Changing Our World

The expertise to do it right.
The passion to see it through.

Buzz is Changing Our World's news and commentary blog, covering the latest stories and updates in the world of philanthropy.

 Subscribe to BUZZ

Subscribe by Email

Other blogs from
Changing Our World

FLiP is dedicated to creating a community and a network where other future leaders can meet, learn, exchange ideas, and contribute to each other’s success.
Visit FLiP Online »

onLine examines all things related to philanthropy and "being online": online marketing, online fundraising, Web 2.0 technologies, new tools, new issues, and new strategies to help nonprofits find their audience,
Visit onLine »

January 31, 2011

News Briefing: Google Finds It Hard to Reinvent Philanthropy


  • Bill Gates expresses concern about budget cuts to programs that transfer dollars from rich nations to poor ones in his latest annual letter.  [Associated Press]


April 14, 2007

Live from Google: Video Highlights

In addition to our coverage from guest blogger Janice Schoos, here are some video highlights from the Global Philanthropy Conference at Google:

Interview of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with Dr. Larry Brilliant, Executive Director of, at the Global Philanthropy Forum's 6th Annual Conference, hosted at the Google:

Live from Google: Now is the Time to Make a Difference

We continue our coverage from the finay day of the Global Philanthropy Forum at Google with this report from guest blogger Janice Schoos, senior managing director at our sister company Archimede Philanthropy Partners:

On the final day of the Global Philanthropy Forum, which was hosted this year at Google’s corporate headquarters, Sally Osberg, President and CEO of Skoll Foundation led a panel on “Mobilizing for Action.”  It featured Richard Curtis, Co-Founder and Vice Chair of Comic Relief, who described Red Nose Day, a UK-wide fundraising event organized by Comic Relief.

“On Red Nose Day, everyone in the country is encouraged to throw caution to the wind, cast their inhibitions aside, put on a Red Nose and do something wild to raise money.”

Curtis recognized that the charitable motivations of entertainers are often questioned, but stressed that if done the right way, entertainers and the media can do tremendous good.  He stated that everyone should do what they do best to make a difference, whether it is telling jokes, playing music or writing a check.  Curtis has been instrumental in organizing the 200th episode of American Idol’s, “Idol Gives Back,” that will raise funds and awareness to alleviate extreme poverty in Africa and US, which airs on April 24 and 25.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, stacked Oreo cookies to illustrate $60 billion the US government is spending on weapons each year designed to defeat the former Soviet Union – weapons that are useless against today’s threats and terrorism, he said.  Cohen proposed shifting spending from the Pentagon to address issues such as world hunger, education, and energy independence.  By redistributing a few Oreo cookies that each represented $10 billion, the country could make a significant difference in these issues without leaving the United States vulnerable to possible military threats. 

Singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and philanthropist, reminded the audience that people of Africa are the same as you and me. Their voices should be included in any programs or decisions affecting their lives, and they should be treated with dignity.

Bobby Shriver, co-founder and CEO of Product (Red), said the only way to engage corporations in social issues is to demonstrate the value to their core business.  Shriver and Bono created (Red) to team up with American Express, Converse, Gap, Giorgio Armani, Motorola and Apple to raise funds and awareness to help women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.  In the last nine months, more than $20 million has been generated for the Global Fund by purchasing (Red) products. 

Former President Bill Clinton, closed the Global Philanthropy Forum by sharing his personal experiences with philanthropy that include his foundation, The William J. Clinton Foundation, and the Clinton Global Initiative.  He echoed the common thread that ran throughout the three-day conference – the need for partnerships between governments, nonprofit organizations, and business.

President Clinton strongly believes the best way to affect social change in the developing world is to organize and expand efficient public goods markets and to empower people.  He went on to describe his foundation’s successful efforts to organize the markets for AIDs medicines by suggesting pharmaceutical companies change their business model.  He proposed they adopt a low margin, high volume model that has a certain payment system.  The corporations agreed, and the cost of treatment for a person with HIV/AIDS dropped from over $500 per year to under $100 per year.

President Clinton said we can do more now to help alleviate poverty than any other time in history.  Americans’ income levels have increased significantly, the internet offers efficient charitable giving tools, and there are many people and NGOs doing good work all over the world.  People of means, as well as those with modest income, need to be made aware of initiatives such as Millennium Villages, project of UNICEF, and philanthropic networks so they can help make a difference.

