About this project
1. one with vision, a persistent and dedicated human
2. a nonprofit or foundation employee that shines with brilliance and humility
We are inviting all unicorns to participate in changing our sector. Our goal is to change the way we all approach funding and fund raising.
Smart funders know that the current status quo is inherently funder-centric and are looking for ways to balance the playing field. Adopting grantee-centric practices means creating funder interactions that maximize the input of time and only strengthen an organization’s ability to achieve their outcomes—interactions that put grantees, and hence impact, first.
Wise nonprofits know that current practices perpetuate a broken system. They also acknowledge their role in perpetuating funder-centric processes. More importantly they recognize their power to change the status quo and shape interactions with funders. They know they have more power than many admit and they are looking for ways to exercise it.
This book will delve into both sides -- funder and fundraiser, foundation and nonprofit -- to explore and suggest practical ways all of us can change our ways of operating from 'business as usual' to 'nonprofit as extraordinary'.
There is much work to be led and done by unicorns. Now more than ever, we need ways to work together that are fast, equal, and efficient.
There are loads of books on nonprofit and philanthropy. We looked at many of them and discovered a common theme - they are shaped, tempered, and endorsed by foundations. We are turning that model on its head. Instead, we want nonprofits to back this book significantly (and have the opportunity to shape it), as well as philanthropy professionals who are eager to spread a more grantee-centric approach to funding. So we’re asking you, the unicorns, to contribute.
Our Kickstarter campaign launches today, December 1st and will run until December 30th. This campaign will not only raise money for self-publishing (there will be no superfluous padding in our book -- just what you need to make change!), but also to ensure that it is shaped by your perspective and contributions. See the rewards levels for how your ideas and voice can be incorporated.
We’ll be writing this book throughout 2017, and releasing excerpts to our Kickstarter supporters along the way. We hope that you’ll support us in the coming weeks and share our vision with your network.
Thank you, in anticipation of your support!
Jane / Vu / Jessamyn
About the authors:
Jane Leu is an internationally recognized social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow with more than 20 years of experience in founding and leading numerous social enterprises. Her latest venture is Smarter Good, a global services firm with a dual mission to improve the efficiency and impact of small nonprofit organizations and create purposeful careers for aspiring changemakers in emerging markets.
Jane’s contributions and leadership have been recognized by BYU Social Innovator of the Year, John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership program, Jefferson Award for Community Service, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Manhattan Institute Social Entrepreneur Award, among others. She is a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Venture Partner, representing the foundation’s investment on the Board of Directors of Reset Foundation, a member of the advisory boards of the Peery Family Foundation, Joshua Venture Group and the Migration Policy Institute.
She holds a MA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA from Tufts University. She lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband, Ted Levinson, a social finance professional, when she is not in Manila with the team of Smarter Good.
Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle with the mission of developing and supporting leaders of color to strengthen the capacity of communities-of-color-led nonprofits and foster collaboration between diverse communities to effect systemic change.
Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.
Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at nonprofitwithballs.com.
High school drop out turned MBA, Jessamyn currently co-creates and stewards the Peery Foundation's Grantee-Centric approach to philanthropy. Jessamyn is an advocate for inter-disciplinary approaches, thoughtful risk taking, and bold ideas developed through apprenticing with a problem.
Jessamyn joined the Peery Foundation as its first staff member in 2009, helping to shape the foundation’s initial approach and portfolios. Currently, as Executive Director, Jessamyn is responsible for supporting the Peery Foundation team, developing and guiding overall strategy, and bringing the Foundation Board's vision to life. Jessamyn utilizes her experience as part of the founding Ashoka U team in her hands-on role as a Board Member of BYU’s Ballard Center, where she has created curriculum now taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Jessamyn has a BA in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts London and an MBA from Brigham Young University. She lives in Palo Alto with her ridiculously funny husband and three tiny hamsters.
Music in video: "George Baker Section - Little Green Bag (CRISSP & The Fixer Remix)” by CRISSP MUSIC is licensed under CC BY.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for us will be finding time to create the content of the book. We all have full-time jobs, and Jane and Vu have a couple of them.
We already have the frameworks for funders and fundraisers, so we're part of the way there, but it will take a significant number of hours to write and build the rest of the book. This is why we've set rewards levels with deliverables at intervals during the year--to keep us on track. We'll be sure to communicate any delays or challenges along the way.
If you know us personally, you're more than welcome to ask us how our progress is going too!
But most of all we're just excited to do this. Thank you for believing in us, and the importance of this change in our sector.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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