Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Ashley Stone, the co-founder and CEO of The Village App. Let’s learn what’s happening at The Village App and how Ashley is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Ashley! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through The Village App?
Ashley: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Our mission is to foster genuine connections and meaningful support within communities. We aim to empower individuals, organizations, and municipalities to come together, create strong bonds, and collaborate to address the diverse needs of community members. By leveraging technology and a spirit of compassion, we strive to build thriving and inclusive communities where everyone has a place and a voice.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Ashley: The Village App emerged from a personal journey when I unexpectedly found myself expecting twins during my third pregnancy. Drawing on my background in public health, I recognized that the challenges I faced in accessing tangible support were part of a larger issue of loneliness and social isolation prevalent in society. Dissatisfied with the shortcomings of existing social platforms, I embarked on a mission to create a purpose-driven app that fosters genuine community support, laying the groundwork for stronger and more connected communities.
Spiffy: How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Ashley: Our vision is to revolutionize the way people connect, support, and uplift one another in the digital age. We envision a world where The Village App serves as a catalyst for positive change, bridging the gaps between individuals, organizations, and municipalities to enhance resource sharing so everyone has what they need to thrive. Through our platform, we cultivate vibrant communities that are built on shared values, mutual assistance, and collective well-being. By fostering a culture of empathy, resilience, and collaboration, we envision transforming lives and communities, one meaningful relationship at a time.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?
Ashley: During the holidays, we launch a holiday campaign aimed at ensuring people can get what they need such as food, toys, and other gifts. We always see an increase in activity at this time of year. But, the best actions to witness are not only to see requests for support get answered, but also to see those who originally came to the app to ask for support and then turn around to also support someone else. This creates a more even, resilient community when no one person is simply a giver or a receiver, but rather a more circular approach where everyone has something to give and everyone has value.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?
Ashley: There's been multiple times when things have not gone our way, from tech issues to partnerships falling through to investors backing out at the last minute. With each of these seemingly catastrophic incidents, we've emerged with a new perspective that has driven us to work harder, pivot, or rethink how we're using our resources. It's never been easy and can often feel like a hard hit or make us question if it's all still worth it. When that happens, we think back to all the conversations we've had and all the research that points to a deep need for a solution like The Village App, and we pick ourselves back up and keep pushing forward.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Ashley—it’s been an honor!
Ashley Stone is a registered nurse, children's book author, mom of four, and the co-founder of The Village App. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino from Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on February 1, 2024.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Daniela Vega. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.