Frequently Asked Questions


What is this project?

#ReCoding Good is part of the Project on Philanthropy, Policy and Technology at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy (PACS). We are asking five key questions about the emerging social economy:

  1. What does a post-Citizens United world 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 frameworks that govern and structure the creation of public goods with the technological innovations being made in bioscience, data processing, and other rapidly advancing fields?
  5. What are the 21st century policy frames we need to encourage the use of private and public resources to help address our major domestic and global challenges?

The social economy is meant to capture all the ways – from nonprofits to B corporations to sharing to opening up government data to blurring lines between nonprofits and campaign finance – that we use private resources to produce public goods. First we want to help map out this emerging space. Then we want to understand what policies and practices can help make sure we are making more public good, not just using more private resources. In the past, most of this was contained within the world of nonprofits and philanthropy. As the ways to work have diversified and created this new social economy, the rules for guiding this economy need to be created as well.

This economy matters to all of us: nonprofits, donors, social investors, social entrepreneurs, activists, public officials, and, above all else, citizens. The rules reflect what we want from government, markets, and individuals in solving our shared social problems. The answers to these questions will inform policies that fit the ways we actually work today. They will protect and expand the public good while attracting appropriate private resources.

It is time to think hard about whether the rules and norms that shape how we use private resources for public goods, many of which are decades old and from a pre-digital era, still apply. We think it is time to ReCode Good.

What is the purpose of these charrettes?

This is the first in a series of charrettes to be held in 2012 about the new social economy. We want it to spark two things –First, a set of big ideas about the policy questions and opportunities we need to consider for making the most of private resources used for public good. Second, we want to identify and connect people in the social economy who are already advancing specific policy ideas, understand what they are doing, and help them frame their work in the broad context that interests us.

What policy domains matter?

Over the last 60 years American law has come to privilege philanthropy and nonprofits as the place where private resources are used for public good. We do this through the federal tax code and state corporate codes. B corporations are one new way to formalize new models of using private resources for public goods. We want this conversation to identify the policy domains (Tax? Corporate code? Intellectual Property? Investing rules? Governance issues) that sharing companies face. We hope to identify practical issues that can be addressed as well as concepts or :out there ideas" for new areas of policy consideration.

What happens after the conversation?

We want to keep the ideas flowing. We will share all the ideas and insights of the conversation publicly on the web and encourage all the participants to take these ideas and apply them, build on them, improve them in their own work or issue-specific networks. We will synthesize the conversation and document it on the web for others to use and comment on. We will use the results of this conversation to inform other charrettes in the series. Depending on how the ideas flow, we may revisit the topic later in the year.

Who can participate and how?

All materials and ideas from the charrettes will be shared publicly – and preparatory materials are available for the taking. We want these ideas to be used and improved and built upon by anyone who needs them – other countries, other sharing platforms, nonprofit advocates, technology innovators. Anyone can sign up to get our materials. You can share your ideas with us XX and build a worldwide discussion using the #recodegood hashtag.

How can I participate in other charrettes?

The charrettes are conversational moments in time. The real conversations and idea repository are the online, cross network discussions we hope to foster and connect. Check out and use #recodegood for the online version, sign up for project updates and check out our ongoing blog posts at SSIR and PACS.

What are the other charrette dates and topics?

In March we will look at Citizens United. In April we will focus on Digital Public Goods. Impact Investing is our focus in May. Other topics (dates pending) include governance in the 21st Century; Science, health, and the body as philanthropy; Big Data, Open Government and the Civic Web; and others. Stay Tuned.

How can I connect this conversation, materials, and group of people to others that are related or intersect?

We encourage you to do this any way possible. The materials on this site are all public and for use with attribution. Please link, tweet (#recodegood), blog, write about this and feel free to launch similar conversations within your sphere of interest. We want to co-host these conversations and make them part of other discussions as much as possible so please contact me (Bernholz@stanford.edu, @p2173) to discuss how we might work together.

Who can I contact for more information?

Please email Lucy Bernholz, project co-lead, at Bernholz@stanford.edu or reach me on twitter at @p2173. Project information is posted on the PACS website. Regular updates are on the Stanford Social Innovation Review site, From the Field, and on my blog, Philanthropy2173.com. Sign up for our mailing list here.