2010 Conference Media Coverage

Media Coverage Before Conference



Francisco Noguera,
November 12th, 2010


October 18, 2010



October 8, 2010


Clay Holtzman choltzman@bizjournals.com,

published: October 28, 2010

Seattle entrepreneurs seek profits in emerging markets

Ping Chee’s young company, Seattle-based GreenStone International, was started to bring an innovative and low-cost alternative to the construction industry.

The company adds a special enzyme to clay to construct low-cost roads capable of carrying heavy traffic in rural and urban settings. But GreenStones target market isnt the United States. It is the developing world, and hes starting in China.

Young companies such as GreenStone International and food preservation startup NanoICE represent a new wave of Puget Sound-area businesses landing on the shores of developing nations.

For years, brand-name companies such as Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks have either donated to or sourced materials from developing nations in order to help develop their economies. And more than 100 nonprofits in the Puget Sound, including aid group World Vision, land ownership advocate the Rural Development Institute and microfinance lender Global Partnerships, have worked for years to help the poor around the world.

Now, entrepreneurs in technology, communications, energy, engineering and agriculture see the possibility of becoming pioneers in the emerging markets of developing nations. On Nov. 15 and 16, about 400 people will descend on Microsofts Redmond campus for a two-day conference to learn more about the role that Washington business can play in the developing world.

Organized by Global Washington, an association of 125 aid and development groups, the conference will examine how technology, commercial strategies and public-private partnerships can sell their products and services to rising demand in the developing world and at the same time improve the lives of people in those countries.

Global Washington says the possibilities for business could be endless, and there is significant support in the Puget Sound area to help businesses serve the developing world. Just as global health groups that are powered by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have grown in size and significance throughout the Puget Sound region, so too could for-profit businesses that align themselves with nonprofits and foundations that support global development.

In 2009 alone, the Gates Foundation spent $677 million on global development programs such as sanitation, agriculture and financial services for the poor. Last years spending was up 47 percent over 2008. The foundation has even partnered with the federal governments foreign aid arm, USAID, to create a $10 million prize for anyone who can bring mobile banking services to Haiti.

Bookda Gheisar, executive director of Global Washington, said companies can build infrastructure for delivering food, communications and energy that can speed aid and development efforts. And companies provide wages, which is one of the most effective strategies for reducing poverty.

The companies have resources available to them that a lot of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) don’t; capacity, knowledge and systems, too, Gheisar said.

So far, there are only six companies that are members of the Global Washington association all the other members are nonprofits but the organization is busy recruiting more.

Besides the Gates Foundation, other local aid groups and nonprofits could help local businesses looking at emerging markets, by providing funding, technical help and in-country knowledge. Global Washingtons 125 member nonprofits are actively working in 144 countries.

Nonprofits such as vaccine and health technology group PATH and health systems logistics group VillageReach have partnered with private companies that are working in the developing world.

USAID has signaled a willingness to revamp its strategies and be more open to sustainable, market-oriented approaches to sparking development. USAID is now led by former Gates Foundation agricultural director Rajiv Shah.

The work by local aid groups is inspiring companies to reach out to markets that they normally might not consider.

Craig Rominger says his Bothell-based company, NanoICE, uses technology to flash-cool fresh seafood and freshly slaughtered meats to just above freezing.

While the technology has caught the attention of large U.S. companies in the meat processing industry, Rominger says he also wants to put NanoICE technology into fishing villages around the world.

Rominger estimates there are 40,000 fishing villages around the world, and that between one-third and one-half of what fishermen catch each day spoils before it reaches market. If that food can be preserved, it can feed more people and generate more income, especially if the food can be sold to markets in the U.S. and Europe.

It gives these villages an opportunity to sell their fish at what we call global margins, as opposed to local margins, which could be huge for these developing nations, Rominger said.

Its also a good business for NanoICE.

We think there are profits in the developing world and that this whole idea of philanthrocapitalism is important, Rominger said, referring to the term that has become synonymous with socially motivated businesses. There are markets around the world that need innovation.

NanoICE, with the help of local global development leaders, is planning to raise up to $250,000 in donations to install the first of its machines in the developing world. If the project is successful, Rominger wants to work with microlenders to help villages purchase his machines and then repay loans from the profits villagers earn.

Rominger said his business partner and technologys inventor, Snaebjorn Gudnason, has been inspired by the work of Seattle groups such as the Gates Foundation and PATH. NanoICE eventually wants to work with PATH to use its technology to help keep vaccines cool, Rominger said.

Chee, who is president of GreenStone International, said he also wants to eventually work with local development groups, especially the Gates Foundation. He said his companys goals of growth closely align with demand in the developing world for rapid modernization.

In the developing world, they just want to build roads as cheaply and quickly as possible, Chee said. That is our niche.


“Amateur aid” and a close look at One DIY’s Wages

Tom Paulson, November 15th, 2010

You may recall the flap caused by Nicholas Kristof‘s article in the New York Times about “Do-it-Yourself” foreign aid — about individuals and small groups trying to make the world a better place, on their own.

Some of those DIYers, or “amateur aid” organizations, will be among the participants at the Global Washington annual conference, which begins today on the Microsoft campus and, as it turns out, featured Kristof as the keynote speaker for its inaugural meeting last year.

One of those celebrated in Kristof’s article was a Seattle organization, One Day’s Wages. It’s operated by the pastor of Quest Church, Eugene Cho, and his wife Minhee.

As the video says, the Chos created One Day’s Wages (ODW) in 2009 when they decided to donate their $68,000 annual income to “fighting extreme global poverty.” This dramatic move prompted local media attention, and the Chos’ non-profit has since raised about half a million dollars, to be distributed to select causes.

Sounds good, but the problem with these kind of DIY humanitarian organizations, critics say, is that they can end up doing more harm than good. Problems of poverty are often more complex than they appear. And these small organizations are seldom adequately transparent or accountable.

Foreign Policy magazine was pretty blunt, simply saying “Nicholas Kristof is Wrong” while some critics were more nuanced. Others weighed in on all sides, either defending Kristof or saying he over-simplified.

Cho responded to my post on the Kristof article saying that any effort — big or small — can make a difference. In his response, he also invited readers of this blog to come to the ODW fund-raiser.

Given that this Seattle organization had been singled out for praise by the New York Times, I decided to take a closer look at Cho and One Day’s Wages. What I found, in a nutshell, is that they are supporting great work but could improve when it comes to financial accountability.

Their website claimed to have raised nearly half a million dollars. I assumed it also would include two key details: How much of that money had been distributed? And to which charitable causes?

There was no comprehensive description of funding on their website, though they did have some featured examples. I asked Cho for the totals and for the organization’s IRS Form 990, a financial disclosure form, which must be given upon public request (and which, at a minimum, donors should always look at when considering giving financial support).

It took a few days for Cho to get me the information so I contacted the Secretary of State’s office as well. I talked with Tabatha Blacksmith in the charities division. I learned that Cho, and Quest Church, had created a number of charitable organizations or “non-profit corporations,” some of which still existed and others the state had closed its file on for failure to supply the required financial information.

Here’s what Blacksmith said she found on file about One Day’s Wages:

One Day’s Wages (ODW) is currently registered as a “charitable organization” with the Secretary of State’s Charities Program pursuant to Washington’s Charitable Solicitations Act, RCW 19.09. The organization also recently submitted a renewal, but our office has not yet reviewed or filed the documents.

As we discussed, ODW has some language on its website that might be construed as misleading. According to the 2009 “Solicitation Report” that ODW submitted to our office, they spent 18% of their total expenses on charitable “program services”, not 100%. As a result, it is unclear why they have made the claim below.

We plan to issue a letter to ODW shortly, asking them to amend the language on their website within 14 days.

Blacksmith also said that Cho is listed as operator of Quest Church’s affiliated non-profit organizations, one known as Quest Community Development and others listed on the website such as Global Presence Foundation, which don’t appear to be currently registered.

