Contest offers funding, nonprofit consultation

After considering 551 nonprofit organizations’ income-generating business plan proposals that were submitted to its annual contest last summer, the Yale School of Management-Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures announced 20 finalists yesterday.

Of the finalists, who are based all over the United States, four winners will receive $100,000 each and four runners-up will win $25,000 when the competition’s results are announced in May.

“It exactly fits with the mission of the school. It’s a co-mingling of the for-profit and nonprofit sectors,” Deputy Dean Stan Garstka said of the contest, which is in its second year.

Garstka said the idea for the partnership and competition came from the Pew Charitable Trust, which initiated a study of nonprofit organizations. He said the SOM and the Pew Charitable Trust later approached Goldman Sachs, a move he said gave the contest “credibility in the for-profit sector.” Pew and Goldman Sachs provided a total of $6 million to fund the contest.

SOM professor Sharon Oster, who serves with Garstka as co-faculty director of the partnership, said the partnership’s business plan competition is unique among those held at other business schools. She said most comparable contests involve plans generated by students and involve for-profit corporations.

“Our view is that existing nonprofit organizations have plenty of ideas for new ventures. They just lack the technical management tools to get them off the ground, and that’s what our students have to offer,” she said.

Contest officials used a few basic criteria to select the finalists. Oster said judges sought what she called a “sound venture” in terms of numbers; the plan also had to be consistent with the mission of the applicant’s organization.

“These organizations represent a truly diverse mix of program areas, business types and stages of development,” Samantha Beinhacker, deputy director of the partnership, said.

In addition to financial support intended to help launch the organizations’ proposed ventures, the competition also provides participants with consultations and technical assistance from SOM students and alumni during and after the contest.

“The SOM has been rated number one in its nonprofit management program for many years. It seems a natural fit from their point of view to call us,” Oster said.

Garstka and Oster said 10 percent of all SOM alumni assisted in evaluating this year’s proposals, while current SOM students were able to make visits to the nonprofits and work with professional consultants to help fine-tune each organization’s plans.

“Everyone who enters the competition gets all of the feedback from all of the evaluations,” Garstka said. “It is very tough-nosed and direct — I don’t want to say negative — but very realistic in terms of these ventures succeeding.”

Beinhacker said she, Oster and deputy director of the partnership Cynthia Massarsky will publish a guide to generating income for non-profit organizations in conjunction with the contest this spring.

At the competition’s culminating event in New York City this May, the 20 finalists will present their proposals in person to a panel of judges. Oster said Yale Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper will be the keynote speaker.


  • Richard

    Students should study the Pew Trust-spearheaded effort to Move the Merion, Pennsylvania, Barnes Educational Foundation Art Collection just 5 miles to Center City, Philadelphia by 2011.

    The Barnes Foundation Art Collection was created by Pharmaceutical magnate, Albert C. Barnes, in 1922. Housed in a Golden Age, specially designed Mansion Art Gallery and encircled by a 12 acre world class arboretum with garden(terraced to simulate a reductive eastern experience) & horticulture school, The Barnes in Its Merion Home, creates the atmosphere of a placid aesthetic adventure and a quiet, serene immersion in the aesthetic experience.

    The Barnes Art is in demand because it is the greatest accumulation of Renoir, more of Cezanne than known to be in all of Paris, more Matisse than in all of the World (outside Russia) and all of this represents a POTENTIAL TOURIST DRAW to PEW's supporters and PEW wants it moved.

    The problem is that The Barnes, where is "as is", is a National Cultural Treasure & the living lesson plan of John Dewey, Its first director and reputedly, the Father of Modern Higher Education in America.

    The other problem is that Pew is now no longer a Private Trust and is now supposed to be a Public Trust. . . So, what do you do?

    It is unclear what is going to happen now because the vocal 2008 Anti-BarnesMove Candidate for PA Attorney General WON PHILADELPHIA BY A STAGGERING LANDSLIDE. …Which leaves Pew with egg on Its face and a real 'red-herring' project.

    It doesn't help that PA Taxpayers are footing $107mn of the unpopular effort to Move The Barnes by way of an 11th hour unfunded and undebated earmark for which no legislator now even seems to want to accept responsiblity.

    Plus, although the PA Governor is still playing ball with Pew and all The Barnes Board is stacked in favor of the Move, the PA coffers are broke with the collapse of the Federal gas excise supplements and the Governor has revised his Budget at least once or twice already.

