King Philanthropies leaders Kim Jonker and Bill Meehan are now contributors to Forbes.
To help spread the ideas set forth in their book Engine of Impact, Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker have agreed to write a regular column for the Leadership section of the Forbes website. Every two weeks, they will post a brief, to-the-point article that leverages content from the book to shed light on current events and to offer practical insight for leaders.
The first entry in the series is a post titled “Philanthropists, Nonprofit Executives, and Board Members Must Awaken to the Dawn of the Impact Era.” It draws on recent developments in and around the social sector—the response to Hurricane Harvey, the decision by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to change its admission pricing policy, a new study on race and mobility in the United States—to illustrate the quest by nonprofit leaders to sharpen their focus on impact.
Meehan and Jonker argue that we are entering a new era—the Impact Era—and that nonprofits must rise to the occasion:
[T]he world of charitable giving is rapidly transforming as high-net-worth individuals turn their attention from the challenge of creating wealth to that of creating social impact. … The scale, timing, and focus of the portion of global wealth that will go to philanthropy in this era remain to be determined and are very much subject to influence—which is why nonprofits and their leaders must prepare themselves for this moment by earning the right to receive and leverage philanthropic investment.
You can access all posts for the Forbes column here.
How can nonprofit leaders tell if their organization has earned the right to scale? Kim Jonker and Bill Meehan offer tools to help answer that question.
Not all nonprofits are created equal, and not all nonprofits are equally ready to scale up their impact. In the last chapter of Engine of Impact, Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker argue that there are different levels—and different kinds—of scale-readiness. They also present the Readiness to Scale Matrix, an analytical tool that enables users to evaluate whether an organization has reached a point where it not only has achieved an ability to scale its impact but also has earned the right to do so.
Now Stanford Social Innovation Review has published an article by Meehan and Jonker that encapsulates the core logic of the Readiness to Scale Matrix. Titled “Earning the Right to Scale,” the piece offers a brief overview of the seven essential elements of strategic leadership and then describes how an organization’s performance in those elements determines its placement on the matrix.
Although nonprofits remain unequal in their readiness to scale, all of them have a right—and, arguably, a duty—to optimize their performance in the context of how they are performing currently. To help nonprofit leaders gauge how ready their organization is to expand its impact, Meehan and Jonker created the Engine of Impact Diagnostic. This resource is, in effect, an interactive version of the Readiness to Scale Matrix, and it complements the SSIR article.
To read that article, click here.
In his first semester at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Lusayo Mwakatika stands out by winning a campus speech contest.
By Steve Barcus
What does it take to deliver a strong persuasive speech?
The CA 100 Speech Contest is a long-standing tradition that occurs each semester. Teaching assistants from each of the CA 100 sections submit speeches from their top students to compete in the competition. The field is vast for the competition, especially considering that last fall more than 700 students were enrolled in CA 100. From the students selected to participate in the competition, six went to the final round, with Mwakatika receiving the top honors.
Mwakatika’s speech was a persuasive piece, encouraging his peers to join the BRIDGE (Building Relationships in Diverse Global Environments) program, coordinated by International Student Services. Hailing from Malawi, Mwakatika joined BRIDGE last fall as a way to meet fellow students, acclimate to campus and the U.S., and build friendships. It affords U.S students with those same opportunities to connect with Badgers from around the world.
However, soon after joining BRIDGE, Mwakatika noticed a need for more American student to take part in the program.
“When I was in BRIDGE, I frequently heard from international students about the need for more American students to join the program,” Mwakatika said. “Many international students have been put on a wait list to join because there aren’t enough American students in the program.”
In an announcement, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program at Stanford University named its inaugural cohort of scholarship recipients. The group includes 49 students; they hail from 20 countries and will pursue graduate degrees in 28 departments at seven schools across Stanford. Bob and Dottie King made a $100 million gift to fund the King Global Leadership Program, a training and experiential learning curriculum in which all Knight-Hennessy Scholars will participate to complement their core degree studies. The Kings’ gift will also support scholars from less economically developed regions of the world.
In the announcement, John L. Hennessy, Shriram Family Director of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, explains the process for choosing scholars: “We have selected students who believe strongly in the pressing need for better leadership across all disciplines, and around the globe.” He adds, “There is a true optimism among this group that they can make a positive impact in the world, and that their time as Knight-Hennessy Scholars will help prepare them for that mission.” That focus on cross-disciplinary leadership and on making a “positive impact in the world” reflects the spirit of the Kings’ investment in the program.
In their 2017 Founders’ Letter, Bob and Dottie King review highlights from the past year.
Underlying all of our efforts at King Philanthropies is a belief in the power of investing in people and then leveraging the connections that emerge between them. As we explained in our 2016 letter, our vision for confronting extreme poverty depends in part on embracing a new math: 1 + 1 = 3. The best way to generate outsized impact, in other words, is to foster collaborative relationships between talented people and between high-performance organizations.
Building and deepening relationships, particularly with grantees and other partners, was a hallmark of our work at King Philanthropies during 2017.
Read the full letter here.
“It’s one of those foundational books that only comes along every so often. It might even make a nice gift for someone.” So says Denver Frederick, host of the “Business of Giving” podcast, during his recent interview with Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker about their book, Engine of Impact. The podcast covers the challenge of focusing on organizational mission, the ins and outs of nonprofit board governance, and what it takes for an organization to “earn the right” to scale.