I told Cho what the state agency said. He put up with a lot of questions from me (I’m neither a financial whiz nor an expert on non-profits). He never failed to respond and said he planned to look into the paperwork problems Blacksmith mentioned. The Form 990, which is now posted on the ODW website, said ODW in 2009 raised about $215,000 but only distributed a bit more than $5,000 for charitable purposes.

Cho explained that ODW’s plan is to eventually distribute 100% of those funds (minus some minimal financial costs) and that what had been distributed so far is not reflected in the 2009 report. The organization has only been around for a few years, he noted, and they want to be both careful and efficient with their financial support.

Since the 2009 filing, Cho said ODW has raised $474.929.70 (not counting what came in during the recent fund-raiser).  So far, he said they had distributed a total of $180,624.90 to these causes and organizations:

Cho added that some $61,000 is earmarked to be disbursed in the next 2-4 weeks for:

** Our partnership with NURU is at $11,625.94 and will likely take couple more months to be fully funded at $15,000

One Day’s Wages generally acts as a middleman — raising money to donate to other, often more experienced organizations — and so avoids the criticisms leveled at some DIYers. But I asked Cho: Why not just tell people to donate to World Vision, World Concern or Heal Africa directly?

“We encourage that as well, but that just doesn’t work for a lot of people,” Cho told me. The appeal of One Day’s Wages comes from the fact that it is small, he said, and based in the community. It seeks to solve global problems but through a highly local and personal connection, he says.

At the end of our discussion, and my pestering questions, I felt pretty good about Cho and ODW. They do need to get in compliance with the authorities, but they appear to be contributing to a lot of good causes. My primary concern is the lack of simple and easy access to such basic financial information — and, frankly, the fact that my telephone call is what alerted state government to review ODW’s documentation.

The bottom line: We need a more reliable means for vetting small non-profit organizations.

If Kristof’s “Do-It-Yourself” revolution in foreign aid is the new reality, and these small organizations continue to populate the landscape, it’s in everyone’s interest — donors as well as the organizations themselves — to establish a routine, reliable system for assuring that DIY aid is being done effectively and as advertised.

Global Washington’s 2nd Annual Forum Tackles Innovations, Partnerships in Development

By Ma. Rizza Leonzon
November 4, 2010

One of the largest annual gatherings of international development leaders on the U.S. West Coast will take place Nov. 15-16 near Seattle: Global Washington’s second forum, which this year focuses on entrepreneurs and partnerships.

More than 350 top policymakers and development leaders are expected to convene at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington, to explore solutions to problems in global health, the environment, poverty and global education.

The forum, whose theme this year is “Bridges to Breakthroughs: How Partnerships and Innovation are Changing the World,” will feature development leaders from Washington state and beyond, including Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. It will include sessions on the roles of youth and technology in development, commercial strategies to achieve development goals, trends in international philanthropy, and successful partnerships.

Washington is fast becoming a major U.S. aid hub, no doubt partly due to health groups such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is headquartered in Seattle.

Nearly 200 Washington-based nonprofits are working on development issues in 144 developing countries across five continents, according to Global Washington, a membership association that promotes and supports development stakeholders in the state. In 2007, foundations and nonprofits reported 3,181 full-time employees that work on global development activities, with about $168 million in total salaries paid, the group said. More than 4,000 volunteers support Washington’s global development nonprofits. About one-third of Washington’s global development nonprofits have an all-volunteer staff.

For more information and details on registration, visit the event’s official website. Devex is a proud media sponsor of Global Washington’s annual forum, and has secured a 35-percent discount for the first 35 people to register through us using the promotional code “35for35.”

  1. The event is featured on DEVEX event website with an article and picture at the top of the landing page. http://www.devex.com/en/events
  2. The event is listed in the Devex calendar here
  3. The event was highlighted in the Devex Global Development Briefing Newsletter which went out Nov. 5th. Circulation: 290,000 people.Article:

    Special Notice
    Global Washington’s 2nd Annual Forum Tackles Innovations, Partnerships in Development

    Global Washington will hold its second annual forum with the theme “Bridges to Breakthroughs: How Partnerships and Innovation are Changing the World” on Nov. 15-16 at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington.

