What was it about 2003?

This seems to be the Year of Tenth Anniversaries of Good Things: evidently 2003 was a bumper year for setting up entities focused on improving philanthropy, charities and social enterprises. 

Happy tenth birthday to:

Innovations for Poverty Action: a global NGO which seeks to understand extreme poverty and identify what works, by doing randomised control trials (RCTs). It now has offices in 14 countries, and has done several hundred trials.

J-PAL, the network of development economists, based at MIT, which also does RCTs on poverty, and a close partner of IPA  (above).

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University aims “to promote the advancement of social entrepreneurship worldwide”. Also this year is the tenth Skoll World Forum, which annually brings together leaders in social entrepreneurship in Oxford. (Giving Evidence’s Caroline Fiennes is speaking at it this year.)

Stanford Social Innovation Review, probably the world’s leading journal about charities, philanthropy, and social innovation.

UnLtd, set up to find, support and grow social entrepreneurs in the UK. It supports them with funding, advice, networks and practical help.

Why were they all set up in 2003? Some were an effect of the dot.com boom. Many of the individuals who became newly wealthy sought to give some of their wealth, and talked about wanting to give it as intelligently and analytically as they had made it. Hence, with the influx of new money came new ideas, and new organisations to host them: Impetus Trust was one (slightly before 2003) as was New Philanthropy Capital, bringing models from equity analysis and venture capital. Venture Philanthropy Partners was founded in California in 2000. REDF (The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund) is a San Francisco-based venture philanthropy organisation, set up by George R. Roberts (the ‘R’ in the private equity firm KKR), in 1997 as the dot.com boom was getting going. Clearly that’s where the Skoll Centre came from: Jeff Skoll was one of the co-founders of eBay.

But not all. J-PAL and IPA were born from essentially unrelated work bringing quantitative experimental methods from medicine into international development. And UnLtd got going with £100m of public money left from the UK’s Millennium Commission.

Who gives to charity, who doesn’t, why not and what to do about it–>

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