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‘Audacious’ Philanthropic Model to Power Impact at Scale

9 April 2018 at 2:19 pm
Wendy Williams
A new model for philanthropic collaboration has been launched by not for profit TED, inspiring commitments of US$250 million from sector leaders to power bold ideas for impact-at-scale.

Wendy Williams | 9 April 2018 at 2:19 pm


‘Audacious’ Philanthropic Model to Power Impact at Scale
9 April 2018 at 2:19 pm

A new model for philanthropic collaboration has been launched by not for profit TED, inspiring commitments of US$250 million from sector leaders to power bold ideas for impact-at-scale.

The Audacious Project: Collaborative Philanthropy for Bold Ideas, is a joint endeavour from a group of foundations and individuals which is housed at TED and aims to surface and fund critical ideas that have the potential to impact millions of lives.

The project invites donors to pool resources and work together in the hope of creating a collective model of philanthropy that mimics the way in which startups are funded, so projects can be “more ambitious, more collaborative and more effective”.

TED curator Chris Anderson said TED was dedicated to “sharing ideas that matter”.

“But many of the ideas that matter most require funding on a scale that most people and organisations would never believe was available to them,” Anderson said.

“This initiative is designed to surface those ideas and help turn them into widely-supported action plans.”

The initiative, which has been in the pipeline for three years, hopes to address the problem of not-for-profit fundraising, where initiatives are “too often funded one donor at a time, one year at a time” in what TED describes as a “deeply inefficient and endlessly frustrating process”.

Each year, the project, which will replace the TED Prize, will identify up to five ideas that stand out as “thrillingly bold” and have a credible path to execution, scale and impact.

TED will vet the ideas, help shape them and surface the ones that have potential before bringing the ideas to both donors and the public, with the aim of inspiring people across the world “to come together to act and turn these audacious dreams into realities”.

Each project includes a specific budget that matches its ambition – with many projects expected to be in the $25 million to $50 million range – and a timeline that spans years.

Laura and John Arnold, said if ever there was an aptly named project, “it was Audacious”.

“Big thinkers often feel that limited scope increases funding opportunities,” they said.

“This project allows entrepreneurs to imagine without resource constraints.

“We believe The Audacious Project will inspire the bold, visionary thinking needed to solve today’s most urgent problems.”

Skoll Foundation founder and chairman, Jeff Skoll, said to crack the code on the world’s most pressing problems required “betting big” on entrepreneurs capable of both vision and action at scale.

“This new venture takes the signature TED mantra of ideas that matter to a whole new level – from ideas that matter to problems that can be solved,” Skoll said.

According to Anderson, TED anticipates that most successful projects will come from “existing, proven organisations that are ready for a whole new level of ambition” but the program is open to ideas from “individual change-makers who have stellar track records”.

The first project recipients, which range from ocean exploration and climate change remediation to rethinking criminal justice, empowering communities and expanding public health, are set to be revealed at the TED2018 Conference on Wednesday.

These TED Talks will be shared online following the session,with members of the TED audience, and people around the world, invited to support each initiative alongside participating members of The Audacious Project coalition.

The individuals and organisations helping to facilitate the initiative include the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, the Dalio Foundation, Scott Cook and Signe Ostby, Laura and John Arnold, ELMA Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ray Dalio of the Dalio Foundation said they were excited to support the “big and bold ideas of social entrepreneurs committed to large-scale change”.

“TED has created a superb model for identifying and sorting through game changing philanthropic shapers – people with big visions and the talents to make them into realities,” Dalio said.

“It’s really remarkable.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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