This post is part of a series of posts generated through a collaboration with Geri Stengel of Ventureneer to provide a one-stop resource for insights and news from the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Social Impact, held June 17 – 18, 2010.
I generally don’t get excited about attending conferences. The content often is reduced to a basic level to accommodate as many people in the room and the opportunities for substantial learning and networking are limited. That said I’m eager to participate this week in the inaugural Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Social Impact.
The conference was organized under the rubric of the Social Impact Exchange by the Growth Philanthropy Network, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Duke University’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (CSPCS), and the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE). The conference has also attracted an impressive group of sponsors including Bank of America, American Express, Public/Private Ventures, The Whelan Group, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, GEO, HSBC, Beyond the Bottom Line, and Louder than Words.
The core of the conference agenda will focus on the question and challenges of scaling innovative high-impact nonprofit programs and initiatives. Concurrent and plenary sessions will focus on the need for growth capital, identifying levels of evidence and readiness to scale (an important issue discussed in multiple blogs with respect to the Social Innovation Fund), and lessons learned in scaling. The conference will also offer sessions that will offer practical knowledge on how to move nonprofit programs and initiatives to higher levels of scaled impact while also addressing key considerations in financing and evaluating high-impact scaling initiatives. It will conclude with specific sessions tailored to successfully scaling in the fields of health, youth and education, poverty alleviation, and impact investing.
The conference will also offer a fantastic unique opportunity for conference participants to collectively build and advance the field of scaling effective social program. Philanthropists, foundation personnel, wealth advisors and thought leaders attending the conference will receive presentations from eight high-impact programs selected as finalists in the Social Impact Business Plan completion with the intention that they will collaborate in financing and implementing the growth of the high-impact nonprofits.
The eight finalists – grouped into early-stage and mezzanine-stage categories – include Benetech, Higher Achievement, North Lawndale Employment Network, Rubicon National Social Innovations, First Book, Grameen Foundation, the Parent-Child Home Program, and ROC USA, LLC. These organizations demonstrated both impact and a readiness to grow. As a result of the conference and the finalist presentations, investment teams will be formed that will review the organizations for funding over the next three to four months and provide them with the resources to scale up.
The Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Social Impact aims to provide a forum that would “enable a more efficient transfer of capital to scaling nonprofits to finance their social initiatives” while upholding an “explicit promise of standards and transparency.” (Tactical Philanthropy blog post: The Role of Social Stock Exchanges) And, as Alexander Rossides, president of Growth Philanthropy Network, notes, “the most important aspect of the Conference is the active participation of attendees, both during and after the event.”
My hope is that the blog posts and Twitter posts emanating from the conference will help extend that participation to those also not able to attend the conference in person. Links to additional blog posts from the conference will be posted on Ventureneer website and you can follow the Twitter discussion using the hashtag #SIEX10.
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