    More than 350 top policymakers and development leaders are expected to convene at the event to explore solutions to problems in global health, the environment, poverty and global education.

    The conference will feature development leaders in Washington state, as well as government officials including Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. It will include sessions on the roles of youth and technology in development, commercial strategies to achieve development goals, trends in international philanthropy, and successful partnerships.

    Global Washington is a membership association that promotes and supports development stakeholders in the state of Washington.

    For more information and details on registration, visit the event’s official website.

  4. DEVEX also featured the event on homepage early in the week of Nov. 8th as an article or blog post.
  5. Leading up to, during and after the conference DEVEX also re-tweeted and re-posted some of the social media content through their pages as well.

KING 5, Evening Magazine

published Nov. 9th

Guest columnist, published Nov. 13th

State organizations build bridges to positive change around the world

Washington state organizations are making real progress toward improving health care, alleviating poverty, protecting the environment and increasing access to education across more than 100 countries on five continents, writes guest columnist Bookda Gheiser of Global Washington.

By Bookda Gheiser

THERE is no shortage of organizations nationwide that present their plans for what needs to be done to bring an end to the poverty and suffering in developing nations. However, achieving those goals can be a challenge.

But here in Washington our community has been the inspiration for hundreds of organizations achieving real impact. “Bridges to Breakthroughs,” the theme of the second annual convening of Washington state’s global-development sector, is paying tribute to many of these nonprofit and private- and public-sector institutions.

“Bridges to Breakthroughs” speaks directly to how — by harnessing our collaborative spirit and unparalleled ingenuity — organizations in our state are making real progress toward improving health care, alleviating poverty, protecting the environment, and increasing access to education across more than 100 countries on five continents.

In fact, 38 countries have a dozen or more Washington-based nonprofits, social enterprises and philanthropies active and often collaborating to meet the needs of local communities, a testament to the shared vision and leadership of Global Washington’s constituency.

Some of these “bridges” have been built by the nonprofit organizations and their foundation supporters working to improve access to the knowledge and resources necessary to allow every person to live a productive and dignified life regardless of where they live.

Others have come from a new wave of hybrid organizations that are combining social-change objectives with strategies borrowed directly from the business community to create connections and meet community needs in innovative ways.

More still have been the product of Washington’s leading businesses as firms including Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser have become pioneers in global corporate citizenship.

Regardless of the organization’s origins, their success has been based on their ability to forge successful partnerships for sharing the insights and resources that make “breakthroughs” possible.

This is the real strength of Washington’s vibrant global-development sector — an ecosystem where ideas, experiences and opportunities are freely exchanged in pursuit of a shared vision.

It is in this environment that outdoor equipment manufacturer Cascade Designs was able to get together with the global-health leader PATH to develop the inexpensive, portable, battery-powered “Smart Electrochlorinator” that makes safe drinking water accessible in any environment.

It was through our diversity that the social entrepreneurs at MicroEnergy Credits were able to develop the expertise needed to link the families struggling to safely and efficiently cook their meals and light their homes by linking them to global carbon markets thousands of miles away.

And it is through our shared commitment to improve our world that programs like Microsoft’s $500 million Partners in Learning, which promotes innovation and technology with local schools, has been able to improve the educational experience for 135 million students worldwide.

Of course, while so much has been achieved, there remains a great deal to be done. Hundreds of millions of families still live on less than $2 a day and are susceptible to deadly yet easily curable diseases. Many children still do not have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty through education.

By bringing together individuals and organizations from across the sector, Global Washington is proud to not only ensure that the organization can continue to speak with a unified voice for the state’s international-development community, but more importantly foster a rich and productive environment from which the next wave of bridges can be built and breakthroughs can be realized.

Bookda Gheiser is executive director of Seattle-based Global Washington, an association that supports the state’s global-development sector.


(10,000 viewers a day and has 25,000 monthly page views)

Collin Tong

Announcement of conference one week before

Media Coverage During Conference




Tom Paulson, published November 15, 2010

Global Washington: What do we mean by development?

