Project Redwood 2016 Annual Report
A social venture initiative of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Class of 1980
A social venture initiative of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Class of 1980
2016 was a year of transition for Project Redwood. We began early in the year with a strategy planning meeting in San Francisco, where attendees made recommendations, later approved by the Board of Directors, about strengthening the infrastructure of Project Redwood, expanding its membership within and beyond the GSB Class of 1980, and increasing its impact. It was very gratifying to see that Project Redwood members reaffirmed their conviction that the Project Redwood concept works. It works as a method to effectively and efficiently reduce global poverty. It works as a way to bring classmates together. It works as a way to showcase the values and skills of the Stanford GSB community.
Our impact analysis
undertaken over the past year under the direction of leaders, Rich Jerdonek and Amy Minella, confirmed that our grantees have very effectively used the funds and non-financial support of Project Redwood, and convinced us that by expanding beyond the class, we could have an even greater influence on global poverty.
increased as new classmates participated by making contributions to our grant funds, attending meetings, serving on committees, and advising grantees. Members of a second class, the GSB Class of 1987, became a part of our team. Total grants made by Project Redwood passed the $1.8 million mark, and the number of people living in poverty, helped by Project Redwood exceeded 300,000.
Our transition to a Collective Action Fund
under the Tides Foundation umbrella was completed, and many aspects of our relationship with Tides can now be pursued, including resources on non-profit organizational structure and introductions to other non-profits focused on social enterprise. Under the direction of Mike Watt with help from Ann Espy, plans began to form to take advantage of Tides’s offerings.
was the subject of an initiative in 2015 under the direction of then co-chair, Ken Inadomi. Ken's leadership led the exploration of pathways to our future relationship with Stanford. We are creating appeals to individuals, presenting our model to other GSB classes, forming associations with other on-campus organizations, and seeking GSB administration recognition of Project Redwood as the model for alums to be involved in social good.
The two of us -- Dave who replaced Ken and joined Donna as co-chair -- are thrilled to help lead Project Redwood during this exciting and challenging time. We appreciate the commitment of all of our Founding Partners who have been with us during the first 10 years, and we especially appreciate all who have given time and effort to this unique organization. To those who have not yet experienced Project Redwood, please join us and be rewarded by warm camaraderie while doing good.
I have an enormous “thank you” to everyone in the class who has given time and money and sent best wishes to Project Redwood. With your contributions, we have supported eight more projects in 2016.
This year has been an exciting time to be part of the PRW team. The January 2016, Pathway to 2020, meeting in San Francisco set very high goals for increasing our impact on global poverty. (For more details see: this page.). Working with Exec Committee Donna, Ken, Dave, Ed and Mike to implement those goals has been both a challenge and a reward. The group’s insight, devotion, thoughtfulness (and humor) is inspiring.
Committee leaders Phil, Amy, Ann M., Gail, Ann E., Bill, DJ, Joan, Mary, Patty, Rich, Rick and Susan have added their expertise, enthusiasm and brilliance to everything on which they work. Thanks to them and everyone on the teams they lead.
We used the McKinsey Organization Assessment tool (OCAT) to evaluate our operation. Based on our results, we are improving our internal communications, establishing an annual calendar and changing the format of the monthly board and partner calls to update everyone on PRW topics.
Being a totally virtual organization has had its challenges. So we’ve had more face–to–face meetings starting in January with the Pathway to 2020. Thanks to Dave Power, the annual meeting was held at the Perkins School in Watertown, Massachusetts. For more information please click here. Members of the Executive Committee met in Santa Barbara in December to discuss best practices and plan next steps as we work to expand Project Redwood. And, we’ve had lunches and coffees throughout the year – with more to come.
Most exciting of all, we are expanding outreach to the greater Stanford community.
2016 has been a year of transition as we work to increase our impact on global poverty. Thanks for participating. If you have not been in a position to do so before, we’d love to have you join us now.
