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This blog contains posts on social impact from FSG’s leadership team.
Posted by: Lalitha Vaidyanathan on 12/20/2010
Being based in FSG’s newest “outpost” in Mumbai, India, has afforded me opportunities to learn first-hand about issues that we otherwise only read about in the newspapers. One such issue of current interest is the controversy around microfinance that recently reached the tipping point in India. The government of the state of Andhra Pradesh passed an ordinance to check malpractice in the industry, especially around coercing borrowers to repay loans – and this has close to brought the microfinance industry to its knees. Repayment rates have dropped precipitously and large banks that provided capital to MFIs have all but frozen credit. Most importantly, the controversy has brought into sharp focus the viability of microfinance as a vehicle to alleviate poverty.

Posted by: Valerie Bockstette on 12/13/2010

In many German cities children with a “Migrationshintergrund”, in other words those with an immigrant background, make up 50% of most classrooms. Evidence, such as the latest PISA study, tells us time and again that our school systems are often failing to graduate this part of the population, let alone prepare them for jobs. It is a daunting challenge that will shape German society for years to come. However, integrating such a diverse set of cultures and skills into the fabric of our society is also a wonderful opportunity. The question is, can philanthropy, with its limited resources, play a role in unlocking opportunities for these children and their families?

Posted by: John Kania on 12/7/2010

In Malcolm Gladwell’s recent New Yorker article, “Small Change,” Gladwell suggests that true social change comes from a structured effort in which a central body creates strong connections with a network of change agents who are deeply committed to a cause, and not by individual or loose social movements in which people connect through weak ties. Gladwell makes the case that effective social change movements must be backed with a calculated and intentional strategy that creates aligned action among the players. While social networks today have the potential to mobilize people – those with weak ties to a cause who simply tweet their support will never create meaningful and lasting impact.

Posted by: Mark Kramer on 12/1/2010

The challenges of developing FSG’s new website helped crystallize who we are. We’ve always struggled to explain the different worlds we bridge: philanthropic strategy, corporate responsibility, evaluation, nonprofit management, community foundation operations, social entrepreneurship, economic development, education reform, global health . . . the list goes on and on. The website forced us to distill what we are all about: finding better ways to solve social problems.

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