One of the joys of being part of a pro bono movement is discovering the ever-expanding ripple effect of your work as it spreads in ways you never even imagined. At Taproot, we focus our efforts in five core cities–Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.–but in 2010, we’ve discovered kindred pro bono spirits in locations all around the world. Here are a few of the international partners we’ve worked with this year.
SERVICE GRANT TOKYO
In April, several Taproot staff members and pro bono consultants were invited to Japan by Service Grant Tokyo to share lessons we’ve learned for advancing their fledgling pro bono movement. Pro bono is a relatively new concept in their country, where foundations and nonprofits are limited in number and scope and tend to be marginalized. However, there is a lot of potential and interest from corporations to harness the skills of the professional workforce for social change. Through a series of summits and seminars (not to mention local television news coverage!), Taproot shared management practices and answered questions from the eager crowd. You can read more about Service Grant Tokyo’s official launch here.
Then last month, Satoshi, a representative from Service Grant Tokyo, visited our San Francisco office as part of his training. We’re advising our Japanese counterpart as they start to implement the Account Director model and incorporate that role in their program as well. We, on the other hand, were excited to learn more about the state of pro bono in Japan and social and cause networking.
Eight years ago, Amelie founded Volontarbryan, a Swedish volunteer-matching organization that has connected 22,000 people with community engagement opportunities with more than 1,000 nonprofits. The next step in her vision is offering quality pro bono consulting, so she turned to Taproot for some knowledge-sharing and cross-cultural learning. For three weeks this fall, Amelie worked out of our San Francisco office to observe how Americans do it pro bono and is working on a funding application to begin pro bono efforts modeled on Taproot in her home country. Stay tuned for a guest blog entry from Amelie later this week!
Taproot has been acting as a role model to Mesoamerica, a strategic consulting and investment banking firm working in Costa Rica and Colombia and a leader in the Latin American pro bono movement. The company currently has a program for employees that allows them to dedicate up to 10 percent of their time to social projects and, most recently, has assembled a team to develop a volunteer platform that will potentially be used by an Costa Rican association of more than 80 companies to provide pro bono options to their workers. In addition to sharing some insights from our Service Grant program, we also have connected Mesoamerica with our friends at Service Grant Tokyo in a truly international effort to promote pro bono service!
In September, Taproot President & CEO Aaron Hurst traveled to China as an advisory board member for BSR’s three-year CiYuan (China Philanthropy Incubator) initiative. Through this experience, we got to see firsthand the challenges of the nonprofit sector in other foreign environments and provide support and insight to brand new pro bono initiatives that are taking root in the world’s most populous country. Check out Aaron’s blog post after his visit to China here.