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Posts Tagged ‘Skoll Foundation’

The Skoll Foundation Mourns the Passing of Nelson Mandela

December 5, 2013 by
 
 

The Skoll Foundation mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela and expresses its deepest sympathy to his family.

“Madiba leaves behind a long legacy of compassion and an unwavering commitment to justice,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “He inspires us all to continue to drive toward a more peaceful and prosperous world.”

As advisory council members for The Elders—a group of global leaders founded by Mandela—Skoll Foundation Founder and Chairman, Jeff Skoll, and Sally Osberg have had the privilege of benefiting from and supporting Mandela’s vision for peace, justice, and human rights.

The Elders have issued a statement commemorating Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.

See it here:

http://theelders.org/article/elders-honour-memory-their-founder-nelson-mandela

 

Financial Times: “Bill Strickland’s Education Revolution”

November 25, 2013 by
 
 

The Financial Times (FT)  just published a long feature profile on Skoll Awardee Bill Strickland. Our founder Jeff Skoll was also interviewed for the article, which chronicles Strickland’s journey of “45 years doing what he says US state schools fail to do – getting disadvantaged kids excited about learning.”

An excerpt:

“His TED talk, ‘Bill Strickland Makes Change With a Slideshow’, accompanied by Herbie Hancock on the piano, has been watched more than 425,000 times. His book, Make the Impossible Possible, has sold more than 85,000 copies. His unconventional corporation has even attracted the attention of business academics and been written about four times by Harvard Business School. He also featured in the acclaimed 2010 documentary Waiting for ‘Superman’, which investigated the US public education system.

Backed by an impressive roster of local business leaders and charitable foundations, Strickland has opened another eight centres in the US and is aiming to found up to 100 within his lifetime. He is also in talks with potential partners in the Caribbean, Japan, Israel and the UK with a view to opening 100 more abroad. ‘I want to open in London yesterday,’ he says….

‘It costs a lot of money to keep people poor. We spend $7bn in Pennsylvania on welfare out of a $28bn budget. What I am saying is invest in young people and give them the chance to be productive citizens. You do not have to subsidise them,’ he explains. ‘We have doubled the graduation rate for inner city black and Hispanic kids. It is a methodology. We have figured this out. With all the presidential commissions and PhDs and Rand Corporation studies we still do not have the outcomes we want. But here is Bill Strickland and his arts programme with a way to double the graduation rates of kids.’”

 

Jeff Skoll Speaks on XPrize Insights: Video

November 6, 2013 by
 
 

In today’s one-minute video on XPrize Insights, our founder Jeff Skoll talks about a meeting with John Gardner that deeply influenced his life. XPRIZE Insights is a video series that highlights leading thinkers of our time. Skoll said that Gardner told him about “individuals who were dedicated to solving literacy or the health system, education, saving the rainforest… and they needed a different kind of backing and that was at the dawn of what became known as social entrepreneurship.”

 

What the Top CrowdRaise-rs Are Doing: Six Tips

November 4, 2013 by
 
 

As we head into the 6th week of the Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Challenge on CrowdRise, we wanted to give you an update on how the top organizations are leveraging their networks and coming up with creative ideas to raise funds.

The organizations that have raised the most—Center for Digital Inclusion, Pratham, Arzu, Half the Sky Foundation, International Bridges to Justice, and Root Capital—recently shared their tips on how to maximize donations to the Challenge:

• Get board members and advisory boards engaged—see if they can come up with strategies to raise awareness and raise funds.

• Encourage any expected donations to be made during the Challenge since the dollars will be leveraged.

• Have leaders reach out directly to potential donors. One social entrepreneur used her birthday as an outreach driver and got a great response.

• Email past donors, attendees from events and newsletter recipients. Create a direct message, highlight how funds will be used, and note the opportunity to leverage the $1 million Skoll Foundation match.

• Take advantage of in-person events—make a mention of the Challenge or email attendees afterwards with a link.

