July 2008 Posts

Become a Filmanthropist!

GlobalGiving has been involved in philanthropy for a long time. But starting last week, thanks to a new effort in conjunction with Snagfilms.com, GlobalGiving is now involved in “Filmanthropy!” At SnagFilms.com, you can both watch full-length documentary films for free and “snag” films to put them anywhere on the web.

When you embed a widget (like the one below) on your web site, you open a virtual movie theater and become a “Filmanthropist.” With a rapidly growing library of 250 films, you’re bound to find films that resonate with causes you care about; and with links to GlobalGiving projects on most film pages, you can easily give directly to a project related to that cause.

SnagFilms is committed to finding the world‘s most compelling documentaries, whether from established heavyweights or first-time filmmakers, and making them available to the wide audience these titles deserve. Donate your pixels and support independent film!

A New Shade of Generosity

We’re launching a new “shade” of GlobalGiving today – GlobalGiving Green.

GlobalGiving Green looks at development through a green lens – and vice versa, for that matter – and enables you to support projects that are fighting poverty and dealing with climate change at the same time.

Why are we doing this? The developing world faces a double whammy. Pretty much every country in the developed world has gotten to where they are through a carbon-intensive path, which if repeated would cancel out any other efforts to combat climate change. And developing countries are more likely to bear the consequences of global warming—things like flooding and droughts, or increased incidence of diseases like malaria. And there are indirect societal and political impacts too – Nicholas Kristof wrote about one of the more unusual ones earlier this year, linking unusual levels of rainfall in rural Tanzania to more women being accused of witchcraft.

So, we partnered with EcoSecurities, a leader in emissions reductions markets, to evaluate how projects are doing with regard to climate change, and in areas such as providing sustainable economic growth, aiding the culture and environment of a community, educating future generations on green issues, and more. Twenty-four projects were initially selected to be a part of GlobalGiving Green, and on the website you can see how they do on elements ranging from use of innovative technology to creation of additional health and safety benefits. And we’re working with our amazing Project Leaders to help them understand how their proposed solutions to big societal issues can build a carbon-neutral path to development.

It’s a small (but first) step toward creating a market-based incentive for green development to thrive. Through GlobalGiving Green, we hope people concerned with climate change can more easily find the best solutions for creating positive change, developing responsibly, and reducing harmful emissions.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Charles in Charge


The new boy in the neighborhood

Lives downstairs, and it’s understood

He’s there just to take good care of me

Like he’s one of the family…

We’re thrilled to welcome a newest member of the GlobalGiving’s Tech Team.  No, not Scott Baio, but Charles Koppelman.

I’ve asked him a few questions so we can all get to know him.

A:  What is your name?
C:  Charles Koppelman last I checked.

A:  What attracted you to GlobalGiving?
C:  The true power of the web is its ability to connect people who have something to people who want something. GlobalGiving is using that power to help people do amazing local projects worldwide, and it’s also using that power to explain to the casual web surfer what sort of great work is being done.

A:  Name five words to describe yourself.
C:  Punny, active, social, kind, nocturnal

A:  What color socks are you wearing?
C:  Boring black.

A:  What’s your favorite board game?
C:  Settlers of Cattan or Blokus

A:  What’s your favorite TV Show/Movie/Book?
C:  Family Guy, The Sword and the Stone

A:  Have you ever watched the show Charles in Charge?
C:  Of course!  I loved Scott Baio. (editor’s note: Who doesn’t?!)

A:  Name 2 interesting facts about yourself.  Name one untrue thing.  Put them in any order.
C:  I once came within 5 feet of a black bear and her cub, I love licorice, and I can throw wheel pottery.

A:  What’s on your iPod?
C:  I know I’m supposed to be in IT and love technology, but I don’t have an iPod.  I didn’t even have Internet at home until February.

A:  If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you?
C:  Food, a flashlight, and lots of music.

A:  Who would win in a fight, Superman, Batman or Spiderman?  Why?
C:  Batman’s nothing without his belt, and all Spiderman can do is climb walls… But Superman is too nice to fight them.  I’d say Batman wins.

A:  When you drop food on the floor, do you observe the 5 second rule?
C:  Come on!  Dry food gets more than 5 seconds!

A:  When you played Oregon Trail, did you set out as the banker from Boston, the carpenter from Ohio, or the farmer from Illinois?
C:  I just remember catching my first bear :)

Stop the Madness, GlobalGiving Style

Yesterday Bill Easterly, one of the first economists I got to know and admired immensely at the World Bank working on Russia, gave a talk at the Center for Global Development about his new book, Reinventing Aid.

Bill has since become a valued friend, and it’s with both admiration and much gratitude that Dennis and I have contributed a chapter to this book. It’s one of the benefits of being part of an edited volume–you can admire the book because of all the other amazing thinkers who contributed to the volume, whose reflected glory benefits your own work, “judged by the company you keep, etc.” More on their chapters later.

I’m also pleased to blog about the book because it gives me an excuse to highlight a little known obsession about Robert Dubois and Alison McQuade–some of the youngest and most dynamic staff members we have here at GlobalGiving. You see, to paraphrase Bill, Reinventing Aid is a collection of some of the most interesting thinking around how to “STOP THE MADNESS”–that is, stop doing what we know doesn’t work, and start trying something else.

And for some reason that I can’t fathom–besides the fact that this is one of the most insufferable music videos I’ve ever seen–“STOP THE MADNESS” is Robert and Alison’s favorite video. They love to play it at the end of a long hard day of work and leave us all at a loss as to what draws them to a video that was made just about the time they were born. You can be just as puzzled too–here it is:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5zJvX3pIY4&feature=email[/youtube]

Backstage at Pandora (and a free beer)

Last week I was out in the Bay Area (we natives DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, call it “Cali” or “Frisco” and shame on all of you who do). It was an eclectic trip – family, corporate partner visits, funder visits, project sponsor visits, and then BlogHer 08 (more on this last stop later).

While there were lots of fun stops along the week, one of the most unique was visiting with our friends at Pandora.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, Pandora is one of the best and most successful music sites on the web. We do a nice philanthropy program with them, and just last week they launched their second annual poster contest. People who give to one of the Pandora/GG music projects will get a free copy of the winning poster. The mood there was great – the new iPod has a Pandora app, and as of when I was there, they had something like 250,000 new stations created. WOW!

So not only were they a bunch of happy music lovers, but I lucked upon their second employee “Backstage” session. These are the brainchild of Michele Husak, who is a totally cool chick and Pandora’s Director of Communications. UPDATE/CORRECTION:  Brainchild of Tim, the founder, executed by the lovely Michele.
Every month or so they bring in local musicians who have music in the Genome, buy the team some beer (good beer, I might add) and munchies, and film the mini-concerts. Thursday’s performer was Josh Fix. I’d never heard of him, but he was fun. It’s not every day you get to experience something like that. Pandora’s the best.

Here’s a little video clip. The long version will be up on Pandora soon:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZjW6aZ6V6Y[/youtube]

PS If you don’t use Pandora, check it out. If you already do, check out Josh Fix’s stuff.