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eBay founder gives $100M to microfinance fund

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omidyar
(note penguin)

The founder of eBay has donated $100 million to Tufts University to support low-cost business startups in developing countries. "We believe that business can be a tool for social good," said Pierre Omidyar. "Microfinance has already shown that enabling the poor to empower themselves economically can be good business."

MSNBC reported:

The $100m fund, to be run for profit by endowment managers at Tufts University, marks a growing trend among philanthropic entrepreneurs and technology billionaires to seek market-based solutions to global poverty, rather than rely solely on traditional charities....

Microfinance is known for making small loans, usually less than $200, to individuals, often women, to establish or expand a small, self-sustaining business -- from buying chickens to sell eggs or opening a bakery. Typically, the money is paid back at a relatively high rate of interest to ensure the fund is self-sustaining, but is far cheaper than the limited black-market loans that people in poorer countries are often forced to rely on.

Additional sources of information on microfinance and microcredit include:

The Google Economy

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An article by Steve Lohr in today's New York Times -- Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies -- ends with the senior vice president of global marketing for Chrysler saying: "We think there is plenty of opportunity for innovation in the Google economy."

The article paints Google search as a disruptive technology, which it certainly is, and points out how it has many companies and industries both exploring new options... and quaking in their boots.

Nonprofits should similarly be aware of -- and concerned about -- the way Google is changing "business as usual." Traditional methods of fundraising and attracting volunteers may suddenly be eclipsed -- not that it isn't happening already -- by more efficient techniques that leverage the network and the new tools emerging on the web.

Expensive snail-mail campaigns never were that effective, and today may even be counterproductive compared to the organizational transparency and more human-to-human style of Internet communications.

Update from the NetSquared team

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The NetSquared team is pleased as punch to announce our newest member, Britt Bravo! Britt's our Community Builder and has already made waves with planning our strong volunteer and outreach base.

Also, we've added a fresh batch of profiles to our Net2 In Action section. Check 'em out! In addition to our growing advocates and sponsor list, the NetSquared team will roll out our new identity and website in the next few weeks.

Finally, as Chris has noted, come join us in the Bay area for Net Tuesday. Chris Messina will present, plus music and cookies to go around. We'd love to see you there!

Nonprofit Brings Cheap Internet to Bronx

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November 2, 2005, via The New York Sun (free registration required):

With Mayor Bloomberg having decided New York will not follow Philadelphia or San Francisco in providing publicly funded wireless Internet access, a nonprofit community development organization in the Bronx has entered a deal to offer its more than 5,700 residents the next best thing - cheap wireless access.

The Mount Hope Housing Company announced yesterday that 120 residential units in four of the buildings it manages now have access to wireless broadband service for $19.95 a month. The service will be available in all 1,250 residential units in its 31 buildings by February, the organization said.

Gates Foundation funds malaria research

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Net Tuesdays

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ZbuttonThe first of a series of national (and international) meetups connecting tech-heads and nonprofit workers will be held in San Francisco next... duh... Tuesday, November 8th. For details and directions, click the Z.

Learn about the extraordinary work being done by nonprofits that are adopting networking technologies. If you have any questions about how it all works, these meetups are where you can learn and get answers through training sessions, demos, Q&A and new contacts. As the meetups evolve through a cadre of volunteers there will be more and more examples of how our sector is adopting and integrating the next generation of internet tools.

Web 2.0 technologists and assorted stragglers interested in remixing the web for social change: come talk to nonprofit practitioners about the tech. Nonprofits: come talk to tech junkies about your work, find out about new web tools, and much more.

Various folks from Technorati will be there, plus Chris Messina.

Microsoft Introduces Web Services

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Veteran tech reporter John Markoff has a story in today's New York TImes saying that Microsoft will offer web services, thus competing against Yahoo. Google -- and the web itself...

The strategic shift... represents an acknowledgment by the company, the world's largest software publisher, that the Internet has once again changed the rules of business, forcing Microsoft to scramble to catch up....

The new technologies, which are based on the idea of open Internet standards that allow many applications to be easily connected, is a potential threat to Microsoft because users will be able to select competing software products rather than be locked into large applications suites like Office.

The article is significant more for what it says about the strength of the tools emerging on the open Internet than for any of Microsoft's announced plans to replace them.

Society for New Communications Research

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Blawgzine reports (thanks, Franziska) that a new international, non-profit think tank has just been formed: The Society for New Communications Research

The Society will study the impact of emerging modes of communication such as blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasts, videocasts, collaborative tools and the growing phenomena of participatory communications and their effect on traditional media, marketing, public relations and advertising, as well as their broader impact on business, politics, entertainment, culture, education, religion and society at large.

Gee, is that all? What slouches! ;-)

Internet Innovators will have Collaboration Hub at SF Green Festival

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The Green Festival (www.greenfestivals.com) a joint project of Global Exchange and Co-Op America, will be having a Collaboration Hub as one of its exhibits. 26 computers will be set up to allow attendees to access:

Care2 http://www.care2.com/

Alonovo http://www.alonovo.com/

Stuff We Like http://www.bookswelike.net/

Earthsite http://www.earthsite.net/

Flock http://www.flock.com/

GoLightly http://www.golightly.com/

Green Home http://www.greenhome.com/

Integrative Activism http://www.integrativeactivism.net/

Identity Commons http://www.idcommons.net/

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