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Nourish International

2014 Giving Challenge: Feb 5 – Feb 26

February 5, 2014 | Posted in Nourish Office, Summer Projects, Ventures | By

Are you ready, Nourish Supporters?  Nourish International Chapters all across the country are kicking off their most exciting fundraising challenge of the year!  Nourish is partnering with Razoo to run a 3-week fundraiser to raise money for our summer 2014 development projects!  The fundraiser begins today, Wednesday, February 5th, and will continue until Wednesday, February 26th.  The Nourish International National Office is awarding up to $6000 in cash prizes.

You can support our projects today by visiting the Nourish Giving Challenge website, clicking on any of the project pages, and learning more about the work we are doing this summer.  Project pages include short summaries of all projects, descriptions of desired long-term impact, and photos!  During last year’s challenge, Chapters raised over $35,000, and this year, Nourish Chapters are determined to surpass this accomplishment by achieving a goal of $40,000!   If the Nourish Movement as a whole reaches $30,000 by the end of the challenge, the Nourish International National Office will match 5% of the money each Chapter raises!

The Giving Challenge is designed to help Chapters raise funds they need to implement sustainable projects abroad, as well as spread awareness about the work they are doing.  Be a part of the Giving Challenge today and visit


Guest Post: Nourish Alumnus Jen Smith

January 30, 2014 | Posted in Alumni Spotlight, Nourish Office, Ventures | By

Guest Post by University of Tennessee Nourish Alumnus Jen Smith

Social innovation refers to the creation of new ideas or strategies to solve a social problem.  Social innovators or social entrepreneurs are individuals that work together to develop these innovative ideas and turn them into action. Nourish International engages students and empowers communities to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty and provides an avenue for students to learn from, reach out to and connect with an incredibly vast network of social innovators.

Nourish International served as the ideal induction into the world of social entrepreneurship and innovation for me.  Prior to my experience with Nourish, I had never even heard of social innovation; I just wanted to make the world a better place.  After my first Nourish Summer Institute, I discovered a community of like-minded students and professionals that supported and challenged each other.   However, there was also a sense of urgency because we had work to do.  I remember saying the Institute felt like going to Hogwarts: all those unique individuals in the same place not knowing what to expect but making magic happen.

So far, I have been to three Nourish Summer Institutes and each one seems to progress in awesomeness—from the events, to the speakers, to the goals set.  My first Institute taught me about social innovation and introduced me to the Nourish community.  At my second Institute, I learned about the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation and received encouragement and support to launch a small Ugandan jewelry sales Venture for my Chapter.  My third Institute, I came back as a Nourish alumnus, StartingBloc Fellow, and small business owner because of the network that Nourish International introduced me to.

Nourish taught me that while innovation takes many forms and is made through a countless number of avenues, the network gained along the way is what makes amazing things happen.  Nourish International, and particularly the Nourish Institute, unites students with an impressive collection of innovators, entrepreneurs, and various other ridiculous and crazy people to make nearly anything possible.

Here’s my challenge:

Reach out.  Take advantage of the network.  Go and make amazing things happen!

– Jen Smith

Updates from the Venture Fund Winners

January 22, 2014 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Ventures | By

With the start of the New Year we’d like to highlight the success of some of our amazing Venture Fund winners. Each year the Nourish National Office teams up with StartUp Cup to run a business competition model. The winners of this competition receive an investment to expand their small business Ventures or to create entirely new business Ventures. Today we’d like to feature the Claremont and OSU Chapters for their inspiring progress and admirable accomplishments through the Venture Fund.

The Claremont Chapter applied to expand their weekly “Café Nourish.” Every Sunday night from 8pm-12am, the café sells delicious foods donated by local businesses, has live entertainment, and creates a central location where students can come to study or hangout with friends. With the Venture Fund investment the Claremont Chapter will expand their café to start selling fresh fruit smoothies and Boba tea.

Claremont Cafe Nourish

Cafe Nourish at the Claremont Colleges

With the investment they received through the Venture Fund, Café Nourish has become a reliable location for fresh fruit smoothies and Boba tea and have even more ideas to boost their business and make more money. They plan to start taking their business to dorms every Friday between 7-9pm to give students the incentive to come out to their present location.