On the first day of Global Washington‘s annual meeting, being held through Tuesday on the Microsoft campus, one of the primary challenges facing many participants is “development.”

The word, that is — what it means and how to know if you’re actually doing it.

“It has a lot of different meanings depending on who you’re talking to,” said Bill Clapp, a co-founder of Global Washington and one of the region’s leading philanthropists especially active in the anti-poverty strategy known as microfinance.

(Microfinance has also had a bit of an identity crisis as an anti-poverty scheme lately. Some, like the Grameen Foundation, are trying to set standards for measuring social impact.)

“What we mean by development is social development,” said Clapp. By that, he means they are focused on the kind of development that actually improves the health and welfare of people.

One of the goals of the Global Washington meeting this year is to bring together the traditional non-profit organizations that are fighting poverty or improving health and engage with businesses typically focused on the bottom line. At last year’s conference, only one business showed up. We live in a global world with a global economy, Clapp says, and business should play a central role in making it a better world.

“This year, we have had more businesses coming and speaking,” said Bookda Gheiser, executive director of Global Washington. “I think there’s a much stronger sense of community.”

There’s no question that Seattle and this region is rapidly gaining a community identity, and an industry of sorts, as an international nexus of organizations and people devoted to reducing global poverty, disease, injustices and other problems that fall under the rubric of development.

On Tuesday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will host an international meeting, the Global Savings Forum, focused on helping people in poor communities worldwide use cell phones and other innovative means to engage in savings — a critical component to helping people help get themselves out of poverty.

“The problem with all this is when we think that just doing good is good enough,” said Dean Karlan, an economist at Yale University who spoke on this Monday at the Global Washington meeting. Nobody would ever say such a thing out loud, Karlan says, yet many “development” programs are being run without much evidence of social good.

“People just think they’re good because they look like good things to do,” he says. “We’re at the point now where we need more than just good intentions.”

Phrases like “corporate social responsibility” and “socially responsible investing” are popular things to say or claim to be doing these days, Karlan said. But if you take a hard look at a lot of these claims, it’s clear that some companies are basically just selling to poor people and calling it good.

“If that’s all we needed to do, we could say the tobacco and alcohol companies are the greatest tools in the fight against poverty,” Karlan said.

Like Clapp, he says what’s needed is a much clearer definition of what we mean by development and a harder-edged yardstick for assessing social impact. We can do that pretty well in health care and even in education today, Karlan says, but we have a long way to go in terms of defining, measuring and evaluating “social development.”


Global Washington Conference


Posted November 15th, 2010

Bridges to Breakthroughs: How partnerships and innovations are changing the world

Blueskyhill Creative joins Agros International at the Global Washington Conference in Redmond, Washington.  Join us by watching the conference’s live video stream: (off air)


Posted November 16th, 2010

Global Washington Conference

Bridges to Breakthroughs: How partnerships and innovations are changing the world

“It all comes down to poverty-focused goals.  It is a focus on women, on children.  A focus on making tangible, measurable differences in the lives of the poor, the most vulnerable.  This constituency has to exist; otherwise, it will be drowned by those who say that development is about our own security, or about our own economic growth.  But development is about human beings, and about making a difference in human lives.  If our development strategy doesn’t have that goal, then something is wrong.”

-Sam Worthington.  CEO, InterAction
Global Washington Conference 2010, “Bridges to Breakthroughs”
Redmond, WA

Media Coverage After Conference


Using chocolate to fight poverty: Tastes great … makes enemies.


Tom Paulson, published November 17, 2010

I just spent a few days hanging out at two big meetings that illustrate just how big a player this region has become in the fight against global poverty.

The first was the annual confab for Global Washington, a non-profit organization devoted to bringing together our region’s burgeoning community of do-gooders. The second was the Global Savings Forum, a meeting convened by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at getting financial services to the very poor.

I talked to a lot of good people about what they are doing to alleviate suffering, improve health, seek justice and otherwise make the world a better place. Most of them operate as non-profit organizations and yet spent a lot of time talking at these meetings about the need to enlist businesses, the value of public-private partnerships and the idea of corporate social responsibility.

