GOOD magazine started eight years ago with a simple name, and a simple goal of doing good.
When Ben Goldhirsh launched GOOD in 2006, it was a small magazine with enormous ambitions. At a time when magazines were struggling to stay afloat, GOOD gave away one hundred percent of their $20 subscription fees to a charity of the reader’s choice, and ran largely off advertising revenue alone. They made films too, through which they tried to give voice and content to the younger generation who they felt were not being represented. It really wasn’t easy for the GOOD team, and hard to convey to their audience who they were. Regarding the films, Ben tells us that GOOD was “…trying to work at the intersection of entertainment and relevance - but it was tough being in a business where we didn't control our distribution, and even when we did get films out to the audience, folks didn't know we were the company behind them.”
Largely through the magazine, GOOD was able to gain momentum, take their business online, and eventually start a second company, GOOD/Corps, and most recently a third, GOOD/Community. Ben breaks down the three arms of GOOD as such:
“…GOOD/Magazine is the editorial arm (in print and online) provoking thought and inspiration for those looking to live a creative and engaged life, GOOD/Community providing the space and tools for folks to discover and share their ideas for realizing this lifestyle on a day to day basis, and GOOD/Corps, the consulting arm that helps businesses align their objectives with society's needs.”
My favorite way to summarize GOOD’s efforts comes from Ben as well. “…it's always been about cool people trying to help other cool people do the cool things that help drive us (individually and collectively) toward our potential.”
What does that look like today?
GOOD/Community is an interactive community in which people share ideas, videos, and stories all based around betterment, community building, volunteering, or doing good. GOOD/Community has over one million account holders. The latest endeavor of GOOD/Community is called Good.is. According to their website, Good.is is a way “…to share what you're doing for a better self and a better world; and to connect with people who share a common interest in moving the world forward.”
One way to share is through “Do.” Do is kind of like an Instagram, but where people can post up to three photos along with stories of creative actions, such as ditching their car for alternate forms of transportation, or finding a problem and designing a solution.
GOOD/Corps is GOOD’s consulting branch. The companies, non-profits, and teams they partner with, of course, have a huge focus toward the social impact of corporate endeavors. They’ve worked with the likes of Pepsi, Starbucks and The Carnegie Corporation of New York. With Starbucks they helped develop a program that eventually distributed $4 million to 124 non-profits. With the Carnegie Corporation of New York, GOOD assisted over 160 organizations in attempts to meet the goal of having 100,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) teachers by 2021. By 2016 that number is projected to have reached 37,000.
GOOD/Magazine is still in circulation. The quarterly print publication “chronicles and champions the emerging identity of the global citizen and creative change maker.” It’s available for $25 per year.
So what is the precipice that Ben and his team stand on today? Where will he take GOOD next? Ben tells us, “In turn, in July, we'll be improving the website so people can clearly navigate between [the magazine, and the community] experiences, and I think the clarity brought from that move will allow for much opportunity on both fronts.” It’s clear that Ben cares deeply about the direction of his company, and at the very core, the very DNA of GOOD, is persistence. “The DNA is try, learn, try better, learn more, keep trying.”
Ben and his team at GOOD will assuredly keep trying. “I think we are where we are because we work really hard, we really give a shit about what we do,” says Ben. Keep your eyes out for GOOD’s website re-launch very soon. In 2006 Ben told The New York Times, ““I have no intention of doing anything but making this work.” It’s clear that Ben has been living up to his intentions.