Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change

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Case Study

 

An inside look at one organization

 
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A Fine Green Niche

Maria Yee established her eco-friendly, high-end furniture company long before going green was the done thing. Two decades later, her company's environmentally sound practices not only reflect a planet-friendly ethos, but also drive a market-friendly creative edge.

By Maria Shao | Fall 2009
 
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Clear Blood

By 1998, thousands of people had contracted HIV and hepatitis C from Canada’s tainted blood supply. To restore the supply and the public’s trust, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments of Canada created a new organization, Canadian Blood Services. Despite the public health tragedy that it inherited, Canadian Blood Services rebuilt Canadians’ faith in the nation’s blood supply by infusing transparency into its structure, culture, and operations.

By Moe Abecassis, David Benjamin, & Lorna Tessier | 2 | Spring 2009
 
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Millennials MoveOn

To propel young folks to the polls, a political organization mixed Web 2.0 tools with social science savvy.

By Lee Bruno | Spring 2009
 
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In the Black with BRAC

Serving more than 110 million people per year, BRAC is the largest nonprofit in the world. Yet it doesn't receive the most charitable donations. Instead, BRAC's social enterprises generate 80 percent of the organization's annual budget. These revenues have allowed the organization to develop, test, and replicate some of the world's most innovative antipoverty programs.

By Kim Jonker | 7 | Winter 2009
 
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The Cultural Touch

By tailoring its methods to local values and needs, Rare has slowly seeded conservation programs in 40 countries. Yet as more and more species teeter on the brink of extinction, the organization must expand quickly. Here's how the boutique nonprofit is delivering customized Rare Pride social marketing campaigns to millions of people in the planet's most fragile ecosystems.

By Suzie Boss | Fall 2008
 
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Taking Stock of Venture Philanthropy

In the early, heady days of the venture philanthropy movement, its proponents touted it as revolutionary, while critics said it was just old wine in new bottles. The experiences of the Center for Venture Philanthropy show that the truth lies somewhere in between: Venture philanthropy is no miracle cure, yet it can be particularly good at building strong organizations, knitting together new networks, and shrinking the power gap between funders and grantees.

By Steven LaFrance and Nancy Latham | Summer 2008
 
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Marching to a Different Mission

When the Salk polio vaccine proved to be effective in 1955, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis had to choose whether to close up shop or to pursue a new agenda. The foundation first broadened its mission, but lost donations, volunteers, and public support. After honing its mission to birth defects, however, it recovered. Here's how the organization that eventually became the March of Dimes planned – and survived – its transitions.

By Georgette Baghdady & Joanne M. Maddock | Spring 2008
 
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The Greening of Wal-Mart

For much of its history, Wal-Mart’s corporate management team toiled inside its “Bentonville Bubble,” narrowly focused on operational efficiency, growth, and profits. But now the world's largest retailer has widened its sights, building networks of employees, nonprofits, government agencies, and suppliers to “green” its supply chains. Here's how and why the world’s largest retailer is using a network approach to decrease its environmental footprint – and to increase its profitability.

By Erica L. Plambeck & Lyn Denend | 5 | Spring 2008
 
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Curbing Mission Creep

Despite temptations to broaden its focus, the Rural Development Institute has remained single-mindedly devoted to its mission. As a result, the organization has helped 400 million poor farmers around the world take ownership of some 270 million acres of land – all on a modest budget.

By Kim Jonker & William F. Meehan III | Winter 2008
 
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Rolls-Royce Radicals

Responsible Wealth, a Boston-based nonprofit, is convincing many affluent Americans to challenge the very rules that made them rich.

By Sandra Rothenberg & Maureen Scully | Winter 2007