Category Archives: Venture Philanthropy

Burning Bridges to Make Venture Philanthropy Work

This is a guest post by John MacIntosh of SeaChange Capital Partners, a nonprofit firm that arranges collaborative growth capital funding for outstanding nonprofits. By John MacIntosh I joined SeaChange Capital Partners after a career in venture capital. In my experience on the inside, the venture capital market is a dynamic system where three key […]

Social Venture Partners Conference: A Best Kept Secret?

Most philanthropy conferences target professional grantmakers. Even events like SoCap, which attracts a diverse group of people, mostly brings in people whose job intersects with philanthropy and social investing. But there’s not too many conferences that cater to major donors. But there is one. Unfortunately, most people think they can’t attend. This conference is the […]

Investors & Researchers in Philanthropy

In his guest post, John MacIntosh of SeaChange Capital Partners made an important point: The tools for evaluating for “impact” and “performance” come from different disciplines. “Impact” is a concept from social science where ideally we define the treatment, develop measures of impact (wages, employment rates, test scores, etc.), identify a comparison or control group, […]

High Performance vs. High Impact Nonprofits

Yesterday I was part of a conversation about how to define a high performance nonprofit. One issue that came up was whether we were talking about “high performance” or “high impact”. Now bear with me, this isn’t semantics, it is critically important. A high performance nonprofit is a very well run organization. It has outstanding […]

Why the Social Innovation Fund Matters

On his Facebook page, Brad Rourke has asked why the Social Innovation Fund (explained here) is such a big deal: [The Social Innovation Fund] makes the government basically a grantmaker, giving away $50 million per year (which is not much as funders go). Sean points out that the original idea was that the government would […]

What Exactly is the Social Innovation Fund?

Having written about the Innovation Fund for the past few days, I thought it would be useful to explain exactly what the Fund actually is. The Social Innovation Fund (currently being referred to by the Administration as simply the Innovation Fund), was authorized in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009. The Serve […]

The Innovation Fund & The Serve America Act

Yesterday I highlight the way that President Obama’s description of the Innovation Fund differed in fundamentally important ways from the policy recommendations of America Forward. The simplest way to understand the distinction is that the way Obama described the Fund would mean that it was making grants to nonprofits, while the American Forward policy recommendation […]

The Innovation Fund

Yesterday, President Obama officially launched the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and the Innovation Fund (whether it is now call the Social Innovation Fund or just the Innovation Fund is unclear). He also named Melody Barnes to run the Innovation Fund. You can see video of the event here. Interestingly, President Obama described […]

Philanthropy Performance Do Over

I wish I was a better writer. Too frequently, I fail to communicate my point in the way I intended. This failing showed up big time yesterday in my post about the government backed Social Innovation Fund and they way the fund might spur a standardization of venture philanthropy performance measures. Note the comments that […]

The Social Innovation Fund & Philanthropy Performance

There are two types of "metrics” that philanthropy needs to figure out. Metrics used to evaluate nonprofit organizations or programs to determine if they should be supported. Metrics used to evaluate the impact or performance of philanthropic investments. I believe that for the most part, the first set of metrics should not and will not […]