JoshuaSmith of Reno, Nevada is no ordinary entrepreneur. He likes to identify obstacles that prevent him from accomplishing a project and then eliminate them with revolutionary thinking. Take for example, when he came up with the concept to build modular hinged greenhouses. The options for traditional gardening were disappointing him. So he developed and co-designed an entirely new concept for substantiable greenhouses. Josh Smith has over 17 years of experience as an entrepreneur. That experience came through building business enterprises in multiple industries, including wellness and technology.
With the modular greenhouses Josh saw the opportunity to expand beyond just building and selling the product. He actually identified how to potentially benefit others by broadening the outreach of the greenhouses. Josh Smith lives in Reno, Nevada, but he’s planning to take his modular greenhouses to school children everywhere. Providing them an opportunity to grow their own food by learning how the greenhouses can protect organic crops year round.
As a successful serial entrepreneur, Josh Smith lives by one rule, “set aside self-doubt.” He feels that most people talk themselves out of completing projects or starting a business because they don’t possess a “willingness to adapt.” Josh thinks that you must find something that you passionately want to create, in order to make it happen. Although Smith lives and works out of central location Reno, Nevada, he also firmly believes in global Eco-capitalism. He’s very much involved in his other businesses, but he has a greater plan for his modular greenhouses. Josh wants to create sustainable greenhouse gardening programs in every school in the US. He sees this as the link to serving humanity through expanding the environmental conservation element of the greenhouses.
Every person who’s always creating, thinking and restructuring businesses needs an outlet. When asked about the best way he spent $100, Josh spoke of his “epic days.” He plans a day to disconnect from constantly being in motion. He goes hiking, finds time to enjoy an organic meal or takes time to soak in a natural hot spring.
The DeVos family giving tradition began with Richard and Helen DeVos. Helen, who just recently passed away, has a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids Michigan named after her. She didn’t just give money. She enjoyed visiting and reading books to the patients. Richard DeVos is the cofounder of Amway, and was still running that company when Betsy married his son, Rich, who was also working for Amway at the time. She clearly knew she was joining a family that was both successful in business and generous with their money. Helen DeVos was her mother-in-law.
Betsy and her husband Rich have followed in the footsteps of his parents. And they took it in their own direction after they visited a private school for low-income children, The Potter’s House in Grand Rapids. According to Betsy, the determination of the parents of the students to give their sons and daughters the best education possible even though it meant a financial sacrifice to the family deeply impressed her. She and Rich had young children at the time. She appreciated how their wealth guaranteed good educations for their children, and wanted that available for all children, regardless of family income. Therefore, The Potter House has remained one of the recipients of their giving. And, like her mother-in-law, Betsy also volunteers her time there. She has served as a volunteer tutor. She went on to become a great advocate for school choice. Those efforts have resulted in her appointment by President Donald Trump as Secretary of Education. Of course, that was a political decision based on her activities to advance the cause of school choice. However, the root of her belief in the benefits of school choice is the same dedication to improving education for children, especially the poor and middle class children whose families cannot afford private schools.
The Dick and Betsy Family Foundation contributes to a wide variety of causes, though education is the central theme. Some of the recipients of their generosity include The 74, an educational launched by Campbell Brown, a former anchor of CNN and Loudspeaker Media, Inc. They also supported Brown’s nonprofit organization The Partnership for Educational Justice. They gave money to Success Academy Charter Schools, which are in New York City and run by Eva Moskowitz. They support GREAAT Schools, Inc., a nonprofit management company for charter schools. Her and her husband’s foundation gave to the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Betsy sat on their board. She recently left the American Federation for Children. And they donated to the Alliance for School Choice. And they support Christian educational groups such as: Christian Schools International, Grand Rapids Christian School Association, the Ada Christian School Society and the Rehoboth Christian School Association.
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Securus Technologies serves a vital purpose in connecting incarcerated individuals and their families over dedicated phone lines and video conferencing. Securus specializes in the establishment and maintenance of these enterprise communications systems for correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies and safety organizations all over North America.
Securus serves over 3.400 of these entities covering over 1.2 million people who are incarcerated. There are several types of plans available including direct billing and prepayment plans, where the family or a benefactor picks up the charges, as well as inmate pay and collect calls.
In addition to the regular phone service, a video conferencing service, email, voicemail and a money transfer service is offered. Inmates and families especially like the video conferencing feature because they can see each other while they are visiting. It is not hard to realize the thrill that families receive when they can see one another and see how society is changing.
Studies have pointed out over the past 40 years that incarcerated people who have regular communications with people on the outside of their prison existence, fare much better in society when they are released. They are better able to relate to a normal lifestyle because they have been a part of such a relationship all along. The arrest rate is markedly lower among those who have contact with the outside, especially with family.
Securus also connects and maintains communications for law enforcement and safety organizations. It is important that there be universal connectivity between these organizations in case of emergency and community disaster such as power outages, floods, escaped criminals, terror threats and a host of other such situations.
Inmates are able to lead more productive life and to have something positive to look forward to when they are released because of the type of services that are provided by Securus Technologies.