• Enlist fundraisers and personally reach out to them to set a fundraising goal. Some of the strategies fundraisers are using include auctioning off prizes per dollar amount raised, asking for donations in lieu of birthday presents, fundraising at events, and running a mile for every $100 raised.

For those of you that haven’t made a gift – we have only three more weeks to raise $1.5 million. Donate now so that you can stretch your donation even further with the Skoll Foundation’s $1 million match!

We’ve made it easy for you to donate to participating social entrepreneurs based on the issues they’re working on. Click on the organizations’ names below to go directly to their fundraising pages.

Environmental Sustainability

Amazon Conservation TeamBioRegional Development Group,EcopeaceForest Trends AssociationGlobal Footprint Network,Telapak Indonesia

Education

Afghan Institute of Learning,  Child and Youth FinanceBarefoot CollegeBenetechCamfedCollege SummitFundacion Escuela NuevaHalf the Sky FoundationISDP-PakistanNCAT,  Pratham,Room to ReadSonidos de la TierraThe Citizens Foundation,Youthbuild

Economic Opportunity

ArzuBuilding MarketsCenter for Digital Inclusion,  Digital Divide DataFriends International, Gawad KalingaINJAZ Al-Arab,International Development Enterprises-IndiaKashf Foundation,Landesa, NidanProximity DesignsRoot Capital,

Health

APOPOBasic NeedsCiudad Saludable, Gram VikasHealth Care without HarmMothers2MothersRiders for HealthSaude CriancaWater for PeopleWorld Health Partners

Peace & Human Rights

Independent DiplomatInternational Bridges to Justice,International Center for Transitional JusticeOneVoiceRoots of PeaceSearch for Common GroundTostanWITNESSVisayan Forum Foundation

Sustainable Markets

CeresFairTrade USAGoodWeaveVerite

 

Crowdfunding for Social Entrepreneurs: Raising the Bar

October 28, 2013 by
 
 

We are entering the fifth week of the Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Challenge on CrowdRise. So far, the organizations have raised more than $809,000—mostly from small-to-mid-sized donations.

In leading this Challenge, we are looking at what’s working best, to help organizations raise even more funds.

The top six organizations that have raised the most—Center for Digital Inclusion, Pratham, Arzu, Half the Sky Foundation, International Bridges to Justice, and Root Capital—account for more than 60 percent of the total raised so far. We’ve seen that the organizations that have reached out directly to their networks and supporters by sending short, targeted emails, have performed best.

So far, the Challenge has resulted in more than 2,600 donations made to participating Skoll social entrepreneurs. Individual donation amounts have averaged around $250—much higher than in the last CrowdRise challenge the Skoll Foundation co-organized, in which most donations averaged less than $100.

Haven’t checked it out yet? Click here to have a look, and let us know what you think via Twitter (@skollfoundation) or info@skollfoundation.org.

Also check out the Challenge blog series, co-produced with the Huffington Post, where Skoll Awardees share insights into their work, and show the impact that your money can have.

If you’re inspired, make a donation and share the Challenge with your networks.

If you’d like to see participating social entrepreneurs by the issues they’re working on, see below. Clicking on the organizations’ names takes you directly to their fundraising pages.

Only four more weeks to raise $1.5 million! Get ahead of the end-of-year giving rush and make your donation go even further by taking advantage of the Skoll Foundation’s $1 million match!

