More risk-taking among grant makers is indispensible if the philanthropic sector ever hopes to drive true social change. “Do-gooder” grants to build a positive corporate image or solve a PR problem will do little to get at the core causes of social ills. Real, lasting social change will come only when funders adopt a more intentional venture capitalist approach — a social entrepreneur approach — to their contributions. So goes the thinking of Echoing Green, a philanthropy established in 1987 by the senior leadership of General Atlantic, LLC.
[pullquote]General Atlantic was founded in 1980 by low-profile billionaire Charles F. Feeney to invest on behalf of the Atlantic Philanthropies, which he had endowed, according to Conor O’Clery, author of The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing.[/pullquote]
The entrepreneurial spirit that has long driven the economic growth in the U.S. and around the world needs to be brought to the social change sector, the philanthropy asserts. Social change is created by developing new approaches that address root causes.
Throughout history, breakthrough ideas and social change tend to come from the margins of society. New organizations, unconstrained by tradition, are often best able to challenge the status quo. In recent years, many of those organizations have been founded by social entrepreneurs, frequently focusing creatively on human services.
Cheryl Dorsey: Social Entrepreneurial Intelligence from 99% on Vimeo. Dorsey is Echoing Green President. In this video clip, she discusses the traits and skills that have defined the most successful social entrepreneurs.
Readers of this blog include many individuals who already work on social change, human services and economic justice reforms.. Your work, or your ideas about future work, might qualify you for an investment grant from Echoing Green. Take a look at the 2011 recipients featured in this video. Contact information is included for each of the 2011 Fellows. Funders like to build on the work they’ve already supported.
For additional reading, see: [amazon_enhanced asin="0199283885" /].