Posts Tagged ‘Erin Guttenplan’

Groupon G-Team: Supporting Causes and Causing a Scene

Photo: G-Team/Edge of Seven

Are you a Grouponer? If you are still catching up on e-commerce and not yet buying everything on your computer, Groupon is a website for, essentially, group-sourced coupons and deals on goods and services in your city or town. The sales are local,  for a short time, and from getting more and more people to buy a certain day’s deal, they extend greater savings to a larger numbers of users. It is a sales model that thrives on word of mouth, Twitter, facebook, and general viral excitement about wanting to know the next great thing.

Well, the next great thing is here. Groupon has launched the Groupon G-Team, a more philanthropically-focused endeavor that uses the group hype philosophy to find ways to reach out and support charities and special causes. Instead of getting a cool new widget when you join the day’s sales, with G-Team, you join a group that strengthens good causes, lending your volunteer time or donation, or organizing group actions. Each day’s email alert if you sign up, or update to the website if you surf there, can provide opportunities to help a new organization or community action. The great chance that brought G-Team to my attention is the opportunity to support my friends at Edge of Seven (see interview with founder, Erin Guttenplan, here), where the deal gets as many of us as possible to donate just $10 (and if 45 of us do, it will fund housing and schooling for one year for three girls in Nepal who wouldn’t normally have access to higher education–jump in here).

See what you’ve been missing, and see how crowd-sourced change invigorates philanthropy, and extends our reach.

CHANGERS PROFILE: Erin Guttenplan—Edge of Seven

I got some great international response to the blog recently, including a lovely and heartfelt comment yesterday from a reader in Kathmandu, Nepal. How perfect that today I am running this interview with the amazing Erin Guttenplan who created the service tour/volunteer travel company, Edge of Seven (with a great program—that I am desperate to do—that creates more education opportunities for girls in Nepal). Erin is one of those folks I find so fascinating, who saw the world a particular way, and it demanded that she step up and create something new. I love what she’s up to, and how the world reaps the benefits of her work, and her astute perceptions of how some charitable organizations/NGOs are not doing what they say they are was sadly but vividly played out similarly in my recent experiences in Haiti…

Erin Guttenplan

ERIN GUTTENPLAN (Founder/Executive Director), EDGE OF SEVEN

Erin believes in the potential of international service to foster global understanding between people and nations. She created Edge of Seven because she has worked with communities in need in the developing world. She has also met volunteers who want to serve in any capacity, big or small. Erin believes that Edge of Seven is an affordable vehicle to harness the potential in connecting the two.

The mission of Edge of Seven is to create awareness and volunteer support for service projects in developing countries that are sustainable, community driven, and responsive to local needs. We at Edge of Seven believe that change is possible with collective action over time.

Tell me a little bit about the genesis of EDGE OF SEVEN—why this? And what’s the scoop on that name?
It really began years ago when I attended an info session about the Peace Corps. After learning that it was a 2 ½ year time commitment, I decided not to apply. I felt that I couldn’t go that far away, for that long, at that time in my life. I searched for a short-term alternative but they were too expensive. I noticed a need.

As for easier things to start, I’m a firm believer that we learn the most from our greatest challenges. I have been incredibly lucky to have the unwavering support of my family and friends every step of the way. Everything is easier with people behind you. (I also love wine. That certainly helps.)

Our name! I love telling the story of our name. Edge is our heart. When I was thinking about names for a volunteering-abroad-in-developing-countries-around-the-world nonprofit, I was looking for a word that signified adventure. Enter “edge”. We strive to create a bold experience that pushes volunteers since real discovery happens outside of our comfort zone. Further, we think that intercultural cooperation happens when you feel how people live halfway across the world. Seven is our vision. We’d like to support projects on all seven continents in the future. We’ll grow slowly because the most important piece of the puzzle is that we find the RIGHT projects. We’re on the hunt for projects that are community driven, sustainable, and responsive to local needs. Those projects exist all over the world and we’re excited to find them. (More after the jump)

Continue reading