Archive for the ‘Philanthropy’ Category
CraigConnects, a forum founded by Craig Newmark, is dedicated to “connecting the world for the common good.” This month, CraigConnects is running a great campaign to benefit our men in uniform; as Craig puts it, “if someone is willing to risk a bullet to protect me, least I can do is to support them.” That is why this month, CraigConnects is running a grant challenge for four veteran oriented nonprofits. The organization that raises the largest number of donations will receive a $100,000 grant.
Craig’s initiative would be admirable at any point of year but is of special interest to us this month. For the month of July, Do the KIND Thing is working to benefit veterans and troops who have risked their lives and given their time to protect our country. To make your KINDNESS count, visit http://www.kindsnacks.com/world/mission.
It will be excited to see which organization wins the grant, as well as to see the realization of projects benefiting soldiers and veterans.
Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, by Adeena Schlussel
This video from Muhammad Yunus describing a joint venture with Dannon is inspiring in many ways. It explains in such simple terms how a business model can be used to achieve social benefits in a sustainable and deep way. It highlights how food companies, including major multinationals, can sincerely and effectively improve the world. And it showcases one of the greatest leaders of the 21st century: Yunus is so charismatic, so down to earth, so creative, so engaging, so effective in infecting all he touches with his vision for positive change.
Craig Newmark, famous for founding Craig’s List, has come out with a new project that is sure to benefit the nonprofit space and its supporters. Craigconnects will bolster nonprofits who are socially responsible and sustainable; it will leverage the internet to help people unite around a common good, and it will protect the organizations that successfully execute their visions to improve the world.
Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, redacted by Adeena Schlussel
This awesome article in INC. Magazine, titled, “The Way I Work,” features Daniel and captures exactly how our CEO works! We are super proud that Daniel was featured in INC. and are even prouder that he is the fast paced, driven, successful worker that the article describes!
by Adeena Schlussel
Judd Apatow recently produced a hysterical, “unapproved” PSA about AJWS (American Jewish World Service), conveying the organization’s tremendous scope beyond traditional Jewish causes. More importantly it will be sure to give you a good laugh! Check it out here:
A recent New York Times Magazine cover article promoted many self starters working to fill voids in the developing world who embody the old slogan “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” By quoting stories of D.I.Y. volunteerism (as in, Do It Yourself), Nicholas Kristof makes it clear that a passionate and determined individual holds tremendous power. Although Kristof reveals that many of the self starters who set out to do good, run into many obstacles along the way, and although he the large possibility of failure in tackling the world’s largest problems, the reason this article is so inspiring is because it presents the possibilities that exist for those with a open heart and creative mind. This article is really worth a read; the philosophy that one person can change the world through KINDNESS, is exactly what we believe in here at KIND.
Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, redacted by Adeena Schlussel
For years, Forbes has published a list of billionaires that reflects the cult of money we live in. We lionize wealth. Why? Wealth accumulation is only a means to an end. What are you going to do with that money should matter to society much more. Why is it that so many people forget that? At least partly it’s because our society glorifies financial success, and ranking it is relatively easier as you are dealing with a very easy measure: money accumulated.
It would be far more interesting, though, if a publication or organization measured and praised the social impact of the greatest contributors to civilization. For example, Mohammad Yunus from Grameen Bank, who is nowhere to be seen on the Forbes list, would rank quite high because of the enormous impact he has had on society. Bill Gates would too, given how much of his wealth he has given out and in such methodic ways to try to impact society.
My friend Martin Varsavsky forwarded me a list published by BusinessWeek that is a useful start – ranking the most generous philanthropists within the Forbes 400 list.
What we need now is to take it to the next level, asking a trusted third party to develop a way to take donations into contribution as the BusinessWeek list does, but to not stop there. To add a measurement for the way the money is given out, whether there is a social innovation or model that helps advance society in the process. For example, the Skoll Foundation is among those responsible for supporting social entrepreneurship and making it “cool.” So it’s not just the enormous amount it has invested (donated) into the space, but also the way it has gone about doing it. That counts more than just writing a check, assuming the process and the platform are well thought out and innovative. And even if someone doesn’t donate money, but they create models to benefit humanity, whether through better health systems like Paul Farmer, or through the many innovations that social entrepreneurs from India and South East Asia (including several impressive ones selected by the Schwab Foundation) have introduced to truly impact their countries.
Celebrities also have a currency – fame, and the power to use it effectively. So here again, we could turn blind worship of celebrities into appreciation for those that, rather than paying the dues their publicist asked them to, sincerely engage in ways that are sustained and impactful. George Clooney comes to mind, but there are dozens others who truly dedicate themselves to make this a better world.
If Fast-Company Magazine or TIME Magazine could create a formula that is sufficiently consistent, transparent, and simple while robust, it could become the basis for others to start rallying around and quoting and praising those truly worthy of adulation.
People that truly want to change the world do not do it for the sake of a popularity contest. Changing the world is not easy, so if you just want to be popular in today’s society there are shortcuts to think you can get there. So this list is not intended to impact those people. For that there is education – helping people find purpose in their lives.
But for our society as a whole, which is so obsessed with Hollywood celebrities, political power, and financial wealth, a credible list that focused peoples’ attention on the contributions people are making to society could help start changing the discourse.
And to make this platform truly inspiring and accessible to high school students and not just people already in a position of influence, a supplemental list could be created that would track the CREATIVITY AND MAGNIFICATIONAL IMPACT of just one simple action or relatively modest behavioral change within every person’s reach. The power of the internet can be the great equalizer. With Do The KIND Thing, the KIND Movement is trying to inspire unexpected acts of kindness that are the most KINDTASTIC – truly transformative and impactful. Ideally we can start putting a spotlight on how “the average citizen” can make a far-greater-than-average contribution to their community. It would be great if society could find effective platforms to praise those who step out of their zones of comfort to make others a bit better off, to show how a 15-year old can change the world, one idea at a time.
Cone Communications is behind another study that claims consumers buy products because of their social mission – this time emphasizing mothers and young people are at the forefront of this trend. As much as I am a committed social entrepreneur whose life is dedicated to find creative ways to advance social goals using market mechanisms, I have from my experience always been skeptical of this claim. There are enormous benefits to being socially conscious, not the least of which is that it gives you meaning. And it attracts the best team to join you on your journey, and generates loyalty, goodwill, word of mouth, media attention, and more. But purchases ultimately are made by consumers primarily based on whether a product fits their personal lifestyle, and price, quality and taste are foremost facts when these choices are made. That said, I do sense over the last 15 years that consumers are becoming more educated and supportive of socially conscious ventures, particularly when they can be seen to be sincere. So whatever the actual behavior has been, it certainly is shifting more and more towards enlightened capitalism.