Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Generation BIG - Bold, Innovative and Generous

Our own Will Austin, founder of the Institute for Affordable Transportation - B.U.V. in Indianapolis is among the people and organizations profiled in financial expert Jeff Smith’s new book. In “GenerationBIG ~ The Rising Tide of Dreams to Action,” Smith, together with co-authors Tom Ruwitch and Mark Patterson, profiles a number of extraordinary 21st century visionaries and philanthropists who have given back in a BIG way.


Profiles include:

  • Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop per Child, whose bold vision is to distribute two billion low-cost laptop computers to children in developing nations.
  • Brian Mullaney, co-founder of Smile Train, which has repaired the cleft lips or palates of more than 500,000 children.
  • Will Austin, Institute of Affordable Transportation with a mission to improve lives and self reliance in impoverished countries by facilitating the spread of simple Basic Utility Vehicles..
  • Bruce Cohn, owner of B.R. Cohn Winery and lifelong manager of the Doobie Brothers, who weaves massive generosity into all his business ventures.
  • Jeremy Courtney, a 29-year-old from central Texas, who has moved to northern Iraq to help Iraqi children receive life-saving heart surgery in Israel.
  • Betsey Beckmann, a stay-at-home mom who, with her young daughters, supplies coats, hats, and gloves to school children in need out of her basement.


Smith’s book goes on to talk about what it takes to be a BIG thinker and to act those ideas. The authors have established a website see their efforts as part of a growing grassroots effort. “BIG is not a demographic.” he noted, “It’s a mindset, and it’s a movement.  Through our GenerationBIG book, website and Big Across America effort, we want to help as many people as possible join this movement.” For more information, visit

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Increasing Accountability - Principles Workbook Helps Organizations Improve Governance

Since their release in 2007 by Independent Sector, the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice have helped nonprofit organizations across the country reflect on and strengthen their operations. To make it even more practical, here comes the Free Principles Workbook: Steering Your Board Toward Good Governance and Ethical Practice to provide further support for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to examining and improving their governance practices.

Independent Sector created the workbook in partnership with BoardSource, the nation’s leading resource on nonprofit governance. The Principles Workbook will make it easier for boards of directors and staff leaders to assess the areas where their organizations are doing well and where there is room for improvement. It distills the core concepts in each of the 33 principles and suggests points for board and staff to discuss about their current practices. Progress worksheets accompanying each of the four sections assist nonprofits and foundations in making plans and recording their progress. The worksheets are also available as a separate document; this file is designed so people can enter their steps directly into the forms by using Adobe Acrobat.

>>Read entire article.