Saturday, September 8, 2007

Echoing Green: Funding the Future of Social Enterprise

I recently found out about this amazing organization, which is providing seed capital to some of the world's most exciting ideas for social enterprise. Their fellowship is designed around their unique and powerful theory of social change. The next round of applications begins later this month ... I hope that you will consider an application.

Echoing Green

Echoing Green provides first-stage funding and support to visionary leaders with bold ideas for social change. As an angel investor in the social sector, Echoing Green identifies, funds, and supports the world’s most exceptional emerging leaders and the organizations they launch. Through a two-year fellowship program, we help passionate social entrepreneurs develop new solutions to some of society’s most difficult problems. These social entrepreneurs and their organizations work to address deeply-rooted social, economic, and political inequities to ensure equal access and help all individuals reach their potential.

• Social entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving social change.
• Social change is created by developing new approaches that address the root causes of social problems.
• The next big idea will come from a robust pipeline of new leaders with innovative solutions.
• New organizations, unconstrained by tradition, are best able to challenge the status quo.

• Identify Visionaries: Through a highly competitive selection process, Echoing Green identifies talented yet unproven social entrepreneurs who are dedicated to addressing the root causes of social problems.
• Invest in Innovation: Each year, we invest approximately $1 million to help Echoing Green Fellows transform innovative ideas into action. By applying entrepreneurial principles to social sector investment, we help launch cutting-edge organizations that transform communities.
• Provide Hands-on Support: We provide technical assistance and consulting to help new leaders build organizations, increase their organization’s capacity, and manage growth. We also facilitate peer-to-peer learning to enhance leadership skills and ensure organizational sustainability.
• Connect People: We harness the experience and expertise of our global network of social entrepreneurs to share best practices and ensure success.

The entrepreneurial spirit has driven the U.S. economy throughout its history. We believe that the same energy and creativity can foster new solutions in the social sector. That is why Echoing Green takes risks on undiscovered leaders when others won’t. Less than two percent of all foundation support is available for seed funding, making Echoing Green a leading global social venture fund that invests in new organizations at their earliest stages.

Echoing Green has a proven track record of delivering a social return on investment. Since 1987, we have invested $25 million to help nearly 450 visionary leaders spark positive change in forty countries. We have helped launch model organizations working in education, youth development, health care, housing, environmental justice, human and civil rights, economic and social justice, the arts, and immigration. Since inception, fellows’ organizations have raised more than $930 million in additional funding, delivering a return on investment (ROI) of approximately forty-four times Echoing Green’s seed funding. Approximately two out of three organizations launched by Echoing Green Fellows are still thriving, and 85 percent of Echoing Green Fellows stay in leadership positions in the social sector.

Intractable social problems must be approached in new ways if we ever hope to solve them. By funding new leaders who are willing to challenge the status quo, we promote new ideas and new solutions at the vanguard of social change. From working to stop the spread of HIV/AIDs among Nigerian youth to exonerating wrongly condemned