Environmental Sustainability

Amazon Conservation TeamBioRegional Development Group,EcopeaceForest Trends AssociationGlobal Footprint Network,Telapak Indonesia

Education

Afghan Institute of Learning,  Child and Youth FinanceBarefoot CollegeBenetechCamfedCollege SummitFundacion Escuela NuevaHalf the Sky FoundationISDP-PakistanNCAT,  Pratham,Room to ReadSonidos de la TierraThe Citizens Foundation,Youthbuild

Economic Opportunity

ArzuBuilding MarketsCenter for Digital Inclusion,  Digital Divide DataFriends International, Gawad KalingaINJAZ Al-Arab,International Development Enterprises-IndiaKashf Foundation,Landesa, NidanProximity DesignsRoot Capital,

Health

APOPOBasic NeedsCiudad Saludable, Gram VikasHealth Care without HarmMothers2MothersRiders for HealthSaude CriancaWater for PeopleWorld Health Partners

Peace & Human Rights

Independent DiplomatInternational Bridges to Justice,International Center for Transitional JusticeOneVoiceRoots of PeaceSearch for Common GroundTostanWITNESSVisayan Forum Foundation

Sustainable Markets

CeresFairTrade USAGoodWeaveVerite

 

“Social Entrepreneurs Challenge” Rewards Innovators and Crowdfunding Virtuosos

October 20, 2013 by
 
 

If you haven’t participated in our Social Entrepreneurs Challenge yet, there’s still about one month left. More than $683,000 has already been raised. When the challenge recently reached $500,000, that triggered an additional $250,000 in matching funds for these wonderful organizations.  We hope you donate today. Learn more from an Oct. 15 letter by Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg:

“On Tuesday, The Huffington Post and the Skoll Foundation launched the Social Entrepreneurs Challenge, a fundraising initiative for organizations striving to solve society’s most critical problems.

The challenge is hosted by crowdfunding platform CrowdRise and will award $250,000 through daily and weekly challenges, with $50,000 going to the most successful campaign. Participating nonprofits that raise the most funds receive donation money from Skoll. And an additional $750,000 is available in matching funds to be shared equally among all participants as organizations reach certain fundraising thresholds during the competition.

The participating social entrepreneurs are fighting human trafficking, empowering marginalized populations, improving education in developing countries and addressing other pressing social needs around the world.

The initiative is the third such competition run by The Huffington Post and The Skoll Foundation, following the JobRaising Challenge, which leveraged more than $1.2 million in donations for job-focused nonprofits, and the RaiseForWomen Challenge, which brought in more than $1 million in donations for women’s causes.

As of Tuesday evening, $121,000 had already been raised by the social enterprises, putting the competition on track to raise over $6 million if the current pace continues. The challenge will run until November 22 at 11:59:59am ET.”

For more information on the competition, click here or find out more about individual organizations below:

Environmental Sustainability

Amazon Conservation TeamBioRegional Development Group,EcopeaceForest Trends AssociationGlobal Footprint Network,Telapak Indonesia

Education

Afghan Institute of Learning,  Child and Youth FinanceBarefoot CollegeBenetechCamfedCollege SummitFundacion Escuela NuevaHalf the Sky FoundationISDP-PakistanNCAT,  Pratham,Room to ReadSonidos de la TierraThe Citizens Foundation,Youthbuild

Economic Opportunity

ArzuBuilding MarketsCenter for Digital Inclusion,  Digital Divide DataFriends International, Gawad KalingaINJAZ Al-Arab,International Development Enterprises-IndiaKashf Foundation,Landesa, NidanProximity DesignsRoot Capital,

Health

APOPOBasic NeedsCiudad Saludable, Gram VikasHealth Care without HarmMothers2MothersRiders for HealthSaude CriancaWater for PeopleWorld Health Partners

Peace & Human Rights

Independent DiplomatInternational Bridges to Justice,International Center for Transitional JusticeOneVoiceRoots of PeaceSearch for Common GroundTostanWITNESSVisayan Forum Foundation

Sustainable Markets

CeresFairTrade USAGoodWeaveVerite

 

Mercury-Free by 2020

October 11, 2013 by
 
 

As governments were signing a global treaty in Japan today to phase out mercury use and emissions, Skoll Awardee Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were launching an initiative to achieve this convention’s goal by 2020.

