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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
The Tahirih Justice Center multiplies its impact by creatively using pro bono attorneys.
Study suggests that for young volunteers, it’s not just about résumé padding.
How local governments and nonprofits can work together for large-scale community change.
Computer imaging technology gets put to work to fight child porn fast—five-millisecond-fast.
Environmental justice research may be asking the wrong questions. Researchers employ a novel statistical technique called “fuzzy set analysis,” which, in laymen’s terms, allows for the unexpected.
Development initiatives that rely heavily on partnerships with local communities are far more likely to create sustainable value, social entrepreneurs agreed during a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation.
Green design advocate Michael Braungart calls on manufacturers to eliminate environmentally harmful materials altogether." Less bad is no good," he told a Stanford Business School audience.
America's health care system is broken, drug development takes too long and costs too much, and the FDA needs major reform, speakers told the annual Health Care and Biotech Symposium "5 by 20: Five Ideas That Will Revolutionize Health Care by 2020."
The role of universities in promoting sustainable development was one of the topics debated by business leaders and academics attending the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development meeting at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The group found no easy answers to long-standing issues such as the need to increase plastic recycling and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Gary Hirshberg, CEO of organic foods product company Stonyfield Farm, speaks about the role of business in influencing sustainability, citing the rise of organic foods as evidence of the power of the market to help solve challenging social and environmental problems.
From pink ribbons to Product Red, cause marketing adroitly serves two masters, earning profits for corporations while raising funds for charities. Yet the short-term benefits of cause marketing—also known as consumption philanthropy—belie its long-term costs. These hidden costs include individualizing solutions to collective problems; replacing virtuous action with mindless buying; and hiding how markets create many social problems in the first place. Consumption philanthropy is therefore unsuited to create real social change. —By Angela M. Eikenberry
Kiva, the first online peer-to-peer microcredit marketplace, is one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in history. But its nonprofit status was not inevitable. Here’s why Kiva chose to be a 501(c)(3), what this tax status buys the organization, and how being a nonprofit poses challenges. —By Bethany Coates & Garth Saloner
Manchester Bidwell Corporation replicates by adapting general strategies to local cultures. —By Suzie Boss
RAMP nurtures local inventors in India, Peru, and Indonesia. —By Aaron Dalton
Telling their stories is a powerful way for nonprofits to fundraise.
We should be focused on cultivating and developing the leaders we already have in the nonprofit sector, instead of trying to attract 640,000 new ones.
An unresponsive political system has spurred the need for nonprofits.
Is “return on investment” the right measure for evaluating the work of nonprofits?
How does an organization get through the evaluation process and live to tell about it? In this panel, part of the Stanford Social Innovation Review's conference on evaluation, funders and fundees on both sides of the table from a variety of organizations in the areas of education and social services talk about what it was like to be in the trenches of successful evaluation processes. They tease out common success factors, including how to work collaboratively across sectors and with multiple constituents.
Recent fires, floods, and foreclosures may be clear signs that we are caught in twin crises: economic downturn and environmental devastation. In this panel discussion from The Commonwealth Club of California, Van Jones and Darrell Steinberg offer a unique solution to this complex set of problems.
Aid organizations around the world are learning that they can solve their technology and infrastructure problems faster and cheaper together than on their own. Enabling that collaboration is NetHope, a nonprofit information technology consortium helping NGOs establish the technology "ecosystems" they need to serve constituencies in more than 150 countries. Eric Nee interviews Bill Brindley, CEO of NetHope, on how the consortium got started, how it works, and how it is expanding its mission.
Nonprofits tend to collect a great deal of evaluative data but often have no idea how to use it to assess their performance--particularly because doing so properly is a complicated process requiring serious social sciences knowledge. In this panel discussion, part of the Stanford Social Innovation Review's conference on evaluation, two experts talk about how an organization may better use such data--as well as "external" information in the form of theory and advice--to create a "culture of inquiry" focused on learning and improvement.
