Race 4 Good is a 'hand up' revolution birthed to tackle life-threatening challenges in devastated communities around the globe. Teams comprised of the best and brightest minds -- private sector leaders and university students -- come together in highly game-ified competitions, vying to implement their unique, sustainable solutions to urgent and very real social and economic crises. Harnessing their collective experience, innovation, passion and entrepreneurial acumen, some of the world’s seemingly intractable problems are solved within surprisingly collapsed time frames.
Where lives and livelihoods are imperiled, problems are solved in a "21 Day Challenge" that banishes donor fatigue, worker burnout, dependence, perpetual need and well-intended but unsuccessful ‘hand out’ relief efforts. Race 4 Good teams are tasked to research challenges facing a third world community and develop a 5-year business plan which, if implemented, would bring long-term, sustainable economic and social uplift to that area and transform lives. Race 4 Good has provided unique opportunities for business leaders and students to make a measurable difference and forge long-term links with communities in need.
Imagine private sector brilliance combined with the unfettered genius of university students from different fields of study and from around the world, in exciting competitions with strict rules of the game and extremely modest funds. Race 4 Good is the brainchild of Linda Cruse who, according to Sir Richard Branson “makes the impossible possible.”
Six teams, each comprised of 5 business leaders + 5 students, are given a ticking clock (21 days) to submit a formal business plan detailing how to reconstruct the economy, revive the dignity and restore the future of a pre-selected community in dire need – all with a maximum virtual budget of $5,000. The winning team is flown in country to implement their solution on the ground, with the full support of Linda and her team and the villagers.
Race 4 Good is dynamic, immediate and passionate, demanding modest time commitment from business leaders, while delivering outsized, proven results rarely if ever experienced in the non-profit sector – results that will impact countless families across the globe for generations to come.
Linda Cruse is an international aid worker, disaster management specialist, author, inspirational speaker, founder and creator of Be The Change Business Leaders on the Frontline, Race 4 Good and the Emergency Zen thought leadership series and a social entrepreneur. In 2014 she was appointed a Senior Fellow in Residence in the College of Business and Law at the University of Canterbury New Zealand.
Her 17 years of frontline humanitarian aid work have taken her to every continent in the world where she has assisted in some of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters such as the Asian tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake, two Philippine super-typhoons and currently the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, conflict zones, high mountain nomadic areas and refugee camps, as well as aiding challenged communities worldwide.
Described as a cross between Florence Nightingale and Indiana Jones, Linda Cruse is the ultimate humanitarian aid worker intent on changing the world forever.
Linda, a stressed-out mum working in a job she hated, was driving along a motorway in the middle of the night when she suffered temporary blindness. This terrifying episode led to a blinding insight: what is the point of living if life has no point? Determined to make a difference, Linda started a new life as a frontline humanitarian aid worker.
Linda has fused her passion for adventure, an explorer’s spirit and a deep desire to make a difference to remote communities. Her trademark is her ability to broker powerful partnerships between the private sector and communities worldwide devastated by catastrophic disasters or in challenged environments. To enable her to do this she launched a unique concept, aptly named Be the Change. Linda challenges business leaders to be a catalyst for change with great success. Be The Change uses the entrepreneurial skills and acumen of business leaders to assist in solving some of the world’s intractable problems.
Cruse’s area of expertise lies in bridging the gap between private and public sectors and creating health, education and business development to generate innovative opportunities for sustainable employment, income generation and value add.
Linda has faced death on more than one occasion but she has never given up on her mission. Her ultimate aim is to inspire others to do what they can. Linda calls it the “Power of One”.
Linda’s book “Marmalade and Machine Guns” 16 countries, 3 continents, 12 years and one suitcase, one woman’s quest to help disaster-stricken communities back on their feet”, follows her outstanding work and the adventures.
Endorsed by Sir Richard Branson: “Linda makes the impossible, possible.”
Linda has worked side by side with some of the worlds’ most influential figures including HH The Dalai Lama, HRH Prince Charles and Sir Richard Branson and companies including Nestle, Cadburys, Thai Beverage, KPMG, Manpower, Merrill Lynch, Deloitte, GSK, Continental Airlines, Wyeth, Abbott, Allied Dunbar and Hasbro. Linda has also worked alongside foundations such as The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Virgin Unite, the World Bank and numerous local grass roots NGOs.
Linda lectures and teaches worldwide. She is a compelling and inspirational speaker with a unique understanding of motivation, global cultures, leadership and community building.
Linda is also a qualified nurse and magician!
It was 1968. I was a hippie -- a long-haired, fresh-faced, eternal optimist and die-hard romantic producing all the concerts for the 40,000-student campus. In the midst of this roiling sea of energy that was devoted to ending a war, unseating a president and saving the world, I was bringing Joni Mitchell and the poet laureates of the day to our campus to light the way with their music. Music was my first love.
