Friday, January 28, 2005

Some are real and some are hypothetical...

Real developments in the world of philanthropic financial products:

According to the San Francisco Business Times, the Donor Managed Investment Fund introduced in 2004 by Winklevoss has landed its second client, a San Francisco Bay Area private school.

I received an email alerting me to new offerings from The Calvert Social Investment Foundation and Fannie Mae Foundation, which are predicted to grow the resources available for community investment projects (housing, job development) by making the trading of community investment bonds faster and easier.

Oddball musings about developments in philanthropic financial products:

In the November 2004 issue of Wired, Bruce Sterling raised the possibility of using social networks and network analysis to help scientists draw matching funds. Such an idea, which Sterling admits was influenced by work in the art world and the academy's citation index, would be generalizable to all philanthropic support if the network maps of programmatic, organizational and issue alliances and impacts could be developed. Maybe the next generation of foundation program officers will be customized versions of Friendster or Tribe?

Finally, James Surowiecki noted in his January 10th New Yorker column, The Catastrophe Problem that market interests have already created "catastrophe bonds" that allow buyers and sellers to trade in disaster insurance coverage. If the markets can create bonds for tsunamis and earthquakes, couldn't an enterprising banker come up with some new means of packaging philanthropic assets for development purposes, endowments for health insurance, or donor advised funds for college scholarships?

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