Spitzer Ties Increased School Budgets To Performance

The New York Times reports that Governor Eliot Spitzer has taken a page out of new school social enterprise philosophy and allocated more funds to the New York State education system but tied it to a performance-based system.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York said today that he would allocate more money to the state’s public education system in his 2008 budget proposal, but he said the increased spending would be tied to better results from schools, educators and students.

Give to ninemillion.org with every search

Just saw this on a text ad from an email sent from hotmail.

For every search performed from this page between January 17 and March 31, 2007, Microsoft will make a contribution to ninemillion.org. All contributions will benefit ninemillion.org to support educational programs for refugee youth.

Microsoft doesn’t provide any details on how this really works but paid search traffic generates revenues, and a percentage of these revenues will probably be donated to NineMillion.org, a UN Refugee Agency led campaign to raise awareness and funds for education and sport programs for refugee youth, many of whom are forced to spend years of their young lives away from home with little hope of returning.

A Digg For Articles About Social Responsibility– dotherightthing.com

TechCrunch, blog that reports on new Web 2.0 organizations just featured a new one called DoTheRightThing. I haven’t had time to check it out yet but it sounds interesting. Here is what TechCrunch writes:

I took a look at new startup DoTheRightThing this evening. This is a Digg-like site where people submit stories about companies acting in ways that can be considered “good” or “bad.” Other users then vote on the goodness or badness of those actions, add comments, etc. An overall “goodness” score, ranging from “severe” on the negative end to “pioneer” on the positive end is calculated and displayed.

See TechCrunch for the full article.

How The Technology World Is Changing Philanthropy

Douglas McGray writes an interesting article in West (the new Sunday mag for the LA Times) about how Omidyar and Skoll, the founders of Ebay, are changing the face of philanthropy.

Since EBay went public in 1998, Omidyar, now worth about $8 billion, and Skoll, worth about $5 billion, have become two of the nation’s leading philanthropists. And they have done so in ways that seem likely to shape their generation’s philanthropic legacy—first poking at the firewall between the nonprofit and business worlds, then punching through and building a network of investments that cross back and forth.

The article documents the transformation of philanthropy in the United States and details how the technology boom is not only increasing charitable contributions, but also incorporating more ROI-driven methods to improve the way resources are allocated. It’s a great read– check it out for yourself.

Michael Dell Promotes Energy Offsets

Michael Dell announced a program called “Plant A Tree for Me” which will ask customers purchasing Dell computers to donate money to the Conservation Fund and Carbonfund, which both promote ways to reduce or offset carbon emissions by planting trees. I’m big on tree planting, having spent countless hours planting hundreds of trees with TreePeople back in my youth, so I like this program.

A key aspect of this program that needs to be highlighted is that Dell is putting the decision to contribute on the buyer, and not giving a percentage of computer sales to the Tree program. Although it seems like a weaker move model, I don’t think it’s a big deal because Dell is currently under enormous financial pressure to perform. The distribution they are giving to these non-profits is a value added service and the company deserves kudos for that.

Earthlink and Google Team Up To Close The Digital Divide in San Francisco

Okay, so these guys might not be purely motivated by the Digital Divide issue, but that’s what makes this the perfect example of social entrepreneurship. Here is the link to the NYTimes story: SF To Go Wireless.

“You can’t continue to rhetorically talk about the digital divide and not do anything about it,” Gavin Newsom, the city’s mayor, said in an interview.

If you want to read more details about the proposal, check out this blog: Details of S.F.’s new WiFi agreement.

A 300 Kbps free tier of service for use by all residents, businesses and visitors. This 300 Kbps tier is adequate for most basic Internet tasks such as web, email and even VoIP. Assuming 30% uptake of the free tier of service, this generates more than $4 million in value per year for the community.

Where I’ve Been…

I haven’t blogged in over a month and I’m sure you guys are wondering where I’ve been. I took a month-long trip to Asia to gain some international experience, get a first hand look at the social conditions, and explore social opportunities.

Few things that stuck in my mind:
– Although people have laundry machines in Asia, most do not have dryers.
– Most Chinese are still very poor and live in bad conditions.
– Pollution is a real problem in several countries
– There is lots of energy and excitement surrounding social enterprise

I’m sure I will post more about my travels in the near future.