“I wanted to share this news with you directly, as the Skoll Foundation was so instrumental in our ability to make this happen,” HCWH President and co-founder Gary Cohen wrote in an email. “It’s not often we can celebrate a global treaty that advances our goals of creating a healthier and more sustainable world. Thanks to Sally Osberg and Jeff Skoll and the Skoll Foundation Board for believing in our vision and our ability to manifest it in the world.”

“Through this campaign, we have built a global ecosystem of collaborators that can now pivot to address the largest source of mercury emissions—coal-fired power plants—as well as continue their journey with us toward sustainable healthcare through the Green and Healthy Hospitals Network, powered by Cisco,” Cohen continued. read more

 

“Open Heart” Airs Monday on HBO

October 10, 2013 by
 
 

Earlier this year, we told you about a very special documentary: Open Heart. We’re writing today because it’s playing on television for the first time, on Monday at 10:20 p.m. EST/7:20 p.m. PST on HBO. (See the HBO trailer starting at 39 seconds, above).

Part of the Skoll Foundation/Sundance Stories of ChangeOPEN HEART was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short category. While it didn’t win, our staffer Sandy Herz went to the Oscars and wrote about her experience.

Open Heart is the story of eight Rwandan children who leave their families behind and embark on a life-or-death journey to receive high-risk open-heart surgery in Africa’s only free-of-charge, state-of-the-art cardiac hospital, the Salam Center run by Emergency, an Italian NGO. Their heart valves, damaged and weakened by rheumatic heart disease, which develops from untreated childhood strep throat, leave them lethargic and weak. Some of the children have only months to live.

Here is the official media advisory:

Open Heart on HBO

Oscar-nominated documentary “Open Heart” premieres on HBO and features the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery, run by EMERGENCY, on Monday, October 14th at 10:20 PM ET (7:20 PM PT)

****

On October 14th, HBO will premiere the Oscar-nominated documentary “Open Heart”, a powerful and touching story that follows eight children from Rwanda as they travel to Sudan to receive medical treatment for rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which develops from untreated strep throat. Far from their families and 2,500 miles from home, the children travel to the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, Africa’s only hospital that performs high-standard cardiac surgery free of charge.

The Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery is run by EMERGENCY, an international non-profit organization founded in 1994 by the Italian war surgeon, Gino Strada and is based in Milan, Italy. In 2008, the organization established EMERGENCY USA based in San Francisco.

Although RHD is nearly non-existent among children in the US today, it continues to affect the lives of 18 million people in Africa, many of whom are children and who urgently need medical attention. Despite the fact that RHD kills 300,000 people per year, the Salam Center is the only facility in Africa that provides cardiac surgery free of charge. Funding for the Salam Center comes primarily from private donations (approximately 70%) as well as the Sudanese government (approximately 30%).

In addition to running the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, EMERGENCY has also operated in high-risk and war-torn areas where many organizations don’t dare to enter including Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and more.

 

 

10 Tips for Social Entrepreneurs: How to Talk to a Problem Employee

October 7, 2013 by
 
 


In my time as a human resources director at the Skoll Foundation, I have talked many social entrepreneurs and one question that seems to come up often is: How do we attract and keep the best people, and at the same time address the issue of low performers?

We’ll talk mostly today about how to address poor performers, but interestingly the two are very much related. Allowing a poor performer to stay on a team indefinitely brings the team down and affects everyone’s job satisfaction.

Social entrepreneurs have very high ethical and moral codes regarding how they want to treat people.  So, it’s understandable that they may consider giving a poor performer honest and direct feedback to be unnecessarily harsh.  In addition, many think of their teams as extended family, which can make giving tough feedback more difficult.  However, in the world of social change there is important work to be done and we need the best possible talent to do it. Thus, we need to “keep the bar high” for all.  It seems that many social entrepreneurs have extremely high standards for themselves, but feel guilty applying those same standards to others. read more

 

Skoll Foundation and The Huffington Post Launch First Crowdfunding Challenge for Social Entrepreneurs

September 30, 2013 by
 
 

Up to $1 million in prize funding on Edward Norton’s CrowdRise

PALO ALTO, CA, September 30, 2013 – The Skoll Foundation, in partnership with The Huffington Post, is launching its first crowdfunding challenge designed to provide some of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs with an innovative platform to raise funds.

