Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR
Volume 7, Number 4
Sometimes the traditional philanthropic models just aren’t enough. Enter “catalytic philanthropy” and the innovative donors who make it their mission to create real change. In the fall 2009 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, meet the ambitious and mission-driven philanthropists who do much more than write checks. By becoming directly involved and taking personal responsibility these donors form alliances, influence behavior, and make a real difference.
The fine arts in America are on a perilous path. Attendance at opera, theater, jazz, symphony, and ballet performances has dropped precipitously in recent decades. Just as worrisome, the median age of people attending these events has increased dramatically. If the fine arts are to survive as a living, creative, and significant force in American life, arts institutions need to radically recreate themselves.
The dual goals of scalability and sustainability have eluded many development projects. In recent years, however, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has reached out to corporations, nonprofits, and even private citizens to build alliances that are making large-scale, long-term change. In this article, the former head of USAID describes the public-private partnership model that his agency forged, the successes that the model has won, and the struggles that it continues to face.
A vicious cycle is leaving nonprofits so hungry for decent infrastructure that they can barely function as organizations—let alone serve their beneficiaries. The cycle starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much running a nonprofit costs, and results in nonprofits’ misrepresenting their costs while skimping on vital systems—acts that feed funders’ skewed beliefs. To break the nonprofit starvation cycle, funders must take the lead.
Despite spending vast amounts of money and helping to create the world’s largest nonprofit sector, philanthropists have fallen far short of solving America’s most pressing problems. What the nation needs is “catalytic philanthropy”—a new approach that is already being practiced by some of the most innovative donors.
A social media campaign aims to increase awareness of areas that reduce health risks for domestic workers and employers alike.
A $25 baby warmer might stop the tragedy of 450 low-birth-weight babies dying every hour in the developing world.
Express Credit Union reopens in Seattle to serve the unbanked, underbanked, and want-to-be-banked.
In a new playground in Manhattan, "play associates" will encourage youthful creativity while reminding parents and nannies to take a giant step back.
Corrupt governments cash in on the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s outdated metrics.
The solutions to seemingly impossible problems already exist in the communities facing those problems.
Qifang, an online peer-to-peer lending platform, expands access to education for the world's largest student population.
Freelance workers, whose numbers are growing, are left without health insurance, a retirement plan, or a work community. The Freelancers Union meets these needs.
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.
With many in the community losing their savings in the Madoff scandal, Jewish philanthropies took a hard hit.
To save the nation, the United States needs alternative teacher training.
True restoration—environmental and economic—will not come from congressional legislation, top-down stimulus money, or EPA rulings.
Small loans are tipping the social scales for Roma people.
How one newcomer to the Los Angeles mayor’s office mixed government with philanthropy to make change.
Patients insured by Medicare are less likely to die within a week of hospital admission than their slightly younger counterparts.
More diverse workplaces have higher revenues, more customers, larger market shares, and greater relative profits.
New research reveals the economic hardships that Katrina's "stayers" were battling and the abundance of negative opinions about them.
The current recession has left few nonprofits unscathed and has hit theaters particularly hard. Creative entrepreneurial changes have proven more effective than the traditional belt-tightening.
Protestants' work ethic is a product of the denomination's emphasis on education.
Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life by Dacher Keltner
Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society by John Gardner
Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year-Conflict Between Global Conservation and Native Peoples by Mark Dowie
Freedom from Want: The Remarkable Success Story of BRAC, the Global Grassroots Organization That's Winning the Fight Against Poverty by Ian Smillie
Under Fred Krupp’s leadership, the Environmental Defense Fund has become one of the most important power brokers in the environmental arena. Krupp has helped accomplish what some thought was impossible—getting businesses to go green voluntarily.
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