Things are definitely happening. While our country is struggling to address the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression, to elect a new President, and so on, new ideas in the social sector are building momentum. Here are just a few examples from the past week of a growing movement:
- The SoCap 2008 (Social Capital Markets) Conference held in San Francisco this week and sponsored by Good Capital saw its registrations double after the financial collapse. Sessions yesterday were beyond standing room only. The conference brings together people interested in changing the world through sustainable business (businesses with a social mission). Perhaps some of the talent and resources from the failure of investment banks will be channeled into social return on investment. It seems people are hungry for a new way.
- New Orleans continues to be a mecca for social innovation. The Idea Village, a nonprofit working to envigorate the city’s entrepreneurial engine, just announced a $100,000 business idea competition. The idea has to help retain and engage 25-34 year olds in New Orleans.
- The Council on Foundations wrote an open letter to their 2,000 member foundations asking them to step up during these difficult economic times and help the nonprofits in their communities. Rather than hide behind the turmoil and their shrinking endowments, foundations should “continue to serve the common good in these uncommon times.” It remains to be seen what will come out of this call and their members response to it, but the fact that the largest association of foundations in the country realizes the enormity of the situation and wants to react in a new way is encouraging.