Christmas Links

Merry Christmas! Here’s a roundup of links from the past week.

OLPC a Hit in Remote Peruvian Village
Doubts about whether poor, rural children really can benefit from quirky little computers evaporate as quickly as the morning dew in this hilltop Andean village, where 50 primary school children got machines from the One Laptop Per Child project six months ago. Link

Chevron Sued Over Green Washing
The suit also claims that while Chevron used its involvement to “green wash” their media image they withheld financial and technical assistance. Green washing involves the exaggeration and misrepresentation of a company’s commitment and actions to be environmentally conscious.

2 Young Hedge-Fund Veterans Stir Up the World of Philanthropy

GiveWell’s findings are available on the Internet, without charge, at In evaluating charities, Mr. Karnofsky and Mr. Hassenfeld press them for information, analyzing the numbers in much the same way they did at Bridgewater. The Smile Train, for instance, a charity that repairs cleft palates, was asked how much it spent in each region and each country to treat how many patients in each.

Social laptops for xmas: Lenovo vs. OLPC
Some background on the Lenovo program from NYTimes (sorry no link)– “Lenovo has announced they are gearing up to sell a basic personal computer for ‘China’s vast but poor rural market’. The pricetag could be as low as $199. ‘The new Lenovo unit will include a processor and a keyboard and will use a buyer’s television set as a monitor, Chen said. He said he had no details on the processor size or other features. The new PC goes on sale later this year at prices of 1,499 to 2,999 yuan ($199-$399), Chen said. Lenovo is the world’s third-largest PC manufacturer, behind U.S.-based Hewlett Packard Inc. and No. 2 Dell.'”

Ashoka– Director, Strategic Development

Director, Strategic Development

The Director of Strategic Development will strengthen and sustain Ashoka-US’s position and visibility in the US through investor analysis and development, cultivating external relations, representing Ashoka externally, and generating 1-2 million dollars of new revenue annually. Responsibilities will include contributing to Ashoka-US’s core program by helping to identify, select and support leading social entrepreneurs in the United States.

Ashoka Innovators for the Public is a global citizen sector organization that identifies, elects and invests in Ashoka Fellows – leading social entrepreneurs who initiate far-reaching social change in fields such as the environment, learning and youth development, health, human rights, civic participation, and economic development. Ashoka Fellows are elected for a lifetime to a community of over 1800 social innovators in 60 countries.

Here’s a doc file with a full job description.

Interesting stat of the day– World Bank: US No Longer Top Donor

Saw this on

Yesterday, the World Bank reported that the US has lost its status as the largest donor to the Bank’s main fund for poor countries, as Britain secured a record amount of aid with a pledge of increased funding.

Britain pledged $4.2 billion for the period from July 2008 through June 2011, after negotiations that began in March in Paris and ended with two rounds of talks in Berlin.


Building Donations Into The Price Of Consumer Products

Here’s a theme we’ve written about extensively on this blog–

Increasingly, nonprofit experts are beginning to question one of the fastest-growing sectors of giving, the practice of building a donation into the purchase of items as varied as fine jewelry and Always feminine products.

The same questions are asked and no one really has any answers so far. What’s interesting is that some charities don’t even know that their brand is being used to entice shoppers to buy the primary product:

The World Wildlife Fund, a major charity that works to preserve and protect animals and the environment, was among them. John Donoghue, its senior vice president, was disconcerted to learn that his organization was among a number of charities named as beneficiaries of items bought from Barneys’ “Have a Green Holiday” catalog.

“Unfortunately, just like Barneys shoppers, we’re in the dark as to how or if Barneys and the manufacturers will fulfill their commitment to donate a portion of the proceeds from these products to W.W.F.,” Mr. Donoghue said.

Read the full article at

The Problem With Carbon Offset Markets

Here’s an interesting post on the carbon offeset market. The post begins with a criticism about the lack of transparency with Terrapass, and moves onto discussing this problem within the industry in general:

What would be wonderful would be if there could be a genuine market in carbon credits, rather than the inefficient mix of semi-competition and secretiveness which characterizes the status quo. Prices have to become much more transparent than they are now: merchants should sell their carbon offsets not directly to consumers but rather only through a market with real price transparency. At the very least, every trade should be reported to a central price recorder, even if it was sold bilaterally.