Why I left a job I love to start from scratch
If someone would have told me 9 months ago that I would have left my job to start a new foundation, I wouldn’t have believed it. Working for National Christian Foundation Heartland was the best job I could have imagined. I loved helping generous donors give money to awesome charities. I loved working with the coolest team on the planet—talented, dedicated, hilarious people.
And yet here I am...I’ve left the safety of that great job to dedicate myself to a great big idea: business+purpose has the power to do what charity alone cannot.
I am becoming convinced, along with smart people at the Rockefeller Foundation, Forbes and elsewhere, that the future of change-making (i.e., philanthropy) includes revenue generation.
That idea has driven the formation of Impact Investing Foundation. We exist to promote better philanthropy and to facilitate charitable investments in companies that seek social and eternal returns along with financial profit.
I certainly miss the people and mission of the National Christian Foundation, but it’s been a blast to watch the ideas come together. Plus I get to work with new amazing people with awesome companies—pig farms in Laos, an Austin video game company that tells bible stories in their games, a Silicon Valley startup prayer app, a business incubator in Afghanistan, heart transplants in Iraq, a home health company with a ministry heart in Florida, and on and on.
It’s not the typical path, but I’m so glad to be along for the ride. Want to join the adventure? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Every profession has its hazards. For mine, it’s lawyer jokes and requests for free legal advice.
This blog contains neither, but it will provide a little education on the basic forms of corporations so you’ll sound smart when you call your own counsel.
Some states offer a larger array of options; this blog discusses the most popular entity choices including corporations, LLC, low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs), and benefit corporations.
Anytime someone says, “I’m thinking of starting a nonprofit,” my immediate thought is to make sure I can’t talk them out of it.
As Dan Palotta points out in his semi-famous Ted Talk titled “The Way We Think about Charity is Dead Wrong”, charities/nonprofits face tremendous headwinds toward scalability. Palotta examined the number of organizations surpassing $50M in revenue since 1970, and found only 144 charities reached that level while 46,136 for-profit companies did.
Question: How much impact/financial return will I get from impact investing?
Answer: It depends.
Kingdom impact investing may be easiest to see in the context of poverty reduction and evangelism. But we have seen hundreds of companies tackling a wide range of issues through business models as diverse as bus seat manufacturing, hydroelectric power, software development, and a cattle feed lot. Likewise, the potential return for investors is equally varied.
Should I offer investors a SAFE or a convertible note? What’s the difference and is one always better than the other?
A convertible note is a type of debt that has the right to convert into equity when a company hits an agreed-upon milestone, typically the next round of funding. If the milestone isn’t hit, the company owes the investors their original capital plus interest. Cite.
A SAFE, or Simple Agreement for Future Equity, is “an agreement between an investor and a company that provides rights to the investor for future equity in the company similar to a warrant, except without determining a specific price per share at the time of the initial investment.” Cite
I’m training for the Kansas City Marathon to raise money for World Vision’s clean water initiative. It’s quite possibly the least efficient fundraising strategy I’ve ever tried. Considering the time involved in training, recovery and fundraising it feels like I’ve raised about 25 cents per hour. Fortunately, I don’t think that’s the way we’re supposed to measure success.
I would do the running anyway because I love it and it keeps me mentally and physically healthy. Raising money gives the running even more meaning.
Whether we realize it or not, the degree of influence, and the acceleration of that influence, that key digital gatekeepers are having in our lives and those around the world is exceptional. Big data aggregators with democratically charged algorithms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Apple are wielding powerful influence in how we think, where our attention is directed, how we search for the truth, and who has sway in our lives. The question is, where are we going with all this? who's taking us there? And how will this affect our societies, families, and the generations that follow?
I've spent many sleepless nights praying and wishing I could just get some rest. Recently we met Gary Brown, CEO of Spiritual Sleep Therapy and I wanted to share his story on our blog. Here it is in his words. …
One third of Americans (82M people) struggle with insomnia and 15% (36M+) struggle every night, two-thirds of whom are women. Spiritual Sleep Therapy (SST) is the first company to produce sleep sessions that use the most effective elements of cognitive behavioral therapy relaxation techniques combined with the power of God’s Word to help those who struggle with insomnia.
REDEMPTIVE METHODOLOGY defined
An enterprise whose primary positive impact on the world happens through the way business is conducted. Its leadership, being rooted in Christ, follows the Spirit with intentionality for how they can participate in God's transformational work in the lives of employees, vendors, & customers while creating sustainable value. Read more and discover best practices.
The Verdant leadership team has spent a great deal of time putting together their framework for how they cultivate new opportunities. Starting with small explorations, they then perform a standard set of rigorous tests before committing in a significant way.
Having spent a week with the team on the ground as an outside observer, we noted there are three key drivers of success…
As a previous post discussed, aid isn't enough to sustainably overcome poverty. What we need is large-scale efforts: from far-reaching Microfinance to big businesses. This blog focuses on the Verdant Frontiers family of companies -- Verde Beef, Verdant Consulting, and Verdant Ventures -- and their efforts to reach scale in extreme conditions.
So far, Verdant Frontiers is generating more than 12,000 ongoing, long-term incomes in the local community. Having a positive impact with this kind of scale takes dedication, business excellence, and God’s merciful provision.