I didn't coin this one. I give Ralph Smith of the Annie E. Casey Foundation credit for that, and it seems this blogger agrees. Smith used the term in a Nonprofit Quarterly article by Rick Cohen - here's the quote:
"Foundation philanthropy is increasingly sector agnostic. Many of us believe that foundation philanthropy is at its best when its resources are directed toward pursuing, finding, testing, demonstrating, and promoting solutions for the most pervasive and urgent social problems. In other words, foundation philanthropy is in the solutions business and can succeed only if and to the extent it is willing to pursue solutions wherever it finds them, regardless of whether they are in the public, private, or social sector. As a consequence, the assumed exclusive relationship between foundations and nonprofits has become much less so. Foundations are going to support and invest with a much wider range of partners than in the past."I had written about the term in a post on the changing roles of nonprofits. That post generated lots of discussion - mostly about the term "sector agnostic" and its relevance (or lack thereof) to the work being done by readers and followers.
I've done a lot of writing about the emergence of new corporate forms for the production of social good and about impact investing. I've thought quite a bit about the "changing ecosystem of change" - new enterprises, new types of funders, new relationships. My latest book, Philanthropy and Social Investing: Blueprint 2010, provides an annual industry forecast and describes this landscape in detail. It argues strongly for how much these code-level changes matter to philanthropy.
While these changes have been brewing for many years, the response to the term "sector agnostic" was strong enough, broad enough, and deep enough to convince me that it deserves buzzword status.
I have to say I knew I was on to something about the importance of these "B corporation, L3C, Impact Investing stuff" when a colleague emailed me this link - Rush Limbaugh blasting L3Cs as the "perversion of capitalism." If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then getting "Rush ranted" must be the clearest sign that something has gone mainstream.