Superpowers for Good
Superpowers for Good: Empowering Changemakers for Social Impact via Regulated Investment Crowdfunding from the SuperCrowd.
Seminal Work ‘Reclaiming Our Democracy’ Updated for Today’s ‘Trouble’ - s11 ep44
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Seminal Work ‘Reclaiming Our Democracy’ Updated for Today’s ‘Trouble’ - s11 ep44

Author Sam Daley-Harris Updates the Book That Helped Save Millions
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Devin: What is your superpower?

Sam: My superpower is that I'm in on the joke, and I want to say it this way. We know we make a difference in our family, and we make a difference on our block. And yes, we make a difference in our community. But I say that when we look to our state and our nation and our world, people don't see the difference they make. It's just crystal clear to me. I'm in on the joke that it's not accurate that we don't make a difference. We do. I just see it in a crystal clear way.


Sam Daley-Harris has updated his seminal work, Reclaiming Our Democracy, Every Citizen’s Guide to Transformational Advocacy. Originally written decades ago, it reflected the success of the anti-poverty lobby RESULTS. Since then, it has helped guide that effort.

RESULTS has earned respect for being a critical piece in lobbying on behalf of the global population of people living in or near extreme poverty. The result has been a 66 percent reduction in infant mortality, saving tens of millions of lives.

“This 66 percent decline wasn't only RESULTS, but when it comes to the advocacy, RESULTS was a central leader in the US and then Britain and Canada and Australia and elsewhere in this tremendous progress that volunteers had a real hand in,” Sam says.

Why update the book? The answer seems simple to anyone whose read a newspaper in the past decade. Sam matter-of-factly summarizes the context, saying, “Our democracy is in trouble.” He adds, “We need to really get our act together.”

Sam explains the meaning of the book’s cover image, saying, “We're saying that there's a missing piece in this puzzle, and the missing piece is us.”

To do this work on behalf of those living in poverty, Sam deploys a superpower he describes as being in on the joke that what you do to change the world doesn’t matter–because it does.


AI Episode Summary

1. Devin Thorpe, the host of the Superpowers for Good show, introduces his guest, Sam Daley-Harris, an influential figure in social change, the author of Reclaiming Our Democracy, and the founder of RESULTS, an anti-poverty lobby.

2. Sam shares his origin story, beginning with a background in music and two impactful deaths that occurred during his high school and college graduations, leading him to ponder his life's purpose.

3. His journey shifted when he attended a presentation on ending world hunger organized by The Hunger Project, which inspired him to get involved after realizing hunger solutions existed, but people were not acting on them.

4. Sam's advocacy work started with educating high school students about political will and engaging citizenship, subsequently creating RESULTS based on the disconnect he saw between public awareness and political action.

5. RESULTS focuses on child survival issues and has been a significant influence in reducing the global child death rate by 66% over the past 40 years through continuous lobbying and advocacy.

6. A personal story of success is recounted, where Sam received written gratitude from Jim Grant, the then-head of UNICEF, for the advocacy work RESULTS volunteers did to increase the Child Survival Fund.

7. Sam details the reasons for updating his book "Reclaiming Our Democracy" in response to the current challenges faced by democracy and the public's eagerness for ideas on making a difference.

8. The puzzle piece on the cover of his book symbolizes that the "missing piece" in democracy is the citizens themselves, awakening to their power to make a difference.

9. Sam's superpower, "being in on the joke," refers to his awareness and conviction that individuals do have power and can make a significant impact on state, national, and global issues despite common skepticism.

10. The book Reclaiming Our Democracy provides guidance on transformational advocacy, highlighting the importance of organizational enrollment and community building, skill development, and enabling individuals to experience breakthroughs in advocacy.

If you want to help reclaim our democracy, please share this post!

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How to Develop Knowing We Can Change the World As a Superpower

Sam cleverly describes his superpower, knowing that we can change the world, as being in the joke. He explains, “You do make a difference. Don't believe all that stuff that you read or you think that you don't.”

Sam shared an impressive example of how volunteers organized using the principles of his book to make a big difference in the U.S. Federal budget for international aid.

In 2019, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria had saved 38 million lives since its inception in 2002 to 2019. It was up for a three-year replenishment, and President Trump called for a 29 percent cut to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. 

Now, most people would go, “Well, what can you do? You can't fight city hall. President's calling for…” No, no, no, no! RESULTS volunteers–there were others, but results volunteers led in getting hundreds of Republicans and Democrats to sign letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to the leaders of the appropriating subcommittees in the House and Senate to co-sponsor resolutions, all in support of the full funding for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

At the end of that year, 2019, two Republicans and two Democrats stood on a stage in Lyon, France, at the Global Fund replenishment and announced that the US Congress would increase the Global Fund by 16 percent and by the end of the year, the president, President Trump signed into law legislation that didn't cut it by 29 percent but increased the Global Fund by 16 percent.

That incredible achievement alone will save millions from the triple-health threat fought by The Global Fund.

By following Sam’s example–and the guidance in his book–you can learn to make your confidence in knowing we can change the world into a superpower that will allow you to do more good.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!


Guest Profile

Sam Daley-Harris (he/him):

Founder and Senior Partner, Civic Courage

About Civic Courage: Civic Courage trains nonprofit organizations to create structures of support that allow their members to make a profound difference as advocates on issues they care about. 

Website: civiccourage.org and reclaimingourdemocracy.com

X/Twitter Handle: @civiccourage

Biographical Information: After a career in music, Sam Daley-Harris founded the anti-poverty lobby RESULTS in 1980, co-founded the Microcredit Summit Campaign with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus and FINCA founder John Hatch, and founded Civic Courage in 2012.  The completely revised and updated edition of Sam’s book, Reclaiming Our Democracy: Every Citizen’s Guide to Transformational Advocacy, will be released on January 9, 2024.  Publisher’s Weekly BookLife has made it an “Editor’s Pick” and called it “[A] rousing guide to…enacting change in cynical times.”  Kirkus Reviews has said, “Overall, the author’s analysis of effective action is as persuasive as it is accessible, and his call to democratic participation is inspiring.”  

X/Twitter Handle: http://twitter.com/samdaleyharris

Personal Facebook Profile: facebook.com/sam.daleyharris/

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sam-daley-harris

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Superpowers for Good
Superpowers for Good: Empowering Changemakers for Social Impact via Regulated Investment Crowdfunding from the SuperCrowd.
We host changemakers who are using regulated investment crowdfunding for social impact--impact crowdfunding--as impact investors or social entrepreneurs, catalyzing change with leadership skills we call superpowers.