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Are Non-Profits Getting in the Way of Social Change?

Stanford Social Innovation Review | January 6, 2016

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The following excerpt has been republished with kind permission from Stanford Social Innovation Review. It was written by Paul Klein.

Almost a billion people go to bed hungry every night yet the World Food Program believes that the existing knowledge, tools, and policies, combined with political will, can solve this problem. In 2008, Cornell's academic staff identified sufficient education in science, critical thinking, and environmental issues; the epidemic of preventable illnesses in the third world; inequitable access to health care; and the shortage of potable and clean water as some of the world's most important problems that are also most easily solved.

While many important socio-economic and environmental problems remain intractable, a combination of increased awareness, new technology, adequate funding, and more collaboration among corporations, civil society, and governments has created a context where effective social change is possible.

The evidence that meaningful change is within our reach is galvanizing changemakers in all sectors. It is also causing us to have very different expectations of non-profits—the groups that we have seen until recently as the primary catalysts for social change. Today, transformational social change is happening in many ways through the actions of many people, and some of the world's most important funders have become impatient with the status quo in the non-profit sector.

According to the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, business as usual isn't enough to deliver the results we need. “The nature of our times is such that the magnitude and degree of complexity of our challenges exceed the capacity of any one sector to resolve,” said Stephen Huddart, McConnell's president and CEO. To support transformation of the non-profit sector, McConnell created Innoweave to help leaders of community organizations learn about, select, and implement new tools and approaches to generate greater impact and advance their missions.

External Link: CONTINUE READING: Are Nonprofits Getting in the Way of Social Change?

Read More: Aid, Charity, Globalization, Innovation

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