With all the hurdles we've faced this year, there is an awful lot of negative news out there, and the first days of 2021 have offered little respite. But here at Billions Rising, bad news is just not in our wheelhouse. More to the point, there is just too much good news out there for us cover.
The people over at Vox put together a year-end look at some of the biggest breakthroughs of 2020–and why they were so important. Aside from the lightning-fast development of multiple Covid vaccines, a stupendous achievement in its own right, there were a host of other high-water marks over the course of the year: from big steps in Biotech to major advances in our understanding of poverty's causes ...Read more
Posted on 01/11/2021 at 12:07 PM
Despite our relative wealth here in the U.S., hunger is a vexing problem in our nation even in the best of times. And with the Covid crisis surging, this year has certainly been no exception. People have been hit hard–but thankfully, Californians have responded, pulling together to make sure the neediest among us don't go without.
The sheer number of initiatives is beyond impressive: from a teenager that raised $10,000 to benefit the hungry to an Encinita farm stand offering pay-what-you-can produce to those in need, people across the Golden State have stepped up to feed their neighbors this year.
This week, Patch.com showcased the vital work being done across California, in an exhaustiv...Read more
Posted on 12/28/2020 at 11:26 AM
We've all learned a great deal over the past eight months, and there has been a sharp learning curve in one area in particular: hunger. As Chef José Andrés explains in yesterday's editorial, this is an area where improvements are far overdue.
Andrés points out that our medical system wasn't truly modernized until after the 1914 epidemic, when it became clear that the old system wasn't up to the changing needs of the nation. In order to tackle our bigger food crisis, the same comprehensive overhaul is needed, he argues: "We need to think even bigger," Andrés says. "We need food policy action across the federal government, including the departments of agriculture, st...Read more
Posted on 12/08/2020 at 12:40 PM
Among the many disruptions we've faced this year due to Covid-19 is the drastic effect it has had on our schools. All across the globe, children's school experiences have been transformed, with such important rites of passage as prom and graduation either curtailed or confined to the web.
But that didn't keep 18-year-old Riya Shah from pursuing her dreams. Shah spent her homebound hours working on new technology that helps expecting mothers manage their health remotely. "We're worried about our health and going out, but pregnant moms are worried about two lives," Shah says. "So what can we do to help them out?"
Shah's platform Fetal Life helps women navigate pregnancy in a new environment&ndas...Read more
Posted on 10/22/2020 at 12:47 PM
Like so many businesses, theaters have been hit hard since the beginning of the pandemic, and Oakland's New Parkway Theater was no exception. But while their screens are still dark, what the eight-year-old theater did have was a loyal following--and as they soon found out, that proved to be their saving grace.
Two weeks after the state shutdown, The New Parkway pivoted to a pickup and delivery food program. And the results have been surprising: while selling food hasn’t come close to replacing revenue lost from showing films, the business is surviving and moving forward.
“It’s fair to say it was an instant hit,” says Carlos Courtade of New Parkway, who sees the theater ...Read more
Posted on 10/08/2020 at 01:00 PM
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we've seen a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. Responding to the needs of this embattled sector, public and private business leaders have invested in an emergency fund targeted to social entrepreneurs who focus on the world’s most vulnerable.
Acumen, a non-profit organization that invests in initiatives to tackle poverty, heads up the fund. Employing a radical approach divergent from their typical strategy, they use small grants and loans to create an immediate infusion of support for impacted communities.
Just one of the organizations they've helped is SiembraViva, a Colombian nonprofit that brings healthy food to people in cities, ...Read more
Posted on 09/30/2020 at 02:45 PM
While it seems like the bad news has been endless lately, it's always important to point out the bright spots when you find them. One area that has been particularly shaken up in the past several months is small business––and yet, there are some wily entrepreneurs who are coming out of the pandemic stronger and healthier.
Lisa Logan, Debra D. Williams and Sydney Perry are three of those entrepreneurs. A manicurist, a fitness specialist and a baker respectively, all three are black women and small business owners who've found a way to thrive during the slowdown. The recent Essence feature takes a look at the three of them, and the challenges they've weathered since Covid-19 began. ...Read more
Posted on 09/18/2020 at 01:15 PM
To say the very least, 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for all of us. But as the pandemic drags on, people across America are working together with compassion to solve urgent problems in our food system.
Community-based and -supported agriculture has been soaring since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and it's a more-than-welcome silver lining. Our friends at Civil Eats have collected fully 20 stories about these inspiring changes: from the farmers in Puerto Rico who are working for climate resilience and social justice to the Navajo women who are exploring ways to increase food access, together they describe a food system struggling to change for the better.
To learn more, you can read ...Read more
Posted on 08/31/2020 at 03:23 PM
The abrupt transition to remote learning that has accompanied the Covid crisis is the single biggest change facing many parents and teachers as the traditional back-to-school season unfolds this year. And sadly, the strictures of remote learning are much more likely to have a negative impact on children in poverty, threatening to intensify the already glaring disparities between rich and poor students.
But as Devorah Heitner points out, there are solutions within reach. And although Heitner, the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World, is cautious in her optimism, she also sees this crisis as an opportunity to reimagine our schools.
Read Heitner's thoug...Read more
Posted on 08/25/2020 at 01:25 PM
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on business throughout the world, and it continues to transform the landscape of our daily lives. Thankfully, many entrepreneurs have taken this disruption as a rare opportunity to redirect their energy toward the public good.
Operation StaySafe is one good example: they're a coalition of the leading American medical testing companies, along with healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs, 22 companies in all. They are working to create realistic, scalable solutions to the testing problem, and to increase access to comprehensive testing. Not only is StaySafe creating rapid tests accessible at home and work, they go a step further to aggreg...Read more
Posted on 07/31/2020 at 01:08 PM