The “Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Challenge,” hosted on Edward Norton’s platform CrowdRise, has the potential to leverage up to $1 million in prize funding from the Skoll Foundation, including $250,000 in dedicated prize money through daily and weekly challenges and up to $750,000 in additional matching funds to be shared by all participants as fundraising thresholds are reached during the campaign.

The prize funding will go to the groups that raise the most through the Challenge. The top fundraising organization will receive $50,000; the runner-up will receive $40,000; and the organizations in third place through fifth place will receive $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000 respectively. Plus, an additional $100,000 in bonus prizing will be awarded throughout the Challenge. read more

 

Our Partnership With Cisco and Healthcare Without Harm: Nice Overview

September 26, 2013 by
 
 

In a new blog, Cisco’s Harbrinder Kang lists five principles of collaboration that he learned from the Skoll Foundation/Health Care Without Harm/Cisco partnership. An excerpt:

“1. Build relationships and networks that lead to trust.
Building relationships across countries and time zones requires dedication and intention. Health Care Without Harm provided a backbone organization with a high degree of trust. They built a network of networks by inviting 63 individuals committed to working on at least one of the three community goals to join GGHH Connect and share their work. They also recruited experts, known by the community for their leading work on key issues.

2. Turn human interactions into results.
The first 3 GGHH launched communities address:
• Chemicals: substitute harmful chemicals with safer alternatives
• Waste: reduce, treat, and safely dispose of health care waste
• Energy: implement energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy generation

Areas for content development and curation are balanced with community profiles and expert streams to encourage both concrete work toward solutions and casual conversation. Personal interactions happen within the platform by instant message, emails, and virtual face-to-face meetings. As common activities and interests emerge, social stewards and community managers encourage members with introductions.”

Read the rest: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harbrinder-kang/cisco-5-keys-to-creating-a-last_b_3954462.html

 

Sally Osberg led a “deep dive” session on social entrepreneurship at Stanford PACS

September 16, 2013 by
 
 

Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg recently spoke at the Stanford PACS (Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society), Philanthropy Innovation Summit, a forum for philanthropists to “illuminate, innovate and inspire their giving through learning from both peers and experts in the philanthropic field.”

Sally led a “deep dive” session on social entrepreneurship, which attracted an overflow crowd of conference delegates. Her opening remarks included the vision and mission of the Skoll Foundation, our focus areas, and case studies about Riders for Health and Camfed. She then fielded questions about why philanthropists might want to invest in social entrepreneurs.

Other speakers at the forum included Laurene Powell Jobs, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, Ben Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz and Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter.

Learn more at http://pacscenter.stanford.edu/events/philanthropy-innovation-summit

 

Sally Osberg and Jeff Skoll’s Op-Ed on CNN.com: Social Entrepreneurs Dare to Change the World

September 7, 2013 by
 
 

Today, Skoll Foundation Founder Jeff Skoll and CEO Sally Osberg wrote the first in a new series on CNN.com, called “Social entrepreneurs dare to change the world.”

An excerpt:

“Motorcycle racer Andrea Coleman and her journalist husband, Barry Coleman, couldn’t forget what they saw during a trip to Somalia in 1986: hemorrhaging patients being carted to clinics in wheelbarrows, rusting vehicles abandoned by the side of the road, community health workers making their rounds by foot.

What all this signaled to the Colemans was a delivery system in deep disarray. It wasn’t simply the medical supplies that were lacking — vaccines, for example, or bed nets — but more mundane basics such as oil filters and lug nuts, along with the mechanics and maintenance protocols required to ensure transport that was fully functional.

As racers, the Colemans knew what it would take to build such a system. Upon returning to England, they got cracking, eventually mortgaging their house to found Riders for Health.

