January 5, 2012

Jolkona: Now we can all be philanthropists

During the holiday break, Socialbrite is updating and republishing some of our most popular posts. We noticed that Jolkona is prominently featured in Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s new book, “Giving 2.0.” Our regular publication schedule resumes Monday.

Imet Adnan Mahmud, co-founder and CEO of Jolkona, during Beth Kanter’s book signing party for “The Networked Nonprofit” at TechSoup Global — and was immediately impressed by his seriousness and dedication to helping great causes through one-to-one philanthropy.

Support a library in Tibet that needs $50 to buy books, and you’ll get the list of books purchased through your donation.

Jolkona is at the bleeding edge of this phenomenon, which will become an increasingly important part of charitable giving in the years ahead, as young people in particular want transparency, interaction and accountability when supporting a cause.

Adnan says Jolkona is the first nonprofit “to give tangible feedback on your donation.” Kiva, which pioneered the technique, provides entrepreneurs with loans. And while nonprofits like charity:water and Global Giving often give updates on projects, Jolkona is positioning itself as a technology platform that enables one-to-one philanthropy for nonprofits of any size.

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August 13, 2010

The Hoop Fund makes its debut

The debut of The Hoop Fund from JD Lasica on Vimeo.


Social enterprise offers virtuous circle around loans, production, connections in a ‘fair trade ecosystem’

JD LasicaLast night I got a first-hand look at the debut of The Hoop Fund, a new social enterprise (tagline: Lend. Produce. Enjoy.) with a terrific pedigree and promising future.

In short, The Hoop Fund enables participants to meet the makers of products we buy, invest in their businesses and become part of the prosperity of their communities.

More than 150 people packed into The Hub San Francisco last night for the “friends and family” debut of The Hoop Fund, founded by entrepreneur (and former journalist) Kevin Doyle Jones, the impresario behind the Social Capital Markets conference coming up Oct. 4-6 in San Francisco. Lots of familiar faces there — Gary Bolles, Sarah Kennon, Shannon Clark, Arabella Santiago — and I got to meet two of the principals behind The Hoop Fund: CEO Patrick Donohue and operations chief Maia Hirschbein.

The Hoop Fund is one of those ideas that you have to see in action to really appreciate. A slide presentation showing how it’s already making a difference in villages in Peru really drove home its message of entrepreneurial opportunities in the developing world. With the Hoop, you can support producers through a loan (I just made a $50 loan to Indigenous Designs), purchasing their fair trade products through a partnering brand, and then spreading the word to your own networks and community. Jones calls it a “fair trade ecosystem.”

Here’s a quick 2-minute video with Maia taken at the event — incidentally, my first-ever video taken with my new iPhone 4:

Watch, download, embed or share the video on Vimeo
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Like The Hoop on Facebook (91 fans so far)

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March 24, 2009

Social mobile: A moral duty to do more?

kiwanjaIs the future of social mobile an empowered few, or an empowered many? Mobile tools in the hands of the masses presents great opportunity for NGO-led social change, but is that the future we’re creating?

In The White Man’s Burden – Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good,” William Easterly’s frustration at large-scale, top-down, bureaucracy-ridden development projects runs to an impressive 384 pages. While Easterly dedicates most of his book to markets, economics and the mechanics of international development itself, he talks little of information and communication technology (ICT). The index carries no reference to ‘computers,’ ‘ICT’ or even plain old ‘technology.’

But there is an entry for ‘cell phones.’

smallbeautifulE. F. Schumacher, a fellow economist and the man widely recognized as the father of the appropriate technology movement, spent a little more time in his books studying technology issues. His seminal 1973 book – Small is Beautiful – The Study of Economics as if People Mattered” – reacted to the imposition of alien development concepts on Third World countries, and he warned early of the dangers and difficulties of advocating the same technological practices in entirely different societies and environments. Although his earlier work focused more on agri-technology and large-scale infrastructure projects (dam building was a favorite ‘intervention’ at the time), his theories could easily have been applied to ICTs – as they were in later years.

Things have come a long way since 1973. For a start, many of us now have mobile phones, the most rapidly adopted technology in history. In what amounts to little more than the blink of an eye, mobiles have given us a glimpse of their potential to help us solve some of the most pressing problems of our time. As the evidence mounts, I have one question: If mobiles truly are as revolutionary and empowering as they appear to be – particularly in the lives of some of the poorest members of society – then do we have a moral duty, in the ICT for Development (ICT4D) community at least, to see that they fulfill that potential?

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