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Twitter Roundup – June 3: Social Innovation Fund gets a boost, Facebook gets a rival, and 25 unreasonable people get together

   /   Jun 4th, 2010News

Search for the hashtag #socent and you’ll find wide-ranging interest in social entrepreneurship on Twitter. Here’s a roundup of a few thought-provoking tweets from the last week.


Last week, a group of private philanthropists and foundations, including the Skoll Foundation, added $45 million to the $50 million already managed by the White House’s new Social Innovation Fund. Michelle Obama announced the new contributions at a press conference on May 27.

Not everyone is pleased by the way the administration is describing its plans, however. Pablo Eisenberg, writing in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is disappointed that the fund will likely end up financing “fairly large, fairly safe nonprofit organizations that can generate good publicity” instead of the “hidden gems” that Obama initially spoke about.

After a year of planning and fundraising, the Unreasonable Institute (@BeUnreasonable) launched on Monday. One of the most ambitious social enterprise incubators created yet, the institute will provide a 10-week summer training in Boulder, Colorado to 25 fledgling social entrepreneurs from around the world. These Unreasonable Fellows will connect with social investors and 57 mentors who will support them in developing their ideas into sustainable ventures. Nathaniel Whittemore over at Change.org has a nice summary of the work that’s gone into this launch.


Kari Saratovsky (@socialcitizen), VP for Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, alerted us to a late-breaking nominee for our “Top 5 graduation speeches for changemakers” with this quote from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Last week at Princeton University, his alma mater, Bezos spoke about the difference between gifts and choices: “Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.” Read the entire speech here.

This cryptic tweet comes from diaspora* (@joindiaspora), a group of four NYU computer science students dedicated to Internet privacy awareness. In the wake of growing frustration over Facebook’s loose and confusing privacy controls, they decided to create an open source social network to rival it – and fund it on Kickstarter. The media attention helped them blow their $10,000 goal out of the water; by the end of the funding period, the project had taken in $200,642 from – you guessed it – 6,480 unique donors (including Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself). Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

Here at Dowser, problem-solving is our bread and butter, so this quote from Thomas Edison caught our eye (thanks to Guy Kawasaki and the folks at the Nieman Journalism Lab). In a congratulatory letter to William Le Roy Emmet, early electrical engineer at General Electric, Edison had some sobering advice for his recently successful colleague. You can read it at Letters of Note.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments or @DowserDotOrg.

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