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Brokering Venture Charity.

Entrepreneurs encouraged to give stock

In addition to rounding up funding and startup help for entrepreneurs, a new venture firm also aims to plug its clients into philanthropy and, when possible, help meet nonprofits' technology needs.

VentureSurf, which matches investors and advisers with entrepreneurs, encourages all of them to support nonprofits.

"We feel that it is a very attractive way for our community of potential donors to contribute in a way that makes sense to them by providing technology for nonprofits," said Karen Svensson, director of philanthropy for VentureSurf, based in Palo Alto, Calif.

The firm, which takes. a percentage of "angel" investments it helps arrange for entrepreneurs, as well as a share of the entrepreneurs' stock, also provides its own support for nonprofits and has created a philanthropy committee to advise it and its clients.

VentureSurf already has helped arrange contributions for two groups -- TechFoundation, a philanthropy in Cambridge, Mass., that supports nonprofits' use of technology, and Brave Kids, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides Internet access for terminal ill children.

When The NonProfit Times went to press, VentureSurf officials were close to inking a strategic partnership deal with TechFoundation that generally would call for VentureSurf to encourage its investors and entrepreneurs to contribute pre-IPO stock to the foundation.

VentureSurf encourages all its investors and entrepreneurs to contribute 100,000 shares of stock to philanthropy, such as the TechFoundation, Community Foundation Silicon Valley in San Jose, Peninsula Community Foundation in San Mateo or Entreprenuers' Foundation in San Francisco.

N2Plus, for example, is a startup firm in Glendale, Ariz., for which VentureSurf helped secure seed financing. Before its sale to Digital Bridge, last fall, N2Plus pledged 1 percent of its founders' stock to TechFoundation.

VentureSurf, which had six entrepreneurs under contract by the end of 2000, also aims to actively support two to three nonprofits at any given time. Brave Kids, for example, was looking for foundation grants, so VentureSurf hooked up the nonprofit with apro-bono grant writer. The firm also is trying to help line up corporate funding for the nonprofit.

VentureSurf also plans to refer. nonprofits it supports to TechFoundation for grant support and tech assistance.

Web strategy

The Association of Fundraising Professionals, formerly the National Society of Fund Raising. Executives, is embracing the Web. As part of a new strategy that includes its name change and a more global focus, the membership group based in Alexandria, Va., has launched a new Web site and is offering all its chapters the ability to create their own Web sites.

The group's new Web site, at, is designed to help members tailor the news and information they want to receive, selecting fields of interest such as education or the arts, or particular fundraising topics, such as planned giving or major gifts.

The Web site eventually will include online discussion groups and real-time classes, as well as the ability to quickly find resource materials.

With only 50 or so of its 157 chapters publishing their own Web sites, APP is offering all its chapters the ability to create and customize their own sites through its new site. Initially, chapters will be able to post. calendars, stories, newsletter and officers' names on their sites. In the future, the sites will include listings of job openings and forms to submit news and announcements.

"Overall, the focus is to be able to get information to our members faster and more efficiently," said Michael Nilsen, public affairs manager for AFP, who added that the Web site is designed to be a "one-stop shopping area for whatever our members needs."

High-tech giving

Charitable attitudes and impulses in the high-tech sector will be the focus of a study by AFP funded by Robert B. "Bob" Pamplin Jr., winner of the group's outstanding philanthropist award for 2000. Pamplin, chairman and chief operating officer of R.B. Pamplin Corp. in Portland, Ore., gave $50,000 to AEP for the study, which will be launched in June and released in November.

Missed potential

Nonprofits are failing to tap the power of the Internet to gather and make sense of data and other information, according to a new report by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change in Charlottesville, Va.

"Most nonprofits have not integrated a systematic learning of knowledge-management process into their organizational culture," according to the report, Coming of Age in the Information Age. The report, based on focus groups in Baltimore, St. Louis and San Antonio, Texas, also found that while most nonprofit leaders view new technologies as invaluable tools, few use the Internet other than for email.

Staking nonprofits

Social Ecology, a Web-based software maker in Seattle that serves nonprofits, has begun giving its stock to nonprofits. The firm plans to give at, least 1 percent of its shares to a total or 11 groups, each of which will get 9,000 shares.

When The NonProfit Times went to press, Social Ecology had announced stock gifts to CompassPoint in San Francisco and San Jose; Independent Sector in Washington, D.C.; Calvert Social Investment Foundation in Bethesda, Md.; Action Without Borders in New York; and SeaChange in San Francisco.

Schwab Web site

Charles Schwab Corp. has launched a Web site to encourage its employees to get involved in their communities. The site helps employees find volunteer opportunities and sign up for them online. It also processes employees' requests to the company to match their gifts and lets employees track their charitable giving.

The company also plans to offer courses on philanthropy through Schwab University, its in-house continuing education program.

Todd Cohen is editor and publisher of Nonprofitxpress, an online newspaper at
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Title Annotation:VentureSurf
Author:Cohen, Todd
Publication:The Non-profit Times
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 15, 2001
Previous Article:Prudent Investors.
Next Article:Thinking Ahead.

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