Creating a World Without Poverty, by Mohammad Yunus

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism by Muhammad Yunus

My rating: 5/5 stars

Read this actually a few months ago, but was reminded of it from a tweet this morning.  The book is solid.  A good idea, well-described, in language a non-economist can understand.  Yunus is looking to bridge the innovation and efficiency of for-profit business with the social-improvement mission of the non-profit sector.  I say: It’s about freaking time!!

No, business models can’t solve everything (though you can expect Yunus to think so as a Nobel Winning Ecnomist and founder of the Grameen Bank), but Yunus conceives of a business model which can, in the right context, combine profitability with helping the poor, solving social problems, and changing the world for the better.   BTW, he is pulling all this off in more than a dozen companies in Bangladesh and beyond, so it’s not all pipe dreams.

I highly recommend this book!

Advertisements

Donate to Social Actions

Support the $20.09 in 2009 Social Actions Campaign.

Go ahead–be a catalyst for meaningful change!

(There is a cool widget that donates directly, but WordPress won’t allow it…sigh…or any of the other SA cool tools, like a search bar of actions on every blog page.  We just need to develop a tool that isn’t corruptable according to WordPress.com)

Recycle your Cell Phones

If you don’t already have a plan for your cell phone when it dies, consider recycling it and helping out the poor.  At onemillioncellphones.com, you can get pre-paid mailing baggies, just like the mail baggies you get to recycle your printer cartridges.

Three good reasons:

1) Toxic chemicals and metals don’t take up landfill space and thus can’t leach into groundwater.

2) Metals are recycled and reused to reduce dependence on unethical mining in around the world.

3) Provide micro-finance for poor entrepreneurs.

Holiday Giving–to those who really NEED

After earlier posts about Social Actions, and The Girl Effect, and proposing to my family that we give charitable donations rather than gifts this season, it looks like I’m not the only one thinking this way this year…

From funtasticblog at microgiving.com:

“So the answer to the question that we’ve all been asking: What happens to charitable giving when times go financially sour?

The Center of Philanthropy recently announced that charitable giving has remained steadfast during times of recession.

Furthermore—

World Vision released their results from a telephone survey that was conducted in October— which suggested that 2008 looked quite promising for charitable and non-profit organizations.

Say what?!”

Read the rest at http://www.microgiving.com/blog/?p=244

Social Actions makes making a difference easier

I earlier posted a video and post about The Girl Effect.  I found out about it through socialactions.com, an incredible organization which makes online philanpthropy easy.  The Girl Effect is supported by one of a multitude of incredible online philanthropy sites.  This one is called globalgiving.com.  At sites like this, you can chose specific projects covering a huge range of issues.  Many of the projects support one specific individual or one small community–guaranteeing that your dollars go to the people whose pictures you see, whose stories you learn, and whose lives you can change.  I know this works, because my friend Christine Egger put together a project last year to help put a homeless Nepali boy in school (http://www.givemeaning.com/project/yubaraj).  I went with her to Nepal to meet the boy and the adults who were helping him and I have seen the dedication and responsibility that one-to-one giving generates.  I am a true convert to this type of online helping.

From this experience, Christine partnered in the development of a google-like search engine that compiles projects from over thirty websites like globalgiving.com called socialactions.com.  This website serves as the portal to accessing thousands, if not more, ways to make the world a better place and is funded completly independently of donations to the websites.  The projects can be searched and sorted according to your personal preferences, and you can put notices about them on websites, blogs, in e-mails, etc.  Again, your money goes directly to the people and organizations listed in the proposal, no middle-men, no skimming off the top.

But Social Actions is more than the database, it’s an online community for microphilanthropy (also called peer-to-peer giving).  The blog site is designed to be a completely open and transparent community–anyone can join and have a profile, write blogs, etc.  They are also developing ways for both “experts” and “lay people” to rank or rate individual projects on a variety of criteria.  They have used Twitter to compile updates around specific actions (like the poverty and water actions list I have in my side bar on the left) and ANYONE can create their own twitter group using their tool!  Plus, they are expanding every day, building on ideas from members and making the site more responsive, more interactive, and more exciting.

I have been watching the development of socialactions.com for almost a year now and I am no longer content to sit on the sidelines.  This is an INCREDIBLE tool!!!  As the economy struggles, rather than listing more consumer crap you don’t need on your holiday gift list, why not list the social actions you’d like your friends and family to support in your name?  Just a thought.