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How Social Impact Grows from Dreams to Global Movements

Social impact starts with an idea. It begins gradually — dreams become actions, which grow into bona fide movements that alter the course of history. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton relied on a rock-solid friendship to build a movement that brought American women the vote.

A man of unrelenting faith, Martin Luther King, Jr., had a dream before he mobilized like-minded activists and spearheaded the civil rights movement. Trace these and other landmark crusades to their starting points and you’ll see, they spring from the minds of thankful people.

Thankful minds are the fertile ground in which revolutionary ideas take root, flourish and become global movements. This week during the Sundance Film Festival, Thankful founder Kim McDonnell highlighted the role of thankfulness in social impact.

“The USA needs Thankful right now,” she said. “The whole world needs Thankful. We need to come together with thankful hearts for the diversity around us. That’s at the core of social change.”

We hosted a smattering of thankful tête-à-têtes during the film festival festivities, bringing together everyone from rock legends to panty mavens to discuss the ways thankfulness paves the way for social change. (Read about them here and here.) Some were thankful for their blessings — others were thankful for the challenges that gave them a chance to grow. As these thankful people shared their trials and triumphs, others got an important reminder: We all have reasons to be thankful. While it isn’t always easy, it always pays off.

How Thankfulness Makes Hard Times Easier

“Often times when we are