April 13, 2007

Live from Google: Alternative Approaches to Financing Social Change

We continue our coverage from the Global Philanthropy Forum at Google with this reporter from guest blogger Janice Schoos, senior managing director at our sister company Archimede Philanthropy Partners:

While the name of the conference is the Global Philanthropy Forum, many of the sessions on the second day at the Google headquarters focused on the need for approaches other than philanthropic dollars to address the world’s complex problems.

To paraphrase Jean Case, co-founder and president of The Case Foundation, ‘we are a point in time where the same old approaches are not going to make an impact.’  A combination of tools are needed such as for-profit businesses with a social mission, equity investments in small business that offer modest financial returns, as well as philanthropic grants that can build the capacity of social entrepreneurs and sustainable projects.

Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution and co-founder of American Online, talked about the blurring of the lines between the social and business sectors.  While the concept of non-profits undertaking commercial ventures is not new – think Girl Scout cookies – what is new is the full integration of a social mission with the business’s commercial objectives. Historically, businesses created and operated corporate foundations aside from the core business. Today, consumers want to do business and work for companies that stand for more than increasing the bottom line. Corporations see the value of connecting consumers with philanthropy.

Case cited American Idol’s upcoming episodes that will feature philanthropic support for a variety of nonprofits.  In addition to its corporate sponsors, it will also harness support from its millions of viewers.  American Idol could have simply created a corporate foundation to make grants, but by using its core strength – its viewing audience – the impact will be magnified both in raising awareness and dollars for social good.  Leave it to Sanjaya to make his way into the world of global philanthropy! [Editor's note: the Case Foundation is a client of Changing Our World, onPhilanthropy's parent company].


This week, Google hosts the 6th Annual Global Philanthropy Forum Conference at its headquarters in Mountain View, CA.  The conference considers ways to apply market mechanisms to the problems of endemic poverty, disease and climate change.  Entitled “Financing Social Change:  Leveraging Markets and Entrepreneurship,” the conference brings together 450 donors and social investors, as well as 80 Googlers, to discuss innovative approaches to systemic change.

The conference was created by the World Affairs Council to build a community of strategic philanthropists committed to international causes.

April 12, 2007

Live from Google: Time for Philanthropy 3.0?

Guest blogger Janice Schoos, senior managing director at our sister company Archimede Philanthropy Partners, is in Mountain View this week for the Global Philanthropy Forum at Google. She files this report:

This week, Google hosts the 6th Annual Global Philanthropy Forum conference at its headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The conference considers ways to apply market mechanisms to the problems of endemic poverty, disease and climate change. Entitled "Financing Social Change: Leveraging Markets and Entrepreneurship," the conference brings together 450 donors and social investors, as well as 80 Googlers, to discuss innovative approaches to systemic change.  The conference was created by the World Affairs Council to build a community of strategic philanthropists committed to international causes.

The first day of the conference was highlighted by a talk with Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.They were joined by Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google's philanthropic arm,  The team talked about their plans to use the tools and technology of Google plus its staff (or Googlers as they are known) to focus its philanthropic efforts on poverty, public health, and climate change.

The team cited examples of using technology to change the way traditional systems work such as technology that translates Arabic to English, and technology to detect outbreaks of epidemics through community-based information reporting. Google also unveiled its collaboration with the United States Holocaust Museum that applies the technology of Google Earth to shed light on the atrocities occurring in Darfur. It incorporates high-resolution mapping imagery and photos of the people in the region to tell their stories of how their lives have been impacted. The goal of the site is to not only raise awareness of the issue but to also promote action for social change. 

Since its inception, Google founders have reminded its employees that their work should 'Do no evil' - that is, they need to consider the possible negative consequences of their actions.  Google has revised that belief to now state: 'Be Good.' Through they plan to take advantage of the opportunities the company has to do great good in the world.

While the team acknowledged that they have much to learn about philanthropy, it will be their untraditional approaches and eagerness to look beyond the barriers of private, government, and nonprofit sectors that will develop into Philanthropy 4.0 and beyond.

