A couple quick notes for this Monday:
Philanthropy2173 is joining the JustMeans team. I'll be blogging from All Things Reconsidered on the first and third Fridays of each month, beginning this week on 08.08.08 (my own Olympic moment!). Joining up with JustMeans puts us in touch with individual activists and adds to our syndication/cross-posting relationships which currently include The Huffington Post, SSIR, xchangexchange, and SmartLink. The blog feed is also picked up by Alltop and several regional associations of grantmakers blog rolls. If you are reading the blog through some other syndication that I haven't listed, please let me know - I'm not even sure of all the places this is being pulled.
My posts about data from last month got lots of attention. The group discussion list about data in social capital markets that was suggested by a reader in response to the post is beginning to take off. Join us if you like. I was struck by a newsletter I received this morning from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors that includes an article called "Data, Data Everywhere; and not a way to think," because they riffed off of Samuel Coleridge better than I had with Data, Data Everywhere and not a drop to drink. The point of the piece mirrors that made here and now under discussion by the group - clearly there is much going on in the data markets.
Endeavor, a nonprofit organization in NYC that finds and supports individual entrepreneurs in emerging markets has received a $10 million infusion from the Omidyar Network. The Endoeavor model is interesting in and of itself - also sparked my interest in a "network analysis evaluation" of social entrepreneur supporters - ASHOKA, Endeavor, Acumen, Omidyar - lots of connections noted. This article on Endeavor in The Economist gives us another tidbit to chew on in the "nonprofit v. commercial structure" dialogue that so many people are facing (and that led to the creation of both B Corporations and L3Cs). Endeavor founder Linda Rottenberg addresses the challenges of raising nonprofit capital and points out how the issue of trust factors in:
Speaking of B Corporations, I'm proud to say we were one of the first 10 founding B corporations to be audited (chosen by random selection - lucky us). We've just completed the work, passed the test, learned a lot, had a chance to interact directly with some fabulous staff members of B Lab and are already making some organizational changes here at Blueprint Research & Design to implement what we learned (New staff handbook coming soon - yee ha!). Here are a couple of notes of interest regarding B Labs progress - the movement is on track to have companies aggregating to a $1 Billion marketplace by end of 2008; they are beginning to role out the policy agenda, and through their B Capital Partners work are encouraging investment advisers to use the B Corporation Survey Tool as part of their due diligence process for finding good investments for their clients.
"Funding has long been a problem for Endeavor. As a non-profit, it has to rely on donors—many recruited through a glitzy annual gala in New York—which has been tough at times, as in the months after the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. Would it make more sense to be a for-profit operation? Endeavor has struggled constantly with whether to pursue profits, but each time has concluded no, says Ms Rottenberg, who also says she declined the chance to set up a $100m fund focused on emerging-market entrepreneurs. “If Endeavor had been an investor, rather than an independent, objective, non-profit enabler, it would not have been trusted by the business elite, or the entrepreneurs,” she insists. “Trust is everything.”Happily, Endeavor has high hopes of moving onto a stronger financial footing. In some countries where it operates, starting with Brazil, successful entrepreneurs are signing up to a “give back” programme, donating 2% of their equity to Endeavor. With luck this could soon make the national operations self-sustaining."
One last thought. Dan Gillmor has a column in today's San Francisco Chronicle on advocacy organizations and "almost journalism." Anyone interested in nonprofits, social media, communications, influence, impact, journalism or the Knight Foundation's local media challenge should check it out - here's a link. The article reminded me of a piece in August's issue of San Francisco Magazine headlined, "The Next Big Charity: News." I couldn't find the article on SF Mag's website but the print piece listed 3 organizations (beyond the Berkeley based Center for Investigative Reporting and Bay area philanthropists Sandler-funded ProPublica) focusing on nonprofit journalism, San Francisco Free Press, San Francisco Public Press, and CalExpress. Oddly, and annoyingly, and ironically, none of the three except the Public Press seem to have Google-findable URLs at this time.
Gotta go to work now.