George Ellis and Bob Wright on Venture Philanthropy

About 10 years ago when people heard the term venture philanthropy there were puzzled looks. Today, while still a ways to go, it has become considerably more mainstream. George Ellis and Bob Wright join us in this brief interview, defining what venture philanthropy is; “the marrying of the head and heart; a bridge between care based organizations”, a term they both prefer to the “label” of nonprofit organization.

George, Bob and David Hale Smith, collaborated in producing The Little Green Book of Venture Philanthropy; the subtitle defines what this fairly new philanthropic business model is… How Business Hats and Volunteer Hearts Can Learn to Play Well with Each Other and Make the World a Better Place.

Venture Philanthropy ‘borrows from the practice of venture capitalists”. It is based on the premise that the best investments require more than money. To be successful, talent, expertise and strategic thinking need to be part of the mix. Venture philanthropists expect results and accountability from the organizations they work with. They are active donor investors who want change to happen fairly quickly. Taking a more hands on role in how their money is spent and managed, they expect a more business like operation.

Eleven years ago, Bob joined us on a McCuistion TV program and shared valuable insights into this fairly new philanthropic model. His fellow panelists read like a who’s who of Philanthropy- Bill Drayton, then Chair and CEO of Ashoka-founded in 1980 and still the model for the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, Jim Jenkins, former Executive Director of| Entrepreneurs for North Texas and Todd Wagner co-founder with Mark Cuban, of Broadcast.com. The philanthropic business models they discuss have become an integral part of the nonprofit culture, thanks in part to these social innovators. It is a landscape you’ll want to learn more about.

Below is the McCuistion TV episode on venture philanthropy with Bill Drayton from several years ago.

Thanks again for joining me in conversations that matter…

Niki Nicastro McCuistion