Disrupting to Innovate: Unexpected Solutions

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sometimes disrupters come from unexpected places. In order to solve our major social problems like poverty, hunger and education, we need innovation and new thinking to solve them on a grand scale. Would you expect a bankrupt nonprofit to have the answer? Or a restaurant that opens in an unpopular part of town?

In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, two provocative thinkers share their creative strategies with host Billy Shore. Entrepreneur, author and activist Dan Pallotta is known for the creation of multi-day charitable events like the Breast Cancer 3-Day walks and AIDS Rides, as well as his iconic TED talk on how the way we think about charity is dead wrong. Boston restauranteur Garrett Harker restaurateur makes a practice of using his restaurants to activate up-and-coming neighborhoods and empower staff members to engage in this community revitalization. Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength and an innovator himself, asks Pallotta and Harker about how they use their respective platforms to disrupt norms. Pallotta uses his platform as a founder of nonprofits to voice his disagreement with society’s expectations of them. “Nonprofits should not be hamstrung,” he says, by things like an inability to spend money on fundraising or donors’ requirements of low overhead. “Nonprofits have the capacity to radically disrupt the world in a short period of time… We need to unleash their power to address massive social problems.” Harker uses the unlikely platform of placing a restaurant in a transitional neighborhood to transform a community and develop staff members. “We realized how galvanizing it can be to put together a staff and make it part of your mission not just to take care of people, but to help elevate a community and a neighborhood.” With restaurants such as Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square and Branch Line in Watertown, his twin goals of striving to be the best and positively impacting the neighborhood have led to many successes.

Listen to the episode and marvel that the answers to our biggest social problems may not come from the usual suspects, and get inspired to disrupt norms yourself.

Resources and Mentions:

Dan Pallotta

Dan Pallotta is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of philanthropists with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events, which raised $582 million in nine years. He is president of Advertising for Humanity, which helps foundations and philanthropists transform the growth potential of their favorite grantees. He is also the founder and President of the Charity Defense Council.

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Eastern Standard

We are a neighborhood restaurant. We may sound like a lively dinner party, look like a French Brasserie and feed you before a Sox game, but in the end we just want you to feel at home no matter in which suburb, city or country you reside. We were inspired to create Eastern Standard at a time when conversation was king and 140 characters was just a starting point. We want you to understand our menus and get to know our staff. There is no room on our tables for pretense and no place in our kitchen for shortcuts. So dive into our dishes and drinks, they all have a great story to tell.

AIDS Rides

The AIDSRides were a series of fundraising events organized by Pallotta TeamWorks which raised more than $105 million for critical AIDS services and medical research.

Charity Defense Council

Our goal is singular and bold: to change the way people think about changing the world. To let them know that low overhead is not the way the world gets changed. That poor executive compensation is not a strategic plan for ending hunger or poverty or curing disease. That inadequate, donated resources are not the path to global transformation.

Island Creek Oysters Foundation

At Island Creek Oysters Foundation, we believe that aquaculture will play an important role in meeting the food production needs of a growing human population. The Island Creek Oysters Foundation supports projects that use sustainable aquaculture as a food source. Additionally, we educate and inform people about the value of aquaculture as a solution to the global issue of food production.

Recent Podcasts


Wednesday, October 05, 2022
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Wednesday, September 07, 2022