I LOVE TED!!  This year is just as inspiring and exciting as ever, which always makes it hard for me to decide what to write about!!

Well, I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the talks I want to watch but 2008’s TED Prize winning, author Dave Egger’s talk got me so energized I have to blog about his amazing story first.

Dave Eggers moonlights as a publisher, philanthropist and advocate for students and teachers.

The upshot of his spot was to tell the story behind his: “Once Upon School” project.  If you have the time, I really recommend watching for yourself.

He has managed to start a grassroots movement linking volunteers, writers and teachers to a place where kids can be tutored one-on-one after school…. With amazing results.

Now, that in itself is a great example of Giving Back™.  But the main reason I was so compelled by this talk ,was that he really pulled three seemingly disparate “industries” together in a surprisingly cohesive way!  And yes, as with so many great ideas… it all just seemed to come together as if it was “meant to be”.

He wanted to expand his publishing biz out of his kitchen to an actual office as well as explore this notion of a tutoring center. So, 826 Valencia was born.  However, it was zoned for retail… so he had to sell to the public to keep the space… hmmm how about a “Pirate Supply Store”!  Hahah  Yes.

So his office was in the back, the middle was a learning centre, the front became a fun, odd space that almost arbitrarily sold pirate fodder like: peg legs, eye patches and parrot food. It was an inviting way to introduce people to the tutoring concept.

Well, as he explains in his inspirational talk… things just came together with the kind of synergy that “good things” tend to have, and it has grown to many similar locations!

You’d think with such resounding community support… that, in itself would be a “win”. But the retail “fronts” are a hit too!  NYC has a Super Hero Supply Store while LA is about to open a convenience store for Time Travellers.

The essence of Giving Back™ is “MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”.  Well, I really love how this crazy mash up of ideas has “given back” to everyone involved -from the kids, to the community, to the bank manager!

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