Posts Tagged ‘Social Entrepreneurs’

Imagine if countries competed with each other to create the best environment in which social innovation can occur. And imagine if social entrepreneurs were actively encouraged and supported in countries around the world.

Two consultative bodies affiliated with the World Economic Forum (WEF) – its Global Agenda Council on Philanthropy and Social Investing and the Global Agenda Council on Social Entrepreneurship – are aiming to make those ambitions a reality. These bodies are just two of 60 interdisciplinary entities part of the forum’s Global Redesign Initiative, which is seeking ways in which international institutions or arrangements should be adapted to meet contemporary challenges.

“Particularly in the wake of the global economic crisis,” according to WEF’s Klaus Schwab, “we need to rethink our values, redesign our systems, and rebuild our institutions to make them more proactive and strategic, more inclusive, more reflective of the new geo-political and geo-economic circumstances, and more reflective of inter-generational accountability and responsibility.”

Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World summarizes and reports on proposals from the WEF’s global councils, focused on specific challenges, from health to economic growth to poverty to sustainability. The Council on Philanthropy and Social Investing, chaired by The Economist’s Matthew Bishop, proposes development of a Social Competitiveness Index that would inspire countries to become more socially innovative. More broadly, the goal is to help analysts and policymakers catch up with the revolution that has been taking place in the social sector for the past decade or so – to “chart its evolution going forward and show countries how to make the most of this opportunity.”

The Council on Social Entrepreneurship, chaired by J. Gregory Dees of Duke University, proposes development of a Global Alliance of Social Entrepreneurs, guided by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. This alliance, among other things, would establish a Consultative Group for Research to Advance Social Entrepreneurship (CGRASE) similar to the World Bank-hosted Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP), which has become world-recognized for its role in advancing microfinance. CGRASE’s mission would be to conduct research on and promote policies supporting social entrepreneurship, including working to have the UN designate 2011 the “Year of the Social Entrepreneur.”

Beyond philanthropy and social entrepreneurship, other ideas proposed include: creation of a global financial risk watchdog; development of a strategy to improve the diet of the poor; establishment of a new business model for humanitarian assistance with better coordination among all sectors; and establishment of an Ocean Health Index to strengthen information available about marine life. The report authors are currently seeking public debate and refinement about the many ideas contained. And this fall they will convene meetings to further discuss and develop these proposals, culminating in the forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next January.

The report concludes that today’s global challenges require a more integrated and proactive approach, with new or upgraded international institutions and greater international cooperation: “No network exists that is sufficiently interdisciplinary, interactive and international to overcome these barriers to collective intelligence and action.”

— Jane Wales

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The Skoll Foundation and three other organizations (PopTech, ideablob, and Civic Ventures) are pooling their data to create an open database that will “allow philanthropists, investors, press, and fellow entrepreneurs to find social entrepreneur’s based on keyword, location, cause area, population served, and a variety of other factors, ” according to the Social Actions website.   Jill Finlayson, Marketing Manager for Social Edge, says that the goal of the site is to “provide an easier way for people to find, invest in, and support social entrepreneurs,” and thereby increase impact.  The database should be up an running by July 2009.

The Chonicle of Philanthropy’s Give and Take section has a post on this, as does Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog.  Click here to read about our 2009 GPF Social Entrepreneurs.

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Yesterday, the U.S. House passed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.  Following Senate passage of the same language last week, this means the bill will now be sent to President Obama so that he can sign it into law.

Unfortunately, the bill does not contain language creating a Commission on Cross-Sector Solution, as we mistakenly reported last week.  It does, however, include a new Social Innovation Funds Pilot Project, through which the Corporation for National Service will award grants to local programs.  We are pleased to see that Congress appreciates the valuable contributions of social entrepreneurs and also understands the need to measure the effectiveness of programs so that philanthropists can identify and fund the kinds of programs that work.  Here are the congressional findings related to this program, along with its stated purpose:

(a) Findings.–Congress finds the following:

(1) Social entrepreneurs and other nonprofit community organizations are developing innovative and effective solutions to national and local challenges.

(2) Increased public and private investment in replicating and expanding proven effective solutions, and supporting new solutions, developed by social entrepreneurs and other nonprofit community organizations could allow those entrepreneurs and organizations to replicate and expand proven initiatives, and support new initiatives, in communities.

