Devin: What do you see as your superpower?
Dorian: I look at my superpower as a blended cocktail of perseverance, humility, and true empathy.
“Funding Hope is one of the good things that came out of Covid,” says the company’s founder, Dorian Dickinson. “Prior to Covid, I was doing rural development and economic development work, mostly in conflict zones and developing countries.”
“When Covid hit, my business went from 100 to 0 in about 48 hours,” he says. He began thinking about how he could deploy his experience abroad here at home.
“It always circled back to funding,” Dorian says. The key being, his experience showed, “funding that really hit the ground really reached the people most in need in communities that could then drive economic development activity in their community.”
Success in a community doesn’t stop there. “That then would expand regionally,” he says. “At the end of the day, it would create a safer, healthier, cleaner environment for all.”
Today, Funding Hope is live, FINRA-registered and taking funding applications. He has a message for investors:
These communities that we're working in, which are distressed, at-risk in rural zip codes across America, are ripe with potential, but they're starving for capital. This is an opportunity for us to connect everyday investors to these small business owners, entrepreneurs and innovators who are also contributing to sustainability. Our target [investors] are committed to helping achieve UN Sustainable development goals in these communities because, at the end of the day, we're going to end up with safer, healthier, cleaner communities.
Dorian has developed impact in his career by deploying a triple cocktail of superpowers, perseverance, humility and empathy.
AI Episode Summary
Dorian Dickinson is the co-founder and managing director of Funding Hope, a crowdfunding site targeting solutions to big problems at the community level.
Dickinson believes that crowdfunding can be a part of the solution to these problems by using investment dollars from ordinary people to address economic development challenges in distressed rural communities.
He started Funding Hope after his previous business in rural and economic development was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding Hope aims to get money into the hands of the people most in need and support small business owners, entrepreneurs, and innovators in rural areas.
The platform is vetting issuers looking to raise between $500,000 and $5 million and actively helps them target potential investors and drive funding for their projects.
Dickinson's career has taken him to conflict zones and developing countries, where he has worked on rural development projects.
One of his most memorable experiences was in Kabul, Afghanistan, where a 12-year-old boy expressed hope for a better future due to the work Dickinson was doing.
Dickinson believes his superpower is a blend of perseverance, humility, and empathy, which allow him to push through challenges, understand his limitations, and connect with the needs of others.
He advises others to step outside themselves, listen, and learn from different perspectives in order to improve their ability to help others.
To connect with Funding Hope and Dickinson, visit the Funding Hope website and sign up to receive their newsletter or become an investor. Dickinson can also be found on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.
How to Develop the Triple Cocktail As a Superpower
Dorian explains how his superpowers, perseverance, humility and empathy work together:
My background has given me the wherewithal to push through any difficulty or challenge and continue to pivot when necessary to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which I always hope is not a train coming at me.
From there, humility gives me a clearer understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. I fully embrace my limitations and recognize that I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Then true empathy lets me move beyond just understanding someone's feelings to mentally connect with their needs and situation to gain a deeper insight into their state of mind and how they're acting the way that they are, and how we can improve their position to give them hope for the future.
Dorian shared a story to illustrate the impact of his triple cocktail:
A few years ago, before Covid, I was standing on a rooftop in Kabul, Afghanistan, with a government official from there. We had a small team with us.
The work we were doing–some of it was urban work, some of it was rural work. But the man had his son with him; he was a 12-year-old boy who the father took out of school that day just so he could meet me. And the boy came up to me and said, “I just love the work you're doing here. I pray to God that you'll be successful, and you'll make the country a better place for us.”
And that just stuck with me, where I put myself in his father's footsteps. I put myself being that young boy again, [feeling] what it would be like, what his life is like, and how we could make it better and what we can do to make it better.
It's not bringing Western philosophy there. It's listening to them, listening to what their needs are, listening to how they would like to accomplish their goals, their ambitions, to restore that hope in what they can do moving forward in life. That stays with me every day.
Dorian offers some thoughts about developing this triple cocktail of superpowers for yourself.
I think everybody needs to take a step out of themselves. They need to try to put themselves in the other person's footsteps and understand where this person is coming from by listening to them. Listening is such a huge, huge attribute that people need to adopt and need to understand so that people can then share what they want, what they need so that then you can come back and you can look at how you can help guide them and help them achieve some level of success of where they want to be.
Everybody has the opportunity to learn, and everybody else has that opportunity to educate someone. So, I think by taking the time to learn from somebody when you're having a conversation with somebody. Always try to leave with one or two ideas of what you've learned while you're having a conversation with them. This will make the world a whole lot better place.
By following Dorian’s example and advice, you can develop the triple cocktail of perseverance, humility and empathy as strengths that empower you, potentially allowing you to make them superpowers that let you do more good in the world.
Dorian Dickinson (he/him):
Co-Founder & Managing Director, FundingHope
About FundingHope: FundingHope, LLC is an investment crowdfunding platform registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and as a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FundingHope connects everyday impact investors with entrepreneurs, small business owners, and innovators who are in need of capital to grow their business and who are focused on achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets in distressed, at-risk, and rural communities across America. FundingHope aims to transform how impact investments reach those who are often left behind by big banks and Wall Street by providing an online marketplace so that everyone can invest in what matters most to them.
Company Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fundinghopecrowdfunding
Biographical Information: Dorian Dickinson founded FundingHope with the mission of connecting investors to entrepreneurs and SMEs in economically disadvantaged communities to help achieve UN SDG targets and to grow stronger in America and around the world. For over a decade, Dickinson has worked on economic development and sustainability projects in rural America, as well as in conflict zones and developing countries in the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Dorian Dickinson’s career began with the Connecticut State Police before he established himself as a leader in the development of innovative business strategies for leading retailers and consumer goods companies in America and Europe.
For the past 15 years, Mr. Dickinson has dedicated his career to creating and building economic development activity, sustainability programs, and improved health and sanitation initiatives in rural and economically challenged communities in the US, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Mr. Dickinson was part of the leadership team that developed the first commercial poultry farming operation in Afghanistan in over 40 years. During his career, Dickinson has developed rural development programs that aim to disrupt drug cartel routes in Mexico and Central America, and he has introduced renewable energy and improved sanitation to drought-stricken areas of Kenya and Palestine.
Closer to home, the American Farm Bureau Federation recognized Mr. Dickinson as the architect of the first comprehensive agribusiness-focused economic development program for rural communities. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration contracted with Mr. Dickinson to create Make It Right, the city’s first all-encompassing crime prevention, youth engagement and community development project.
Mr. Dickinson is a commissioned Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky, in recognition of his noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to community, state, nation and planet. He was twice named Illinois Agribusiness Leader of the Year, was a charter board member of the Council of the Great Lakes Region, and has been recognized by Canada’s Governor General, the Right Honourable David Johnston, as a cross-border economic development leader.
Throughout his career, Mr. Dickinson has built a proven record of success as a skilled strategist, out-of-the-box innovator and passionate entrepreneur collaborating with governments, companies, and internationally recognized organizations in primary, secondary, and tertiary industries.
Twitter Handle: @doriandickinson
Personal Facebook Profile: facebook.com/DorianDickinson
Instagram Handle: @doriandickinson
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Léa is a Sr. Investment Analyst at KingsCrowd who writes the company’s impact investing monthly article, providing investors with the best impact investing deals and market insights. She previously worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, and led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. She holds a degree in Anthropology from France and studies at UC Davis, working toward an MBA.