Striving to create a virtual world that is also virtuous, Lee Fox developed KooDooZ, an online forum where each user interaction forwards the development of humanitarian values and promotes philanthropic efforts. Currently by invitation only, the concept is such that users can be exposed to a wide variety of topics and connect with like minds on important social issues. By linking motivated users to forward-thinking foundations, nonprofits, and even celebrities with the reach to spark mainstream attention around key causes, KooDooZ becomes a catalyst for change amongst a conscious community.
A passionate entrepreneur and humanitarian, Lee Fox has enjoyed walking the tightrope of innovation at the intersections of technology, new media and entertainment where she has taken title of CEO (internet/mobile), VP of Marketing (professional services), Content Creator (brand management) and Writer (consumer TV). Lee actively sits on for-profit and non-profit boards and currently chairs the American Technology Association’s Los Angeles council. She also sits on council for the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club and continues to volunteer, coach and mentor youth-led initiatives alongside her husband and three children.
As the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer for KooDooZ, Inc., Lee’s mission is to spread the word about KDZ (“kids”) programs which are designed to teach youth how to innovate goals to help further a cause in partnership with for-profit and non-profit organizations.
1. How do you define for-profit philanthropy?
It’s almost easier to define what for-profit philanthropy is NOT — especially in this era of transparency. It’s not “green” or “pink”-washed window dressing that aims to be passed off as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. It’s not a cause marketing initiative which comes and goes based on consumer trends (though I am in favor of CMO’s exploring these types of micro-fundraising formats).
Done right, for-profit philanthropy gives organizations the opportunity to innovate and affect socially responsible change. The visionaries among us, who are also business leaders, are not driving corporate philanthropy solely for higher brand favor, profit or power. Nor are they adding corporate assets to the philanthropic toolbox simply as a means to better engage employees and community. When a C-level executive considers philanthropic lines of business s/he should be committed to doing so, only when it’s core to the DNA of both leader and company.
In my estimation, for-profit philanthropy should be heralded as a new medium to accelerate the development of triple pundit solutions (a la planet, people and profit). Watch what Google is doing to inspire collaboration across sectors and spark ground-breaking technology and information solutions. As a profit-making enterprise, Google’s leaders and the rest of the players in this space have a unique opportunity to drive a new paradigm in philanthropy, and it will be defined by one word: “innovation.”
2. Please describe your philanthropic business plan and your current charitable activities.
As a for-profit company with its heart in the non-profit sector, KooDooZ exists to give kids a safe place online to channel their passions into actions for social change. We want brands and non-profits to unravel the complexity of societal issues they seek to address, and identify methods that kids (and their families) can implement (such as volunteerism, fundraising or awareness campaigns) to support the transformation.
The complexity of today’s problems – whether it’s homelessness, education, pollution or healthcare – requires engaging the public in the issues they care passionately about and articulating what actions can be taken. Today’s youth (Millennials) are civically charged and eager to help. By channeling their energy and giving them social learning opportunities, we can empower these kids to become activists and thought leaders in their own communities.
The KooDooZ business model allocates 10% of company profits in order to (i) sponsor matching gift drives alongside our community of users; (ii) encourage our employee base to participate in community service and (iii) financially assist our partner schools, youth groups or community clubs to develop KDZ programs for the benefit of their student body.
3. How do you communicate the impact of these efforts to your customers?
KooDooZ incorporates a graphical wizard which walks kids through the steps of goal creation and allows them to share their “good intentions” with friends and family across a variety of open platforms and mobile applications. For those who don’t want to devise their own goals, they can be challenged by brands and non-profits to get behind a cause.
By celebrating each (micro) achievement, KooDooZ helps the public stay committed, interested and invested in being part of the solution. We track methods and milestones through wizards and widgets so that users can quickly see volunteer hours, financial donations and event participation levels that have been personally and collectively achieved.
In part, this is what we believe makes KooDooZ a revolutionary youth program, as sponsors can measure their investment not only by levels of engagement, but in terms of “lives changed.”
4. Why do you think it’s important for companies to adopt philanthropy as part of their revenue model?
Adopting philanthropy as part of a company’s revenue model will serve as a call to action. It will promote more meaningful partnerships between for- and non-profit organizations. As a result, we will see a deeper commitment to transparency, collaboration and innovation.
5. What would you say is the most critical element in successfully implementing philanthropic endeavors?
The executives sanctioned to get behind corporate philanthropic endeavors have to be very clear about their initiatives:
+ Why does it make sense for this organization to address any one complex social issue?
+ Are there other parties with which to forge a partnership?
+ If a strategic non-profit is identified, will there be opportunities for board participation?
+ What specific resources (financial vs human capital) will be allocated over what period of time?
+ How will impact be measured?
+ Can the organization hold itself accountable for the results (good or bad)?
+ What tools will be used to promote and market the philanthropic initiatives?
Good corporate philanthropy should inspire all stakeholders — of the CAUSE – to collaborate and contribute to the collective mindshare.
Name: Lee Fox
Title: Founder and Chief Innovation Officer
Email: info@KooDooZ.com (general) or firstname.lastname@example.org (direct) or Twitter: @KooDooZ