Tag Archives: non-profit

Akanksha – engaging children in education

Akanksha Classroom

Typical Akanksha Classroom

Last year we had the chance to host Vandana Goyal and Ruchika Gupta from Akanksha when they visited Boston. Over the years we had heard of the wonderful work this NGO had been doing in India and it was great to hear about their plans for expansion when they presented to a small group of interested folks at MIT. When we decided to visit India around December, we made sure that we had set aside some time to visit Akanksha at one of their facilities.    

Twenty years ago, the first Akanksha center opened for children from the slum communities of Mumbai, an innovative after school program designed to provide them with fun, engaging learning opportunities. Founded by Shaheen Mistri at the age of 18, these centers develop children’s English language fluency as well as equip them to go on to college, attain a good job and become change agents in their communities. Today, over 80% of Akanksha children go on to college to begin professional careers compared to only 30% of Indian children who successfully complete the 10th grade.     Continue reading

Some reflections on Martin Luther King and non-profit leadership

Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer with a group at the Greater Boston Food Bank. After spending some time on the production line, and given the past weekend celebrating Martin Luther King, the group was asked to reflect on what Martin Luther King might have done in light of what we had seen and experienced, at the Greater Boston Food Bank as well as the larger set of social issues that we are exposed to in our daily lives. Continue reading

Another successful year for ForSE 2009

Another successful conference on Social Entrepreneurship was held on October 23rd, this time at Babson College in Boston’s Wellesley suburb. Details on the conference and photos were posted in a local e-magazine, Lokvani.com and are reproduced below for those who could not attend. Continue reading

World’s largest Business plan competition looks to help social entrepreneurs

To help jumpstart job growth in Massachusetts, a unique public/private partnership, Masschallenge.org, was launched earlier this year. By unveiling what it claims is the world’s largest business plan competition; the folks at MassChallenge are hoping to attract hundreds if not thousands of interested entrepreneurs. While most business plan competitions have been university based in the past, MassChallenge intends to go mainstream with entries accepted from all quarters. With the intent of raising serious money – a target of $25 Million for the first year – it hopes to change the way plans are run by providing the winning teams with $1 million in seed funding. It hopes to run six parallel competitions in the following areas:

  • Healthcare, and Life Sciences
  • IT, Software, and Gaming
  • Clean Technology and Energy
  • Social Development and Non-profit
  • Open Category, Seed Stage
  • Open Category, Expansion Stage

The one on Social Development and Non-profit caught my eye as it is along the lines of what we have been discussing on this blog. As I had said in some of my earlier posts, early stage social innovators sorely need a jumpstart as they face a tougher time raising funds than a for-profit. More importantly, Massachusetts has grown to be a focal point for social innovation attracting the best and brightest to the exciting programs offered in all the leading universities. Coupled with the incentives from MassChallenge and the Massachusetts Government, we have the opportunity to create a new growth cluster in the state. We have an opportunity to retain the top talent attracted to the programs in the area and to channel them to building the next generation of innovative social enterprises here in Boston.

I recently wrote a more detailed article for the MassChallenge.org blog that outlines this and am excerpting it below. Continue reading

Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs

Panel Description for ForSE 2009

One of the most popular panels in the past and one that promises to be very interesting at ForSE 2009, is on Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs.  With Twitter and Facebook revolutionizing the business of marketing, can social activists lag behind? Successful grassroots efforts have helped spread the word to thousands, even millions. But the devil is in the details. How does one turn followers into funders? Motivate movements with your messages? And leverage social networks to create social change?

The experts on this panel have shown others how to maximize their impact with the latest online tools and techniques and they will help you figure out the right approach to integrating social media within your strategies.

Panelists

  • John Haydon, Social Media Consultant @johnhaydon
  • Dan Croak, Thoughtbot @croaky
  • Tushneem Dharmagadda, Director, US Operations India School Fund @tushneem

Moderator

  • Kate Brodock, Founder & Principal, The Other Side Group @just_kate

You can prepare for this panel by reading a thoughtful piece by one of the panelists, Tushneem Dharmagadda, on his blog that describes four tips for Social Entrepreneurs to leverage Social Media. For more advice and great posts on social media strategies, check out @johnhaydon and @just_kate blogs.

Finally the afternoon will include a real live interactive case study highlighting the challenges Lokvani.com, a South Asian community portal and e-magazine with over 40,000 subscribers, faces as it tries to integrate the new media tools into its online strategy. Join Lokvani team members and the content experts to help brainstorm ideas for solving Lokvani’s challenges.  The session will be moderated by Kimi Ceridon (@kalepatech), Founder of Kalepa Tech, a design firm with deep social impact experience.