From the Director: Feb 2011
Dear friends and supporters,
What is civil society? It is complex and sometimes the conversation about civil society needs to be elevated. I think that time is now. Civil society is a critical current issue for dialogue and discourse as we look at the developments in the Middle East. A definition that seems to capture the essence of the meaning and intent for me is: "Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from the state and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated."
When we think of civil society in the USA, I think of people, nonprofits or associations coming together to impact social change. On a broader basis, I think of the non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and individuals working to bring structure, aid and much more to governments and communities globally. Let's hope this is true about the turmoil we are experiencing around the world today.
For scholars, practitioners and innovators associated with the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) we study civil society, the interaction of free association and discourse from an interdisciplinary and cross-sector lens. Equally important, we examine how private resources through philanthropy are encouraging public-private partnerships and social innovation. We facilitate the opportunity to come together to discuss civil society and social change including the positive elements and the challenges facing us daily, but we have the right to freely associate from a scholarly or practical approach. You and I don't fear repercussions from our research, innovation or engagement as we enjoy the protection of the rule of law and democracy. With this privilege comes responsibility.
Beyond the study of civil society, we must be leaders for social change through our research, knowledge sharing and community building. As privileged leaders and scholars we have an obligation to serve inspire, research and innovation. President Obama said in his State of the Union speech, "We will win the future through innovation and research." He tipped his hat to Silicon Valley and the need to educate the next generation of leaders. I believe he was speaking directly to us for leadership, optimism and action.
How can the Stanford Center on Philanthropy serve you through our scholarship to explore and invigorate research with strong intent and action?
Attention students and faculty: our next small grant deadline is February 7, 2011 to access $500 to $2,500 grant awards. Find details here.
Additionally, our PhD Fellowship applications are due March 18, 2011 for tuition, stipend and more. Find details here.
We have a full schedule for the Winter Quarter PACS Public Seminar Series so please save-the-dates and join us:
Monday February 7th: An impromptu visit from Isabel Allende and Luis Ortiz, Un Techo from Chile will be taking place at the Humanities Center from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. PACS Visiting Practitioner Kavita Ramdas, former CEO -Global Fund for Women will moderate the discussion with Isabel and Luis. We are at capacity with this invitation only event.
Thursday February 10th: Kim Meredith and Lucy Bernholz, PACS Visiting Scholar and Founder & President of Blueprint Research & Design addressing, The New Age of Giving: Philanthropy and Technology in the 21st Century at the University Club 800 Powell Street in San Francisco hosted by the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) at 6:00 pm reception and 7:00 pm program, please rsvp. Plan for a monthly PACS –SAA event in San Francisco February thru June 2011. The next date is Friday March 4th at 12:00pm to 1:00pm with Kim Meredith and Kavita Ramdas celebrating Women's History Month at Home and Abroad.
Thursday February 17th: Buzz Schmidt, Founder and President Emeritus of GuideStar USA and GuideStar International will be interviewed by Bill Meehan, Lecturer in Strategic Management at the Graduate School of Business and Director Emeritus of McKinsey and Company on Money Matters: How to Motivate Donors to Give Strategically. Guidestar is arguably one of the cornerstones of US nonprofit sector infrastructure. Buzz has been at the forefront of efforts to create transparency and understand the dynamics, legalities, finances and roles of nonprofits and civil society and Bill has been a leader in pursuit of strategic nonprofit governance. Join us at 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at Encina Hall, Bechtel Conference Center. (Please note new time.) Please rsvp.
Thursday March 10th: Lee Rainie, Director-Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project will present Pew's internet research projects at this public seminar on Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and Policy in the 21st Century with Mark Surman, Executive Director-Mozilla Foundation and Lucy Bernholz, PACS Visiting Scholar who will participate as discussants moderated by Rob Reich, PACS Faculty Co-Director.5:00 pm to 6:30 pm in Encina Hall - Bechtel Conference Center Stanford University campus.
We thank the SSIR team who bring so much value to our PACS community. Be sure to participate in the upcoming SSIR webinar: Design Thinking for Social Innovation Thursday, February 10, 11am PST / 2pm EST. Sign up
Webinar presented by: Jocelyn Wyatt, Social Innovation Lead, IDEO. Jocelyn Wyatt, coauthor of SSIR's "Design Thinking for Social Innovation," will update her popular article from the Winter 2010 issue, drawing on new case studies from the work of IDEO, a design and innovation consultancy. Design thinking allows organizations to be more innovative, differentiate their offerings, and bring products and services to market faster. Nonprofits are also finding that design thinking encourages high-impact solutions to bubble up from below rather than being imposed from the top.
On that theme, we co-hosted a discussion with Professor Jim Patell of the Design School Extreme Affordability team and Bill Meehan from the Graduate School of Business, who led a conversation with Ashoka, a group of d. School social entrepreneurs, faculty, SSIR and PACS participants to discuss issues facing innovators to leverage and scale their design thinking and work.
In the classroom, our PhD Fellows and a group of fifteen doctoral candidates are engaged in making their research presentations this quarter under the guidance of Faculty Co-Directors Rob Reich and Woody Powell. What a tribute to our students intellect and original thinking from what I have observed. We also attracted a strong response to our requests for Post-Doctoral applications. We are so fortunate to work with the next generation of scholars and leaders!
Please accept my personal thanks for your willingness to partner in this ongoing journey of continuous learning and breakthrough thinking.
Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
Stanford Social Innovation Review
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