If ever there were a video that captured why we are so obsessed with scale and growth, this is it. This is such an important video to watch for anyone interested in the non-profit sector--especially those that believe it can and should be doing a far better job at solving the serious social and environmental challenges we are facing today. Enjoy and please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section of this post!
Saturday, March 16, 2013
If you are a reader of this blog, you’ve probably heard a lot about social enterprise, social business, social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, B-corporations, triple bottom lines...the list goes on. And if you’ve heard about all this, you might be left with the impression that these trends are vibrant and rapidly growing. You might sense at this point that a ‘But’ is coming, and you’d be right. For all the buzz about new business models for social change, the fact of the matter is that the successful enterprises in this space are few and far between and that it remains exceedingly difficult to start and grow them.
I know, because Capital Good Fund is one such social enterprise (that’s the jargon I prefer to use to refer to us), and I’ve seen firsthand all the barriers to growth. Let’s cover some of these barriers:
Thursday, March 14, 2013
In his iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech,’ Martin Luther King spoke of the fierce urgency of now--the moral imperative to address injustice in the present as opposed to in some vague, ill-defined future. Further, in his masterpiece ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail,’ he wrote that “For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see...that ‘justice too long delayed in justice denied.’”
As the Executive Director of a small, rapidly growing non-profit, I often find myself trying to balance the imperative to solve problems today with the need to think strategically and build the infrastructure needed for scale and growth tomorrow. My obsession with the ‘fierce urgency of now,’ however, had until recently always been rooted in a firm belief that when we put off doing the right thing, we are in many ways creating excuses for denying justice. But recently I’ve been thinking more carefully about why the urgency of now is so ferocious, and I’ve come to a new conclusion: every day that goes by without us solving a problem, the harder that problem becomes to solve. To borrow the parlance of climate change mitigation we are, in effect, ‘locking in’ injustice for years, decades and centuries to come.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
“We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
The thesis of this post is simple and, I hope, provocative: that if you care deeply about a particular social or environmental issue, then you must at least be familiar with many other social or environmental issues. This is due to the increasingly unavoidable link between seemingly disparate challenges, be they economic growth and climate change, health care spending and hunger, or defense spending and education.