Spring 2010

Volume 8, Number 2

President Obama has initiated a number of important changes in the way that the federal government funds outside programs. One of the most important of these is the US Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund, a pool of money that states compete for by proposing innovative K-12 educational programs. In the spring 2010 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, managing editor Eric Nee interviews Joanne Weiss, director of the $4.3 billion fund, who explains what changes she hopes the fund can achieve.

View the digital edition and download the PDF.

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The Ingredients of Growth

By David H. Brady & Michael Spence 2

By choosing smart economic models and stabilizing political institutions, political leaders pave the way for fast and sustained development.

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The Case for Stakeholder Engagement

By Kathleen P. Enright & Courtney Bourns 1

Grantmaking initiatives often fail when the foundation remains isolated from its grantees and the communities they both serve.

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Merging Wisely

By David La Piana 8

Funders are increasingly pressuring nonprofits to merge, however, mergers are not always the right path for nonprofits in financial distress.

What's Next


The Flattened Campus

By Suzie Boss

The world's first tuition-free online university hopes to dramatically increase access to higher education.

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Bite-Sized Goodness

By Suzie Boss

The Extraordinaries have created a web-based platform that allows people to easily volunteer short amounts of time.

Field Report

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Human Rights

Airborne Peace

By Meredith May

In Rwanda, Radio La Benevolencija uses soap operas to heal ethnic tensions. Listeners who tune into a weekly show about feuding ethnic groups are more likely than non-listeners to stand up to authority and to voice their own opinions.

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Social Innovations

Fun for a Change

By Aaron Dalton 1

Volkswagen believes that doing the right thing—taking the stairs, reducing litter, and driving an eco-friendly car—can be pleasurable and desirable.

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Lessons in Courage

By Suzie Boss

Against all odds, the Afghan Institute of Learning educates women and girls in a war-torn society.

Case Study

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LEED the Way

By Brandon Keim

The LEED green-building certification system is one of the fastest growing nonprofits in America.


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Dashboards That Guide Good

By Anne Marie Burgoyne

Funders can help grantees track their progress more effectively by helping them develop dashboards that measure key items.

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Social Innovations

Which Fix?

By Justin Cohen

Some school reformers advocate starting over, while others want to keep the same students and site. Both approaches are useful.


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Interviewer Beware

By Alana Conner

When it comes to job interviews, self-presentation tactics—appearance, gestures, postures, flattery, and self-promotion—go farther than you think.


How the Danes Do It

By Alana Conner

How much inequality there is in a society depends on how inheritable the wealth is, which in turn depends on the kind of wealth that it is.

Social Innovations

Radical Grantmaking

By Alana Conner

Funders who want to catalyze radical innovation should make long-term grants, invest in people, and offer rich and frequent feedback.

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Social Innovations

Tech Clears the Air

By Alana Conner

Manufacturers in the United States are building more and more products while churning out less and less air pollution.

Social Innovations

Charters Rock Exam

By Alana Conner

A recent study shows that the UK's charter (like) schools fare better than standard schools on national exams.


SWITCH: How to
Change Things When
Change Is Hard
Chip Heath & Dan Heath

A Handbook for Change

Review By Dan S. Cohen 1

SWITCH: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Hidden Life and Art
of Marion Post
Paul Hendrickson
Global Issues

Bearing Witness

Review By Bill Shore

LOOKING FOR THE LIGHT: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott by Paul Hendrickson

Why Greater Equality
Makes Societies
Richard Wilkinson
& Kate Pickett

Inequality Makes Us Anxious

Review By David B. Grusky 3

THE SPIRIT LEVEL: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett


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Joanne Weiss

By Eric Nee 2

Joanne Weiss is in charge of the federal government’s $4.3 billion Race to the Top Fund, a new program that is funding innovations in K-12 education.

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