Over the Thanksgiving break, participants in the King Scholar Leadership Program at Dartmouth College visited Bob and Dottie King at the Kings’ house in Maine. All of the King Scholars hail from non-US countries, and every year the Kings invite a group of them to experience a traditional American Thanksgiving. This year, more than a dozen scholars joined the Kings for a festive dinner with all of the trimmings.
Pictured here are 14 King Scholars (clockwise from the back left): Rafael Alves de Lima, Anela Arifi, Huong (Bryce) Nguyen, Tyler Neath, Sayuri Miyamoto, Carolyne Musyoka, John Mbugua, Patrick Iradukunda, Loveridge Bere, Gustavo de Almeida da Silva, Jonathan Bonilla Toledo, Akwasi Akosah, Abigail Cameron, and Louis Murerwa.
Not pictured are 6 other current participants in the program at Dartmouth: Emmanuel Akosah, Eric Iradukunda, Cherrie Kandie, Faith Rotich, Seerat Zahra, and Linford Zirangwa. Brief profiles of all 20 scholars are available here.
John Hennessy, former president of Stanford University, interviewed Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker on Nov. 9, 2017, at an event to honor the publication of Meehan and Jonker’s new book, Engine of Impact. The Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) hosted the gathering, which took place at the David and Joan Traitel Building, site of the new conference center of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. This video (embedded here courtesy of PACS) shows the full interview as well as the audience Q&A session that followed.
A report on the Morgan Stanley website discusses remarks by King Philanthropies CEO Kim Starkey Jonker at the 7th Annual Social Impact Exchange Conference. The gathering, cohosted by Morgan Stanley and Social Impact Exchange, brought together leaders and thinkers from the social sector to explore issues related to “the breakthrough notion of systems change.”
Jonker, in her appearance at a panel session, focused on the rigorous and systematic approach that her team takes to the foundation’s grantmaking efforts. “We try to start with a fact base, and to say, ‘Where is it that we can actually have the most impact in global poverty alleviation?’” Jonker said during the panel. This approach to philanthropy, as the report notes, “requires [donors] to go beyond simply following their passions.”
On June 10, 2017, Robert E. and Dorothy J. King—the cofounders of King Philanthropies—received honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College during the college’s annual commencement activities. On the eve of that event, they offered remarks on the vision that inspires their philanthropy. This video shows those remarks, followed by the commencement proceeding at which they received their degrees.
The full text of the citation that the Kings received for their degrees is available here.
The Voice of American Learning English website has posted an article and an accompanying video segment that feature Faith Rotich, a junior at Dartmouth College who is studying there as a King Scholar. The article recounts Rotich’s journey from the town of Eldoret in Kenya to Hanover, New Hampshire, the college town that has become her home. When she arrived at Dartmouth in the fall of 2014, Rotich recalls, she was immediately inspired by her new surroundings: “I felt some kind of happiness, that I want to explore this place, I want to know what it’s like. Then later on … I met some wonderful students who immediately made me feel like I really belong here.”
Both the article and the video cover the adjustment challenges that international students often face when they begin studying at an American university. As Rotich notes, the critical thinking skills that students learn in their coursework may affect their attitudes toward the culture in which they grew up. But ultimately, she says in the video, students like her are able to integrate their new learning with what they learned in their home country: “We learn how to think about things the right way, and [do] not necessarily … ‘get lost.’”
Photograph courtesy of Voice of America.
To illuminate the achievements of business leaders who have engaged with the Seed Transformation Program (STP)—and to inspire prospective STP applicants—Stanford Seed has produced a series of video portraits that feature STP participants. The series is called Profiles in Purpose, it includes an introductory episode (“The Problem Solvers”), which is embedded here, along with eight episodes that cover individual entrepreneurs. “Seed, for me, actually is the number-one game changer,” says Afolabi Abiodun, founder of SB Telecoms in Nigeria, in the introductory video.
You can access all videos in the Profiles in Purpose series here.
Marc Sepama and Theo Wilson exemplify the promise of the King Scholar Leadership Program at Dartmouth.
By Charlotte Albright
When they marched onto the Green at Dartmouth College for the commencement ceremony on June 11, Marc Sepama, from Burkina Faso, and Theo Wilson, from Jamaica, became the first King Scholars to graduate from the college.
As undergraduates, Sepama and Wilson participated in the King Scholar Leadership Program, which Dottie and Bob King started in 2012. At commencement, both Kings received honorary degrees, as President Phil Hanlon noted at the ceremony, for their “compassion, generosity, and profound commitment to improving the quality of life in impoverished nations around the world.”
Sepama (shown in the photo below) and Wilson (shown in the photo above) say they are proud to be the first graduates of a program that prepares international students to fight global poverty. And they feel close to the couple who helped them come to Dartmouth.
The Kings, who have donated more than $35 million to the program, are international investors and partners in philanthropy. They often open their Menlo Park, Calif., home to the scholars in the program. “The Kings treat us like family,” Sepama says. “Having that personal connection to them—it’s very nice.”
“Marc and I share a love for music,” says Dottie King. “When he came over for Thanksgiving, I played Sinatra for him, one of my favorites.” King says she tries to be a mother to the King Scholars because they are far from home when they attend Dartmouth. Sepama and Wilson, she says, “are both wonderful. Sensitive, humble, and kind.”
They are also ambitious, says Bob King. “I’m so proud of them. The idea behind all this is to help them become future leaders—genuine leaders and innovators in their countries. They represent that promise.”