The Ohio State University Chapter received an investment to scale their Fair Trade Jewelry sale venture. They purchase handmade jewelry from a grassroots organization in Uganda and sell the jewelry on campus. With the Venture Fund investment, the Chapter will purchase a Columbus vendor license to sell downtown and market their product to friends and family living outside of Columbus.

Ohio State seemed to be just as successful as Claremont with their endeavors. They received about $350 in seed capital and with these funds they were able to buy their jewelry from the original vendor instead of using their own funds. Although they have faced challenges in finding a decent spot to sell their jewelry, they are constructing a schedule of dates and locations that will give them a profit on a semi-regular basis. We commend Ohio State for accomplishing so much in these past couple of months and are excited to see how much they will accomplish in the future.

We are so excited by the progress of these two Venture Fund winners so far and we cannot wait to see all that they will accomplish by the end of this year.

What Does Social Entrepreneurship Mean to You?

January 9, 2014 | Posted in Alumni Spotlight, Chapter Updates, Nourish Office, Ventures | By

This month our blog series focuses on social entrepreneurship. We’ll discuss Nourish’s approach, Chapter Ventures, and the wider field.

At Nourish International, we believe in empowering students and communities to take action for sustainably ending poverty with the tools of education, intercultural understanding, business, and social enterprise. The tenants of social entrepreneurship are  key components to our approach to Ventures and Projects. Learn more about our model here.

Today we ask our community, what does social entrepreneurship mean to you? 

Nourish International Program Director, Sarah Miller Frazer says, “Social entrepreneurship uses market forces and business practices to create innovative solutions to societal problems.” Sarah believes that social enterprises can be for-profit, non-profit, or hybrid, but ultimately deliver results on a triple bottom line. Learn more about the Triple Bottom Line in this article from the Economist.

“Social entrepreneurs are mad scientists in the lab,” says Pamela Hartigan, director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University. “They’re harbingers of new ways of doing business (Forbes, 2013).”

Jennifer Smith, a Nourish alumnus from the University of Tennessee says, “Nourish taught me a new way to do business. Previously, I could not understand the personal benefit of running a non-profit, but I knew that the conventional capitalist business ethic was lacking something, as well. Nourish taught me how to form a business that aligns 100 percent with my values. I now know the basics of running a business, where I can benefit while employees, customers, the environment, and the world as a whole also benefit.”Drawing on her Nourish training and experience, Jennifer launched her own business: TradePrints selling handicrafts made by Grassroots Uganda.

Join the discussion! What does social entrepreneurship mean to you?

Comment below, or comment on Facebook and Twitter.

UT 1




University of Texas, Hunger Lunch Venture

Taking a Page from Our Own Book

November 19, 2013 | Posted in Nourish Office, Office Updates, Ventures | By

Nourish International embraces the principle that creating sustainable economic opportunity for communities in the developing world is a sustainable way to end extreme poverty. Simply put, you can give a hungry man a fish to eat, but if you teach him to fish, not only will he not be hungry again, but he can teach his children and maybe his neighbors to fish… and they too will not be hungry again. This principle is a guiding value of Nourish; a value we teach and strive to embed in each college Chapter across the U.S.

This is not to say that there are times when relief efforts, like “giving a fish”, is the right thing to do. We admire and support relief efforts such as in the case of natural disaster that occurred in the devastated coastal town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar, where Super Typhoon, Haiyan, made landfall on November 8 wiping out just about everything in its path. Relief is necessary and basic human needs must be met, and along with other globally conscious organizations and people like many of you around the world, generously leap into action to address the immediate need.

As a non-profit organization with a focus on entrepreneurship, some might say that relying exclusively on traditional fundraising activities to maintain our bottom line is a lot like ‘giving a hungry man a fish’; that fundraising is relief work that cannot be sustained.  And, while we at Nourish do not agree with this entirely, we do believe that it is important that we ‘walk our talk’; earning income is part of the Nourish International culture and as some say around here, “It’s part of our DNA.”

Enter is a new business venture for Nourish International and is the beginning of what we hope will become a growing online social enterprise that earns revenues to support the triple bottom line: people, profits and planet.

