In 2022, Paul Kent founded (dis)ABLED Life Alliance ((d)ALA), a public benefit corporation to amplify the voice of the disabled community by deploying several groundbreaking strategies powered by CrowdSmart’s innovative technology.
One of nine children growing up in Southern California, he was diagnosed with a genetic neuropathy that led to twelve years of fighting off infections, dozens of surgeries, and hospitalizations. Through his prior work advising family offices and foundations, he learned about MIT Media Lab scientist Hugh Herr. Herr heads the Biomechatronic research group, a field that marries human physiology with electromechanics. Time magazine has coined Herr, himself a double amputee, as “Leader of the Bionic Age” for his breakthrough advances in bionic limbs.
On December 1, 2020, Kent was given the “gift” of a new life after being the first person to undergo simultaneous bilateral below-knee amputation with a new procedure, the Ewing amputation. Developed by Herr and Dr. Matthew Carty of Mass General Hospital Brigham, the Ewing procedure preserved the neural pathways in Paul’s residual limbs, expediting recovery while significantly reducing pain, and even allowing him to run the Boston Marathon this past April.
Free from pain and motivated to help others in the disability community given his personal experience as well as his 35 years in successful investment banking, we asked him about his (dis)ABLED Life ALLIANCE and why he turned to CrowdSmart to power his mission.
Dana, VP of Growth, Crowdsmart:
Could you tell us more about (dis)ABLED Life Alliance?
I conceived of this public benefit corporation in the fall of 2021, and it was in stealth mode during the first two quarters of this year while we were raising funds for a successful launch and runway, with the intention of hiring at least 50% of our employee-partners from the disabled community. We are focused on helping those with disabilities, including those 60 percent of amputees who do not have access to modern prosthetics. We have a simple vision: to identify inequitable disparities, develop scalable solutions, and distribute measurable impact throughout diverse populations in the disabled community.
And how do you achieve those goals? Do you take a different or innovative approach?
We work with our clients, whether family offices and/or foundations, both big and small, to develop a funding plan to meet the desired impact outcome. What is unique about us is we have added to our advisory service a transactional aspect thus providing the execution of whatever impact plan we have assisted the clients in crafting.
We found there is so much wealth out there that is targeted for impact, and a lot of folks with that wealth are tired of just writing checks and getting buildings named after them. By working with (d)ALA, they can make a scalable impact and achieve intended outcomes. We basically reverse-engineer a bonafide plan created by our clients and then scale it.
What’s the secret sauce behind making that impact scalable?
CrowdSmart technology is mission-critical for us because the scale is the biggest challenge facing those with the resources to drive impact. CrowdSmart is essential because it allows targeted communities to arrive at a consensus of opinion thus guiding program development and ultimately creating a more efficient deployment of resources.
We’re also able to repurpose CrowdSmart technology for an ongoing voice that’s heard from representatives of the community. And that’s exciting for our investors, clients, and members of the disabled community because with CrowdSmart, that voice is essential to creating impact plans that truly have scale.
The other aspect is that Crowdmart is efficient and transparent. The relationship with CrowdSmart combined with the interesting way we are utilizing the technology has been one of the strongest selling points of raising funds for our business. With this innovative technology, we have the ability to bring shared knowledge to bear on outcomes.
CrowdSmart is going to be instrumental in all our clients’ success, and I hope ultimately every client initiative embraces CrowdSmart as a technology they will internalize.
Do you see CrowdSmart technology being useful for other verticals as well as (d)ALA clients?
Yes. Everybody gets it. It’s really powerful. This is the wave of the future. Using predictive AI technology, being able to hear disparate voices, and drive consensus is critical to any business.