Month: July 2016

Oil, Iran, and Rockefeller Giving

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Foundations are often taken to task for being too risk-averse, but no one could apply that epithet to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Among other efforts in pursuit of social justice, sustainability, and peace, the 76-year-old foundation played a long-term role in brokering the U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement and is perhaps the most prominent philanthropy to cease investing in oil, coal, and gas.

In this segment from the Business of Giving, Stephen Heintz, the fund’s president, tells the story behind its decision to divest from fossil fuels, despite its wealth being derived from one of America’s great oil fortunes. He also shares his thoughts on the Iran deal, how a big-but-not-huge foundation can leverage and maximize its influence, and the history of Rockefeller family philanthropy.

rockefeller brothers fund logo

Stephen Heintz and Denver Frederick

The Fastest-Growing Microfinance Organization in the US

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Grameen America is the fastest-growing microfinance organization in the United States, giving very small loans to women in poverty to build businesses.  They have helped over 70,000 women and have a remarkable payback rate of 99.6%, according to Andrea Jung, their President and CEO.

In this segment from The Business of Giving, Ms. Jung, who previously served as the CEO of Avon Products for 12 years, discusses the importance of social capital and outlines how to take a nonprofit to scale.  She also shares how she is going about making Grameen America a sustainable enterprise and what inspired her to move from the corporate world to the nonprofit sector.

grameen logo
andrea jung and denver frederick

Strengthening Charities for Stronger Communities

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Human-service nonprofits work to improve lives in the country’s most troubled communities, but there’s another way in which they live on the edge: Many operate with less than 30 days’ worth of cash on hand.

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities is a national organization representing hundreds of such organizations across North America. In this segment from the Business of Giving, CEO Susan Dreyfus addresses the severe financial strain many of them labor under every day.

Noting that governments pay roughly 80 cents on the dollar for the cost of social, health, educational, and other services they contract with charities to provide, Ms. Dreyfus calls on public agencies to fully fund those programs. She also discusses the importance of applying neuroscience to improve social services, and shares her theory of change for the 21st century.

alliance for strong families and communities logo2


The Art of Social Entrepreneurship

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In this segment, Laura Callanan describes how Upstart Co-Lab got its start and how it works to create opportunities for artists as innovators, collaborators, and agents of social change.  The New York group links artists addressing issues like criminal justice, the environment, and urban resiliency with entrepreneurs, impact investors, and sustainable companies in an effort to attract capital for creativity.

upstart colab logo