Digital Future Includes Greater Social Activism and Link Between Online Communities and Off-line Action
The Business of Innovative Partnerships

Fast Company's 2007 Social Capitalist Awards

Social_capitalist_awards On the long flight home yesterday, I was finally able to spend some time reading the latest Fast Company, which features their 2007 Social Capitalist Awards:

Our fourth annual Social Capitalist Awards honor these leaders, who combine savvy business models with solutions to pressing social needs in ways that challenge our assumptions about making a profit and making a difference. . .

On these pages, you'll find evidence of a movement that's not just changing the world, but changing how we think about creating change. Increasingly, we're witnessing the blurring of commerce and charity: Companies now tend to their citizenship; nonprofits hitch income-earning solutions to markets. That phenomenon led us this year to assess the most innovative corporate partnerships among our winners--alliances that represent both business value and a choice about what kind of future to create.

There's a lot to explore in this comprehensive article, not the least of which are all the ways in which nonprofits are incorporating business practices and developing deeper partnerships with business to be more effective at accomplishing their missions.  Winners include:

  • Hands On Network, a 17-year-old group that links national corporations and local nonprofits to fuel volunteer efforts in community-service projects. Last year, Hands On marshaled 168,000 employee-volunteers to work more than 1.4 million hours at 48,538 projects.
  • The Housing Partnership Network, a peer network and business cooperative of 87 of the most accomplished affordable housing nonprofits in the country. Members operate on a citywide or regional basis and share a similar public/private business model that forges entrepreneurial partnerships among the business, community, and government sectors to create and sustain affordable housing.
  • Springboard Forward partners with employers and community-based organizations to improve job performance and promote upward mobility for the low-wage  workforce. They provide coaching services for business and career management services to low-wage workers.
  • EcoLogic Finance, a nonprofit offering affordable financial services to community-based businesses operating in environmentally sensitive areas of Latin America and select countries of Africa and Asia.
  • First Book, which gives low income children the opportunity to read and own their first books.

There are also some great resources for social capitalists and a nice slideshow on lessons learned. Well worth a look.




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