Then came law school, driven by my dream to follow in the footsteps of the great defense lawyers of the day – gifted orators, self-anointed champions of the underdog, seekers of truth and justice. A brilliant chapter, my temperament was not that of a defense lawyer, so I left San Francisco and the law to follow my passion for story and storytelling in a far different context… the filmmaking world of Hollywood. Off to Los Angeles I went.
A far better fit, I spent the early years discovering, managing, nurturing and launching careers for little known writers and directors in film and tv. I soon grew hungry to be on the frontlines, to make films and not merely represent talent. So after producing several low-budget films, I found my way to producing major studio films like Pretty Woman, Under Siege or The Mothman Prophecies that continue to travel the world.
Yet underneath all my creative pursuits, there was an itch. A sense there’s something more, something outside the Hollywood beltway, a bigger play, a more essential way, as Steve Jobs would say, to make my dent. To change the world and help those who need help.
When I met Linda Cruse, we immediately sensed shared values, passions and sense of purpose. Solving problems and rebuilding sustainable economies for devastated communities across the third world -- with less capital, greater speed, a more entrepreneurial and joyful approach than typifies NGO or charity-backed short-term relief efforts – was “it”. Catnip. A way to travel the world, be of service, do good, capture and tell unimaginable stories that deserve to be heard.
Uplifting challenged communities and changing lives for generations to come is, for me, an irresistible and compelling story or, as George Bernard Shaw would say: “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.”
A new chapter, a bigger picture… onward !
A highly experienced HR manager, charity administrator and international event organiser with over 30 years’ experience. Mary was a member of the military police for seven years, took on the role of assistant to The Duke of Kent, worked for a renowned UK businesswoman in London, and for the past 17 years has been a key member of staff at an international youth charity.
Charisse Older is a multigenerational native of Los Angeles. She studied Communication at the University of California – Davis and put her talking skills to work in the restaurant industry for more than 13 years before going to work for the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce where she currently serves as the Director of Sales & Marketing. She believes our lives and actions should all have purpose and passion at the core. Charisse has been a member of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles for 8 years. In July she will become the 5th female president of the her Rotary Club, the 5th oldest in the world. She enjoys sharing time with family and friends, problem solving, cooking, eating, travelling, riding motorcycles, learning, and helping others. Three of her greatest life changing experiences include obtaining a black belt in Hapkido, completing the Los Angeles Marathon, and meeting Linda Cruse.
Michelle is a recent transplant of Los Angeles from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She holds a bachelor’s degree with a double major in Business & Marketing from McKendry University, where her “get it done” attitude drove her successful completion of all credits in 2 years, magna cum laude. That same mentality was a tremendous asset while raising two daughters as a single mother for the past 17 years. She is a strong proponent of following your happiness to find your success… Where there’s a will there’s a way! She’s taught her daughters that philosophy throughout their childhood while supporting their passion for dance. Asking them five years ago, what their dream would be, she learned one wanted to move to New York City and the other to Los Angeles, both to attend school and pursue their love of dance. In support of her daughters’ dreams, she replaced her fulltime job with a part-time job at an airline providing her girls with free flight benefits to travel the country assisting master dance teachers and honing their skills while maintaining honor status in school. She then took on a fulltime position with an international hotel company affording flexibility and hotel benefits for their traveling and added another part-time position with a car rental agency to get the rental car benefits. After a few years, her girls were each offered scholarships to their schools of choice and she now has a daughter following her happiness in New York City and the other in Los Angeles. She moved to Los Angeles with her youngest daughter who has since moved into student housing. Michelle feels truly blessed that her move to LA has been so positive. She's the Membership Executive at the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and now finds herself focusing on her own happiness which includes her desire to help and give back to those in need. She believes there is something much bigger than herself and we all have a higher purpose for why we are here. There is a reason Linda Cruse has entered her life at this point in time and she is thrilled to see where this journey will take her!
Fadzai Marange is passionate about impacting lives positively. Dual trained - Commercial and Clinical qualified Biomedical Scientist with an Executive MBA and a Masters in Public Health; Fadzai is a great believer in impacting communities by actively participating to make a difference. Outside her normal work she volunteers with a number of organisations to help change lives.
Mingma lives in Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal with his father and sisters. He is passionate about facilitating positive sustainable community uplift in his country. A grass roots humanitarian, he is dedicated to the recovery post earthquake of the forgotten villages, to be the voice of the voiceless and helps to facilitate groups to visit rural areas high up in the Himalayas. Mingma is a General Manager of Olive Media, a digital media company and Managing Director of Asara Eco Treks experts in the Himalayas.