Philanthropy Daily Digest


  1. Jeff Mowatt says:

    On the subject of a social innovation fund, when first proposed (to the best of my knowledge) as a strategy to invest in social enterprise, it was conceived with a wider interpretation of social enterprise in mind and a clear set of social objectives. Perhaps more relevant in the context of the for-profit approach, rather than a foundation based strategy it was suggested as “a social-benefit fund under oversight of an independent board of directors, particularly including representatives from grassroots level citizens action groups, networks, and human rights leaders ”

    Calling on assistance from US gov, it suggested that the fund of $1.5 billion required could be derived by spending as much in soft power development as was being spent weekly in Iraq. Interestingly when first suggested in the US, a fund of $3.5 billion was mooted.

    The strategy paper, produced by an American and funded by a UK social enterprise was published as a news article 9 months after delivery as a means to protect intellectual property.

    In the context of philanthropy in social enterprise, the case for compassion in economics has and continues to be made by advocates for the ‘profit for purpose’ approach. In the paper above for example, with primary focus on the the most urgent social issue – “those in greatest need, must be helped first — not secondarily, along the way or by the way.”

    This point had been made many times, that “Money, symbolically representing wealth and ownership of material assets, is not an infinite resource. When it accumulates in enormous quantities in the hands of a few people, that means other people are going to be denied.”

    Curiously, it seemed to filter through when in 2008, Sir Richard Branson spoke at the Ukrainian Lunch in Davos advocating the application of business to social problems. Apparently he was making the case for Philanthrocapitalism.

    On the ground in Ukraine however, there was less cause for optimism. As Sir Richard spoke, a story was breaking of children in state care perishing from malnutrition. This was the precise social business target identified as most needy, that which had been denied and repeatedly brushed under the carpet.

    If anyone cares to help me raise awareness of business tackling social problems, they will be most welcome.


  2. Jeff Mowatt says:

    Another dimension of philanthropy in social enterprise is the development of sustainable models.

    A classic illustration of this is the ‘profit for purpose’ model which was placed in the public domain. It described a trading business with at least 50% profit invested in social purpose.

    This instance of philanthropy can be readily translated in to a financial value in that £750,000 was invested to come to the same conclusion in the eligibility criteria for the Social Emterprise Mark announced at Voice10 recently. Financed I understand from Lottery funding and government grants from us taxpayers.

    With a qualifying membership of 37, equating to a cost of $20,000 apiece, it makes a good case for conventiional philanthropy in itself in that the money might have been better spent in assisting social enterprise directly.