Thursday, August 31, 2006

[Update] Purpose Prize

On the heels of our earlier post, a message arrived today from the SSIR-volk reminding me of the opportunity to "Meet the Purpose Prize Winners: Live Webcast from the Innovation Summit".

Their message reads:
Meet the winners through a live webcast airing next Thursday, September 7, at 11 a.m. PT. The Purpose Prize awards $100,000 each to five individuals over age 60 who are taking on society's biggest challenges and leading a new age of social innovation. The competition started with a pool of more than 1,200 nominees; 15 finalists now remain.

Moderated by Bay Area TV reporter Mike Sugerman, the webcast will broadcast from Stanford University during the Innovation Summit, a seminal event focusing on the burgeoning movement of social innovators in the second half of life. The Summit is co-hosted by Civic Ventures and Stanford Graduate School of Business' Center for Social Innovation.

Register (no fee) to view the live webcast and submit a question to be asked of the prize winners during the event. A link to the chapterized webcast will be available on September 14 at the Purpose Prize Web Site.

--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Purpose Prize, SSIR



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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

2006 Tremblant Forum - September 21st

Mont Tremblant Resort will host The 2006 Tremblant Forum.
The conference will ...
"feature four roundtable panels covering the cornerstones of communities that meet the needs of current citizens while ensuring that those of future generations will be met as well: sustainable building, partnerships, energy, and relations. While it is a daunting challenge, leading thinkers and practitioners from business, government and civil society in Canada and abroad will share illustrative and inspiring experiences."

One of those leading thinkers participating will be Thomas Osdoba, Manager, Sustainability Group, City of Vancouver. Thomas will form part of a panel in the morning session:
Sustainable Community Building

One-half of the world’s urban infrastructure in the year 2050 must be built between now and then, to say nothing about renewing the existing built environment. At the same time, rural and suburban communities will undergo radical transformations as well. Given growing resource scarcity, income gaps, and environmental impacts, there are few simple solutions. This session will share innovative views on planning, infrastructure and architecture.

Here's what else will be discussed ...

What’s a sustainable community?

A sustainable community meets our economic, social and environmental needs in a manner that can be continued for future generations.

  • To business owners, it means having a healthy economy in which businesses can produce and market their products and services.
  • To parents, it means having a safe environment in which to bring up their children and a wide spectrum of educational opportunities.
  • To workers, it means a secure, productive job that is easy to get to.
  • To everyone, it means clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, and the opportunity to live in a nurturing community that brings us together to meet our cultural and spiritual needs.

  • The sustainable communities approach taken by corporations, investors, governments and members of civil society applies to issues as varied as urban planning, inner-city and brownfield redevelopment, socio-economic development, ecosystem management, agriculture, biodiversity, green buildings, energy conservation, watershed management and pollution prevention.

    Key characteristics:

  • Respect for basic rights and recognition of basic responsibilities
  • Living within ecological carrying capacity
  • Equal opportunities for individual development
  • A diverse economic base supported by sustainable investment
  • A vibrant democracy with an informed, involved citizenry
  • Protection of natural diversity
  • Improving the minimum standard of living
  • Maximizing the use of people's abilities while minimizing the use of natural resources

  • Given the confluence of many global/local issues (urbanization, climate change, water supply, health, income gaps, etc.), sustainable communities are increasingly seen as a core part of the solution.

    What’s the situation in Canada?

  • Several Canadian municipalities are taking strong steps towards the vision of sustainable communities, while others have just begun to build the components of an integrated approach. While some Quebec municipalities have also begun to develop the sustainability vision, framework and tools, most have not.
  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is providing leadership among municipal governments in Canada outside Quebec and recently hosted a conference on sustainable cities.
  • The UN-Habitat sponsored World Urban Forum is being held this June in Vancouver. The theme: sustainable cities.
  • The federal government, through its Infrastructures project and the Green Municipal Fund, is linking funding to sustainable urban development.
  • Many leading Canadian corporations are supporting sustainable communities through initiatives such as community investment, green infrastructure development, energy efficiency, urban transit, anti-poverty capacity building, action on health and education, and many others.
  • The challenge: identify and integrate best practices from across Canada and around the world to transform our villages, towns and cities into truly sustainable communities.

