Posts Tagged ‘White House Office of Social Innovation’

The Chronicle of Philanthropy published an interview today with Sonal Shah, director of the new White House Office of Social Innovation, and Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.  Although the office was officially established a few months ago, little in the way of official news has come through until now. The interview provides some interesting updates on what the office has planned, and where they hope to make an impact.

Much in line with our recent GPF conference theme, Melody Barnes describes the catalyzing role of the office:

“This fits into the president’s larger goals of doing business in a different way in Washington, the idea that every good idea does not come from government. Government should be effective and efficient and should handle its responsibilities well, but it also should be a partner with the philanthropic and business communities and the social-entrepreneurial community to address our largest challenges and meet those goals, whether it’s health care or education, energy, housing, the list goes on and on.”

Sonal Shah elaborates:

“As we see ideas that may not necessarily fit into one agency or another, we can also help direct and create partnerships that might not otherwise have existed. A lot of the foundations will come here and we’ll know about projects or programs taking place in different agencies and being able to link them up with the right groups that are working on it and figuring out ways that partnerships can happen.”

Looking forward to more updates as the new office gathers momentum.

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In an article yesterday, The Chronicle of Philanthropy confirmed the rumor that Sonal Shah has been named the head of the new White House Office of Social Innovation. The office was created to “promote government efforts to help innovative nonprofit groups and social entrepreneurs expand successful approaches to tackling pressing social problems.” Our CEO & President Jane Wales is quoted in the article on the potential of the new office: “…it has the opportunity to encourage public-private partnerships aimed at addressing some of the toughest problems we face at home and abroad,” and in addition, “the office can take a careful look at U.S. government policies, including tax and regulatory policies, and determine which policies spur innovation, and whether others might needlessly impede innovation.”

Previously the head of global development at Google.org, Sonal is an excellent choice for the position, and we’re looking forward to seeing where she takes it.

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The Philanthropy News Digest spoke with Jane Wales, the co-founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum and president and CEO of the World Affairs Council about the world’s poor, the global economic crisis, its effect on philanthropy, and the Obama administration’s interest in social innovation.

Read the full interview: Jane Wales, President and Co-Founder, Global Philanthropy Forum: Philanthropy and Social Innovation.

The last four Newsmakers recognized by the Philanthropy News Digest will be speaking at the Global Philanthropy Forum’s 2009 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., April 22-24. See all the articles here.

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The America Forward Blog highlights an interesting piece by Mitch Landrieu and Andrew Wolk on the need for social entrepreneurship in this country, especially in the face of these difficult economic times.  They argue that the Obama Administration’s ability  “to foster social innovation and entrepreneurship will be crucial to maximizing the use of our resources and determining, finally, what works and what does not.”  A topic very much on our minds as the planning for the new White House Office on Social Innovation begins…

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy today published a short piece on plans for a new White House Office of Social Innovation.  Jane Wales, our CEO & President, has been asked to design a series of meetings during the next two years to develop advice on how the office should operate.  She will host these through her work with the Aspen Institute, where she is Vice President and Director of the Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation.  The article quotes Jane saying that the meetings will focus on a “social innovation fund, which will provide aid to nonprofit groups, and a social enterprise fund, which will assist companies that seek to benefit society as well as make a profit.”

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