That would be great. And some businesses are taking the idea of ‘social responsibility’ seriously – as opposed to just public relations.

But those looking for an unencumbered love-fest of enlightened capitalism might want to ask Joe Whinney, founder of Theo Chocolate in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, about how much love he’s gotten from his commercial colleagues for trying to also accomplish some social good.

“I was surprised at the attacks, and we’re still getting attacked,” said Whinney, who just wanted to make high quality, fair trade chocolate that didn’t exploit poor cocoa farmers.

As a result, the Seattle chocolatier has made some powerful enemies, from the mega-corporations like Hershey’s to most of the professional associations representing chocolate and cocoa industries around the world. I’ve written about Whinney and Theo before, when I was at the Seattle PI (the newspaper), and got a whiff of the hostility they engender from some of the large-scale commercial manufacturers.

Maybe that’s because I quoted Whinney’s colleague, Andy McShea, saying:

“Much of the chocolate business is still pretty exploitive, oppressive,” said McShea. Consumers, for example, usually cannot be confident they are not supporting abusive labor practices when they buy chocolate. “The beans come from everywhere, including some places where children are working under pretty bad conditions.”

The big guns in the global chocolate and cocoa industry don’t like these kind of statements (and here are a few more, from World Vision and Fortune mag). But so far as Whinney is concerned, the big guns are basically not doing much to reduce the exploitation and abuse in the international chocolate trade.

“So, no, we’re not getting love letters from them,” Whinney said.

Theo doesn’t represent a commercial threat to giants like Hershey’s, he said. The threat just comes from trying to improve things, he says, which can’t help but expose those companies who are not really trying to do anything other than make a profit.

Whinney spoke at the Global Washington in a session on the idea of “doing well by doing good,” directing commercial enterprises toward a social good. He said he was inspired by the passion and purpose of many attendees, but added that they may not realize how difficult it can be to combine business with social good.

I asked some of those at the meeting if this isn’t always going to be a fundamental conflict — between seeking a profit and trying to help the poor.

“It can be, but I think it only seems like a necessary conflict,” said Bill Clapp, one of our regions’ leading philanthropists and a co-founder of this organization devoted to boosting the Pacific Northwest’s anti-poverty movement.

Businesses and corporations who take the long-term view of profitability, Clapp said, already recognize the need for their workers to live in a clean environment with good schools and affordable housing if they are to succeed. The more enlightened businesses realize this doesn’t apply only locally, he said, but also globally.

“We live in a global economy,” he noted.

Many Europeans seem to understand the financial benefit of taking the global, long-term view, Clapp said, but American businesses are still “way too far behind on that score.” The Global Washington meeting, he says, indicates our region does understand the value of globally oriented, socially responsible business.

“I don’t think you’ll find anything quite like this gathering anywhere else in the country,” Clapp said.

Chris Shore, director of environmental programs for World Vision International in Los Angeles, was also at the meeting. He also said there is growing recognition by many in the corporate world that they need — if only for their own financial interests — to more strongly incorporate social benefits into their business plans.

“Starbucks knows it needs to be seen as clean and green,” Shore said, because consumers do care and are getting smarter about the difference between truly responsible businesses and mere window dressing. He agreed with Clapp that Global Washington is “something extraordinary,” an indication that this region sees this not so much as a moral obligation but also as a business opportunity.

As for Theo Chocolate, it’s really expensive. Yet people are buying it. Whinney thinks that’s not just because it tastes good.

Seattle Times- The Business of Giving

Economic growth and security tied to women’s status

Posted by Kristi Heim


Women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment are keys to solving the world’s most pressing challenges, Melanne Verveer, the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, said in appearances in Seattle this week.

The U.S. is making women a cornerstone of foreign policy because “issues from the economy to climate change to the conflict in Afghanistan cannot be effectively dealt with unless women are participating in all levels of society.”

Verveer addressed Global Washington’s annual conference and a breakfast hosted by the Seattle International Foundation, Washington Women’s Foundation and the Women’s Funding Alliance.