Project Redwood granted $220,000 to 8 projects, directly and immediately impacting tens of thousands of people living in poverty
Hover over the grantee photos to view a summary of the 2016 grant. Click through to the grantee page for more information.
"Small holder farmers lack resources and technology to boost production and income."
"Dirt floors are a major cause of vector borne and infectious diseases, and malnutrion."
"Partnering with at-risk youth to co-create and build sustainable businesses that generate skills, jobs, and wealth in slum communities."
"Farmers in the myAgro network buy ‘scratch’ cards which are later used to purchase the seed and fertilizer needed at planting time."
"Working to improve the literacy rate among the indigenous people living in the rural villages of Guatemala."
"Cristo Rey recognized that computer skills training was necessary for their students to be productive in the corporate work environment."
"For many Haitian children, the cost of school is simply out of reach; less than 30% reach 6th grade."
Dedicated volunteers are the wheels that keep us going
Project Redwood’s Partner Development Committee of Bruce Braine, Larry Cerf, Dave Fletcher, Ken Inadomi, Rich Jerdonek, Ed Kaufman, Ann McStay, Patty Mintz, Ken Moch, Kirk Renaud, Kristi Smith-Hernandez, Mike Watt, and Max Witter expanded classmates' commitments to our noble cause in 2016. As a result of our work and priceless conversations, a record number of classmates supported funding for our projects. We continue to be deeply grateful for the profound fulfillment we all are experiencing as we reconnect with each of you and enrich Project Redwood's impact on our world.
Thank you for all your support and contributions.
Grant Review significantly revised our process this year to focus on larger, fewer grants to organizations that help people lift themselves out of extreme poverty. We examined twelve preview applications this year for Project Redwood’s tenth funding cycle and invited nine that met our criteria to complete full applications. We recommended eight projects to our Partners who voted their preferences in August. Our Board funded seven of these through the generosity of our Partners and provided supplemental funding to an eighth project in collaboration with the GSB ’87 class.
We thank our sponsors and partners for supporting impactful projects that are helping hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Rich Jerdonek and Rick Agresta continue to serve as co-chairs. Our committee for 2016 included Steve Berg, Martha Clark, Dave Fletcher, Jim Lavin, Phyllis Owens, and Gerald Thomas. Alan Kern, Jorge Fernandez and Dick DeMarle are joining us in 2017.
In January 2016, PRW’s Strategic Review established two new committees building on the mission of the Project Support Committee and Impact Initiative. The Evaluation and Impact Committee oversees grantee reporting and evaluates our projects and their impact. The Committee of Sponsors focuses on providing non-financial assistance to grantees.
PRW places a high priority on the efficacy and impact of our grant dollars. To that end, the EIC coordinates the reporting process for grantees. We create interim and final report formats that grantees submit per their grant agreements and assess the content of these reports once submitted. The committee members, assisted by six additional classmates, review and request clarifications to the reports. We evaluate the success of each project relative to the goals identified in their grant applications, including the impact on their communities. The EIC summarizes this information in a ‘dashboard’ presented to the Board in June 2016 for the interim reports and January 2017 for the final reports. PRW funded twelve grants for Cycle 9. Of the eleven projects completed by the end of January, the committee found that three grantees exceeded their goals, eight met expectations, and only one fell short while still achieving a significant impact.
Understanding our impact on extreme poverty is helping us to better focus our funds and support. Since inception, more than 90% of our completed projects met or exceeded their goals and 20% significantly exceeded them. Our grantees alleviated poverty conditions and increased income for more than 300,000 people with our support.
The committee members include co-chairs Amy Minella and Rich Jerdonek, Ann Thoke Espy, Mary Pruiett, Ed Kaufmann and Patty Mintz. Assisting in the reviews of grantee reports this year were our greatly appreciated liaisons Kermit Eck, Dave Fletcher, Carla Fitzgerald, Ann McStay, Ken Moch and Ernie Ting.
