You may know of the Social Venture Network. It is people in the grant making world and entrepreneurs who are joined together around the idea of socially responsible business.
SVN, as it is known, grew out of a group called the Doughnuts. The Doughnuts were started by Josh Mailman a trust fund heir. I just wanted to record for history my role in the origins of the organization.
In the summer of 1981 Josh came to house to find out how I made my very ‘organic’ hot tub. While we enjoyed the hot water I explained that the tub was an old 6 foot diameter redwood wine barrel. The circulating water went through an old discarded hot water heater, with a simple fish pond pump and baking soda as the sanitation chemical. The water cycled between 112F and 125 so no spores could survive. Cold water brought the temperature of the water down to a comfortable bathing temperature which for me is about 107F.
I asked Josh about his life and he told me how desperately he wanted to start a group of people like himself to help fund socially responsible projects. I told him how.
Pick a place and a date and invite everyone. That is how you start something.
Josh picked a date in the next month in Colorado, convenient for his peers. That is how Doughnuts started and later became the Social Venture Network. Josh is now ‘one of the old men of the organization’ which is being run by a whole new group of younger folk.
Disclaimer: after having been a key organizer of the whole corporate social responsibility movement, I announced my disagreement with the idea. Everyone has his own idea of ‘social responsibility’ and it is always a fad. Business can only pretend to be interested in the ‘fad de jure’.