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Founder’s Story

Joanne Sonenshine

There was no turning back for me after October 25, 2013. I had made a promise to myself after the terror attacks of 9/11 that I would devote my work to making the world a better place, at all costs, and with the skills and abilities I possessed.

So far, I had not held myself to that promise. Therefore, when I realized that the programs I was managing around climate resilience and livelihood improvements were not truly benefiting those who most needed our help, I had to drop everything and reassess.

That October day I quit my job. Over my career, as a bond originator, international trade economist for the government, lobbyist and now NGO program Director, I had still not made my impact, I knew I had to find a better way.

Why no headway, you ask? The answer is complicated, but largely about constantly seeking more, challenging people and my urgent need to bring people together who have a similar sense of passion and urgency to fix the world's problems.

I also knew that the field of sustainability and social impact needed a more concerted effort around partnership building, collective action and collaboration. Making connections, and matching individuals who have a mutual goal or passion was in my blood. It was something I have always loved and continue to love, and knew that skill was needed if we were going to change in the world.

Once I committed to finding my place among the world changers, I knew that it was on me to help mission-driven leaders within companies and international nonprofits find the right partners to do better work and make a bigger impact.

On the back of a piece of notebook paper I sketched out what is now Connective Impact's approach to collaboration and fundraising.

​I launched Connective Impact in January, 2014.

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