(3) A network of Social Innovation Funds could leverage Federal investments to increase State, local, business, and philanthropic resources to replicate and expand proven solutions and invest in supporting new innovations to tackle specific identified community challenges.

(b) Purposes.–The purposes of this section are–

(1) to recognize and increase the impact of social entrepreneurs and other nonprofit community organizations in tackling national and local challenges;

(2) to stimulate the development of a network of Social Innovation Funds that will increase private and public investment in nonprofit community organizations that are effectively addressing national and local challenges to allow such organizations to replicate and expand proven initiatives or support new initiatives;

(3) to assess the effectiveness of such Funds in–

(A) leveraging Federal investments to increase State, local, business, and philanthropic resources to address national and local challenges;

(B) providing resources to replicate and expand effective initiatives; and

(C) seeding experimental initiatives focused on improving outcomes in the areas described in subsection (f)(3); and

(4) to strengthen the infrastructure to identify, invest in, replicate, and expand initiatives with effective solutions to national and local challenges.

With respect to the evaluation component, the bill included language allowing the Corporation to dedicate up to 5 percent of the funds available to the program “to support, directly or through contract with an independent entity, research and evaluation activities to evaluate the eligible entities and community organizations receiving grants … and the initiatives supported by the grants.”

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Today marks the official launch of the It’s Your World blog, co-hosted by the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the Global Philanthropy Forum. We look forward to taking you behind the scenes of these organizations as we explore international issues and encourage the involvement of philanthropists in opportunities that transcend borders.

Sound like too much fun? It is, and there’s more. As you can see in some of our recent posts, we plan to spice up the blog with videos from our past events and other videos related to our work. One day you might see a moving presentation and musical performance by an artist like Annie Lennox; the next you may find an interview with Bill Gates about his philanthropic efforts. You might find a speech by Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the future course of global capitalism and its impact on democratic decision making or a discussion with foreign policy expert Robert Kagan about the future of U.S. foreign policy under President Obama.

To keep things from getting too wonky, we’ll also throw in some cool performances — like this one – from around the world.

Another one of our goals is to write about some of the amazing work being conducted by “social entrepreneurs,” non-profit organizations, and philanthropic foundations to address crises and matters of concern around the globe. Too many of these efforts go unnoticed and we plan to do our part to reverse this trend. If you come across any news articles or other forms of media highlighting this kind of work, please feel free to forward them along to policyandphilanthropy@gmail.com. We would be happy to receive links to cool musical performances, too.

Overall, we want this blog to be a place where people come to satisfy and stimulate their interest in global affairs. Because more than anything else, we want to emphasize and nurture the idea that we live in an interconnected age and we must be engaged beyond our borders. It is, quite literally, your world.

So bookmark this blog and come back often. Comment freely. Visit some of the other great blogs listed on our blogroll. And if you have a blog or site of your own, we would be honored and appreciative if you expressed some interconnected love with a link back us. The more people we can reach, the better.

Thanks for stopping by. We look forward to seeing you again.

– The Blog Team

P.S. With a nod to pop culture, we would be remiss if we didn’t do something to honor the fiftieth anniversary of “The Day the Music Died,” as it was on this date in 1959 that a plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed in a field in Iowa. So with that in mind, we include for you here a live version of “American Pie” by Don McLean:

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Roots of Peace, founded by Heidi Kuhn, is an organization that works to unearth dangerous landmines in war-torn countries, and then to build sustainable crops on the land once too dangerous to traverse. In so doing, they empower the local communities scarred by these inhumane weapons, and “transform the scars of conflict into the roots of peace.” Heidi Kuhn founded the organization in 1997 and serves as its CEO. She participated in our “Meet the Social Entrepreneurs” session at the Global Philanthropy Forum conference last April, where she partnered with other GPF-ers to expand her work in SE Asia. Heidi was also a 2006 Skoll Social Entrepreneur, and they feature her in their blog for the high praise Roots of Peace received this month from the Afghan government.

We look forward to watching them grow!

The video below shows highlights of Heidi’s work in Afghanistan with Roots of Peace, and of her meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “GPF Social Entrepreneur in the news -…“, posted with vodpod

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