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The Bridgespan Group 2010 Knowledge Letter


The Bridgespan Group

July/ August 2010 Knowledge Letter

Dear Friends,

For those of us in northern climates, now is a time to watch spring’s seeds flower into the myriad plants that delight, shade, and feed us. With nonprofits like Nurse-Family Partnership, Youth Villages, and Teach For America becoming ever-more active nationwide, now is also a time to watch seeds of social change sown years ago replicating and shooting up in similarly robust fashion. But the spectrum of ways in which nonprofits are increasing their impact ranges far beyond replication. This issue of Bridgespan’s Knowledge Letter highlights some of the other ways that nonprofits are growing their impact.

Our main feature, "Scaling Impact," published recently in Stanford Social Innovation Review, looks at how nonprofits can harness technology, advocacy, and leadership to extend their organizations' reach. By way of example, our guest blog on Edutopia advocates scaling the reach of effective teachers beyond the "little red schoolhouse," in large part via technology. Another example: "Getting Clear, Real and Better," published in Monday Developments (and drawing on a previous article, "Galvanizing Philanthropy," in Harvard Business Review), describes the way Goldman Sachs’ corporate foundation scaled the economic empowerment of women by investing in their business education and leadership capacity. Variations on these themes and others surfaced in Bridgespan’s 10-year anniversary panel discussion on global development.

Finally, our featured opinion piece, "Donating $600 Billion Is Just Step One," focuses on the funding side of scaling impact through the lens of the recent Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates’ challenge to America’s richest individuals to pledge at least half their wealth to benefit society. Ensuring that the funding flows that emerge from this challenge seed perennial change will require not only smart investing, but also productive and mutually respectful relationships between the donors and those they choose to fund.

All the best,

Katie Smith Milway 
Knowledge Partner, The Bridgespan Group