Several hundred venture philanthropies have sprung up throughout the U.S. in the last few years, accounting for about 5 percent of the $22 billion in charitable grants made yearly, Fortune reported on June 15.
Venture philanthropies try to provide nonprofits what venture capitalists provide businesses: strategic leadership, funds, tech assistance and media consulting.
These funds target entrepreneurs, mid-level managers at high-tech companies, and new money in general.
The Seattle-based Social Venture Partners is one such fund. In April, SVP held a two-day summit in Dallas to talk about replicating its success elsewhere. This year, SVP’s 250 donors will give a total of more than $1 million to 20 nonprofits. Two dozen idealists from 14 cities across North America attended the event.
Even skeptics see the importance of the new charity approach. “Each generation looks at this field of social problems in a different way. These funds help encourage people who have resources to get involved in a way they feel comfortable with,” said Bruce Sievers, executive director of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.
Still, Sievers says, not all problems can be solved with a commercial approach. Nonprofits need money the most – not misguided advice from someone with no nonprofit experience.
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