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Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Can I Survive The Financial Crisis?

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Session Description

The current financial crisis creates unprecedented challenges for social entrepreneurs worldwide as they deal with heightened funding challenges, consequential decisions, organisational alignment and management of potential trade-offs. Upheaval and rapid change can also bring about new opportunities for focus, innovation and clarity. Join leading practitioners and social sector leaders in this candid, generative and instructive conversation designed to provide social entrepreneurs with ideas, strategies and insights for surviving and even thriving in this climate.


When | Where

14:00 - 15:30 Thursday, March 26

Session leaders

  • David Bornstein Speaker
    CEO, Solutions Journalism Network
    David Bornstein is a co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which seeks to legitimize and spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting that examines responses to social problems. He has been a newspaper and magazine reporter for 25 years and currently co-authors the “Fixes” column in The New York Times. His books include How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank, and Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know. He lives in New York.
  • Jim Fruchterman Speaker
    Founder and CEO, Benetech
    Jim Fruchterman is the founder and CEO of Benetech, a Silicon Valley nonprofit technology company that develops software applications to address unmet needs of users in the social sector. He is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his work as a pioneering social entrepreneur, including the MacArthur Fellowship, Caltech’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Migel Medal—the highest honor in the blindness field—from the American Fdn for the Blind. A Caltech-trained engineer, Jim’s first social enterprise idea was a machine that recognizes words and uses software to read those words aloud to people who are blind. In 1989—after a stint as a rocket scientist and after creating two successful for-profit Silicon Valley companies—he founded Benetech to actually build reading machines. Not only did these tools give blind users the freedom to read independently, they proved critical to their social inclusion and enabled them to expand their educational and employment opportunities. This impact inspired Jim to broaden Benetech’s mission to empower people to improve their lives by leveraging scalable technological applications. Since then, Benetech’s work has grown to touch thousands of organizations and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Benetech’s suite of tools and services has transformed the ways in which people with disabilities such as dyslexia and vision impairment access printed information, at-risk human rights defenders safely document abuse, and environmental practitioners protect species and ecosystems. Today, through Benetech Labs, its innovation arm, Benetech explores new software-for-good ideas that have the potential to make life better for millions. Through his work with Benetech and as a trailblazer in the field of social entrepreneurship, Jim continues to advance his vision of a world in which the benefits of technology reach all of humanity, not just the wealthiest and most able five
  • Mark Plotkin Speaker
    Reknowned ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin, trained at Yale and Harvard, has undertaken extensive research throughout tropical South America. Formerly director of the plant conservation program at the World Wildlife Fund and a Vice President at Conservation International, he and his wife Liliana Madrigal established the Amazonian Conservation Team based in Arlington, Virginia in 1996. Mark was named a “Hero for the Planet” by Time Magazine in 1998, and received the Roy Chapman Andrews Distinguished Explorer Award in 2004. He is author of Medicine Quest: In Search of Nature’s Healing Secrets and Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice, both available from Penguin Books.
  • Namrita Kapur Speaker
    Managing Director, Corp. Partnerships, Environmental Defense Fund
    Namrita Kapur, Managing Director of Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense Fund As Managing Director of EDF’s Corporate Partnerships Program, Namrita and her team develop strategies to accelerate innovation in the corporate sector. Drawing from her background in strategy, finance, and international development, she has designed and executed initiatives for leveraging capital markets in the United States and abroad. She is currently leading EDF’s efforts on sustainable finance, ranging from evaluating financial institution commitments in this area to clearing barriers so as attract private capital to support sustainably managed fisheries, endangered species habitat, ecosystem resiliency, zero deforestation and energy efficiency. Prior to joining Environmental Defense Fund, Namrita played in integral role in establishing the strategy and developing the infrastructure of Root Capital-a social investment fund pioneering finance in rural communities in the developing world. During her tenure at Root Capital, she helped grow the organization from 5 people and barely $5 million in assets to almost 40 people and $40 million in assets. She has previously directed programs for the Environmental League of Massachusetts and worked as a consultant for United Nations Development Program. She currently serves on the Finance Committee for the Board of the Environmental League of Massachusetts; and on the Advisory Board of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Namrita possesses an MBA and an MA of Environmental Management from Yale University and a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton.