Tech execs team up – Making an impact

Children’s learning and development will be the focus of a new $31 million nonprofit fund created by 28 business leaders in the Washington, D.C., area, The Washington Post reported May 26.

The new Venture Philanthropy Partners, based in Reston, Va., includes nine current and former America Online executives, such as Steve Case, chairman of AOL Time Warner, and Ken Leader, who manages venture investments for AOL Time Warner.

Each investor contributed $500,000 to $4 million.

Such funds traditionally have been run by a single firm, family or individual, rather than a group of like-minded people, the Post said.

The new group, which departs from mainstream philanthropy and reflects the new “venture philanthropy” that borrows strategies of business investors, treats its donations as investments.

Donations don’t generate financial returns for partners but are tied to management advice and connections to business leaders. Members of the group will take active roles, including board seats, in nonprofits that receive capital – and will expect results from their investments.

“It taps into the desire that all of us share to make an impact in philanthropy, but not necessarily in the way it’s been done for generations,” Raul Fernandex, chief executive of Proxicom and a co-founder of the group, told the Post.

Other partners include Mario Morino, who pledged $4 million plus $6 million for operating costs and whose Morino Institute led the fundraising effort; Mark Warner, Virginia gubernatorial candidate and managing director of Columbia Capital; and AOL International founder Jack Davies.

For full story, go to The Washington Post.

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