Category Archives: Entrepreneurism

Project Equity in the news

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Project Equity is working to create an equitable, sustainable economy in low-income communities through employee-owned and cooperative businesses. These kind of businesses have shown to increase job quality and stability, invest locally, and have demonstrable positive impact on job creation and environmental sustainability.

We knew what wonderful things they were doing… and now so does the San Francisco Bay area. Check out the coverage in the SF Chronicle here.

Nobody’s Fool: Paul Newman

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Today is Paul Newman’s birthday.  The legendary Academy Award-winning actor not only made an impact on the screen, but as a leader in corporate responsibility and the environment (among many other causes).

Before it was popular for celebrities to be activists, Newman was making a stand – even as one of the attendees of the first Earth Day celebration in 1970.

He  was committed to helping make the world a better place. To carry on his philanthropic legacy, Newman’s Own Foundation donates all net royalties and profits after taxes it receives from the sale of Newman’s Own products to charity. To date, Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $300 million to thousands of charities around the world, including many environmental causes.

Newman disputed the widespread idea that the only purpose of a business was to maximize profit.

“If they are very, very fortunate to have a profitable business, why would they object to making an investment in the community? I don’t look at it as philanthropy.I look at those dollars as investments in the community that allows them to function.”

His daughter, Nell, worked with her father to create Newman’s Own Organics in 1992, which supports organic agriculture by actually growing the industry and funds organizations with the profits. She, in turn, also founded her own foundation with a focus on environmental causes and education.

So on what would be his 92 birthday, we also wanted to share some of T4CI staff picks for you to watch:

  • The Color of Money
  • Slap Shot
  • Cars
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • The Hustler

What’s your favorite Paul Newman movie, and why? Please share in the comments section.

Rockefeller Foundation gives $4.6 million grant to T4CI project, Bay Area: Resilient by Design

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Excited to announce a new $4.6M grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to help the Bay Area with our new project, Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge. This new competition seeks to tackle the very real threat of climate change by bringing together top innovators, policymakers, designers, architects, developers, and others to create long-lasting infrastructure solutions for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Most importantly, this challenge will bring together communities and in turn solutions that will yield multiple benefits to both today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

This innovative challenge is the first-ever to be modeled after the award-winning Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition, which was pioneered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation.

Resilient by Design will be divided into two phases:

  1. In the first phase, teams will participate in a three to six month research and community engagement period to develop and propose design solutions for specific
  2. Phase two of the challenge will be a collaborative design phase with teams working in partnership with residents, businesses, community-based organizations, and political leaders to develop implementable infrastructure projects.

Beginning in April 2017, Resilient by Design will invite designers, architects, developers, and financial supporters to create and begin implementing 10 visionary, realistic, and replicable design solutions.

Find out more here:

Creativity through activism

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Can sustainability be artistic?  Of course!  And since January is National Creativity Month, it’s time to highlight a few of our creative projects.

Imagine powerful art experiences when it comes to healthy food systems. That’s what AgArts does.  After all, artists have always been deeply inspired by nature, but now the passion of the food movement gives this enthusiasm tremendous relevance. At the same time, creative aspects of food-related activities are enjoying new recognition and value as sustainable agriculture encourages a more personal relationship with food sources.  And they cover all forms of art: from symphonies to photography exhibits, from plays to books.

Change Food uses the popular TEDx-style talks for “Changing the Way We Eat”, which creates awareness and begins a dialogue about innovative sustainable food and farming ideas. The event, which began in 2014, is complemented by a full menu of related networking and education events including post event Adventures, videos of all talks, discussion guides/teaching materials to go with videos of the talks,  and salons that address needs within the food movement.

How can we accelerate change in the food movement? Root Solutions addresses this through decision science, a collection of scientific disciplines aimed at understanding cognition, decision-making, and behavior.  Working on a training manual to help environmental organizations and practitioner have access to powerful tools which tap into what motivates and matters to people to effect positive change in the environmental movement.

And remember:

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

Please pass on this post to someone you think would be interested.

Not Your Mother’s Nonprofit: Leveraging Fiscal Sponsorship in an Impact-Focused World

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We were honored to be invited to facilitate a panel of awesome entrepreneurs at last month’s SOCAP14 conference held around the corner from us at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Our session was titled “Not Your Mother’s Nonprofit: Leveraging Fiscal Sponsorship in an Impact-Focused World” and featured four project leaders who talked about the benefits leveraging fiscal sponsorship to support their nonprofit work.  We’ll recap what our entrepreneurs had to say in our second “Not Your Mother’s Nonprofit” post, but first we wanted to share our introduction about about the many different kinds of projects that are exploring fiscal sponsorship:

Different Ways that Entrepreneurs Leverage Fiscal Sponsorship

“The Placeholder” – Undecided about which model to choose or unsure where your early support may come from? Choosing fiscal sponsorship can allow you to leverage early donations or “angel” funding from family and friends (or yourself) while ensuring tax deductibility. It can also allow you to test interest from foundation funders for early stage proof-of-concept or pilot project work.

“The Kickstarter” – Want to be a 501c3 but have funding opportunities now that can’t  wait for 2+ years? This is the traditional use of fiscal sponsorship as a temporary 501c3 structure prior to IRS approval. Can be a follow-on model to a Placeholder if the choice of structure is 501c3.

“The Backbone” – Have no desire to ever run board meetings, oversee admin/finance/HR, go through financial audits, and file state and local tax returns? Many projects are choosing fiscal sponsorship as a long-term cost-effective solution that allows them to exclusively focus on raising funds and building out their programs and team.

“The Asset Protector” – Want to make sure that other corporations without a double bottom line don’t get their hands on your intellectual property down the road? Do your R &  D work in tandem via a sponsored project without having to run a separate side-by-side nonprofit with complex compliance rules. You may even be able to leverage pro bono resources like legal help with patents and licensing.

“CSR in a Box” – Want to run a for-profit business and start donating a percent of your proceeds to fund related nonprofit work down the road without creating a separate foundation or fund now? Set up a fiscally-sponsored project and your for-profit company can make tax-exempt donations to the project. When you’re ready, those tax-exempt donations can be used to fund related charitable activities.

“Switzerland” – Need a neutral place to house a coalition, network, or collective impact project that involves a variety of stakeholders? A fiscal sponsor can serve as a home for coalition or network staff and avoid perceived favoritism or control by any one organization while also not competing for funding with any specific stakeholder.

These are just a few of the types of projects that are fueling our growing project portfolio at TCI.  Let us know if you can think of others ways that both for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs could benefit from fiscal sponsorship!