  • National Public Relations hosts the event in the hills north of Montreal.
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, CSR, Sustainability


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    [Update] Considering Social Enterprise in Canada - Enquiring Minds Want to Know

    It's coming up to a week since asking the Liberal leadership contenders for their thoughts on growing social enterprise in Canada.

    So far the response has been ...


    Three of the candidates have replied. Their responses have been of the "we'll get back to you" kind.

    Maybe you can help.

    If you're so inclined send a quick e-mail, with a link to the original post, and let them know you'd like to read their reply.

    Here are their campaign e-mail addresses:
  • Michael Ignatieff -
  • Bob Rae -
  • Joe Volpe -
  • Gerard Kennedy -
  • Stéphane Dion -
  • Martha Hall Findlay -
  • Scott Brison -
  • Ken Dryden -
  • Carolyn Bennett -
  • Hedy Fry -

  • --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Social Enterprise, Civil Society



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    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Purpose Prize Revisited

    Toward the end of last year, I mentioned the Purpose Prize call for nominations.

    On September 5th, five will take the prize which represents:
    a three-year initiative to invest in older social innovators by recognizing outstanding achievements, creating a network of people wanting to use their retirement years for the greater good, and channeling funds and assistance to these new pioneers.

    Here is a link to read about the final fifteen - who include a social worker, former mayor, farmer and car salesman.

    And here is a link to remind you about the Purpose Prize and the growing number of "engaged retirees"

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit, Civic Ventures, Purpose Prize



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    [Of Note] Web of Change 2006

    Again the Hollyhock Retreat Centre will host geeks with civil society moxie for another Web of Change conference, September 20th - 24th. The list of attendees is growing.

    Although the agenda is still forming [aside: Jason ... thought the agenda was going to be up on August 20th??], the discussion prompts promise a good weekend of discussion.

    Here they are:

    dotOrganize ~ Online Organizing Research Unpacked
    dotOrganize – a collaborative technology venture designed to get great online tools and strategies into the hands of social change organizers – recently completed a survey of nonprofit organizations engaged in online organizing. The goal of the survey was to get a comprehensive understanding of how groups are approaching this work – how they manage and engage their constituents, what tools work and don't work for them, what keeps them from implementing technology effectively, and many other related questions.

    The survey received nearly 400 responses from a wide variety of organizations. The results paint a fascinating picture of the state of the nonprofit technology sector today. This session will unpack the research, the recommendations and introduce the resulting projects.

    Understanding Campaign Strategy
    The purpose of this session is to gain insight into the process and strategy used by organizers to design their advocacy campaigns, and to consider how that impacts the work of technology service providers. Often technologists are brought in after the strategy has been developed and asked to supply specific tools. This approach can lead to strategy being developed in a vacuum, separated from communications and online strategies – rather than having them inform and leverage one another.

    This session will be an opportunity to learn campaign strategy from leading organizers and to participate in a discussion on the intersection between strategy development and technology implementation.

    Discussion Questions:

    • How does understanding the campaign strategy process impact how tools are developed and implemented?

    • Are there ways that technologists and organizers/campaigners can better collaborate?

    • What technologies and tools are begetting new organizer/campaign strategies?

    New Technologies Beget New Strategies

    As web innovations emerge, new opportunities for online campaigners arise – opportunities to amplify existing strategies, and also opportunities to create new strategies that would previously have been impossible, either because they required too many resources or because the technology simply wasn't there yet.

    This session will highlight technologies that are enabling new strategies, with a focus on how organizers and campaigners can leverage them. It will also be an opportunity to learn about some of the latest innovations in the field of social change technology and to continue the discussion on the intersection between technology innovation and strategy.