What does it take to keep a large foundation focused on evaluation for self-improvement? As part of the Stanford Social Innovation Review's conference on evaluation, Carol Larson, CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, shares tools, lessons, and strategies for assessing performance to create a "culture of inquiry." Organizational qualities such as innovation, collaboration among stakeholders, and freedom to make "mistakes" are critical elements to foster an effective learning enterprise.
An interview with Professor John Roberts about his study results on the efficacy of working from home.
The Stanford Graduate School of Business View from the Top Series hosted former Vice President Al Gore where he spoke to over 600 students on leadership, solutions for the climate crisis, and sustainable capitalism.
California, the ninth largest economy in the world, recently launched a new carbon cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, leads this program that could provide a model to support other regional or national efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of the annual Conradin Von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture on the Environment, Mike Volpe, MBA '13, and Jake Saper, MBA '14, lay out an argument for a US-wide carbon policy.
Co-founder Andrew Ng, also the Director of the Artificial Intelligence Lab and an associate professor in computer science at Stanford, presented at the Leading Education By Advancing Digital (LEAD) Symposium held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in September 2012.
How can a country like China, which is still relatively poor, balance economic and environmental concerns? In this audio lecture, Peking University Professor Lu Zhi, who was invited to Stanford by the Center for Social Innovation, offers thoughts on conservation and some of its broader implications. Her message is that reversing the negative effects of rapid industrialization is possible, even in a developing country.
Navigating social networks could well be the ultimate nonprofit management tactic. In this audio lecture recorded at the Nonprofit Management Institute, Heather McLeod Grant discusses how individuals and organizations are using networked approaches to promote social change efforts. She focuses on the work of the Monitor Institute, in particular, and offers tips on how to use social networks effectively.
In the late 1980s, when Barry and Andrea Coleman noticed that motor bikes intended for use in the delivery of health care in Africa were not being used because they had broken down -- in some cases needing mere $3 oil filters -- they knew they had to put their own pedal to the metal. Speaking at the 2009 Responsible Supply Chains Conference at Stanford, they share some of the successes and challenges associated with running Riders for Health, which administers vehicles to keep health supplies flowing efficiently throughout the continent.
Commissioned by KaBOOM! and authored by Katherine Fulton and alumna Heather McLeod Grant of the Monitor Institute, this case study looks at the challenges KaBOOM! faced and lessons the organization learned while pioneering an online strategy to scale its impact. This strategy involves giving away the nonprofit model online for free to empower others to act on KaBoom's behalf.
In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant form the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its purpose was to evaluate how market-based approaches could help accelerate the widespread adoption and sustained use of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) products among the world's poor. One key factor to consider in constructing its pilot studies was the affordability of HWTS products. This case study describes PATH's efforts to use consumer financing as a mechanism for making HWTS produce and supplies more accessible to its target market.
To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researches at the University of Georgetown's Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) recognized the need for a intuitive, natural contraception method that could meet the needs of families that chose not to use medical or surgical alternatives. IRH developed the Standard Days Method (SDM), a family planning system, and CycleBeads. Despite some reservations related to traditional values, IRH seized the opportunity to roll out sDM and CycleBeads in Mali, West Africa. Unfortunately, the initial launch did not go well and had trouble establishing effective delivery and support for the product. This case looks at how IRH adapted its approach to facilitate more effective implementation of CycleBeads across Mali.
d.light design is a for-profit social enterprise whose purpose is to create new freedoms for customers without access to reliable power so they can enjoy a brighter future. When members of d.light moved to India to set up distribution of their product, the team quickly discovered would not be as easy as they hoped. They discovered it would be difficult to convince consumers to invest in a d.light product as the market was saturated with low-quality, solar-based lighting products. Distribution posed another challenge. This mini-case study evaluates the strategy d.light adopted to differentiate the company and establish its products as credible and trustworthy to earn the acceptance of consumers and distributors.
Phoenix Medical Systems was founded to manufacture an incubator designed specifically to address the needs of low-resource healthcare providers in India. When leaders from a multinational medical equipment company approached Phoenix about a licensing deal, its founder was enthusiastic about expanding the reach of the organization. Phoenix entered into a two-year contract that allowed the multinational to use its established distribution channels to sell all of the products in the Phoenix portfolio, under the Phoenix brand name, exclusively in the Indian market. Although the partnership showed great promise, unfortunately it did not turn out to be as fruitful as initially hoped. This mini-case study describes some of the challenges Phoenix faced with its new partner and how the company responded.
