Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been reading on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Enjoy!
TOP PICK: Scale = Partnership. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Roshan Paul. Changing the world is a matter of scaling innovations that emerge at the local level. Roshan Paul says that where many changemakers go wrong is mistaking organizational scale for scaling impact. As organizations scale up, they eventually become less and less effective as they succumb to their own fundraising fatigue and the weight of their own bureaucracies. By the way, this piece describes precisely why I decided to leave employment as a fundraiser for nonprofit organizations to start BT Irwin, LLC, and the Potluck Project. Scaling and spreading ideas through growing ecosystems is the focus of both of these new enterprises.
Income and local poverty disparity. Sustainable Cities Collective, Breann Gala. Where you live is one of the most important predictors of your income mobility in life. The more cities keep high-wealth and low-wealth people apart, the greater the probability that poverty will persist at the household and urban levels from one generation to the next. Cities in which diverse income households live close together offer better opportunities for economic prosperity and income mobility.
The suburbs are dead. Long live the suburbs. Atlantic Cities, Eric Jaffe. Over the second half of the 20th century, the American Dream became synonymous with owning a home. In an interview with urban expert Leigh Gallagher, Jaffe explores how suburbs “overshot their mandate,” making life harder for American rather than easier. Could the rise of the “urban-burb” be the solution?
Detroit Public Schools gardens to promote curiosity and healthy eating. Detroit Free Press, Chastity Pratt Dawsey. A partnership between Detroit Public Schools and Greening of Detroit is growing gardens at 47 schools in the city. Students are growing food for healthy bodies and food for thought. Enjoy this one.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Doing good keeps the doctor away. Huffington Post, Ryan Scott. Research shows that employers prosper more when employees do more good in the community. Scott offers fives bottom line benefits of employee volunteerism.
Mythbusting: Lots of people want to start social enterprise. Guardian Professional, David Floyd. This study from the United Kingdom reveals a swell of interest in starting social enterprises in that country. Floyd asks: So what? Just because people say they’re going to do something doesn’t mean they’ll do it. While I’m in favor of starting more social enterprises here in the United States, I wonder why we don’t do more make social enterprises of existing organizations.
Social justice / society
Whatever happened to the public good? Guernica, Robert Reich. Read with caution. Reich asks what happened to the prevailing American belief in supporting the public good by contributing to public education, infrastructure, libraries, parks, and social programs, etc. In the early to mid-20th century, Americans took great pride in their public institutions and services. Now it seems these things are cast as evil and those who rely on them as sinful. The cost to society is very high.