Impact Investing: Time to Unleash PRIs

Foundations are known by most for their ability to heap large gifts (typically grants) on those who seek to improve society. But, regrettably, few outside the social innovation community know that foundations can also act as investors. The 1969 Tax Reform Act created a tool called program-related investments (PRIs), which allows foundations to give working capital to organizations in the […]

How Data Drives Success in Corporate Citizenship

On average, companies that integrate their corporate citizenship with their business strategy are twice as likely to report success in achieving important business objectives. Integration at this level requires a real understanding of how everyone involved will make a contribution and how progress will be measured in numbers.

Similarly, programs that invested in their corporate citizenship programs for at least four […]

Prioritizing Social Enterprise Sustainability

Despite the conventional wisdom that organizations that invest in developing a robust infrastructure are more likely to succeed and recognition of financial support for capacity building as a philanthropic best practice by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, social impact funders have yet to collectively make a substantial financial commitment to building organizational capacity. In an article published by Stanford Social Innovation […]

Social Innovation through The Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is a prime example of social innovation. At a basic level, sharing (rather than owning) assets is more economically efficient, environmentally sustainable, and community-oriented.

The sharing economy addresses a range of social problems—including isolation, over-consumption, and economic scarcity—in new ways. In addition to helping individuals meet their needs and expand their universe of opportunities, it also builds social […]

The Case Against Investing in Social Innovation

Innovation is often viewed as an unquestionably worthy endeavor, and in most cases, I think that is true. But in the social sector, the benefits of experimentation and innovation must be carefully weighed against the costs incurred by all stakeholders.

Starting with the perspective of funders, there appears to be a straightforward reason why investing in innovation is popular: the benefits […]

Helping Smallholders Become Financially Secure through Mobile-powered Tools

David Opio, one of the finalists in Unilever’s Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards, heads up Ensibuuko, a social enterprise which empowers rural farmers and increases their financial wellbeing.

Opio, now 27, is the founder of Ensibuuko, a social enterprise that is not only introducing farmers to reliable buyers – cutting out the middle man – but also addressing one of the […]