by Billion Back Records, The World Bank, Charities Aid Foundation


Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance was once criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and the democratizing of the markets. Investors are more conscience about the issues affecting humanity. Picking companies and funds which take into account environmental and social responsibilities, and hundreds of other human factors are what the people want.

Finance was once criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and the democratizing of the markets. Investors are more conscious of the issues affecting humanity. Picking companies and funds which take into account environmental and social responsibilities, and hundreds of other human factors are what the people want.

The Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance was once criticized as soulless but ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and democratizing of the markets.

Morry Brown had what so many young finance graduates wanted: he was an associate at Goldman-Sachs. His career was set. A steady ramp of promotions leading to Rolexes and BMWs was his for the taking. But Morry wasn’t satisfied. What good was he doing for the world as a spreadsheet monkey? And so he quit, to found a company that merged investment with ethics: EarnWell.

EarnWell’s mission was remarkably simple: to create a portfolio of the 100 most ethical S&P 500 for the socially active casual investor. They took into account carbon footprint, gender equity, association with weapons production, environmental sustainability, and hundreds of other factors. Over 90% of the ‘EarnWell 100’ earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate responsibility, and the carbon footprint of the portfolio is 80% lower than the S&P index funds.

Other opportunities for socially responsible investing have begun to crop up everywhere. Recently, industry heavyweight Pacific Life launched Swell investing, with portfolios in renewable energy companies, researched-focused biotechnology firms working towards disease eradication, and zero-waste business.

This comes at a time when research has shown corporate leadership that responsibility isn’t just good PR — but profitable. If more companies put ethics before short-term gains, social activists — and investors — might just see the change they want.

Read more about how doing the right thing is just as profitable from Forbes.

Apps and Platforms


Swell Investing

GREEN TECH +20.48%
IMPACT 400 -8.00%
CLEAN WATER +22.33%
ZERO WASTE +14.32%
RENEWABLE ENERGY +18.60%
DISEASE ERADICATION +18.98%
HEALTHY LIVING +20.08%


Robinhood

Robinhood believes that the financial system should work for the rest of us, not just the wealthy. Robinhood lets you invest in the stock market for free, directly from your phone or desktop.


| Written by Dante Vaisbort

| Visuals by Swell, Robinhood, MoneySense.ca