From food insecurity to lack of access to health care to growing environmental threats — if we’re going to solve the world’s most pressing problems, we need social entrepreneurs like the Colemans every bit as much as we need great institutions and great global leaders.”

Read the rest: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/07/opinion/skoll-osberg-social-entrepreneurs/

 

America’s Cup and SOCAP

September 6, 2013 by
 
 

By Joy Zhang, Skoll Foundation 

The Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) Conference was held this week in San Francisco, with the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and the America’s Cup sailing competition.  As far removed as SOCAP is from the America’s Cup, the participants of SOCAP can also feel  as if they are from different worlds.  It’s a mash up of philanthropic donors, investors, nonprofits, for-profits – all there from perhaps the same ideological background (we care about impact!) but speaking different languages.  At the end of the day though, it’s the same conversation—and it’s not how can impact investing solve all our problems.  For a social entrepreneur, the million dollar question is: Who pays for what I do, and when?  And that answer includes the entire spectrum of folks who show up at SOCAP – and many more who don’t.

The health track highlighted this well.  For example, in a workshop on taking innovative global health solutions to scale, we had a small but diverse group of debt and equity providers, donors, nonprofit social enterprise, and one government representative.  The discussion centered around sources of revenue, and while donors may play a role in funding a health intervention, it’s much harder to ignore the role of government support when talking about scale.  (Speaking of which, maybe someone from Medicare and Medicaid should make it to SOCAP next year.)  In addition, revenues could come from out-of-pocket payments, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, or any mix of the above.  And it could be one organization we’re talking about that is managing revenue coming from a multitude of sources.  The SOCAP crowd knows better than any other that the world is not so neatly divided between charity giving and money making.

That’s why philanthropic donors like us show up, and why we see great nonprofit social entrepreneurs like Skoll Awardees mothers2mothers, World Health Partners, Health Leads, Fair Trade USA, Vision Spring and others at an event like SOCAP.  It’s great to see the lines blurred at SOCAP where donors, investors, and terrific for-profit and nonprofit social entrepreneurs can sail to the finish line together.

 

How Skoll Awardees are Using Crowdfunding for Fundraising Success

August 8, 2013 by
 
 

We’re noticing an increasing number Skoll Awardees using crowdfunding for specific projects, and wanted to share more details in case you’re contemplating doing the same.

In June, Landesa launched its first crowd-funding effort with Catapult.org. In this pilot effort, they featured their legal aid project in Andra Pradesh, with a goal of raising $10,000 to train and support 30 paralegals in the program. Those paralegals can, in a given year, help 1,000 families gain clear title to the land upon which they rely.

Landesa successfully raised the $10,000 needed.

In July, Search for Common Ground raised a little more than their $10,000 goal to launch a TV web series of their signature show, “The Team,” in America. See their Kickstarter promotional video, above.

“Although crowdfunding seems to be everywhere now, nonprofits were actually some of its earliest adopters,” writes Scot Chisholm, CEO & CoFounder, StayClassy (a crowdfunding site). “In the early days, nonprofits tied crowdfunding to their offline events, like runs, walks and rides.”

We at the Skoll Foundation partnered with the Huffington Post and CrowdRise, a crowdfunding site, on two campaigns and plan on doing one more. The first, called JobRaising, was geared toward creating jobs for America and raised $1,469,116 in donations to organizations who help support jobs.  82 percent of  those donations were less than $100.

Announced in March 2013, JVS Los Angeles (which provides job training, mentoring, expert career coaching, job placement and retention support) beat the field with $254,100 raised and received an additional $150,000 from The Skoll Foundation.    read more

 

New Guidebook: Top Tips on Making Any “Gather”-ing Matter More

July 30, 2013 by
 
 

In the age of budget cuts, global footprint monitoring, quantum leaps in video conferencing and renewed attention on work/life balance, are large, in-person convenings going the age of the dinosaur?

