Illuminating a New Frontier of Giving

“Optimism for me isn’t a passive expectation that things will get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better – that whatever suffering we see, no matter how bad it is, we can help people if we don’t lose hope and we don’t look away.” – Melinda Gates 

Child mortality rates, global contraception access, HIV/AIDS, the American education system…the daily work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is hardly a walk on the beach, but in 1993, a beach walk in Zanzibar is exactly what sparked America’s most generous foundation.

Writer Chris Anderson interviewed the power couple for TED in March of this year, and I found the video to be truly enlightening. My top three impressions:

  1. Bill and Melinda Gates are a shocking couple – shockingly smart, shockingly generous (they give away 95% of their wealth) and shockingly down to earth. This couple knows what works in global development and they are making epic changes in our world.
  2. Aid works – despite the recent negative press that global aid has gained, Bill and Melinda make a very convincing case that, while imperfect, aid is literally saving thousands of lives around the world every day. Can’t argue with that.
  3. Shocking generosity is contagious – When you hear of a couple giving away 95% of their wealth, you assume they are an anomaly. But it seems that this kind of radical philanthropy is catching on. The Gates have convinced over 100 other billionaire families to give away more than half of their wealth.

Of course, we aren’t all billionaires, and for most of us giving away half our income would leave us on the street. But the message is greater than a percentage how can we take what excess we have and multiply it to benefit the global community?

Watch the entire interview below.

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The Gates family is one shining example of an illuminating new frontier in giving; last year’s TEDxPeachtree speaker Jeff Shinabargersocial entrepreneur, founder of Plywood People,, and author of More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity, was another. Don’t miss this year’s speakers  at TEDxPeachtree 2014. Sign up for our newsletter to get all the info, enjoy early bird rates…and get illuminated!

Molly H Headshot



Molly Heacock is the Community Relations Director at CARE for AIDS, an Atlanta based non-profit that works with men and women affected by HIV/AIDS in Kenya. She lives in Ormewood Park with her husband and dog, and cannot get enough of TEDxPeachtree.

Posted in TED, Videos0 Comments

Capturing the Unseen and Clarifying the Misrepresented @ TEDSalon Berlin


On June 23rd, 2014 the city of Berlin proudly hosted the first official TED event in Germany. With support from the local TEDxBerlin team, 15 speakers and performers came together for TEDSalon Berlin, held at the historic Admiralspalast.

The event opened with Christopher Kippenberger’s “beautiful and haunting” scenes of the city, filmed using camera-equipped drones. The video showcased the abilities of Sergei Lupashin’s Fotokite, re-introducing familiar Berlin monuments from perspectives never previously captured on film. Erica Hagen shared the story of Kibera, a town of more than 250,000 in Africa who remained uncaptured on any map until young residents came together to create Map Kibera and a voice for the community. Self-proclaimed Ignorance Fighters, Hans and Ola Rosling challenged attendees’ notions on “development” and “poverty.” Through the Gapminder Foundation, the father and son team aim to unveil the “beauty of statistics” in order for the public to see a more accurate representation of society.

Arguably the most memorable and popular talk was Simon Anholt’s discussion on his project, The Good Country Index. Fitting for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall that had divided Berlin, Anholt discusses the walls we still attempt to put up between each other as nations. He asks us to rethink what we ask of politicians in order to solve the unaddressed problems of globalization and redefine what we think of as a good country. See Simon’s talk and which countries he has defined as the “goodest” below.

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Our own TEDxPeachtree Salon will be held on July 15, 2014. You can still get tickets to hear speakers including Scott Tanksley and Leng Leng Chancey. Come Watch Sparks Fly!

Nicole Smith
Nicole Smith is a Marketing Analyst and Consultant for companies such as The Coca-Cola Company and Intercontinental Hotels Group. She lives in Midtown where she loves to hang out with both the tech and art communities.

Posted in Speakers, TED, TEDx0 Comments

Illuminating Minds and Ideas in Vancouver at TED 2014


This past March 17-21, TED Vancouver hosted TED 2014 – The Next Chapter. This five day event took place in the scenic Canadian town of Vancouver with his snow capped peaks and crisp clean air. In the spirit of rebirth and renewal, TED 2014 brought us stories of people who have harnessed the power of innovation and passion to make possible out of impossible. 

The list of speakers consisted of some of the brightest minds and spirits in our world whose stories illuminate and ignite our beliefs of what is possible. The group included whistleblower/patriot/sometimes enemy of the state (pick one) Edward Snowden whose talk shed light on the right to data privacy, surveillance and internet freedom. Fashion model Geena Rocero told her tale of rebirth in becoming a woman after being identified as a male for the first half of her life. Astronaut Chris Hadfield recounted his harrowing and hilarious tale of going blind in space. Bill and Melinda Gates talked with TED curator Chris Anderson about their life after having made billions, and during which they’ve spent giving away that very same money. The collection of content and talent was inspiring, educational, and eye-opening, and allowed us to re-examine the fear that we commonly feel when change and the unknown are thrust upon us.

One of the most moving presentations was delivered by Hugh Herr, the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics Center for Extreme Bionics. His work in fusing biomechanics and microprocessors has made mobility easier for himself, a double leg amputee and for countless people around the world. One of those people is ballroom dancer Adrienne Haslet-Davis who lost her leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Herr’s work has resulted in prosthetic technology that allowed Haslet-Davis to perform for the first time since her injury in front of the TED 2014 audience. Watch the amazing talk and performance below.

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This October TEDxPeachtree looks forward to illuminating new ideas with the same caliber of presenters and storytellers. Won’t you join us?

M.PinkeltonPhotoMaria Pinkelton is the Communication Specialist for the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University. She lives in Decatur with her husband and son; along with a fine collection of books, craft beers and size 11 shoes.

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