Rating Social Investments

November 24th, 2009 by Admin

By Christopher Gergen and Aaron K. Chatterji.

Originally posted in The Washington Times on November 18, 2009.

Industry consolidation through mergers and acquisitions sometimes can spell trouble for socially minded consumers and investors. As firms become larger and competitors become scarce, incentives can weaken to offer quality products at competitive prices and maintain socially responsible business practices. However, the recent consolidation of one industry, socially responsible investing, could deliver several benefits to those who care about social impact…(read more).

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Urban Farming a Fertile Idea

November 4th, 2009 by Admin

Originally posted by The Washington Times on Wednesday, November 4, 2009.

By Christopher Gergen and Aaaron K. Chatterji


Across our city landscapes, an age-old idea is redefining community development. From Detroit to Durham, N.C., the concept of “urban farming” is becoming common among urban planners and social entrepreneurs. The goal of urban farming initiatives is to take vacant plots of land in underused parts of our cities and convert them into productive farms. (Read More…)

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Finding the Proper Scale

October 21st, 2009 by Admin


The U.S. Department of Education recently unveiled a $650 million fund to support innovation in America’s schools by supporting local programs with a track record of raising student achievement — as well as investing in programs that show promise.

The logic is simple…(read more)

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Katrina, Rita Victims Housed

October 7th, 2009 by Admin

From The Washington Times, October 7, 2009.

There are two reactions when one sees something that is not quite right in the world: make a mental note and keep on moving or stop and try to fix it. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit four years ago, Liz McCartney and her boyfriend, Zack Rosenberg, drove from the District to New Orleans to see how they could help.

At the time, she was running an area after-school program and he was a criminal defense attorney. They ended up in St. Bernard, a parish just outside of New Orleans. As Mr. Rosenberg says, “We were grossly unprepared for what we saw.”

“We just wanted to pitch in and help out,” Ms. McCartney recalls. “I naively thought that six months later, you’d see all kinds of progress. [But it] looked like the storm had just rolled through.”…(see more).

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Persevering in New Orleans

August 4th, 2009 by Admin

From The Washington Times, 7/29/09

As we approach the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it is tempting to assume New Orleans has recovered. The bars and restaurants of the French Quarter are bustling, riverboats filled with tourists float down the Mississippi River, and population levels are creeping closer to pre-storm levels.

That’s only half the story. If you drive into the Lower Ninth Ward, for example, signs of Katrina’s lasting impact slap you in the face. Once heralded for its exceptionally high homeownership rate and spirit of independence, this predominantly black historic community now has occupation rates of less than 25 percent. When more than 50 levees and flood walls broke, flooding more than 80 percent of the city, a wall of water swept through the Lower Ninth Ward, knocking houses off their foundations. Houses that weren’t torn apart were filled with water and left to crumble. Even today, concrete steps often lead to empty lots where houses once stood.

Yet in the wake of the hurricane springs hope. Despite losing everything in the storm, two nurses who had created a health clinic in the heart of the Lower Ninth Ward decided to provide much-needed primary care to the city’s uninsured. The two doctors who serve the clinic often see more than 25 patients a day. Another example is the Common Ground Collective, which has deployed more than 23,000 volunteers for the city’s rebuilding efforts. Efforts like these are helping the community get back on its feet slowly but surely.

This can-do spirit pervades the city… (continue reading)

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A Countess with a cause

June 13th, 2009 by Admin

So it turns out the princess that every little girl dreams about being actually exists.

Countess Albina du Boisrouvray — a Bolivian tin magnate’s granddaughter who’s related to Monaco’s ruling Grimaldi family — has a big heart to go with her deep pockets. In 1988, her 24 year old, helicopter-rescue-pilot son was killed in a helicopter crash in Mali.

Devastated by the loss, the Countess decided to continue his work of rescuing people. She sold her business holdings and real estate and put $50 million towards creating FXB (her son’s initials), a Swiss charity that helps children that have AIDS, or could be orphaned by AIDS, by helping their families build microenterprises.

So far, 86% of the families funded have earned enough to rise above their country’s poverty level. Read the rest of the story here… (link to Forbes article)

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