Meanwhile, the very definition of philanthropy continues to evolve. Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, introduced the concept of Philanthropy 3.0 in the keynote address. Rodin recounted the great history of the foundation created by John D. Rockefeller and its need to remain nimble in order to continue to focus on root causes and address profound issues. She described Philanthropy 3.0 as an approach that acknowledges that no single player can solve problems alone. Philanthropists need to seek advice from experts, pool resources, collaborate with others, and listen to local people to learn from their on-the-ground experiences.

Iqbal Paroo, CEO of the Omidyar Network, expanded on the concept of Philanthropy 3.0 and stressed the role of philanthropists in helping to remove barriers so that people in developing countries can address their own needs.  Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, echoed Paroo's focus on promoting local, commercially viable solutions that will only scale by providing access to capital markets. 

The idea of Philanthropy 3.0 was further demonstrated by Jean Oelwang, managing director of Virgin Unite, the independent charitable arm of the Virgin Group. Virgin Unite is the result of Richard Branson's desire to combine the activities of its 200 businesses to focus on entrepreneurial approaches to social and environmental issues. Virgin Unite leverages the skills of social entrepreneurs by linking them with Virgin staff, its customers, suppliers, and their network. Yahoo! also takes a different approach to philanthropy than other corporations. Meg Garlinghouse of Yahoo! talked about how the Internet company believes it can make the greatest impact by connecting its 520 million users with issues and organizations through Yahoo! For Good.

March 29, 2007

Live-Blogging Larry

Like some rock star from another country (the nation state known as Google), Larry Brilliant of took the stage in Oxford this morning at the Skoll World Forum and declared himself an eternal optimist. Yet "the trends give rise to a great case for pessimism," said Brilliant, whose appearance kept 500 or so Type A personalities cooling their heels waiting to enter the Nelson Mandela Theater like they were waiting for the Rolling Stones.

Brilliant focused on climate change - noting that 51% of humans now live in cities, because rural areas no longer produce food like they used to. Deserts are growing. One hectare produces far fewer calories than it did 15 years ago. So humans now consume more wild animals. So they're also consuming viruses, exploding the possibility of world pandemics.

"Today the world is more diverse and unfair than it has ever been in history - today one percent of the world's population owns 40% of all the world's goods and services."

It's a destabilzied world that will be broadcast to you on YouTube, on your cell phones and laptops. Oh, it's quite a case for pessimism, people. (I paraphrase).

Bangladesh as case study - global warming - 75% at sea level. GoogleEarth video (branding, baby) showing Bangladesh terrain - twin increases of water - runoff from the mountains, increase in ocean height. One hundred millions refugees could be expected to migrate into India and China, says Brilliant.

Increase in sea level "will challenge our way of life." SF Bay area - "Google is right there, surrounded by water."

New diseases that begin in animals - it's just the beginning. We're all going to die (again, I paraphrase). But now the case for optimism.

Humans tend to step up and overcome when faced with non-survival. His optimism is based on what people are doing. "Beginnings of a movement on climate change." TXU deal limiting coal emissions. California pollution controls. Al Gore testifying. Evangelicals join environmental movement. European unity on the issue of global warming. LiveEarth concerts.

His view - people finally acting in their self-interest.

"I've held hundreds of babies who've died in my arms of smallpox - the face of hell itself - and that disease has been eradicated. Nothing makes moe more optimistic than that."

Smallpox was the worst disease in history - half a billion people died - more than all the wars in history. Not ancient history. Slide shows kings and queens who died from smallpox. "World is not a gated community." Gruesome slides - disease killed one third of all who got it.

"I visited villages where rivers would not flow because of the numbers of dead babies who had been thrown into them."

WHO used rewards, advertising, door-to-door - all to track the disease. History's greatest horror ended. "How can that not make you optimistic?" And then, applause.

November 14, 2006

Google donates $30,000 to Creative Commons Google has donated $30,000 to Creative Commons, the open licensing organization. The charitable corporation has essentially created a new method for the licensing and sharing of intellectual property. Creative Commons empowers creators of original content with licensing alternatives that allow them to retain copyright protection while permitting free use of their content under certain circumstances. In this way, artists, scientists and others are able to gain visibility in the wider world while protecting their content.

Our specialty area »    Catholic & Independent Schools, Corporate, Healthcare, Higher Education, Human Services,International Development & Global Health, Philanthropies, Research & Policy