Changing Our World

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

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July 27, 2007

News Briefing: Hospitals Create Fund to Boost Inventions

  • A number of families experiment with gift-free birthday parties, suggesting that guests donate the money instead.  [New York Times]
  • Boston's largest Harvard-affiliated hospitals set up a $35 million fund to boost inventions.  [Boston Globe]

May 07, 2007

News Briefing: "Fourth Sector" Businesses Emerge on U.S. Landscape

  • In a rare interview, Shelby White discusses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new Greek and Roman Galleries; questions those who have criticized her collection.  [New York Sun]
  • An increasing number of U.S. businesses merge for-profit money-making with nonprofit mission.  [New York Times]

April 16, 2007

Venture Philanthropy Comes to Politics

Fascinating piece in this week's BusinessWeek about the arrival of the venture philanthropy model to political causes, particularly on the left. Jessi Hempel reports on relatively new organizations like the New Progressive Coalition, a for-profit fund founded by August Capital general partner Andy Rappaport and his wife, Deborah:

To build powerful progressive-thought leadership, "We need to experiment by supporting a large number of small efforts," says Rappaport. "Some will succeed, and we'll be able to throw more money and effort at them and build them to scale." As with the philanthropic venture organizations, shareholders will be able to measure their profits using a double bottom line—the monetary return that will keep the business afloat and the political return that will eventually build powerful think tanks that can keep step with the right.

Here's how the coalition works: Member organizations pay annual dues of up to $5,000 on a sliding scale, based on the size of their budgets. This allows them to be listed in the online "marketplace" and also gives them access to technical assistance and professional advice from NPC's 58-person advisory team, drawn from a variety of fields including marketing and finance.

So far, about 200 groups have signed on, including national pro-choice group Choice USA and independent online rag Meanwhile, investors—so far, just 220—pay an annual membership fee of $250 for networking, events, publications, and help connecting to groups to which they can donate money and time. They can search the database online, or they can get more focused advice from NPC professionals.

The coalition will include 54 measurements that cover everything from the average years of experience among the senior leaders to the percentage increase in the budget or revenue from the previous year. Interesting trend, what's the impact on philanthropy...

April 02, 2007

News Briefing: Katrina Fraud Stretches Far Beyond Gulf

  • Investigation of Katrina frauds continues more than 18 months after the disaster.  [Associated Press]
  • Washington Nationals announce a $2 million donation toward a diabetes care facility at Children's Hospital.  [Washington Post]
  • Study says foundations are increasing their use of loans and investments.  [Los Angeles Times]

January 23, 2007

Network Philanthropy

Los Angeles Times:  They seemed so young. That's what Peter Hero remembers most about the day, nine years ago, when Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Skoll walked into his office at Community Foundation Silicon Valley with an odd idea to give away a fortune. Omidyar wore jeans and a T-shirt; his thick black hair was tied back in a ponytail.

October 12, 2006

Mario Morino as a Model for Other Wealthy Donors

Philanthromedia: You've just completed a major liquidity event,  gone through a major life change or met with your wealth advisor who encouraged you to consider the role that philanthropy will play in your financial planning.  While you may not have the bankroll of Bill Gates, you still want to craft a thoughtful manner of giving that reflects your values, your vision, and your priorities. Who are your models? One could be Mario Morino, a wealthy tech entreprenuer who helped pioneer the concept of venture philanthropy in the 90's.

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