Summer 2007

Volume 5, Number 3

In the summer 2007 issue, it’s time for summer lovin’, nonprofit style. In this Stanford Social Innovation Review special, three articles explore whether, why, and how nonprofits should undertake mergers or other alliances. “Go Ahead – Pop the Question” makes a case in favor of mergers, while “Before You Say ‘I Do’” points out the problems. And in “Uniting for Survival,” four Chicago-area cancer support centers give up competing and merge so that they can get back to their mission: helping people live better with cancer.


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The Merger Proposal

By Kevin T. Kirkpatrick, Denise L. Gammal, & Don Haider

It’s summer. The wedding season is upon us, and many nonprofits are likewise feeling the urge to merge. But should nonprofits couple up, take the plunge, and get hitched? In this SSIR special, three articles explore whether, why, and how nonprofits should undertake mergers or other alliances.

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A New Era for Business

By Scott C. Beardsley, Sheila Bonini, Lenny Mendonca, & Jeremy Oppenheim 13

More and more business leaders recognize that their company’s future is increasingly intertwined with the needs and demands of society. But many executives don’t understand how to manage that changing relationship. In this article, McKinsey & Company consultants provide a model for incorporating sociopolitical issues into the strategic decision-making process.

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Social Innovations

Microfinance Misses Its Mark

By Aneel Karnani 45

Despite the hoopla over microfinance, it doesn’t cure poverty. But stable jobs do. If societies are serious about helping the poorest of the poor, they should stop investing in microfinance and start supporting large, labor-intensive industries.


Uniting for Survival

By Don Haider

How four Chicago-area cancer support centers created a fifth nonprofit to pool their strengths.

Field Report

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Social Innovations

Unselling Meth

By Suzy Oudsema & Rick Wedell 1

The Montana Meth Project’s graphic ads saturate TV, radio, billboards, and newspapers to portray the reality of methamphetamine use, in all its grit. Scabs and body sores are just the beginning. So far, the shock factor is working.

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Green for Green

By Carolyn Said

Peter Liu started his working life as an engineer at the oil giant Chevron Corp. The experience turned him into an avid environmentalist. Several years later, it also led him to co-found the New Resource Bank, which calls itself the nation’s first “green” commercial bank.

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Money for a Song

By Alessandra Bianchi

The Public Radio Fund gives investors a chance to protect nonprofit airwaves. With its help, KTOO-FM in Juneau, Alaska, recently debuted a 24-hour news show and two locally-hosted Alaska-flavored music stations.

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Fair Trade Spanish

By Laila Weir 1

Michael Parker pays his new Spanish tutor $17 less than he paid his old teacher in Iowa. But his new teacher, Yesenia Mateu Grave, takes away double her normal fee. Thanks to Web conferencing, Mateu Grave teaches students around the world from her hometown in Antigua, Guatemala, via a site called Speak Shop, combining audio, video, and online chat for a classroom-like experience.


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Robbing the Grandchildren

By Charles Conn 1

Human-caused climate change, sharply declining conventional energy sources, and population growth are threatening the very platform of human life. Yet only 5 percent of U.S. foundation spending goes to the environment, and a paltry 2.9 percent goes to science and technology.

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Partners for the Planet

By David Yarnold

You know the world is changing when the largest corporate buy-out in history hinges on an environmental commitment. That’s what happened in February when two top private equity firms enlisted the help of Environmental Defense, a nonprofit that finds practical solutions to environmental problems, to acquire TXU Corp., the largest utility in Texas.


Laws, Not Lawyers

By John H. Vogel Jr., Sarah Gohl Isabel, & James Sears Bryant

How states can protect nonprofit leaders and infuse more money into the sector.


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Putting Women in Their Place

By Alana Conner

Which woman is more likely to attract unpleasant sexual attention: the office sweetheart or the ambitious upstart? A new study by social psychologist Jennifer Berdahl points to the upstart. From her findings, Berdahl concludes that “men aren’t harassing women to get into their pants, but to put them down….”

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Crushing Corruption

By Alana Conner 1

To find out how best to stem corruption in development projects, a Harvard economist conducted a sophisticated experiment in 608 Javanese villages. His results challenge current wisdom: Send in the outside auditors, rather than rely on local monitors.

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Stopping the Spread of Trauma

By Alana Conner 1

Many Iraq War veterans can’t shake the feeling of being constantly imperiled, and their therapists, in turn, may develop traumatic stress symptoms themselves. A new study tells how organizations can protect their frontline providers from psychic distress.


Learning From Government

By Alana Conner

What the public sector can teach the nonprofit and business sectors.


Social Innovations

Review: Made to Stick

Review By Judith Samuelson 1

Simplicity is the golden rule for getting messages across.


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15 Minutes with Emmett Carson

By Eric Nee 1

SSIR Managing Editor Eric Nee met with Emmett Carson to discuss his bold plans for the newly merged Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which is now the fourth largest community foundation in the country.

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