Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Venture Philanthropy / Philanthro-capitalism

Mana Deschisa Romania 2000 - 2011 (click on picture for larger view)

For the past decade Marshall McKenna has been pioneering a strategic partnership with the for-profit marketplace as he expands the Mana Deschisa outreach to the homeless young adults of Romania.

Perhaps you are familiar with the term "social entrepreneurship", a notion that seems to be generating increasing interest in the overlapping spheres of business, philanthropy, missions and social-welfare here and abroad. It is also closely related to the concept of "venture philanthropy" or "philanthro-capitalism" as examined in several publications including The Economist.

This is an evolving global phenomenon and can simply be defined as any person or organization that utilizes earned income strategies to pursue social objectives, simultaneously seeking both a financial and social return on investments. There is even an emphasis on a "triple bottom line" that includes:

1.) a favorable financial return on investments
2.) a strategic community impact
3.) and a better community and environmental quality of life

This includes not-for-profit sector people and organizations (like Mana Deschisa and Open Hand) with a strong problem solving and results orientation doing the following:

  • diversify income revenues using market means to generate surpluses that can be applied to ministry operating budgets while addressing long term sustainability and consistently producing collateral benefits like employment opportunities, vocational training, etc.
  • linking the felt needs of disadvantaged communities with strategic for-profit economic development initiatives
  • creatively fulfilling the mission and vision of the ministry while utilizing non-traditional avenues that sensibly balance risks / rewards
  • selectively borrowing and implementing strategic ideas and tools from the for-profit global marketplace
  • establishing problem solving networks via supportive multi-national partnerships with private sector individuals and corporations
This includes members of the for-profit private sector that are thoughtfully examining how business fulfills social and community responsibilities, and who are doing the following:

  • imagining how to responsibly integrate social and environmental values into business and investment practices in ways that complement the marketplace and produce measurable returns
  • incorporating philanthropic and community development practices into their business strategies
  • creating profitable partnerships with not-for-profit organizations through cause related marketing, social marketing, joint venture projects, etc.
  • complementing their disciplined "market labor" with meaningful volunteer "gift labor" benefiting the disadvantaged and underprivileged citizens and children of the world
The ultimate purpose of these combined efforts between the not-for-profit and for-profit worlds is to generate sustainable smart growth while transforming and impacting the lives of everyone involved.

Due to persistent and ongoing financial challenges and responsibilities of operating a growing, dynamic ministry, Marshall and the Romanian leadership of Mana Deschsia wear many hats; one as directors of the outreach to the homeless young adults and another as business and commercial investment managers for social entrepreneur's seeking profits in Romania through foreign direct investments of venture capital.

Marshall and his indigenous staff speak the language, understand the culture and needs of the local communities, know the value of property and commercial buildings, and have successfully negotiated many profitable commercial real estate projects in the past decade. In turn they have secured properties and land for their outreach to the homeless while developing the necessary expertise and professional connections with local banks, lawyers, agents, public administrators and governmental authorities. They have an impressive track record of making profitable investments for a growing list of international investors who see great development opportunities in Romania.

In return for Marshall and his colleagues successful management efforts in these joint ventures (selecting land for purchase, negotiating, executing and securing local construction management, etc.) a percentage of the profits are designated for the Mana Deschisa ministry. This revenue stream in combination with donations and gifts are exactly what is needed for sustainable growth and financial long-term stability.

Ultimately local jobs are created, along with vocational training for the former street folks as they earn a living wage in anticipation of becoming mature and responsible adult citizens. Mana Deschisa currently employees some of their "students" in the commercial real estate and construction opportunities launched in cooperation with various venture capitalists.

Contact Marshall today at manadeschisa@yahoo.com for more info on ways to get involved.

1 comment:

  1. Triple bottom line is a wonderful concept.. check out www.e3bank.com to view a great example of this.