In 2010, REI considered adding photovaltaic solar panels to the roofs of some of its facilities for both financial and environmental considerations. This case discusses the company's experience with solar power generation as well as providing representative assumptions for parameters in the financial analysis.
The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. When it comes to making investments, one of the most important aspects of the Mulago approach is the ability of the organization to have a measurable impact. Mulago needed to develop an approach to the measurement of impact that was simple enough for an early-state, resource-constrained, organization to carry out. This mini-case study describes the five-step framework that the Foundation developed.
The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. Concentrated in rural settings in developing countries, the foundation's work is in four areas that contribute to this overarching goal. The Foundation explicitly seeks to get involved with early-stage entities in these targeted areas so that it can grow with the organizations it supports. However, one challenge of getting involved with early-stage enterprises is that they sometimes focus too narrowly on the product rather than the capacity of management and development. This case study explores how Mulago Foundation evaluates prospective investments and the factors it considers before coming funds to projects and organizations.
The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. The Mulago team looks for investment opportunities in promising products and services that address these high-priority problems. In evaluating potential investments, the Mulago Foundation has observed how many global health innovators grapple with the choice between establishing their organizations as nonprofit or for-profit entities. This case studies Mulago Foundation's experience in the global health field and raises issues that innovators should consider as they evaluate their legal and capital structure.
Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies. Over the years, PSI broadened its mission to address family planning, child and maternal health, and HIV and AIDS prevention, screening, and treatment. PSI opened an office in Lesotho and in 2010, a donor provided PSI/Lesotho with “a warehouse full” of female condoms (FCs) that the organization could use to help young women in the area protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. The challenge for the team was to figure out how to effectively distribute and promote the FCs since early versions of the female condom were notoriously unpopular.
Globally, pneumonia kills more children than any other illness. In developed countries, pneumonia and other acute respiratory conditions are treated via mechanical ventilators. In resource-constrained settings, however, ventilators are often not available because of their high cost. An approach has been used successfully, although not considered standard of care, is bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAPs are low-cost and effective, but require oxygen tanks, which are expensive to transport to rural regions. in 2011, a team of Stanford students set out to design a machine that would create the pressurized air of bubble CPAP without the cost, burden, and safety concerns with using oxygen tanks. This case explores the factors that the Inspire team members evaluated in deciding whether or not to take their prototype into development.
In the late 1990s, Nike had to deal with allegations that its subcontractors were running sweatshops that were marked by poor working conditions, worker abuse, and below-subsistence wages. Nike responds to the public scrutiny, and takes actions that have an impact on the company and the brand.
Upon her death, Beryl Buck left $7.6 million for various charitable purposes in Marin County, Calif. The case discusses what happened to the Buck Trust money and the constituents involved.
The executive director of Asian Neighborhood Design, a housing and community development organization, attempts to quantify the potential financial and social return for investors in his nonprofit enterprise. The director applies innovative tools, including a true cost accounting framework and a social return on investment analysis.
The Career Action Center started as a nonprofit to help mid-life women reenter the workforce, but due to various demands found itself catering to men and individuals in a host of age ranges. The leadership realized it needed to address the contradiction in the organization’s mission as a center for women that was open to all.
How can a certain kind of behavior actually contributes to inequalities? Specifically, do children’s social-class backgrounds affect when and how they seek help in the classroom, thereby teasing out children’s own role in educational stratification? We consider how teachers may use such information to correct these dynamics, and thus contribute to more equal access for all children at school.
Seasonal influenza leads to >200,000 hospitalizations and >8,000 deaths in the United States each year. The influenza vaccine is widely available at low cost and reduces mortality, morbidity, and healthcare costs. Nevertheless, many of those for whom vaccination is indicated fail to comply with CDC recommendations for vaccination. If low compliance is the result of careful calculations by individuals weighing the costs and beneﬁts of vaccination, it may be difﬁcult and expensive for policymakers and organizational leaders to increase vaccination rates. However, if low compliance is the result of forgetfulness or procrastination, low-cost interventions that use psychological tools may be effective at increasing vaccination rates and improving public health.
