Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Beyond Vigilance: The Missing Debate on Charity Oversight

How do policy and regulations affect the nonprofit sector?

The current US Congressional Hearing on Charity Oversight and Reform presents an historic opportunity to help shape the non-profit sector. But thus far, the hearing has been driven by several recent scandals a discussion of technical fixes. While we acknowledge the need to constantly increase vigilance, some fundamental issues are not being addressed.

Join host Aron Goldman of Policy Development along with special guests Mike Burns, Jed Emerson, Marion Fremont-Smith, Stephen Heintz, Stanley Katz, Mark Moore, Sara Melendez and Katrin Verclas to start a national conversation about how public policy can evolve to surmount obstacles and support a vibrant, sophisticated and innovative social sector.

This link will let you join the discussion that goes until December 20th.

The following source documents will help participation in the discussion:

Policy Development's testimony presented to the Congressional Hearing on Charity Oversight and Reform:

Finance Committee Charity Oversight and Reform Hearing Documents

Independent Sector's Contribution to the Congressional Hearing

Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Stephen Heintz on "Mobilizing for Social Change"

Kellogg Report: "Blurred Boundaries and Muddled Motives: A World of Shifting Social Responsibilities"

Brookings' "Fact Sheet on the Continued Crisis in Charitable Organizations"

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Pressure on the United Way?

A question about the nature of 'charity' bubbled up at the recent post conference gathering. Then last night ... an example came forward.

At a concert, in Vancouver, patrons paid a $10.00 cover charge and received a $5.00 GiveMeaning card. The card "contains real money that you can direct to a charity or non-profit organization that is meaningful to you".

The website is a project of Plenteus Technologies.

Here are the GiveMeaning "promises":
Our Promises
We will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the organizations you want to support.

We will ensure your contribution gets to where you direct it should go.

You can choose whether or not to receive reports on how your contribution is working. And you get to send feedback to the organizations who have received your gifts.

You will never be solicited by any of the organizations associated with us.

Your privacy is critical to us and we ensure all your information is secure. It will never be sold, rented or shared with anyone.

We will immediately investigate any complaint or problem you have with any part of our service, including any of the organizations listed on our site.

We are accountable to you. The future of our company will be shaped by each and every contributor and organization that receives your contributions.

While not changing the charity dynamic is GiveMeaning pushing the envelope for traditional giving schemes like the United Way?

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Vancouver Foundation Opens Leadership

The Vancouver Foundation is one of the leading community foundations in North America, and Canada's largest, the organization was created by the community for the community.

With an endowment fund of $560 million, Vancouver Foundation re-invested more than $32 million in 2003 in B.C.'s most important philanthropic causes. Generously supported by individuals, volunteers, agencies, the private sector and governments, this is an institution that shows what's possible in communities where people genuinely care about each other.

Today a search firm, Ray& Berndtson, began the process of finding a new President & C.E.O., "you will live the Foundation's goal to improve the quality of life for all British Columbians".
Create. Innovate. Lead. Those words will be your guide as you inherit a magnificent organization and lead it to even greater heights. Bring your experience to support the ongoing growth and strategic evolution of the Foundation. Provide leadership in the Foundation's three main activities - the development, stewardship and distribution of funds to the benefit of all British Columbians. Reach out to forge partnerships. Maintain and build upon the Foundation's reputation and profile. Oversee the placement of the Foundation's funds in the community. Engage all British Columbians in the mission of the Vancouver Foundation.

Today, you may be leading a foundation or philanthropic organization. Alternatively, you might be an executive in the public or private sector with financial acumen and a demonstrated history of volunteerism. Whichever your background, you have the strategic leadership and relationship building skills, reputation and profile to match your commitment to community.

To explore this opportunity further, please contact Brent Cameron in the Vancouver office.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Eradicating Poverty Through Profit - Dec. 12 - 14

If you read C. K. Prahalad's 'Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid', then this conference should be of interest. The World Resources Institute, in the city of San Francisco, will host a major international conference on private sector approaches to development called Eradicating Poverty Through Profit.

Who will attend?

Business leaders from multinational companies in finance, technology, consumer products, agriculture, energy, natural resources and other sectors.

Entrepreneurs and executives from start-ups and large companies in emerging markets with hands-on experience of proven, profitable, innovative approaches.

Senior policy makers who can foster the conditions for a more active and beneficial business presence at the bottom of the pyramid.

What will be covered?

The conference will explore private sector solutions to poverty with keynote addresses and other presentations, panel discussions, live "laboratories", sector or interest-specific workshops, and exhibits. Four broad themes will guide the discussions:

Pro-Poor Business Activities: Why Bother? Why should business care about low-income markets? How large are those markets? How does business benefit the poor? Can engaging the poor generate significant growth and other benefits for business? Can pro-poor business activities catalyze broad-based economic development and transform how globalization impacts the poor?

Experience to Date: What Works? What are the real experiences from the field that indicate that "doing well and doing good" are compatible—in financial services, consumer goods, agriculture, information and communications technologies, natural resources and other sectors? What strategies and business models are succeeding? What myths need to be dispelled, what misconceptions erased? The conference will explore lessons that cross-cut sectors and industries, and drill down into the specifics for multiple sectors with reports from businesses based in emerging markets, multinational corporations, social entrepreneurs, civil society, and bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Barriers and Challenges: How to Succeed. Poor communities have little reason to trust the business sector; corporations face enormous internal barriers; operating environments can be difficult. Attempts to serve low-income market with existing products, business models, and metrics are likely to fail. But, despite the challenges, many are finding ways to succeed. The conference will confront these realities head-on and feature several live, interactive laboratories facilitated by C.K. Prahalad and Stu Hart. These sessions – one with stakeholders from the North, and one with stakeholders from the South – will analyze real business problems from real companies, as well as preview new market research and executive education tools designed for low-income market activities.

Finding New Solutions: Tomorrow's Best Practices. This is an emerging and rapidly evolving field. As more companies and organizations engage, new issues will arise, new questions will be asked, new partnerships will be formed, new policies will be implemented, and new solutions will emerge. What do visionary leaders in the private and public sectors foresee? What are the developments "just over the horizon?"

If you're planning on attending ... please let the me know.

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Monday, December 06, 2004

The Social Enterprise Sourcebook

Jerr Boschee is great at sharing. So in the spirit of sharing I wanted to point the VSEF to The Social Enterprise Sourcebook as a resource for those looking to create a social enterprise.

The chapter Farewell to the 'Client Worker', looks at Gulf Coast Enterprises and their 10 year journey to positive cash flow.

Page 7 of the chapter gives some hard numbers for comparison.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Bringing It Home - A gathering of the community

On December 6th at 5:30, Vancouverites interested in advancing the state of social enterprise will be meeting at Relish.

The gathering is an informa opportunity for attendees at the recent Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise to share insights with local social enterprisers and enthusiasts.

If you'd like to participate, please leave a note in the comments section of this post and we'll have a chair set aside for you.

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