    Technology Consulting with a View to Organizational Culture
    As technology consultants, we all know the frustration of having a project fail to live up to its potential because of the dynamics at play within an organization. This session will be an opportunity to look at the organizational factors that determine whether a project will be successful and sustained, and to talk about how we can encourage them through our consulting processes – from discovery and requirements, through implementation, and to delivery.

    Discussion Questions:
    • What are the organizational dynamics that should be uncovered before engaging in a technology project?

    • How do these factors influence the design of the processes we use to deliver our projects?

    • What are some of the resources and best practices available in this field of inquiry?

    Clouded Gardens: Trust, Reputation, Community Building and Social Commerce
    The Web is being hived into “communities”, social networks, groups, and walled gardens, some of them open and some of them closed. Fractured identities across all of these communities stunts our ability to grow vibrant online personas and necessitates duplication of mobilization efforts. By utilizing open, user-centric identity systems, it is possible for individuals to move between the hives while retaining their wealth of personal information.

    Discussion Questions:
    • What are the essential ingredients for forming trusted, scaleable communities?

    • What role do reciprocity, social signaling, reputation, and trust have in forming new groups and communities?

    • How can community memberships be bundled to encourage broader engagement?

    • How can user-centric identity capabilities tie our communities together?

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Hollyhock, Nonprofit


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    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Why Volunteer?

    I'm old-school when it comes to engaging volunteers.

    In my view, a volunteer is drawn to an opportunity because the organization, or area of concern, "speaks" to the volunteer. They become filled with a "gotta-do-something" spirit.

    So this volunteer request at left me nonplussed ...


    Vancouver Cooperative Radio, CFRO, 102.7FM is a non-commercial, co-operatively-owned, listener-supported, community radio station. Located in the heart of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Co-op Radio is a voice for the voiceless that strives to provide a space for under-represented and marginalized communities. Co-op Radio aims to increase community participation by encouraging examination of the social and political concerns of the geographic and cultural communities of BC.

    Vancouver Co-op Radio is looking for an individual with an interest in doing janitorial work on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Some of the duties include: emptying all garbage and recycling bins, tidying kitchen area, cleaning bathroom, and additional tidying/cleaning as necessary.

    If you have "an interest in doing janitorial work" as a volunteer, give 'em a call. Better yet, donate a mop and send them a copy of Dave Pollard's blog post on the Fear of Volunteering.
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Volunteer, Nonprofit



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    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Considering Social Enterprise in Canada

    An Industry Canada paper, The Government of Canada Community Futures Program defined a social enterprise as a:
    business producing goods and services for the market economy, but they manage their operations and redirect their surpluses in pursuit of social, environmental and community goals. Typically, social economy enterprises grow out of community economic development strategies involving citizens, governments, the voluntary sector, business, learning institutions and other partners.”

    With the federal Liberal caucus meeting this week in Vancouver, we thought to ask each of the Liberal leadership candidates their thoughts on the opportunity for Social Enterprise in Canada.

    Our question:

    Under your leadership, how would the Liberal Party of Canada contribute to the growth of Social Enterprise in Canada?

    We'll keep you posted on what we hear from Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Joe Volpe, Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall Findlay, Scott Brison, Ken Dryden, Carolyn Bennett, and Hedy Fry.

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Social Enterprise, Civil Society



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    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    [Opportunity] Pivot Legal Society

    A couple of quickies ... from the folks at Pivot.

    Pivot's mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law.

    Position One: Project Coordinator - Child Apprehension and Families Living in Poverty: Human Rights Issues and Solutions

    Are you interested in the issue of child protection and the human rights issues facing parents and children in the Downtown Eastside? In 2004/2005, the DTES witnessed an average of just over 5 protection reports for every 1,000 children - double the average rate seen in the Vancouver Coastal region and almost four times the provincial rate. Pivot is seeking a full time Project Coordinator for its upcoming project, Child Apprehension and Families Living in Poverty: Human Rights Issues and Solutions. The Project Coordinator will be responsible for establishing a project advisory committee, developing a project plan, recruiting and overseeing project volunteers, and coordinating data collection, analysis and report writing. Applicants should have both project management and social research experience. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with diverse and marginalized persons is a must, as are good computer skills.

