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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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A New Social Innovation Project Comes to Texas - A New Tool to Simplify the 3rd Sector
Nell Edgington

December, 2009

There is something underway in Texas that I’m pretty excited about.  The OneStar Foundation, the Texas state office of nonprofit capacity building and social innovation and administrator of the state’s AmeriCorps grant, has just launched a new project called the Texas Social Innovation Initiative (TSI). TSI is a partnership with Root Cause, a national organization supporting social innovation and headquartered in Boston.

The TSI creates an opportunity and a marketplace for socially innovative nonprofit organizations to present a compelling case for support to scale their programs.  OneStar will pick six nonprofit organizations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to receive consulting, networking and other assistance to create an investor pitch for growth capital to scale their results-driven program. The award for each nonprofit totals about $25,000 in money and services.  The project is modeled on Root Causes’ Social Innovation Forum, where nonprofits are given strategy consulting, executive coaching, and introductions to social investors.  Their goal is to “build a philanthropic investment community that will invest and re-invest resources based on performance, in order to increase progress in solving pressing social problems.”

OneStar’s TSI will similarly offer this introduction to social investors when the project culminates in June with a Fast Pitch event where these six nonprofits will present their growth pitches to Dallas Social Venture Partners and other individuals with money to invest in nonprofits.

Aside from the fact that it is so exciting to see this kind of social innovation activity in Texas, I’m particularly excited about this project because Social Velocity is involved.  We helped to review applications (which were amazing by the way–I was so impressed with what these nonprofits are accomplishing) from the 60+ nonprofits who applied.  And Social Velocity will be one of the consultant teams working with the six nonprofits to craft their growth plans and pitches.  I love helping a nonprofit organization take the results they are achieving  and translate those into a compelling ask of people who have money to invest.  Bridging that gap between work that creates social change and those who have money to invest in social change is a thrilling experience.

The six social innovators that will participate in this year’s TSI will be notified by OneStar today, and announced publicly at the Governor’s Nonprofit Leadership Conference on December 9th.  The work crafting their pitches will begin in January.  If the project is a success, there is potential to expand it to other parts of the state.  That would be amazing.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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