Happy One Week

Last Tuesday, we celebrated the launch of iMpact Maryland. Happy one week iMpact Maryland!

If you haven’t already heard, iMpact Maryland is an online tool that helps connect the Maryland community with student-led causes that highlight the University of Maryland’s philanthropic spirit. It’s a project that has been several years in the making and we are super excited to announce its start.

iMpact Maryland is the result of a millennial study conducted by the University of Maryland Alumni Association. The study found that the millennial generation expressed a desire for greater transparency and wanted to know where their money was allocated. Alas, iMpact Maryland does just that. Providing a platform for alumni and current students, iMpact Maryland is committed to advancing the university’s mission by building a greater sense of community.

iMpact Maryland is accepting applications on a rolling basis. Students may apply here.

Microfinance and Microphilanthropy: Alive and Well in Seattle


“Microfinance is most simply thought of as providing — and managing — small loans or financial services to poor individuals or small communities who otherwise wouldn’t ever get on a regular bank’s radar screen.

Microphilanthropy is similar — philanthropy aimed at helping meet the needs of poor individuals or small organizations that otherwise might get the attention of many large non-profit, humanitarian organizations.

There’s a crisis of confidence in microfinance right now, usually, inaccurately, personified in the recent trials and tribulations of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus.

The real crisis is not so much about Yunus as it is due to the rising commercialization and emphasis on profits in this financial scheme. Yunus has criticized some microfinance organizations for acting like “loan sharks,” for losing their focus on the true mission of microfinance — to help people get themselves out of the cycle of poverty.

Check out the link to see a few young people in Seattle who remain focused on the true mission.” (Lumana!)

The GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Creative Microphilanthropy

Welcome to The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD). Each month, we challenge ourselves to improve the world around us—and our own lives. The challenge for December? To give away $30 (total for the month, not every single day) in the most creative and inspiring way possible. It doesn’t have to be $30. It could just be $10. Or even a single dollar. We’re aiming to make giving more creative and personal…

We’re profiling each of the students from the June program of the Orbital 1Kand their amazing projects. If their stories resonate with you, sign up for our mailing list so that you can be notified of future 1K programs.

Max Dana is an artist-turned-administrator-turned-programmer-turned-donor and co-founder of ArtsPool, a cooperatively-owned startup that provides shared administrative services for New York arts nonprofits. In the 1K program, Max launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Weird Economics summit, a gathering of people doing interesting things with money and philanthropy hosted by the External Revenue Service.

During the program, Max also wrote up a practical guide to becoming a microphilanthropist, which includes lots of sharp insights and fascinating data.

Hi Max! What are you especially excited about with your project?

I really love the name The External Revenue Service. It’s incredibly unwieldy and at first glance seems like the opposite of good, but for me it stimulates the imagination in a way that short, heavily branded “appy” names with too many vowels don’t. The inversion of one syllable evokes an alternative reality without defining what that is, so it keeps me asking questions.

What was the hardest part of launching for you?

I always thought that the E.R.S. would be primarily a technology project, but it became clear while working at Orbital that I needed to scope it down and find a way to validate some of my assumptions about whether people would even want to join a crowdfunding platform posing as a crazy peer-to-peer tax system. Pivoting the project to focus on the Weird Economics summit was tough for me because I’d much rather spend my nights coding than event planning, but sometimes you have to do what Faulkner said and kill your darlings. Or at least put them down for a nap.

What’s your biggest takeaway from the 1K program?

Work fast and put things out before they are ready. The time constraint of the Orbital 1K is very intense and the only way to make it work is to avoid overthinking and use the world as your collaborator. I thought of the name The External Revenue Service while dodging bus traffic on my morning bike commute through Bed-Stuy because that was one of the few windows I had to think. I probably wouldn’t have thought of that name if I’d had hours to mull it over. 

Tickets for the Weird Economics summit are still available via Kickstarter!