    Application deadline: September 1, 2006
    Submit resume in confidence to (604) 685-7813 or use this e-mail link.

    Position Two: A family lawyer with an interest in social justice

    You’ve always felt that a family law practice should help solve individual people’s problems, but you also know from experience that the current legal system often stands in the way of meaningful resolution of many family law issues. We are looking for a lawyer with experience in family law to help individuals on fee-for-service and funded family law cases. Beyond one-on-one assistance, we also want you to help us address systemic issues in family law, with a particular focus on child apprehension challenges for low-income mothers through a grant-funded advocacy and research initiative.

    Application deadline: September 1, 2006
    Submit resume in confidence to (604) 685-7813 or use this e-mail link.

    Position Three: Be your own senior partner – corporate law without the hierarchy

    You love the intellectual challenge of business and corporate law, but you wish you had meaningful client contact, more autonomy, and interesting issues and clients to work with. Part of your time, you will use the business skills you have polished for at least one year in private practice to help small, independent businesses, charities and cooperatives in British Columbia with employment, incorporation, contracts and other business law issues. The rest of your time you will have the opportunity, if you want it, to advance social justice initiatives. If you are a barrister, you will have the chance to work on social justice files, including strategic litigation to address homelessness and lack of housing.

    Application deadline: September 1, 2006
    Submit resume in confidence to (604) 685-7813 or use this e-mail link.

    Volunteer Position: Project Volunteer - Child Apprehension and Families Living in Poverty: Human Rights Issues and Solutions

    Pivot is looking for volunteer researchers, lawyers and interviewers for our upcoming human rights project on child apprehension in the Downtown Eastside. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Katrina Pacey.

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Civic Engagement, Nonprofit, Pivot Legal Society


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    Monday, August 21, 2006

    A Picture is Worth ... A Moving Picture ...

    At our roundtable sessions the "need" for attention comes up - a lot. Usually it's the desire for media attention.

    Here are two examples, of how some nonprofits use video to convey a message. One organization is a nonprofit documentary maker, the other is engaged in grassroots community development.

    Consider them linked along a spectrum.

    The first is a trailer for A Closer Walk, a production of Worldwide Documentaries, a not-for-profit film production company focusing on matters of cultural, social, and humanitarian interest.

    "A Closer Walk is the first film to depict humankind's confrontation with the global AIDS epidemic. The film's director and producer, Robert Bilheimer, is an Academy Award nominee for his film Cry of Reason, a profile of the South African anti-apartheid leader Beyers Naude. A Closer Walk was conceived with the late Jonathan Mann, architect of the World Health Organization's response to global AIDS"

    Robert Bilheimer's film has been picked up by PBS affiliates in the US and his approach demonstrates a knowledge of the film/documentary industry. A professional telling a story, well.


    The second is a music video that details an 8000 Flag installation, a compelling visual of the estimated number of people dying every day of AIDS. You may have seen the installation - co-created by SOLID and VIDEA - at various points across Canada, as well as the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto.

    Film by Gary McNutt. Music by Harry Manx.

    Gary McNutt's video is raw and unmitigated. A volunteer driven to express.


    Both videos stir their intended audience. They are appealing and provocative.

    Both are easily shared with stakeholders and others moved by the subject matter.

    So, with these illustrations in mind ...

    Why get distracted clamoring for media attention, when you can create your own media? How do you use services like YouTube and Google Video to tell your story?

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Activism, Nonprofit, YouTube, Google Video


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    Friday, August 18, 2006

    SustainAbility - New Podcast and a deepening interest in Social Enterprise

    SustainAbility, a UK based "strategy consultancy and independent think tank specialising in the business risks and market opportunities of corporate responsibility and sustainable development", announced a three-year, field-building partnership with the Skoll Foundation in March.

    The partnership supports the Skoll Foundation’s strategy to focus on high-level, multi-year partnerships with experts who can advance the foundation’s work in the field of social entrepreneurship.

    That partnership just went into bud. The fruit should be sweet.