The answer is: yes and no.  For some meetings, there is no need to immerse oneself in content – and people. Video conferencing is a wonderfully efficient tool to cut down on travel time, hassle and carbon footprint, while being able to see important body language cues. But for other meetings, the ability to connect in person, with a large body of like-minded  individuals, is priceless. This is especially true if you live and work in remote areas of the world, or just want to connect with people from around the world for a dose  of inspiration, new ideas and human connection.

The Skoll World Forum, of which I am director, is such a meeting. It is big. It brings people from all over the world to Oxford to connect, share and collaborate. It immerses people in a small town for three days and offers them time and space to breathe – a moment to absorb new ideas, jettison old ones, meet fellow travelers and ultimately, progress their work. read more

 

David Rothschild’s New Blog: Include REDD+ in California’s Climate Policy

July 22, 2013 by
 
 

Today, Skoll Foundation Portfolio Principal David Rothschild co-authored a Skoll World Forum/Forbes.com piece called “California Again Leads the Way, This Time with Forest Carbon Offsets: Often misunderstood, REDD+ forest carbon offsets are a “must have” for any realistic climate-change mitigation strategy.”

An excerpt:

“Californians are known as innovation leaders, and once again, we are on the verge of demonstrating critical leadership.  Only this time it isn’t about the Internet, social networking, reality television, venture capital or electric cars. It is about stopping tropical deforestation and supporting local communities. ‘What!?’ you say?  How is the great state of California, home of bankrupt and massive, thirsty desert cities and Silicon Valley, a place that elected such juggernauts of history as Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, about to lead in avoiding tropical deforestation?

Thanks to the people of California, and Arnold, in 2006 we passed the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32). As a result, this January the state launched its own cap-and-trade carbon market, demonstrating global leadership on climate change as well as opening doors to further innovation in green technologies and job creation.  California now has an opportunity to again be an early adopter, offering polluting companies the chance to offset a small percentage of their carbon emissions by supporting reductions in tropical deforestation through a mechanism called jurisdictional REDD+ — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Since deforestation accounts for some 15% of global carbon emissions, reducing deforestation plays an essential role in addressing climate change.

Trees perform vital functions for our climate such as absorbing and storing carbon. But they are currently not valued for these services – and it is this shortcoming that REDD+ forest carbon offsets aim to address. Entities regulated under AB32 would be able to contribute to this solution by reducing a small portion of their emissions by purchasing forest carbon offsets as part of their strategies to reduce their carbon emissions.

Companies and other institutions can contribute to this effort by signing Code REDD’s Letter of Support for inclusion of REDD+ in CA’s climate policy.”

Read the rest: http://skollworldforum.org/2013/07/22/california-again-leads-the-way-this-time-with-forest-carbon-offsets/

 

Sally Osberg’s Rotman Magazine Piece: How Social Entrepreneurs Unleash Human Potential

July 5, 2013 by
 
 

Sally Osberg’s 4-page Rotman magazine article, “How Social Entrepreneurs Unleash Human Potential,” has hit newsstands. Below, we have included some highlights.

On Ambition: 

“Without ambition, I would argue, dreams risk remaining ethereal and untethered to reality.  Ambition moves human beings from wanting to improve their lives to taking the actions to do so.  Social entrepreneurs harness that force, creating ventures explicitly designed to help people help themselves.  For the disadvantaged populations served by most social entrepreneurs, tangible goals—more income, good jobs, and the dignity that comes with improved social status—matter.”

On what defines social entrepreneurs:

“As Roger Martin and I argued in “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition” [Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2007], social entrepreneurs see and seize opportunities to crack the code on systems that hold human potential in check, setting their sights not just on incremental improvements to a status quo, but on equilibrium change.”

