Philanthropy, Policy & Technology

The Promise and Peril of the New Social Economy: ReCoding Good


Philanthropy, Policy and Technology: A New Framework for the 21st Century

Rob Reich, Associate Professor of Political Science
Lucy Bernholz, Visiting Scholar, Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society


Rob ReichRob ReichExamining the 21st Century, technology-driven innovations in philanthropy and civil society with an eye toward updating the 20th Century public policy framework that structures the nonprofit sector. A high-level and cross-disciplinary mapping of the new “impact economy,” which brings social investing and for-profit companies that produce social returns into the established realm of nonprofit organizations. The changing landscape pits 21st century enterprises against 20th century public policy and regulatory frameworks.

As part of the Philanthropy, Policy and Technology (PPT) research initiative Stanford PACS will host a monthly charrette series, called ReCoding Good, intended to accomplish the following three goals:

  1. Encourage nonpartisan thinking about existing and potential policy proposals to improve the social sector.
  2. Inform the scholarly work being conducted by the project with practical insights.
  3. Build the necessary networks of professionals and policymakers that can act on ideas and recommendations produced by the parallel scholarly track of this project.

Click here to visit the Digital Civil Society Lab website for the latest updates on Rob and Lucy's work. 

Please register here to receive updates from Lucy Bernholz, Stanford PACS Visiting Scholar as the initiative progresses!



The ReCoding Good Charrettes are part of the PPT project, which is investigating five key questions about the emerging social economy:

  1. What will the Citizens United decision mean for nonprofits, philanthropy, and the public good?
  2. How is digital technology changing our conception of public accountability and public goods?
  3. How will big data, the sharing economy, and open government influence philanthropy?
  4. How can we better align our regulatory frames for public good with the technological innovations being made in bioscience, data processing, and other rapidly advancing fields?
  5. What is the 21st century policy frame we need to encourage the private and public resources to help address our global challenges?

The answers to these questions will inform policies to shape a more robust, capable, fair, and effective system for using private resources for public good.

Such a system matters to all of us: nonprofits, donors, social investors, social entrepreneurs, activists, and citizens. They reflect what we want from government, markets, and individuals in solving our shared social problems.



The ReCoding Good Charrettes complement a series of scholarly workshops, ongoing public forums, idea sharing, and policy research. We expect this work to provide guidance for improving the regulatory structures that shape our social economy.

All materials from and information about the project can be found in the navigation to the right of this page. The project is being documented on the SSIR blog - you can read those posts here. We invite you to join our email list, or talk with us on twitter  (#ReCodeGood) whenever you can.

ReCoding Good is part of the Philanthropy, Policy and Technology Project, an initiative of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. Rob Reich (, @robreich) and Lucy Bernholz (, @p2173) are the project leaders.