We are excited about our new venture and what it means to our triple bottom line…the Nourish Network, our international partners, and ultimately the people who are lifting themselves out of poverty by making and selling these products.

Visit today for all your holiday shopping needs. Your purchase will engage students and empower communities to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty.

It’s the Season of Thankfulness!

November 15, 2013 | Posted in 2013, Alumni Spotlight, Chapter, Chapter Founders, Nourish Office, Student Spotlight, Ventures | By

Last month, we learned how scary poverty can be. We learned how a terrible natural disaster can have devastating effects on impoverished areas across the world. However, we are proud of the entire Nourish community and all that we’ve done, and continue to do, to uplift  communities living in poverty. It is the season of thankfulness and we would like to dedicate these next few posts to those in the Nourish community whom we are truly thankful for.

To our students— You go above and beyond everyday and dedicate your time to the Nourish mission and for that, we thank you.

To our International partners— Your connection to the community gives us the insight into all that we can do to help. We are thankful for your constant dedication and encouragement with our projects.

To our Board of Directors— Your wisdom, experience, and commitment gives us the support we need in order to fulfill our goals. For that, we thank you.

To our Dedicated Friends and Supporters— You give advice, donations, volunteer, and find any way to get involved to help nourish thrive, and for that we thank you.

In our world today 1.29 billion people live on less than $1.25, 884 million people lack access to clean water, 925 million people are malnourished, and 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. We are thankful for your help as we work to improve these statistics and create the possibility of a better world.

Venture Fund Results

October 14, 2013 | Posted in Chapter Updates, Nourish Office, Ventures | By

Every fall Nourish runs the Venture Fund Program. In partnership with Start-Up Cup, we run a business model competition. We encourage our chapters to apply for an investment from the National Office to expand their businesses or create entirely new business ventures. The first round is a written application detailing how the Venture will be successful, the execution strategy, and how the Chapter will use resources. Chapters that move on to the second round pitch their Venture to a panel of judges. Today we’d like to recognize the winners of the 2013 Venture Fund: the Claremont Colleges, Emory University, Davidson College, Virginia Tech University, Vanderbilt University, and Ohio State University. Read on to learn more about these winning Ventures.

The Claremont Chapter applied to expand their weekly “Café Nourish.” Every Sunday night from 8pm-12am, the cafe sells delicious foods donated by local businesses, has live entertainment, and creates a central location where students can come to study or hangout with friends. With the Venture Fund investment the Claremont Chapter will expand their café to start selling fresh fruit smoothies and Boba tea.

Emory College applied for seed funding for a new Venture: selling mock cocktails at large scale social events. Because alcoholic beverages are not allowed at many on-campus functions, they thought a nice Mango Blast or a Sweet Tea Spritzer would do the trick. They plan to work with on campus organizations, such as the College Council, the Emory Chinese Student Organization, and the fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. Chapter Leader Charlotte Zhang says they will “sell the classy experience to the Emory Community,”

Davidson College received funding to launch a business selling customized hairbands that double as bracelets to students on campus in this Venture called “Banded Together Against Poverty.” Davidson Nourish will sell customized bands at the Eating Houses on campus, athletic events, and hopefully soon at the school store.

Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt each applied for supplies to launch their Venture: Coolers for a Cause. Both schools have a campus tradition where young women provide a custom painted cooler to their Fraternity brother dates during the spring formal weekend. Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt will recycle old coolers, sand and prime them, and resell them to young women on campus.

The Ohio State University received an investment to scale their Fair Trade Jewelry sale Venture. They purchase handmade jewelry from a grassroots organization in Uganda and sell the jewelry on campus. With the Venture Fund investment, the Chapter will purchase a Columbus vendor license to sell downtown and market their product to friends and family living outside of Columbus.

We are so impressed by all of the applications for the 2013 Venture Fund. We can’t wait to see all that these Chapters accomplish as they launch and expand these Ventures.

Two Amazing Programs: Students, Apply Now!

August 19, 2013 | Posted in Nourish Office, Office Updates, Summer Institute, Ventures | By

This month, the National Office kicked off the application periods for two amazing programs: Chapter Visits and the Venture Fund!

