Bread and Butter Financing for Social Entrepreneurs

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Source: Ashoka

Citizen-sector financing is becoming more sophisticated and nuanced. Philanthropy wonk Lucy Bernholz discusses it as the “New Social Economy,” citing the emergence of impact investing, B corps, and sidecar funds as components in this new landscape. Ashoka has been an architect and pioneer of many of these new financial models:

  • Ashoka’s David Green is demonstrating new financial structures for solar energy.
  • Ashoka’s Housing for All project has demonstrated a new framework for business and social actors to create shared value (what we call Hybrid Value Chains).
  • Ashoka has supported numerous social entrepreneurs in the space through our Social Financial Services initiative including Matt Flannery, founder of Kiva, Willie Foote, founder of Root Capital, and Felipe Vergara, founder of Lumni.  

All of these are exciting sector innovations and each of these pioneering efforts was made possible by general support funds to Ashoka. The nature of innovation and entrepreneurship means having the freedom to experiment, to move quickly, and to devote resources to unexpected opportunities.  The exuberant response to Kevin Starr’s recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Just Give ‘Em the Money; the power and pleasure of unrestricted funding,” shows how strongly social entrepreneurs rely on this kind of funding. It is the base of funding for social entrepreneurs.

At Ashoka, we have found that private individuals — particularly business entrepreneurs — tend to be ahead of the curve in recognizing the value and necessity of general operating support. This summer, that vision of giving was made real by the entrepreneurial couple of Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, who have provided flexible capital to Ashoka and challenged other private individuals to do likewise. The partners have offered to match new contributions. 

This generous matching offer is only valid through August 31, 2011. Make your contribution today. Join the Brin Wojcicki Foundation and Ashoka in supporting the next generation of social innovators by making a donation, and be part of an “Everyone a Changemaker” world.