Will Miller Social venture capitalist
Social venture capitalist
While thousands of local United Way donors seethed in anger this year over that agency's alleged mishandling of money, a small group of philanthropists felt confident that their money had been well used, because they didn't just write checks, they became engaged in the charities they funded. Social Venture Partners Charlotte (which is not connected to the United Way) is a group of more than thirty couples who have each committed to giving $5,000 a year for two years as well as their time and expertise to the causes they support. Real estate executive Will Miller, fifty-three, left his job in 2005 and started SVPC -- the local affiliate of the twenty-five-city network of venture philanthropists -- and they've been chipping away at problems in education, housing, and healthcare ever since.
"A lot of people are happy writing checks to different charities without much of a strategy, and there's nothing wrong with that. But at some point, you might start wondering whether you really are making a difference. I call us 'frustrated philanthropists.' At its core, what we're doing is bringing passionate, intelligent entrepreneurs together in small groups to solve problems."
"People focus so much on how much less money we have, but it's not about money. It's about the way we deploy the money. We need to find a way to effectively engage human capital, because that's the community's greatest resource. If we could do that we could do a lot more than we've ever done before, with much less money."
Big IdeaSet up a first-class research-and-development operation that would find the absolute best practices for delivering social services being used around the world -- whether it be Sweden or Seattle. Then, coordinate with area agencies to use only those proven best practices.