He forces charities to compete for his cash, requesting detailed business plans with clear milestones and full transparency. If a project runs off course, Feeney cuts funding. He chooses programs that promise exponential returns that will allow people to lift themselves up. He pumps billions into university research in places like Ireland and Australia because he believes it creates a skilled workforce and attracts top talent, setting the table for high-tech industry and foreign direct investment. Operation Smile, a charity that corrects cleft palates in children from poor nations, is a classic Feeney cause: a one-time $250 investment to cover the cost of a simple surgery that will markedly improve every day of the patient’s life.
To further maximize return, Feeney leverages every dollar the foundation gives–using the promise of substantial gifts to force governments and other donors to match. In one famous example, in 1997 he proposed pledging roughly $100 million to Ireland’s universities but only if the cash-strapped government matched the amount. It did. (A total of $226 million in Atlantic grants have leveraged $1.3 billion of government money to its university system.) He works the same tactic with other wealthy people and development offices. Feeney never slaps his name on a library or hospital, since he can collect additional money for the project from more egocentric tycoons who gladly pay millions for the privilege.
(2009/2010) Anil Gupta is on the hunt for the developing world’s unsung inventors — indigenous entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, hidden by poverty, could change many people’s lives. He shows how the Honey Bee Network helps them build the connections they need — and gain the recognition they deserve. See video here.
Michel Bauwens (born 21 March 1958) is a BelgianPeer-to-Peer theorist and an active writer, researcher and conference speaker on the subject of technology, culture and business innovation.
Bauwens is founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property.
With Frank Theys, Bauwens is the co-creator of a 3 hour documentary TechnoCalyps, an examination of the ‘metaphysics of technology’. He taught and, with Salvino Salvaggio, co-edited a two-volume French language anthologies on the Anthropology of Digital Society.
Bauwens is the author of a number of on-line essays, including the seminal thesis Peer to Peer and Human Evolution, and The Political Economy of Peer Production. He was also editor of the email Pluralities-Integration newsletter (until 2007, when it ceased production).
MassChallenge has awarded OsmoPure, an NCIIA E-Team, one of its four $100,000 prizes. See announcement.
OsmoPure, from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, is developing a low-cost water purification device for developing countries based on simple membrane filtration technology. The team showcased the invention at NCIIA’s student innovation showcase in San Francisco earlier this year.
Greg Van Kirk has developed the MicroConsignment model—a sustainable, replicable means of delivering health-related goods and services to remote Guatemalan and Ecuadoran villages using entrepreneurship; empowering the villagers to help themselves.