Philanthropy at COF: blogs, buzzwords and books
Pangea Day

Emerging Philanthropy Spotlight No. 1: The Indian Taxi Fund

"So here’s my modest/ambitious proposal . . . create a scale-free network that doesn’t rely on multiple lines going to one source. To get rid of the lines altogether and create spiders. And to leverage the crowdsourcing of blogs and the benevolence of businesses and individuals." Josh Brown, My Proposal.

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A great example of emerging philanthropy 2.0 is what Josh Brown is doing in raising micro-loans for social enterprises overseas. He calls it The Indian Taxi Fund. It started off as a way to raise $7500 to help Amit (below, on the left) in India buy a taxi and be self-sustaining in his Christian based voluntary work but is now becoming something much larger.

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Josh (right) has been donating a huge percentage of his work as a web designer but is also leveraging others into blogging, giving or loaning small amounts. He has raised $1000 in the past week towards launching social enterprises through these tiny loans. For those that lend $25, Josh is sending out a free book. I have just added "Wanting More" by Joel Vestal to that list because Joel sent me a number of these books to go to a good cause and I am sure he would be thrilled to hear about this project.

Josh is a web designer with Red Cowboy Designs, and co-conspirator of the successful Nic and Josh podcast which now has over 300,000 subscribers. They interviewed me and my Brazilian buddy Olgavaro in Chattanooga a few years ago.

Interesting Facts:
93 - the percentage of total rural borrowings among India's little people that came from private persons in the early 1950's.
100 - the minumum number of people needed to start a credit union in order to launch a successful Co-operative. [From Father Topshee's seven steps for missionaries.]
1854 - The year CMS missions executive Henry Venn recommended credit unions as a necessary step in establishing mission in Sierra Leone.

Related:
- "A New Kind of Hierarchy" (2006) for my thoughts on scale-free networks
- Mission and the Fourth Sector for more on cooperatives, credit unions and mission.
- Josh has just launched a magazine called Talk of the Bay

More spotlights on emerging philanthropy coming this week, to co-incide with the my thoughts on the Council on Foundations 2008 and philanthropy 2.0 discussions.

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