Merger news to announce… The Communications and Technology committees are now a combined team. We are here to ensure that our partners, grantees, fellow Stanford colleagues and others across the broader community interested in Project Redwood activities are always up to date on what we are doing. Whether it is sharing latest initiatives underway to support our mission or updates on programs, meetings and activities going on, shouting out new about our grantees or posting blogs that highlight stories of our classmates, our goal is to maintain a vibrant and connected community. We also seek to build more awareness of Project Redwood and invite others to join us as well.
Our goal is to keep you informed, engaged and excited about Project Redwood and use a variety of vehicles to connect. Visit the PRW website for highlights of everything going on as well as opportunity to read about our history. Also, keep an eye out for emails and notes, and even check out articles we post on assorted GSB and Stanford media platforms. And, be sure to read the annual report (presented each Spring) that recaps all that we, and our grantees, have accomplished in the past year.
We welcome more members – join us to add your creative talents and help us keep PRW news fresh, informative and timely. Whether you consider yourself a computer/tech guru, great analyst who would love to present our grantee data and operating results in reader-friendly ways or just love to write blogs, post or be social…be in touch. The time commitment is quite reasonable; we hold group calls every few weeks to review our progress and plan our activities; a perfect way to reconnect and accomplish good work at the same time.
During 2016, this committee laid the groundwork for PRW’s renewed effort to provide meaningful non-financial assistance to its grantees through sharing their experience and that of their grantees. The committee defined an expanded role for grantee sponsors which encompasses assistance with applications, assistance with timely reporting of results, and exploration of ways to assist grantees with non-financial needs.
The committee produced draft white papers which outline how sponsors can guide improvement in 4 areas: Board Governance (Martha Clark), Financial Controls (Kermit Eck), Fundraising (Susan Miller), and Strategic Planning (Charlie Baum).
The committee looks forward to expanding the effective non-financial support that PRW has provided to past and current grantees. Many thanks to committee members: Martha Clark, Kermit Eck, Kirk Renaud, Rick Agresta, Susan Miller, Connie McCann, Ann Thoke Espy and Mary Pruiett.
Again in 2016, Project Redwood committed $10,000 to the annual funding pool to support Design for Extreme Affordability teams that wanted to take their projects beyond the classroom. The decisions about how the pooled funds would be distributed began in early June when Project Redwood members attended ‘pitch’ presentations by the student teams. Following the presentations, Project Redwood members Randy, Gail and Donna and other funders met with the DEA staff to evaluate and determine which teams should receive grants to further develop their projects over the summer. Those chosen for funding focused on a variety of work. Here is a brief description of their projects:
reSearch – a mobil app for doctors to collect and compile patient data, initially focused on plastic surgeons who specialize in burn treatment and cleft surgery in Bangladesh
d.burn.d – a training program for ER personnel treating burns in Nepal
Super Habla – easier to use speech therapy methods for children in Ecuador who have undergone cleft surgery.
Earthgrow – a mushroom growhouse for farming cooperatives in rural Rwanda to achieve more productive oyster mushroom yields, increasing micronutrients and protein in local diets.
Shonaquip – a night-time positioning device to reduce long term health complications in patients with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy.
Just over 85% of donations went directly to projects
that serve the most needy
Highlights of 2016 Fund Activity
Opening Balance: $112,831
Closing Balance: $130,917
Joint Project with other MBA Classes
In 2016, EarthEnable became the first Project Redwood grantee to be supported by members of another GSB class. Kirk Holmes, MBA ’87, joined forces with Kirk Renaud to co-sponsor EarthEnable. The two Kirks organized Stanford “Design Thinking” workshops to support EarthEnable in Washington DC and Boston, and several members of the Class of ’87 stepped up to provide the lion’s share of funding for the EarthEnable grant this year. One ’87 class member, Louis Boorstin, was even inspired to travel to Rwanda to offer advice and on site consulting services.
