September 3, 2009

A new open database about social entrepreneurs

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JD LasicaAt the Social Capital Markets conference yesterday afternoon, I ran into Peter Deitz, founder of Social Actions, who minutes before made an announcement that deserves wider attention: the release of a social entrepreneur API. (See our glossary to find out why application programming interfaces are important.)

As Christine Egger and Peter write:

“What if family funds, affluent individuals, and ordinary people could use the Internet to seamlessly find and contribute to the work of vetted social entrepreneurs?

“What if social entrepreneurs could easily find peers in their issue area or region and unleash creativity, connections, capital, and collaboration to fulfill their world-changing missions?

“What if foundations could showcase their social entrepreneurs contextually on a variety of related websites, and help them be found by funders and media?”

The Social Entrepreneur API makes that possible. Civic Ventures (sponsor of The Purpose Prize), The Draper Richards Foundation, ideablob (since shut down), PopTech, The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and The Skoll Foundation have pooled their data to create an open database of information about vetted social entrepreneurs.

Go to, enter a search term and you’ll see a result like this (partial screenshot above — that’s Socialbrite contributor Ken Banks).

The new tool is “the first open database of information about social entrepreneurs who have won fellowships and awards from social enterprise funders. The tool allows philanthropists, investors, press, and fellow entrepreneurs to find social entrepreneurs based on keyword, location, cause area, population served and a variety of other factors,” they write.

See this page for pointers to an FAQ, a developers wiki, documentation, a mailing list and more.

Great news. It’s a tool I’ll be turning to on a regular basis.JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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  • Thanks for drawing attention to the Social Entrepreneur API, JD — we're very excited about this project and proud to be a part of it —

    Social Actions

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  • Is this exclusively for organization that won cash awards? I was 'Changemaker of the Month' and my organization Borderline Books has been nominated for a number of prizes in the Netherlands, but never got further than runner up (once including a cash consolation prize).
    I think what we do is unique and easily replicated anywhere books are plentiful.
    Basically we try to prevent books from being pulped, collect them and redistribute them to people and organizations – as local as possible – who are unable to purchase books. This includes organizations working with refugees, homeless people, people needing psychiatric support, women's refuges, inner-city youth groups and more.
    Check out the site – a new design is in progress and should be up and running in a couple of weeks, but all the information is here.