Entrepreneurs Funding Global Change

This post was co-authored by Beth Doane.


We have more tools than ever before to create positive change on a global scale - but perhaps the best tool is business rather than our traditional means of philanthropy. While philanthropy has achieved great success for causes that desperately need our attention, it is capitalism and finance that are working faster and more efficiently to solve human rights and environmental issues than we thought possible. Through micro loans, financial funds and crowd sourced campaigns for causes that matter we are seeing entrepreneurs merge philanthropy and capitalism to tackle world hunger, our waste crisis and conversation.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with three entrepreneurs who embody the spirit of giving, while growing thriving enterprises with smart and powerful teams.

How did you begin working with the company?
This Bar was the brain child of some of my good friends. I thought the idea was brilliant and asked how I could help.

How does your experience as a successful actress inform your work as a

I feel very lucky to do what I love on a daily basis. There's a saying: "to whom much is given, much is expected". And I've been given ALOT. I feel a social and ethical responsibility to make the world around me better.

What are the long-term plans for your charitable foundation?
I support a lot of charities who I believe do wonderful work. But there is a limit on how much people want to "donate". I feel the solution is for profit business applying a charitable component. Selling something a consumer wants, and needs no convincing to purchase, and paying it forward in
addition. For profit, for good. Everybody wins. It is sharing at its finest.

How would you describe yourself/organization in five words?
Yummy. Vital. For profit, and Good.

Your philanthropic work occurs in three basic areas: education, public policy, and international development. How did this portfolio come into being?
I don't believe any child should have to grow up in a war zone. And when we empower women and children in Iran and other countries, it brings about positive change in those regions, and ultimately, in the world as a whole. I created the foundation to help women and children around the globe. Much of the work has been focused in Western Asia and the Middle East. With women being educated in these regions, I believe that there is more of a chance for peace in the future.

How does your experience as a successful entrepreneur inform your work as a philanthropist?
I learned that hard work and perseverance are what it takes to be successful. I was fortunate and blessed to be given the abundant resources that I have. All my life, I have had a passion for poetry and arts, and with every passing day, I become more and more convinced that it is through the prism of Persian poetry and literature that we can offer the world a more amiable and accurate image of Iran. I have always felt that the arts and humanities offer an educational opportunity that goes beyond the norm. Art was my salvation as a child. It allows the imagination and dreams to develop. It gives people of all ages hope that there is something more to life, especially when going through traumatic times, such as war.

What are the long-term plans for the Pars Equality Center?
I have had a long-standing passion for increasing awareness of my native Iranian culture, as well as improving the lives of people from Iran and beyond. I started Pars Equality Center, a community foundation in 2010 to support the full integration of Iranian and Americans in the United States to create a more just and compassionate community in which Iranians of all cultures and beliefs can participate. I realized early on that every other minority group from Asians to Latinos have an organization to bring together their community.

The Iranian-American community has always been somewhat segmented, and to help each other, we need to come together and work in unity. I created the Pars Equality Center to help newcomers as well as American-born Iranians in need. There are various organizations for the Iranian community; however, we are the first to provide legal and social services with three offices in California. This shows us that there was a void that Pars Equality Center is now filling. We have incredible support in the Bay Area, but we are still relatively new to Southern California. We hope to build relationships with the influential Iranians in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego--they can help others understand the importance of our mission. We can't do this alone. We need to work together as a community. And in time, extend our support on a national level.

How would you describe the Pars Equality Center in five words?
Welcoming, community-focused, inclusive, ambitious, dedicated

How did your philanthropic work come into being?
I have spent the majority of my career as a sustainability-focused entrepreneur and venture capitalist. I am passionate about advising angel investors on clean technology and natural resource related investments. With my success in this field I donate regularly to causes and organizations I care about and in 2013 I was inspired to create Full Cycle Energy Fund. Full Cycle Energy Fund's mission is to retrofit traditional electric generation plants from high cost, polluting fuels to lower cost and environmentally friendly fuels derived from MSW (Municipal Solid Waste). We are also investing in new plants that are highly advanced, cleaner, safer and better for our planet.

How does your experience as a successful entrepreneur inform your work as a philanthropist?
The skills and strategy needed to grow a successful and profitable enterprise are the same skills and expertise I apply to giving back and my philanthropic efforts.

What are the long-term plans for your work?
While politicians waste time fighting over how to balance environmental regulation and economic development, pollution from fossil fuel use and increasing amounts of municipal waste are harming public health and our ecological systems worldwide. Communities located near fossil fuel extraction sites and power plants experience increased rates of cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and birth defects. My goal is to eradicate the need for fossil fuels forever by turning municipal waste into clean fuel that can power communities on a global scale never achieved before. In western countries, we have the luxury of throwing trash away and never having to see or think about it again. This "out of sight, out of mind" attitude does not change the fact that managing municipal waste is costly, both in economic and environmental terms and with Full Cycle we are transforming the way our trash is handled forever.

How would you describe yourself/organization in five words?
Philanthropic entrepreneur transforming our future