“Over the past several years, I’ve seen the emergence of what I call self-organizing, dynamic networks of creative and intelligent people. These networks are facilitated by technological connections like Facebook and the Internet itself, but ultimately they are social, intellectual, and spiritual constructs. Even more interesting, some of these self-organizing, dynamic networks are formed from groups of karmically-connected people—individuals who share similar intentions and who are pooling their intelligence and other resources to bring those intentions to fruition.”—From “Love in Action,” Deepak Chopra’s Foreword to The Generosity Network
Jennifer McCrea and Jeff Walker started their lives’ journeys in very different places—Jennifer as a fundraiser and a nonprofit consultant, Jeff as a business leader and philanthropist. But by the time they met in 2005, they found themselves in amazingly similar places—professionally, psychologically, even spiritually. Both had discovered that the driving force in their lives was the passion to support particular causes that were near and dear to their hearts. Both had begun exploring and experimenting with more effective, innovative ways to connect other people to those causes. And over time, both had escaped the sometimes constricting walls erected by their prescribed professional roles. No longer simply “the fundraiser” and “the philanthropist,” Jennifer and Jeff and evolved and grown to the point where they were . . . well, just Jennifer and Jeff. Being themselves. Doing cool stuff. Working and building together.
Like a pair of explorers leading an expedition, Jennifer and Jeff found themselves in little-known territory—the resource-rich continent where generosity thrives and potentially world-changing seeds are sprouting, blooming, multiplying. They found themselves encountering more and more people who wanted to join the exploration—nonprofit founders, cause-driven social entrepreneurs, researchers and experts, philanthropists and foundation heads. “How can we join the party?” these new-found friends were asking. And so the original Generosity Network was born, and grew, and expanded, throwing off sparks of invention, discovery, and change in many directions.
Among the things Jennifer and Jeff discovered was the reality that the resources we need to drive our world-changing work are abundant; when they are connected through human networks that link the individual passions of dozens or hundreds or thousands of people, they can be leveraged and magnified until their power is virtually immeasurable.
So if you think in terms of “harnessing resources,” you are trapped in a perspective that is short-sighted and inaccurate. Instead, we urge you think in terms of unleashing resources—multiple forms of energy that are just waiting to be freed. In this new approach, you see yourself not as a supplicant or salesperson, but as one node in a network of individuals whose potential connections are unlimited. When you offer yourself as a connection point to many other individuals, you become a natural focus of energy for them to link to in turn. The resulting natural connections often lead to results that are amazing in their explosive power.
Bio and Story of Jennifer McCrea
JW_Select_Jennifer_McCrea2_cropMy first job out of college back in 1988 was as a college fundraiser. I needed a job, this opportunity was available, and I was excited to work for my liberal arts alma mater, which had given me so much in my life. But I knew nothing about fundraising or about nonprofit work in general. So I was eager to learn.
Connect with Jenn:TwitterFacebookLinkedIn
Bio and Story of Jeffrey C. Walker
thumbnail-2Jeff Walker currently serves on the Boards of New Profit, Berklee College of Music, Morgan Library, Lincoln Center Film Society, Millennium Development Goals Health Alliance where he Chairs the Community Health Worker Pillar, The Miller Center and University of Virginia’s Undergraduate Business School, where he was President for ten years.
Connect with Jeff:TwitterFacebookLinkedIn
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Gates Annual Letter’s Big 2030 Health Goals: How Do We Get Them Done?
January 23, 2015
We see the most effective way to reach these goals is to put authentic, humble, and proactive cause-based collaboration at the center of how we work. We’ve seen this work well in the case of malaria.