Friday, June 27, 2008

Inside the Engaged Philanthropy Conference


--Feature: "Humanitarian Brief w/Need Magazine"--

Social Venture Partners Minnesota (SVP) recently hosted The Engaged Philanthropy Conference at the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis. The Engaged Philanthropy Conference brought social entrepreneurs together with philanthropists, investors and business leaders. “The social problems that we face will require the collaboration of nonprofits, philanthropy and business to solve – no one of those sectors can do it by themselves,” states Brad Brown, Executive Director of SVP Minnesota. SVP was founded in 1997 by Paul Brainerd in Seattle, Washington in order to build a philanthropic network that invests money and expertise in social entrepreneurial ventures. The members of SVP do much more than write checks, they also offer their time and expertise to the ventures they support.

The conference featured keynote speaker Bill Strickland President and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation and author of “Make the Impossible Possible.” Strickland’s presentation was inspiring and affirmed that each of us has the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Bill Strickland speak, you will not be disappointed. At the end of the conference there were presentations from the five social entrepreneur finalists that were competing for the 2008 Minnesota Social Entrepreneurs Cup award. The five finalists are: Students Today, Leaders Forever encouraging young people to become leaders through service. The International Breast Milk Project providing donor breast milk to infants in need and to improve health care in developing countries. Marnita’s Table is a social capital incubator igniting enduring cross-cultural connections through intentional social interaction. MicroGrants connect the affluent with the low-income by providing a monetary grant to low-income individuals of potential in helping them become self-sufficient. The Minnesota Shubert Performing Arts and Education Center is a home for dance and music that honors tradition, nurtures innovation, encourages exploration, and presents programs that delight and inspire. Although all of the presentations were inspiring and innovative the judges awarded Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF) the grand prize of $50,000.

STLF was founded by four college freshman at the University of Minnesota in 2003 with the mission “to reveal leadership through service, relationships and action.” Through leadership service trips, high school leadership camps and access to partnerships, STLF has served more than 120 communities across the US. “The innovation is the leadership development element in the way their organization is structured,” Brown explains. “The students themselves organize the service trips and carry it out and that is the real innovation.”Having the opportunity to network with business leaders, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs all at the same event was refreshing. I would highly recommend this conference to anyone that wants to use their money, expertise and time to make a social impact.

Having the opportunity to network with business leaders, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs all at the same event was refreshing. I would highly recommend this conference to anyone that wants to use their money, expertise and time to make a social impact.

SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS
One Main Street SE
Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55414
612.676.2630
www.svpmn.org


*Note: Originally published on June 21, 2008 on the NEED Magazine Blog, written by Need Magazine publisher Stephanie Kinnunen.


(Photo Credits: Steve Floyd)



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