EarthEnable is a great example of the Stanford ripple effect. The story started in the multidisciplinary course, Design for Extreme Affordability, where Gayatri (Gaya) Datar, MBA ’14, and classmates worked on a project in Rwanda. The Extreme team learned that 80 percent of Rwandans live on dirt floors, and they knew that dirt floors were a major contributor to disease and lost productivity. With the help of another Stanford grad student, Rick Zuzow, MS ’15, the team created a solution -- a locally sourced plant resin product that could permanently seal earthen flooring in an attractive, eco-friendly finish. Right after graduation, Gaya moved to Rwanda to launch a start-up that would train and employ masons to install the new, healthy floors. Kirk Holmes found out about Gaya’s initiative, and when he heard Kirk Renaud talk about Project Redwood at a Washington. DC alumni event, he asked if PRW could help. Gayatri says that Project Redwood was instrumental that first year, “They took a risk by granting to us, and that helped us build credibility to bring in other funders”. Now in its third year of Project Redwood support, EarthEnable has provided new floors to more than 3,000 customers in 100 different villages. EarthEnable is already expanding to other countries in Africa and hopes to continue growing to reach millions of people by 2025.
Eleven GSB '80 Classmates were profiled in blog entires in 2016
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"From Pork Rinds to an Epiphany"What I realized is that although I had created a life of success, what I wanted was a life of impact.
"One English Muffin at a Time"Opportunities for impact, and joy, sometimes bubble up from unexpected sources. In this ten minute video, Scott Lochridge talks about the difficulties and challenges of helping two lovable, goofball kids grow a business with no savings, no credit, and no cashflow to one with an artisanal product placed in a premiere grocery chain.
"Education for An Invisible Population"In this 13-minute clip, Dave Power talks about how and why he forged a decades-long relationship with the Perkins School for the Blind. Now, as the school’s Chief Executive Officer, Dave is bringing Perkins know-how to developing countries where more than 35 million kids are overlooked and undereducated because of their visual impairments.
"Rock On: The Tom and Anne Story"As you ponder that transition, you might want to assign a lower priority to some of the things that previously were important in your life, particularly the ones that consume time and emotions. This could include passionate attitudes towards politics, sport teams, and family drama. It’s not always easy, but “just let it go.”
"Alleviating Heartbreak and Suffering"Carol delights in heading the non-profit Solve ME/CFS Initiative, which is dedicated to conducting research aimed at diagnosing and treating the condition that victimizes 2.4 million Americans. “It’s one of the last major, complex western diseases about which very little is understood,” she says, “but this disease can be solved.”
"Before You Board"If you even casually mention that you’d consider joining a particular non-profit board, I predict that you’ll soon be inundated with flowery compliments from members of that board. Like many non-profits, that board is probably short on candidates that can handle committee work, make generous donations, and show up for meetings.
"Plunging Into Positive"We all survive something, but thinking about survival rates, even good ones, just wasn’t what I’d planned for my first few days of retirement. Basically, I wanted (and needed) to plunge into something really positive.
"What is A Waterpocket Fold?"In late August, the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary. My husband (and fellow GSBer) Dick DeMarle and I have been lucky enough to visit more than 50 national parks and monuments in the last decade. It seems like a good time to share a recap of some of our favorite hikes.
"Reflections From An Impactful Career: Be a Believer"Be a believer in the work of the organization or don’t become affiliated. If you aren’t able to bring an individual passion or sincere interest, you are not going to be motivated to make the necessary commitment and do justice to the organization. Nonprofit work is nuanced in ways that don’t apply to the private sector.
"Channeling A Shared Passion: Bob and Randi Fisher"The biggest lesson I have learned through this work is the importance of partnership and collaboration. Pisces is a foundation that is trying to accomplish big things with a collaborative instinct, reaching out to other organizations that care about the same things and want to make a difference in environmental education, climate, and energy and water resources.
"The Media and Our Democracy: Ernie Ting’s CivImpact Labs"In some ways, you could say that I have had a traditional MBA career in reverse. While I was certainly not alone among the alums of the Stanford Business class of 1980 in devoting the earlier years of my career to social purpose organizations, it was clearly not the norm at the time. I also devoted a big chunk of my mid-career years to raising my son and daughter, probably not so typical among the men in my class.