    That bud is a podcast.

    Take a listen as John Elkington (SustainAbility Founder & Chief Entrepreneur) and Sophia Tickell (Chair) consider the links between corporate responsibility, social entrepreneurship and sustainable development.

    The podcast is the first of a series of 10-15 minute conversations. Future interviews will probe "the thinking and experience of leading social entrepreneurs, key funders and business people who have partnered with - or are learning from - these extraordinary innovators".
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, SustainAbility, Skoll, Corporate Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship


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    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    [Opportunity] VanCity Community Foundation - Manager, Communications and Resource Development

    The Vancity Community Foundation is about to embark on a major planned giving fund development strategy focusing on the 330,000 Vancity Credit Union members and the Foundation's work in Community Economic Development.

    Here's the role description and a link to the on-line application process ...

    In this role the selected candidate will be working with Vancity staff, consultants and the Foundation's Board of Directors. The Manager of Communications and Resource Development will have the exciting opportunity to lead the implementation of the major planned giving fund development strategy.

    In addition, the donor advised funds (Named funds) administered by the Foundation have undergone tremendous growth over the last number of years. A full review of these Funds is presently underway and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to influence and implement changes coming from this review.

    If you are among the top resource developers in BC - adept at working with multiple stakeholders to lead, execute and measure resource development strategies. You have a deep understanding of our non-profit sector and local community economic development issues. Your profile is highlighted with an in depth background in planned giving and success in building communications strategies. In addition to a relevant university degree, you also have 5 years of related experience, including at least 2 years in a leadership role.

    Note: This position is a one year contract.


    Here's the application.

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, VanCity, COOP, Credit_Union


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    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Blogging at Fast Company

    On Monday and Tuesday, I was pleased to accept the opportunity to be a guest blogger at Fast Company Now. The event was FC Blogjam 2006 and the third year when the magazine has opened its blog to invited guests.

    Like the previous two years it was great fun.

    Rather than focus on local expressions of social enterprise, this year I opted to point to some broader themes: microfinance, emancipated nonprofits, and technology.

    Thanks Fast Company!
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Microfinance, Nonprofit, TechSoup, SecondLife


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    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Cook Studio on the CBC Early Edition

    A quick "heads up" to say that tomorrow morning sometime between 6:00 AM and 8:30 AM - Pacific, Cook Studio Food Services, a local social enterprise, will be featured on The Early Edition on CBC.

    Not in Vancouver? Still want to hear? Well the CBC does stream their offerings here. You'll want Radio One - position 23.
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, SocialEnterprise, Social Entrepreneur


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    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Tyee Announces First Reader-Funded Expose

    Yesterday the Tyee announced the first reader-funded expose. The recipient was local journalist Chris Wood and funded his work exploring the effects of global warming.

    What does "reader-funded" mean?

    Well, to mark the Tyee's second anniversary, founder David Beers launched two fellowship funds, one of which is dedicated to investigative journalism.

    The donor response was above expectation.

    The purpose of the fellowships is
    to promote independent journalism that educates the public about important issues facing British Columbia.

    The judging panel selected Chris' work ...
    [believing] Wood's stories [...] perfectly fulfil [the fellowship]mandate, as [the stories] reveal the dire threat of drowned communities along the Lower Fraser River due to inadequate dikes and early warning system cutbacks.

    Chris is an old friend with solid journalistic cred. I'm happy to offer hearty congratulations.
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Global Warming, ChrisWood, Tyee


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    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    "Because Innovation is at the Margins"

    "Because Innovation is at the Margins", is what Tony Deifell's sign says. And it's Tony's answer to the question: Why Do You Do What You Do?

    If you attended the SEA conference in Atlanta, you'll remember the camera, the markers, and the placards. Not to mention the acronym WDYDWYD?.

    Tony's website captures WooDY-DeWY-D moments as he travels. It's a great place to visit if you fancy a little uplift. If you're inspired ... feel free to send along your WooDY-DeWY-D.
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Enterprise, SocialEnterprise, WDYDWYD


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