Category Archives: Future of NonProfits

Spark Up Some Holiday Cheer

we've gone too far

Image by aaron schmidt via Flickr

Happy Holidays Dear Friends of Spark Club. We have been invited by Dallas Social Venture Partners (DSVP) to attend a holiday party at Reunion Tower. RSVP Today. Per DSVP’s message,
Partners, Friends & Investees are invited to come celebrate the season with Dallas Social Venture Partners.  We will enjoy food, fun and friends as we look back on 2010 and 10 years of social impact in the Dallas community.  Wolfgang Puck will cater appetizers and we’ll share a Holiday Toast at 6:30pm. Please carpool or take DART.  Parking is $10 valet at the base of Reunion Tower or $6 in nearby lots.
There will also be a Socially Conscious Marketplace ala bigBang
As seen at the bigBANG! conference earlier this year, DSVP will feature a Socially Conscious Market Place for all of your holiday giving.  The market place will feature products of nonprofit ventures that fund the mission AND socially minded businesses who are measuring a double/triple bottom line.
So, If you know of a business / startup that might be a good fit for this crowd, please email Sarah Jane at There are 2 slots left and we want them to go to Spark Clubbers if possible.  More info here:
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NetImpact wants to Turn Ideas into Action

On Thursday November 4 – yes, that’s this week – NetImpact will be having a gathering to help turn great ideas into action.

During this event, you will join our facilitators in compelling conversations on the following table topics:

This is going to be a great gathering. I encourage all SparkClubbers to show up with me and participate.

Learn more and RSVP at the NetImpact site


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bigBANG Spark Lounge Menu

Section of the Spark Lounge at the bigBANG on Thursday June 10

a corner of the Spark Lounge

Well if you didn’t get a chance to make it to bigBANG yesterday, no fear, we will be sharing everything we can get our fingers on right here.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this article in the Dallas Morning News today. It is a really good article.

I’m still working on a good summary of what all happened. It was immense and I spent most of the day in the Spark Lounge with Teri Walker, Cone Johnson, Turner Jones, Mikal Hughey, Jasmin Brand, Tyler Fields, Sarat Nidasanametla and Lacy Mahone so I’m collecting details from our organizers and volunteers.

The Spark Lounge was probably the coolest place to be at the bigBANG. We had comfy chairs, air conditioning and brilliant minds talking about everything from Facebook to The room was set with all those experts as a place where the attendees could come and get one on one time to talk about a range of subjects. After the jump, you can see the menu of topics. The discussions ran the gamut from “How do I use twitter” to “How do I integrate my social media with my company’s other marketing” and much more.

Continue reading

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Gamechangers Among Us

In 1979 I had a t shirt that said, “if you can’t win the game, change the rules”. I was constantly razzed for changing rules. Last night, I quickly realized I was among good company.  At the SparkClub + Pecha-Kucha = Gamechangers event we heard from an array of people who have realized that no one is winning the game, so it’s time to change the rules and they are doing just that.

The ability to get things done in a meaningful way was a core tenant in all 8 presentations. Four community organizers, two architects, one artist, a developer and restauranteur all shared the stories of their passion projects and business models which are making our community a better place to live.

THIS IS DALLAS!  What a pleasure to hear innovative thinkers approaching their work and communities.  they showcased their drive, their vision the higest calling for our community.

Jason Roberts talked about his vision inspired by trips to Europe in which he began asking “where are my plaza’s with fountains, coffee shops and children on bikes”?  Chris Zielke and Brent Jackson talked about a guerrilla restaurant at an abandoned taqueria to benefit the Mass Care Task Force and a new mixed use development anchored by a grocery store featuring sustainable, locally grown and produced foods. Marianna Griggs is inspiring a movement of community gardens to address food security and social justice.  Tori Trad presented an approach to architecture and design that celebrates community leaders and cultural richness in the newly renovated building for the The Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute at Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center.

Greg Metz shared images and philosophies on how art pushes our thinking, questions the norm and catalyzes change.  Omar Jahwar talked about invading the culture of the youth to provide positive exchanges and stem youth violenceBenje Feehan‘s shifted our thinking from how do we “create something beautiful” to how do we “preserve what is beautiful”.  Finally, Stacy Caldwell ended the night with a call to look beyond the “Land of Non” (the old world of nonprofits) to change the game, innovate the structures and realize the passion that is often lost in the institution.

An inspired film showing the power of Pecha Kucha.  The lesson encouraged people to abandon the old-school, check-writing philanthropy and just get “engaged”.  For, without action and personal involvement, we are not going to address the challenges our communties face.

We are greatful for the fine crowd that gathered at Sons of Herman Hall representing an amazing mix of do-gooders from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds and geographies.  I was unbelievably proud to be here in Dallas among such kindred spirits.

All of this would not have been possible without the generous and brilliant work of Scott Horn who came through on the A/V. Scott is a Gamechanger himself as artist, event planner, and co-curator of the Magnolia Gallery. I would also like to thank the SparkClub co-conspirators, sound by David Wilson, Sons of Hermann Hall and PKN.

Brian Murphy and Sarah Jane Semrad have brought our little city a major gift with Pecha-Kucha Night. They are doing more, so watch for future events like the one we had last night. It is amazing, inspirational and lots of fun.

We will have videos of each of these presentations soon from our man Jax Daws, so stay tuned.

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Great article on how philanthropy needs to change

Fast Company blogger Brian Reich has a great critique (What’s Wrong With the Analysis of “What’s Wrong With Charitable Giving-and How to Fix It”) of Pablo Eisenberg‘s op-ed from The Wall Street JournalWhat’s Wrong With Charitable Giving–and How to Fix It.” He makes many great points in this article. One point that really caught my attention is

we can use [new media] tools to help organizations and address causes in ways that go well beyond donating. As a result, we simply don’t believe–and probably for good reasons–that the institutions that once offered the guidance, support, and direction for how to address the issues facing our society know best.

He also lays out some good ideas about the nature of charitable giving organizations and their relationships to cause and peers.



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