8 Social Startup Campaigns to Inspire You in the New Year

What’s the most inspiring thing you saw a socially minded startup do in 2012 and why?

1. WeTopia: Games for Charity

“The socially-minded WeTopia startup (a game you can play on Facebook in which your points are converted into charitable donations) did some amazing work in 2012. To date, it has donated nearly 500,000 hot meals and almost 5 million liters of water to needy kids around the world. It has also helped to build schools, and has contributed textbooks as well.”

- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

2. Zaarly’s Post-Sandy Marketplace

“Zaarly created a marktplace online that allowed people to pay for services needed by people in the areas that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, from cooking to cleaning. Zaarly also promised to donate all proceeds toward the American Red Cross.”

- Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

3. From Pocket to Project

“Charity: Water provides sustainable drinking water to third world countries. This past year, they launched a Dollars to Projects app that tracks every dollar raised. When a donation is made, representatives formulate project reports using GPS tracking and on-site images that show exactly how the money is being utilized. Your donation therefore becomes a story with a beginning, middle and end.”

- Alex Lorton, Cater2.me

4. Azavea: Making Local Policy Smarter

“Azavea makes software for advanced maps and geography. Their tools are used by city governments (like ours here in Philadelphia) to better understand things like crime, public health, and poverty. Their technology allows local leaders to make more informed policy decisions, which helps promote the well-being of urban residents.”

- Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

5. Teaching All Kids to Code

“Last year, I saw Skema Education show a demo at the Startup Iceland Conference of how they’re taking kids with ADD/ADHD and teaching them computer programming. As a company, they’re reengineering how children are educated; they even have kids as paid interns.”

- Matt Wilson, Under30Media

6. Teachers Choose DonorsChoose

“Charles Best at DonorsChoose is incentivizing teachers to take on new initiatives by offering DonorsChoose funding, which helps teachers pursue projects that they feel will benefit their students. This new effort is an exciting take on merit pay for teachers.”

- Garrett Neiman, CollegeSpring

7. Etsy’s Female Engineer Initiative

“If you asked me a few years ago, I would have said there were no barriers to women succeeding in male dominated fields. Today, my opinion has changed completely and I was so impressed by the incredibly genuine (and effective) initiative by Etsy to hire more female engineers through a funded Hacker School. ”

- Lauren Friese, TalentEgg Inc.

8. Lumana Goes for Macro Impact

“Lumana, a microfinance organization working in villages in Ghana, started an investment fund to build small- and medium-sized enterprises rather than just giving small loans to individuals. This type of investment will have much broader and more sustainable positive impact in poor communities. I admire Lumana’s willingness to take risks and set new paradigms. ”

- Martina Welke, Zealyst

About The Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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