Monday, June 29, 2015
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Common Ground Solutions, LLC
Dr. Marilyn Fitzgerald has followed a singular passion – helping others help themselves – throughout her adult life, which has led to extensive involvement in both domestic and international humanitarian work. Whether participating in community projects or traveling the world as a consultant and volunteer, she is driven by a relentless curiosity and creative imagination seeking to better understand and contribute to answers addressing the ever-present questions of “what-if?”
What if there were no wars?
- What if there was world peace?
- What if there were no hungry children?
- What if there was so such thing as poverty?
- What if all humans had an equal opportunity to prosper?
- What would it require of each of us to contribute toward a fair and equitable world?
Ultimately, her experiences and education have led to pursuing the answer to one overriding question:
What would it require of each of us to contribute toward a fair and equitable world?
To answer this question, Marilyn has focused her efforts to understand, pursue, and educate others on the positive and favorable impact of micro-finance and social business. She believes they are integral to answering this critical question and the catalyst for bringing about a better tomorrow for those seeking a hand up toward sustainability.
As a humanitarian and in promotion of sound humanitarian practices, Marilyn has dedicated her education and utilized her listening skills as a psychologist to better understand the reality of the world. She has combined empathy with an MBA to better integrate business concepts to the world of humanitarian aid. To more fully understand the impact of humanitarian efforts, she conducted field research studies regarding the sustainability of humanitarian aid programs. The results of this research, addressing the unintended consequences of humanitarian aid, appear in The Relationship between Negotiation and Sustainability in Humanitarian Development Aid Projects. The research and field experiences are further intertwined and elaborated on in her new book, If I Had a Water Buffalo; Micro-finance as a Means to Sustainability.
Common Ground Solutions, LLC, is a consulting firm excelling in program evaluation to determine the best practices used in effective, sustainable projects.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Dan Varner, CEO
Excellent Schools Detroit
Dan Varner is the Chief Executive Officer at Excellent Schools Detroit, a coalition of philanthropy, educators, and community-based organizations working to ensure that every Detroit student is in an excellent school by 2020. The coalition’s work impacts all Detroit students and all schools, regardless of governance. Their work focuses on the issues of new school creation, accountability, talent development, early childhood education, and building a broad and deep public demand for excellence in education.
Prior to joining Excellent Schools Detroit, Dan worked as a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on both the Michigan and Education & Learning teams. He is also the cofounder and former CEO of Think Detroit, which he led through a merger with another nonprofit organization to form Think Detroit PAL, where he also served as CEO. Think Detroit PAL is currently the largest provider of award-winning after-school sports programs in Detroit, serving over 10,000 participants annually.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Sheila Kasselman, Founder
Topic: The Sky Foundation
It is estimated that in this year, within the United States, there will be approximately 46,420 new diagnoses of pancreas cancer and the number per year is on the rise. In the general U.S. population, the lifetime chance of developing pancreas cancer is 1 in 71. It is the ninth most commonly occurring cancer, yet it is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths. The 5-year survival rate for pancreas cancer is 6%. The majority of these cases will be diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease beyond the ability of curative intervention which translates into over 38,000 cancer-related deaths. However, when discovered at an early stage, the curative rate of pancreas cancer increases dramatically through the use of surgery and chemotherapy.
Sheila Sky Kasselman was diagnosed with early stage pancreas cancer in 2007. She underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a complete Whipple surgery. Six months into recovery she began Sky Foundation, Inc. with the mission to raise awareness and fund early detection research for pancreas cancer.
Since its inception, Sky Foundation has proudly donated $765,000 in seed money to several researchers and institutions. Sky continues to expand its network
of supporters in the United States and Canada.
Prior to starting Sky Foundation, Sheila had a long career in the insurance industry as well as owning her own financial services business. Sheila has three children and four grandchildren. She enjoys active walks, Pilates, gardening, and a challenging game of bridge.