Geri Stengel

 
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Social Investment Activism: It’s in the BHAG

 

 

As I mentioned last week, I was going to attend a Young Professionals Friendraiser for Fast Forward Fund (FFF), which I did. I enjoyed meeting new friends and catching up with the old gang. However, what impressed me the most were the presentations.

 Diana Ayton-Shenker, Fast Forward Fund (FFF)
Diana Ayton-Shenker, President & CEO, provided FFF’s grand plan. Believe me, when I say that Diana has what Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last, would call a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). FFF makes a difference through youth social investments in young adult led organizations in the areas of:
  • climate change and energy
  • poverty alleviation
  • public health
  • human rights and peace

It cultivates young social investors through education and philanthropic travel, among other things. Young adults, 18-29 years of age, can invest in or donate to FFF-vetted projects started by and run by their peers. These projects include nonprofits, for profits, and hybrid organizations. Central to FFF belief is that young people:

  • can make a difference through investment and purchase decisions.
  • have greater impact by pooling their investments rather than investing individually.
  • can develop a pattern of life-long philanthropy if educated early.
  • are engaged in innovative new philanthropic models as opposed to traditional ones.
 Projects are sourced through pipeline partners:
Another BHAG was presented by Lily Liu of Public Stuff.  It makes it easy for citizens to connect with their local governments to find things out and get things done.  Lily was part of the New York Women Social Entrepreneurs incubator program.  
 
Jessica Rauch talked about her BHAG, The Generation Project, which is as an educational philanthropy that allows donors to become actively involved in their giving. Jessica was part of the Teach for America incubator program.
 
I might have been intimated by all that Lily and Jessica have accomplished at such a young age, but they asked if we could periodically get together to discuss our challenges and problem solve. OK, maybe I’m a wee bit older than they are, but we share much in common: our organizations are all at about the same stage of development and rely heavily on web infrastructure.
 
Eli Weiner moderated and talked about being part of the student education program. He made me wish I was 18 again and could go through training.
 
I’ll keep you posted about other interesting events.