The interviews roll on and today we have a chance to hear from a champion regarding Veterans Issues, Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.
Craig Newmark is the founder of Craigslist, the web-based platform that has fundamentally changed classified advertising. Since its founding in 1995, Craigslist has become one of the Internet’s 10 most-visited English language sites.
Born December 6, 1952 in Morristown, NJ, Craig attended Case Western Reserve University, where he earned a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science in 1975 and 1977 respectively. During his business career, Craig worked with IBM, Charles Schwab, Bank of America, and other firms. Today, he resides in San Francisco’s Cole Valley.
In March 2011, Craig launched craigconnects, his initiative to link up everyone on the planet using the Internet to bear witness to good efforts and encourage the same behavior in others.
Craig regularly communicates through Twitter (twitter.com/craignewmark) and Facebook (facebook.com/craignewmark). He also blogs regularly (cnewmark.com) and is a contributor to the Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com/craig-newmark). The best way to reach him is through the craigconnects website, www.craigconnects.org
It was a pleasure to talk with Craig, a very giving and informative person, and to hear the passion he has for his important work.
You are very involved in Veteran issues. You hold a position on the board of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and a large part of the mission of CraigConnects involves Veteran Advocacy. Why are you so passionate about Veterans?
I’m not really sure, but I grew up during Vietnam, and saw that returning vets weren’t treated right, and I figure that if a troop is willing to risk a bullet protecting me, I should try to help out.
The mission includes a focus on Military Families. Are you from a military family and why the shift to focus on the family?
My dad served in the Pacific in WW II, but that’s a distant memory. The addition of family issues just feels like the right thing to do.
There seem to be an over-abundance of non-profits popping up for Veterans. Part of CraigConnects is to foster transparency and accountability in these organizations. What inspired this facet of the mission?
I keep hearing, from nonprofit professionals, that there are a lot of bogus nonprofits around, which hurt all nonprofits by increasing donor fatigue. Seems to a good thing to help people help only the good and effective nonprofits.
CraigConnects also wishes to call attention to non-profits that are “getting the job done” and to call attention to the ones that are taking advantage of those they wish to serve. Can you give as an example of the good and the bad? One that failed and one that succeeded?
Very effective nonprofits include DonorsChoose.org, Consumer Reports, Sunlight Foundation, and IAVA. (I won’t mention failures.)
One of the brightest spots of your initiative is grants to schools that serve military families. Education is so important to the next generation. If you could have a perfect world, what would those grants be for, specifically, that would make a significant impact on their futures?
Only people who’re in the thick of things, teachers and parents, can really answer that.
I, for one, am excited and impressed by CraigConnects. What has the overall response been like so far.
Maybe too much enthusiasm, but that motivates us to compress the feedback/action cycle into weeks, doing in a short time what took craigslist several years.
Many Veterans feel that civilians don’t understand their struggle in returning from the military to society. As a civilian, business owner and celebrity what is your view of the challenges of returning Veterans?
I’m no vet, and can’t articulate that well generally, can only say for sure that it’s too hard to get a job, or to get promised medical and educational benefits.
The invisible injuries Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and Suicide are rampant among Veterans young and old. What is a way that a person can help or advocate for Veterans with these or other injuries?
All I know is to support the people working in those areas.
IAVA is pushing a bill through congress to require job training for military personnel before they exit the military. As a board member did you have an influence on the bill?
I’ve had no specific influence; on the board, we cheer-lead whatever makes sense.
We are coming up on Memorial Day. Do you have a way you honor the fallen on that day?
I think the best way to honor the fallen is to support their families and living veterans.