What happens when technology can do great things for humanity, but doesn't make a lot of money? Jim Fruchterman explores the social entrepreneurship side of technology applications: how to get great tech tools to the people who often need them the most, but are least able to afford them!
Clara Miller, the head of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, always has terrific insights into sector, especially in the area of funding as one might expect. She just published an article, The Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money, which zeroes in on many of the problems of the sector. It's a great argument for social enterprise, because earned income can be used in the ways that for-profits would invest money for growth and infrastructure.
But, Clara's article is much bigger than just that one issue. I highly recommend it!
It's very exciting to see the spread of interest in social enterprise and social entrepreneurship among the community of top tech entrepreneurs. Steve's own foundation has become a major supporter of the Social Enterprise Alliance, a group I helped found five years ago to advance the movement of social enterprises. He's putting his money where his mouth is, and I'm firmly convinced that will lead to some great social benefits as hundreds of nonprofits start mission-related businesses.
Yesterday I visited Betsy Bayha, a friend of mine who is a producer for Lucasfilm, working on documentaries. Skywalker Ranch is a very cool place! I was passed by four guys in Stormtrooper gear: the publicity machine is getting ready for the release of the new Star Wars movie later this month. The environment is designed to be conducive to the creative process: I was especially impressed by the library in the main house. It's both an architectural marvel as well as an effective library supporting the creation of films.
Betsy and I know each other from years of working on disability issues. One of her recent projects was Freedom Machines, the PBS documentary on the award-winning P.O.V. series, which was released last year. It's all about how adaptive technology improves the lives of people with disabilities. Well worth seeing. I especially liked it because our Open Book reading system was mentioned in the film.
The last stop on my visit was for lunch in the main house (…
I just had to post this email I received. A couple of the Benetech team members hold the patent on the talking GPS locator for the blind technology, and this user is using technology we helped create.
From: "Rich Irwin" To: "Gps-Talkusers" Hi All:
Thought I would share a great GPS experience I had last week. I needed to take a 50 mile trip using several public transit systems to an area I had never been before. After a short cab ride, a Golden Gate Bus ride to San Francisco, a BART ride to Pittsburgh, I was told to take a Delta Transit bus to Oakley. Not only had I not been to Oakley before, but I had never heard of Delta Transit. I found the bus stop and the correct bus with the help of another passenger who was taking the same bus. What we both learned quickly was that this was the bus drivers first day on the route. After about a half hour of bus ride, as we left one of the stops, everyone on the bus hollered at the driver that he was going the wrong way…