You could call Taylor Conroy “the 10-Million Dollar Man” because that is his fundraising goal for 2014 and, judging by his past successes, chances are good that he’ll reach it. What Taylor wants, Taylor gets.
At age 20, he was the youngest firefighter in Canada. Four years later, he decided to try real estate and within three years, he had built a million dollar real estate business.
Now, at 32, Taylor has jumped headlong into social entrepreneurship by founding Change Heroes, a for-profit business designed to change the way people give to charity -- and change the world as a result.
“The dream of Change Heroes is for everyone to realize the massive impact that they can have on the world in a really short amount of time,” he says.
Change Heroes is a groundbreaking, online funding platform that encourages friends to reach out to friends who reach out to their friends to build a warchest against poverty.
In its first year, Change Heroes raised over $1,400,000 to fund 140 projects, including schools, libraries, scholarships, and anti-sex trafficking work in 12 developing countries that will impact over 140,000 people.
“This is the first time in history that the technology has been available - at our fingertips - to literally end poverty,” says Taylor. “There are 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty. Every cent of profit we make gets reinvested back into more social initiatives to benefit as many people as possible.”
Taylor says he was inspired to act by a life-altering trip to Africa. There, he came face to face with children struggling to survive, many without parents, most without basic necessities such as clean, accessible water.
He also visited communities unable to provide children with the education Taylor believes is essential to success in the modern world.
It was, he says, a tranformational experience and it compelled him to donatethe funds to build a library for a village in Kenya. From that moment, he was hooked.
“That feeling of contribution, of changing the world for the better, was something I can’t put into words, something I became addicted to immediately.
I wanted to get my friends involved and my family; I wanted everyone to feel this feeling.”
In the long term, Taylor hopes Change Heroes’ success will inspire others to create similar business models where you can’t make a dime unless you are doing exponential good for the world. As Taylor puts it:
“Hop on the Giving Train; it’s a Sweet Ride.”
“The next evolution of business is for entrepreneurs to start channeling their creativity and determination to making the world a better place, Taylor says, “instead of just trying to build a tech company and have the next big exit.”
Taylor has given the opening keynote at the Harvard University Social Enterprise Conference and also lectures on social entrepreneurship at New York University. He recently addressed delegates from around the world at the United Nations in New York.
He splits his time between Vancouver, New York, and ‘the rest of the world.’