LocalTechWire Article on Nourish International Wine Tasting

January 23, 2009 · Print This Article

Print This Article

WRAL’s LocalTechWire ran a nice article today promoting the Nourish International “World Wines & Global Poverty” fundraiser. The Nourish International Event is Friday night (tonight) at 8pm with speaker Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational.

If you’re in the Triangle, you should come!

Here’s an excerpt from the LTW article

Nourishing Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship is Appetizing Goal for iContact CEOby Rick Smith

Nourish International, a growing network of college students and entrepreneurs devoted to what they call “sustainable development,” has become a passion for Ryan Allis, chief executive officer of fast-growing e-mail marketing firm iContact.

Allis is one of many young tech executives who have embraced the concept of ‘giving back” to the world in which they live rather than take for personal gain. And Friday night at UNC-Chapel Hill, Allis will be among the hosts for a “World Wines and Global Poverty” fund-raiser.

To give back has been a calling for Allis, co-founder of Durham-based iContact, since his days as a youth. He and Aaron Houghton, iContact’s co-founder and chairman, launched the company as friends and students at UNC-CH. They recently were honored as entrepreneurs of the year by Ernst & Young, and their firm has won numerous awards while establishing an international customer base.

Allis and Houghton share a commitment to philanthropic efforts as well. And Allis told Local Tech Wire in an interview that Nourish strikes him as an especially appealing cause.

“Nourish International teaches entrepreneurship to college students who raise money through ventures to contribute and then visit social entrepreneurial projects that work to reduce hunger and poverty in the developing world,” he said “It’s a unique and effective model that Nourish is perfecting and then scaling to have a global impact. They need a bit of initial support in order to ’start-up’ so many chapters at once until the point where the chapters are profitable. They have chapters at 23 college campuses now–and it all started right here in Chapel Hill!”

Duke professor Dan Ariely, who wrote the New York Times best-seller “Predictably Irrational,” is the guest speaker at Friday’s event, which starts at 8 p.m. in the FedEx Global Center.

LTW asked Allis why he chose to be socially active as an entrepreneur.

“I grew up the son of two social entrepreneurs–an Episcopalian priest and a social worker,” he explained. “I was taught from a young age to care about helping others.

“When I was 17, I took a high school economics class from a teacher by the name of Robert Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher taught from a human and sociological perspective. Instead of focusing on teaching curves and math he often taught economics using stories. I learned from him that year that there were 2.7 billion human beings living on under $2 per day and that 49,000 people died needlessly each and every day from preventable diseases and starvation. Learning these facts got me on the path toward wanting to focus my life on addressing these issues.

“Over the past six years reading books like “The End of Poverty,” “The White Man’s Burden,” “Commonwealth,” “Confessions of An Economic Hitman,” “The Bottom Billion,” “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” and “Banker to The Poor” helped me learn more.

“The passing of Eve Carson in March, who was Co-Chair of Nourish International and such an amazing social entrepreneur to-be, caused me to further examine what I wanted to accomplish during my time here.

“Traveling to Uganda and Ethiopia in July cemented this lifelong focus on social entrepreneurship and making a positive impact in the area of education, healthcare, nutrition, clean water, human rights, and the environment. I am a firm believer that all companies must be socially responsible if we are going to create a sustainable world in which we can all prosper.

“With 3,000 children dying each day from a disease as preventable as malaria it’s hard not to wake up and realize we must work together as one. There is plenty of food in the world to feed everyone, yet more than 800 million people are chronically hungry due to lack of availability of food with adequate nutritious content. It just doesn’t make sense for such a problem (entrepreneurs see problems as opportunities) to exist in world of extravagance, waste, and overconsumption we live in.”

Allis’ service to Nourish International includes acting as its board chairman. He also sits on the board of Leadership Triangle, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

Read the full article and Q&A at Local Tech Wire

View the Nourish Documentary Video


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