Archive June 2014

  • By Stephen M. Pratt, Root Cause
    Posted: June 30, 2014

    At the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Impact, Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Antony Bugg-Levine opened the Thursday morning plenary on Financial Sustainability with the seemingly provocative question, “Is scaling impact conceivable?” I say “seemingly” because this year’s Social Impact Exchange conference offered the prima facie bias that scaling impact is conceivable. I remain a skeptic. Despite the launch of venture funds and public initiatives like the Social Innovation Fund, the social impact market remains disorganized, lacking defined investment pools at different stages of capitalization.

    Bugg-Levine offered up a formula for sustainability that, on its face, is entirely reasonable:

  • Nell Edgington, Social Velocity
    Posted: June 30, 2014

    This blog is reposted with permission from The author, Nell Edgington was a panelist at this year's Social Impact Exchange conference on scaling impact.

    Last week I attended the 5th annual Social Impact Exchange Conference in New York City. It was an interesting gathering of funders, change makers and intermediaries all grappling with how to reach and sustain scaled social solutions.

    “Scale” is such a challenging concept, and as I mentioned earlier, there are many entities struggling with exactly what scale means. According to Heather McLeod Grant (author of Forces for Good) whose keynote address kicked off the conference, “scale” is no longer about growing individual organizations or addressing individual issues, but rather about building movements and networks.

    The idea of a networked approach to social change is not a new one (see the great Stanford Social Innovation Review article from 2008 by Jane Wei-Skillern and Sonia Marciano on this approach), but Heather underlined the importance of a more integrated and aligned approach to creating social change. I would have liked to see this idea taken further, perhaps with some of the Transformative Scale discussion that is happening elsewhere, included in this discussion.

  • Lori S. Robinson, Solutions Journalism Network
    Posted: June 24, 2014

    Last week, I attended the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Impact, and during the panel “Scaled Impact through Movement Building: The Young Men of Color Movement,” moderator Tonya Allen shared an experience that happened in Detroit the previous day. She recalled that a young, African American man told her he hates when people say he lives in one of the worst neighborhoods in the country, because he is not dangerous or violent.

    Implicit in that statement is his awareness that people perceive him to be dangerous or violent. Such perceptions will likely impact his access to opportunities and resources, and even his safety, throughout his life.

    Richard Brown, who introduced the keynote speaker for the session, spoke of being aware of the significance of perception. He talked about his concern as the father of a black son who may be vulnerable to disadvantages and mistreatment because of his racial identity.

  • Scott Hartl, Expeditionary Learning
    Posted: June 23, 2014

    This blog post is part of series written by participants of the Scaling in Action© session at the 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact June 18-19. Scaling in Action features presentations from the nation's leading nonprofits, each scaling their efforts to address critical urgent issues. Here, nonprofit CEOs share more about their plans for growth and the resources needed to fund their campaigns.

    I was excited to attend my first Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Impact this week along with a team of EL Board members and staff. It was a pivotal moment in Expeditionary Learning’s partnership with the Social Impact Exchange.

    Expeditionary Learning (EL) began our partnership with the Exchange at a transformational moment in America.  Common Core State Standards – more rigorous targets for college and career readiness – have sparked a complex public dialog.  They have also yielded one point of clear consensus: we need to set the bar higher for what we expect of students coming out of our public K-12 education system.

  • Lisa R. Jackson, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, New Profit Inc.
    Posted: June 20, 2014



    As I have listened to sessions at this year’s Social Impact Exchange Conference looking for something to write this blog about, I am struck by the fact that I keep hearing about this being “a moment in time” for the sector.  From Heather McLeod Grant’s session on networks as the future for scale and impact in the sector, to the panel on Black Male Achievement and the pitches by organizations like Expeditionary Learning and the Center to Advance Palliative Care, we seem to collectively believe that this is a moment in time ripe for opportunity to knock the ball out of the park when it comes to scale.

    For palliative care, health reform has opened the doors for new ways of health care to be provided with a focus on quality of care.  The President has signaled that the country has permission to speak openly about race and bias opening the door for a diverse cross-sector movement focused on improving the lives of men and boys of color.  For nonprofits and donors, the appetite and imperative has arrived for relational strategies to drive scaled impact – and for both, a strategy that includes the growth of organizations and the leveraging of networks.