Friends of the Children Wins 2014 Business Plan Competition

New York – Cynthia Massarsky, vice president of Growth Philanthropy Network and the Social Impact Exchange, announced yesterday the naming of the Exchange’s Business Plan Competition in memory of Greg Dees – thought leader, scholar and pioneer in the field of social entrepreneurship. Dees was a founding partner of the Exchange. Recognized internationally for developing social entrepreneurship as an academic field, he was a founding faculty member of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and had an exemplary history of teaching and scholarship at Yale School of Management, Harvard Business School, and Stanford University’s Center for Social Innovation.

“Greg’s vision, conceptualization, frameworks, and published research and findings on the field of scaling social impact have guided our work at the Exchange. His contribution to our organization – and certainly to the field of social entrepreneurship – was extraordinary,” said Massarsky in announcing the new name.

Also yesterday, an exemplary organization – Friends of the Children (FOTC– was selected as winner of the Social Impact Exchange’s 2014 Business Plan Competition. The organization was one of three finalists who presented their business plans (with ReThink Health and Tahirih Justice Center) and responded to questions about scaling their initiatives from a panel of expert judges and field leaders.

The winner receives a cash award and consulting services. Consulting will be provided by Theresa Schieber, principal of Impact Atelier, a leader in nonprofit management and scaling social innovation.

Last fall, dozens of nonprofits entered the Exchange’s Business Plan Competition and proceeded through several rounds of evaluation by 60 qualified professionals from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. All entrants received customized written feedback on their plans.

The award recipient, Friends of the Children, addresses the problem of inequity for children living in high poverty areas. Through an individualized mentor program that follows children from kindergarten through high school graduation, Friends of the Children seeks to break generational cycles of poverty, school failure, teen parenting, and criminality. The organization is based in Portland, Oregon, and over the next three years plans to grow their national network to impact 7,500 children. Scale-up will be accomplished through a three-pronged approach. FOTC’s growth plan includes: strengthening existing FOTC chapters to become regional demonstration sites; embedding the FOTC model within other youth-serving organizations; and expanding collaborative partnerships while sharing evidence and best practices.

“We are deeply honored by this amazing opportunity and excited for what it will mean for Friends of the Children. We are working toward our vision that every high-risk child will have access to a long-term relationship with a caring adult. The Social Impact Exchange is our catalyst to launch our expansion campaign,” says Terri Sorensen, president of Friends of the Children. “We thank the Social Impact Exchange for their pioneering work in the field of scaling social impact.”

The award was conferred yesterday on June 17 at the Social Impact Exchange’s 2014 Symposium on Scaling Impact before an audience of more than 250 grantmakers and nonprofit leaders. In addition to witnessing the Business Plan Competition, Symposium attendees participated in a plenary session Strategic Growth: Developing a Strategy to Match the Scale of the Problem and breakout sessions discussing Strategic Communications for Scale.

The Symposium is followed today by the Exchange’s 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact June 18-19, which specifically targets funders and their advisors. Highlights of the conference include keynote addresses from Tonya Allen(President and CEO, The Skillman Foundation); Antony Bugg-Levine (CEO, Nonprofit Finance Fund); Isiah Thomas (Chairman and CEO, Isaiah International); Jeffrey Walker (Retired Managing Partner, JPMorgan Partners and Vice Chairman, UN Envoy’s Office for Health Finance and Malaria); and Kenneth Zimmerman (Director, U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundation).

Both the Symposium and Conference on Scaling are presented by Growth Philanthropy Network. Conference sponsors include Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Express, Bank of America, Impact Atelier, and McLeod-Grant Advisors.