New Story is disrupting community development. They accomplish that through a story-driven crowdfunding process for building homes. But, they’re not just building houses, they’re creating communities. And, in the process, they are changing the donor experience. To explain all of this, we’re joined today by Alexandria Lafci, a cofounder and the head of operations for New Story.
There’s so much to love about Alexandria and New Story. First, New Story is targeting communities one at a time. For example, they started in Leveque, Haiti where they moved 152 families from living under blue tarps, to living in lovely homes. And, by building that many homes, they were able to create a community.
I also love that Alexandria is the head of operations. If you think about it, after a social enterprise defines a problem, comes up with a solution, and funds the idea, the most important priority is execution. Alexandria plays a unique role in New Story’s success.
Alexandria is familiar with the need for housing security. Her mother grew up in the foster home system. As a Teach for America volunteer in a southeast Washington, DC neighborhood, Alexandria could observe first-hand the impact that housing instability had on her students.
After Teach for America, Alexandria took a role in supply chain logistics for a company in Atlanta. This role taught her many of the skills that she uses today at New Story.
Alexandria met her cofounders while at a gathering of social entrepreneurs in October, 2014. By November of 2014, they put together a minimally viable product (MVP) version of New Story, and by December they were bringing in thousands of donor dollars. By June of 2015, they were in a batch of startups at Y Combinator.
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Alexandria Lafci
“Just this one thing, housing stability, having it had such far-reaching implications that many of us take for granted, and then not having it had all of these detrimental side effects.”
“All we did was we put the image of one family, we put up their story and we had the ability to take payments.”
“We started with wanting to help individual families, but when you build homes at a critical mass, you actually create entire communities.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We use local material and we use local labor. @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity”]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Operations is an umbrella term for all of the components necessary to execute our vision in the physical realm. @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘What we are doing is creating sustainable communities, places where people want to live.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘The biggest benefit of Y Combinator for us was, just having audacious goals.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘In setting that huge goal, our entire mindset shifted.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We called it a 100 homes in 100 days campaign.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
“When you’re focused on growth almost exclusively, it really jam-packs a lot of lessons that would have taken us years to learn.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Sometimes the scariest part is starting.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Another thing that helped was speaking.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Find someone who shares that passion and who can do that with you.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Make sure the problem is not already being solved.’ @laughsee of @NewStoryCharity“]
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- New Story: https://www.newstorycharity.org
- Culture Shift Learning Academy waiting list: http://tonyloyd.com/assessment
Culture Shift Learning Academy
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Enrollment isn’t open yet, but you can join the waiting list with other changemakers. Just go to http://tonyloyd.com/assessment and enter your email address. As a thank you, I’ll send you the Social Entrepreneur Startup Readiness Assessment. This useful tool is designed to help you to determine where you are on your startup journey and to successfully focus your development efforts.