Applications for both programs opened early in August during the Sixth Annual Summer Institute. Since then, students have been encouraged to plan and start on their applications, both of which are due in September. The deadline for the Chapter Visit application will be the first to come up on Monday, September 9. The deadline for the Venture Fund application will follow two weeks later on Monday, September 23.

The National Office cannot wait to see the Chapters’ applications for the programs — both of which are designed to bolster Chapters’ fulfillment of their annual leadership, profit, and project impact goals.

Learn more about the programs and the details of their application processes below:

Chapter Visits are an opportunity for Chapters to have some one-on-one time on their campuses with the National Office to work on achieving Chapter goals. Chapters will submit an application to NINO with concrete examples on how a visit would help them to further their goals and grow as a Chapter. Applicants will also need to create a tentative schedule of events and logistics for the visit. The Chapter Visits are designed to be 3-5 days of intensive workshops and trainings to give Chapters a vigorous push forward tailored to their specific needs and goals!

  • Deadline: September 9, at 11:59 pm.
  • Application: Hosted on the Resource Site. Click here.  

The Venture Fund is a competition in which Chapters put forth their strongest business plans for enterprises designed to fund their international partners. Students have the opportunity to lay out their plans for the launch of a new Venture or for the scaling of a current Venture. Not only do students get to work on a written business plan and financial spread sheet in the first round, but in the second round they also have the opportunity to pitch their plans to a panel of potential investors. All applicants are coached through this process by the National Office’s Chapter Support Team — and the winners are given seed capital to put their plans in place this fall!  

  • Deadline: September 23, at 11:59 pm.
  • Application: Hosted by the StartUp Cup. Click here.
  • To read: 9 Steps to Being a Strong Venture Fund Applicant – Click here.
  • To use: Venture Fund Financial Sheet Example – Click here.

At the National Office, we are extremely excited to see what Nourish students come up with in their applications! We have a feeling we’re going to be blown away.


Students: Have a question about your application? Email your Chapter Support Team Member today with any questions. We cannot wait to help! 


Innovative Venture Feature: UCLA Pizza Catering Service

January 14, 2013 | Posted in Nourish Office, Ventures | By

Welcome to 2013. Did you know that this year is our ten year anniversary of Hunger Lunch, our first ever social venture? Since our founding, Nourish Chapters have raised more than a quarter million dollars towards fighting extreme poverty around the world. In celebration of Hunger Lunch and the power of social enterprise, we will feature innovative Ventures from the Nourish network all month.

This week we will be featuring the UCLA Chapter’s Pizza Catering Service, one of the winning ideas from the 2012 Venture Fund competition.

If you’ve ever visited a college town, you know that there is a huge market for late night delivery. It’s for all of that… ahem… studying. Nourish students at UCLA decided to reach out to this group of college students by selling them pizza while they are out on the town. They have also expanded their business to include a catering service for fraternities.  Offering two price options, fraternities can either pay a larger fee to provide pizza for free to party goers or a smaller fee that requires party goers to pay for their pizza. The funds raised are used to support a future Nourish Project.  We are so proud of the creative business model that these Nourish students have implemented in their Venture and look forward to hearing about its continuing success. Way to go UCLA!

Bringing in the New Year with New Programs: The Venture Fund

August 15, 2012 | Posted in Nourish Office, Office Updates, Ventures | By

After wrapping up a very successful year, Nourish International enters its ninth year with some additions to the agenda. At the 2012 Summer Institute, we announced three new and exciting programs for the 2012-13 year.

The first that we are profiling in this blog series titled “Bringing in the New Year with New Programs” is the Venture Fund.

With the Venture Fund, we invite Nourish Chapters to submit business models for a new Venture or for scaling a current successful Venture to our nationwide competition. Funding will be awarded to the winning Chapters to help make their business model a reality.

Nourish will be partnering with Startup Cup, an organization that supports entrepreneurs in creating a successful Business model competition. Startup Cup will assist in designing the program and selecting the winners. Chief Executive Officer Allie Treske and Executive Director Kelly Phoenix will be among the judges, along with other Nourish Board and Community members.

Applications are due by September 21. Students, we are sending out the link by the end of the week, so start brainstorming now!