Rodney W. Nichols, past President and CEO Emeritus of the NY Academy of Sciences, is Senior Advisor to the Alliance For Global Good. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alliance For Global Good (AFGG) is a new, ambitious, small, and growing philanthropic organization. Leonard Kaplan, the founder, frequently prods people with a disarming question: “ What kind of a world do you want for your children and grandchildren?”
Leonard knows, and we all know, that innovation will be needed to solve the world’s problems. Innovative changes must not only serve our social and economic purposes, but also demonstrate capacity for moving to higher scale and being sustainable.
The next question is: how can modest grant giving accelerate such desired change? Furthermore, since resources are tight, and stretched even tighter these days, can broadening the “global good” be done from the bottom up? After all, the big social puzzles – in health and education, for example — have been around for a long time. Many global social warriors have broken their spears trying to crack them. So new ideas must be nourished.
That’s why the AFGG opened its Innovation Fund two years ago. Conceived by Dr. Susan Raymond, Executive Vise President at Changing Our World in New York, the Fund creates an entirely new opportunity for non-profit organizations. The challenge is to earn revenues.. The premise is that small grants of capital, tied into a clear business plan and with a social mission at the core, can produce wonders. This means framing fresh ways to serve the mission
This outlook will spread, David Brand, President of AFGG, and our team believe. In turn, it will transform the philanthropic landscape and strengthen the non-profit community. So far, eight brave groups have taken up this challenge, and received grants from the Innovation Fund. In effect, these groups are following an old injunction: “Stop waiting for the world to change. Change it and the world will follow.”
Only a little time has passed; so it’s too soon to evaluate this experiment. But it’s working well. Fusing traditional directions with new incentives in the civil society seems to be the right formula.
Rodney W. Nichols
March 2014 Rev 3/28/14