On Tim Hanstad of Landesa:

“Tim Hanstad is under no illusions as to the scale of global poverty.  Landesa, the organization he leads, has done the math and carried out the analysis: of the estimated 2.47 billion barely scraping by on less than $2 a day, three quarters live in rural areas and are dependent upon land they farm to survive.  More than 1 billion of these subsistence farmers, however, are not in control of the land they cultivate, a condition that perpetuates their poverty and exacerbates their vulnerability.  For families as for markets, uncertainty quashes ambition.  Faced with the real possibility that their property can be seized or redistributed, farmers won’t risk investing even the tiny sums needed to diversify crops or increase  yields.  But with title comes security and with security a more stable foundation for development. For four decades, Landesa has partnered with governments throughout the world in order to secure land rights for the rural poor, knowing that title is catalytic, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of development.”

On ambition as key to social entrepreneurship:

“Ambition can seem invisible, but its energy is undeniable.  To social entrepreneurs like those featured herein, no resource is as vital to prosperity as that of human potential.  Throughout the world, the ambition of women and men seeking freedom, self-determination, and opportunity is gathering force. Social entrepreneurs grasp the enormity of this momentum, appreciating the vast human potential underlying every data point on poverty, disease, environmental degradation and human suffering. They know that in the decades to come, this veritable tsunami of ambition will change countries, transform societies, and remake the world.”

Read the full article:

http://www.skollfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Osberg.pdf

 

Jeff Skoll, John Marks on 100 Most Influential List

July 1, 2013 by
 
 

Action on Armed Violence just released its Top 100 most influential people in armed violence reduction. Congratulations to our founder Jeff Skoll and Skoll Awardee John Marks for this latest honor. David Tolbert of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and many former Skoll World Forum speakers are on the list, from Lakhdar Brahimi to Kofi Annan.

“Our list of the 100 most influential in reducing violence bows to the same conceits, to some degree.  We have our Jolie and our Clooney.  We have our rich and our powerful.  We have our headliners and opinion formers.

But there is a utility to our list.  The people on it are truly influential – they have proven track records of mobilizing change, reforming wrongs and reducing the impact of armed conflict,” wrote Iain Overton of Action on Armed Violence.

More about the list: “In 2011, at least 526,000 people died violent deaths around the world.  Over three-quarters of these occurred in non-conflict settings. A wide range of people around the globe are working to change this depressing reality. But who are these men and women who have dedicated their lives to making the world a safer place? Members of AOAV staff have come together to select 100 people who are outstanding examples of those trying to change the world for the better.”

See all the most influential: http://aoav.org.uk/2013/top-100-the-most-influential-people-in-the-world-of-armed-violence/

 

How Better Trained Farmers are Slowing Brazil’s Deforestation

June 17, 2013 by
 
 

Today we are cross-posting a blog by Daniel Jensen of Mercy Corps’ Global Envision, focusing on our partnership with Mercy Corps and USAID. Here it is:

In Para, Brazil, farmers are turning a profit and the government is on track to slow deforestation thanks to local nonprofit Imazon, which got them to work together.

By 2003, Brazil was on the verge of an environmental catastrophe. As its economy expanded, cattle ranchers needed more land to graze their livestock, and few laws prevented them from burning down thousands of square kilometers of untitled land in the Amazon, causing vast environmental damage. In the worst regions, like Para, widespread poverty meant that stopping deforestation was at the bottom of the government’s list, despite massive efforts by groups like Greenpeace and Imazon.

A wave of environmental laws passed by the federal government from 2004 to 2008 seemed to complicate things for local governments and economies, even as deforestation rates fell. Many municipal governments couldn’t fully meet government targets under the new regulations but faced economic sanctions if they didn’t. A beef embargo prevented farmers from selling their meat to mainstream supermarket chains like Carrefour and Walmart if their municipality ended up on a blacklist for failing to reduce illegal deforestation to government-mandated levels. The government confiscated herds and sawmills from the law’s offenders. When Paragominas, a municipality in Para where Imazon worked, was placed on the list, 2,300 jobs and all the municipality’s federal agricultural credits disappeared within a year. read more

 
 

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