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Guest blogger Josh Weissburg is the Philanthropy and Innovation Project Manager at the Aspen Institute, where he works to identify models and measures of social change. He is also a co-founder and Director of Africa Operations at Renew LLC, an investment consulting firm that connects small and medium size businesses in emerging economies to U.S.-based investors and businesses.
The thing about ideas that can change the world is that usually (though not always) they require money. This series of three blog posts will plumb the mysteries of the “social capital market” (whatever that is) in search of answers to the question: how does one “invest” in social innovation? Is “investment” even the right way to think about funding social change?
If you spend much time thinking about or working with social innovators, such investments seem to be often in the news, the blogosphere and the meeting room – yet the spectrum of options available to social innovators is rarely examined systematically. As someone attempting to understand and enable social innovation, with a foot planted on both the not-for-profit and for-profit sides of the equation, this series of three posts will explore the “business end” of social innovation.
The first comes in the form of my own little case study to illustrate the need for clarity on this topic; the second will delve into the “micro” questions that organizations and funders must answer as they seek funding (or seek to fund); and the third will pull back to examine the range of funding options available and what is needed to make them more useful.
These posts draw on our work at The Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation, which is tackling related issues on a number of fronts – most recently by convening a group of foundation presidents to examine the key drivers of social change and by hosting a workshop exploring design and strategy for the new, White House-led Social Innovation Fund.
Check back here next week for my first post!