Evidence suggests that the medication lists of patients are often incomplete and could negatively affect patient outcomes. By predicting drugs the patient could be taking, collaborative ﬁltering can be a valuable tool for reconciling medication lists.
Workers who earn just below the Social Security tax threshold receive a larger tax preference for health insurance than workers who earn just above it.
Health care providers may vertically integrate not only to facilitate coordination of care, but also for strategic reasons that may not be in patients’ best interests.
The two-quarter Elective Course series provides lectures from a diverse group of faculty that expose students to the practical aspects of technology invention and development. The class features a presentation or discussion from one of the guest speakers or faculty. Students work in small project teams in the Biodesign prototyping lab or bench space, collaborating with the fellows of the program.
The goal of this seminar is to investigate how social technology (e.g., blogs, websites, podcasts, widgets, community groups, social network feeds) can change attitudes and behaviors in ways that cultivate social change. We study the strategies and tactics used by companies and causes that have successfully catalyzed social persuasion.
This seminar helps participants develop strategically informed action plans that are imaginative, inspiring, and workable in highly dynamic environments. Through informed debate and the writing and presentation of position papers, participants evaluate and hone their views on the seminar's critical themes.
This course focuses on the efforts of private citizens to create effective responses to social needs and innovative solutions to social problems. It equips students with frameworks and tools that will help them be more effective as a social entrepreneur.
This course surveys strategic, governance, and management issues facing a wide range of nonprofit organizations in an era of venture philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. It introduces students to core managerial issues in the nonprofit sector, such as development/fundraising, investment management, performance management and nonprofit finance.
Kate Surman, MBA '04, Administrative Director of Strategic Operations, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, discusses how she has leveraged the Public Management and Social Innovation certificate to take her career into a new direction.
A grassroots student effort led by Caroline Mullen, MBA ’12, Catha Mullen, MBA ’13, and Monica Lewis, MBA ’12, now has even more impact through a merger with Pachamama Coffee Cooperative.
Leading a Social Innovation Study Trip lands Robyn Beavers, MBA '10, in a new industry.
Jeremy Sokulsky, MBA '04, President, Environmental Incentives, discusses how he's drawing upon the tools and training he received from the GSB to help make a difference.
Vision care is something that is practically taken for granted in the United States, but that’s not the case throughout much of the world. Some 300 million around the globe suffer from correctable vision loss, leading, as Ashanthi Mathai, MBA '04, says, “to people accepting their vision impairment and adjusting their lives around it.” The result? A lower quality of life, restricted job options, and even further economic distress.
Social entrepreneurs, those organizations and individuals who work to improve major social issues, don't have the networks and financial systems of traditional entrepreneurs, Sally Osberg, president of the Skoll Foundation told a Stanford MBA audience. Like Ginger Rogers dancing in a 1940's musical, they face the same issues as traditional entrepreneurs, but must do it backwards in high heels.
Seen as a leader in sustainable business practices, Patagonia tracks every step in the manufacture of its products to be sure there are "no unintended consequences of our actions," says founder Yvon Chouinard.
Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois was one of the best attended and most influential churched in the United States. It was devoted to seekers and dedicated to helping the otherwise "unchurched" towards conversion and spiritual maturity. Executive pastor, Greg Hawkins, led the church in a strategic planning process to better understand "what was happening in the hearts and minds of their existing and potential customers." This case explores Willow's decision to bring this type of research to its church and apply analytical techniques to understand the needs of the congegration.
Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. In Kenya, slums are used to bringing their water containers to locla water taps and paying water vendors to fill them. Life Force Kiosks equips these water vendors with supplies and container cleaning serves to customers for a small incremental charge. When the founder of Life Force Kiosks was ready to launch this new service, he recognized the importance of hiring people from the community to help him establish and expand his operations. This case study explores his approach to identifying and collaborating with a local team.