    Pew is supposed to be a guardian of culture, what so you do when Private Ventures and loyalties offend the very fabric of the culture a Public Trust like Pew is supposed to be preserving?

    Why is Pew so dedicated to destroying something that very few people in the World even understand. (If you are honest with yourselves, it is likely that you will admit that you cannot easily or fully comprehend or explain the Enigma that is History of and the development of Modern Art?

    If you don't truly understand it, why are you in such a great hurry to dismantle any part of The Barnes which is, in toto, A Rune, or a pathway to true cognition and to the understanding of the development of The Modern Design Perspective through the eyes of its best proponents Manet, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, VanGogh, Seurat, Modigliani etc.

    The Barnes was designed by Dr. Paul Phillipe Cret in 1922, it is said that he was inspired by the relationships that he developed to Barnes and to the Art Collection, Study & Presentation Project going on there. Subsequently, Dr. Cret earned the privilege to design the Memorial Chapel at Flanders Field Cemetery, Belgium, American Cemetery 1252.

    Cret's Chapel in Belgium is dedicated to 43 WWI Unknown Soldiers. Dr. Barnes' Art and Gallery Arrangements back in Cret's Mansion in Philadelphia mirror The Flanders Field themes. Even galleries 4 and 3 face toward Belgium in that Order. (The theme recalling Dr. Cret's Unknowns actually runs from Galleries 2 to 7 with red poppies recalling Maj. John McRae's famous poem "In Flanders Field" in Gal. 2, a Flemish Field in the background of an old master in Gal. 3, a templar sword, knights and crosses in Gal. 4, Images of heaven and Hell in Gal. 5, Images of Liberty and Welcome in Gal. 6 and images of a soldiers reward, family and wholesome sexuality, in Gal. 7.)

    It is Pew's goal to sever the art, the Heart, from Cret's Merion Mansion and take all this really attractive Art closer to the Shopping, the Masonic Temple and Art Museum Row in Center City Philadelphia. This move devalues Dr. Cret and his mission as a founding artistic father of Philadelphia - a role he cemented when he built the vision of Philadelphians' pride, the Ben Franklin Bridge, whose bright blue span arches to Heaven, Itself.

    Pew appears to be focusing solely upon joint venture hopes: A Barnes Luxury Tower Condominum and bigger art school facilities are planned and the Pew spin doctors are working overtime.

    But reliance upon spin and massive amounts of cash to buy popularity can decouple a planner from reality.
    Pew miscalculated in Its overconfidence and It is now treading in uncertain territory because even the public isn't backing their proposed move and PA Senator Vincent Fumo, a strong early proponent and ally of the Move and the neighboring Barnes Luxury Tower Development is on trial for corruption.

    Pew has also underestimted the psychic impact upon the City of Philadelphia of the dismantling of Philadelphia's Monticello. Philadelphians aren't stupid. They know that The Barnes is the most uniquely organized and nobly curated Art collections in all of the world and that Dr. Barnes told everyone in writing that he wanted none of it to be touched until Time rendered it useless with decay.

    Philadelphians know that Pew is breaking the Last Will and Testament of Doctor Barnes and they don't seem to like it.

    And, even though Pew has been calling Dr. Barnes idiosyncratic for years - probably because he broke with all of the Pew's Philly founding Philanthropists, - the common people of Philadelphia have seen Barnes as one of their 'poor kid made good' favorite sons for those very same years.

    So, Pew is in a quandry because it has not done Its homework and because it is pursuing an old goal. Pew's party line is really an old ideology inherited from the Deceased generation of the original Pew and Annenberg Trust founders, their families and friends, who Dr. Barnes may have offended by sometimes shutting them out of his gallery.

    Guess what Pew, no one cares that Dr. Barnes offended your founder's Great Aunt or some other nonsense. . . stop wasting millions over it.

    This Old Dream is a Private Purpose instead of a Public Purpose and that puts the Pew at odds with Its present public mission.

    The voters are saying 'preserve the Historical National Landmark where it is in Merion, PA' The Wall Street Journal, even The Smithsonian Museum. In neglecting these weighty objecting voices, Pew is alienating a great segment of important American Cultural leaders.

    There is no way that this massive public alienation is a justifiable Pew Trust objective.
    Please STOP THE MOVE and Help keep The Barnes In Merion.
    Visit the Barnes and buy something - creat your own joint venture.
    Write your senator & your buddy's senator.
    See, &
    Richard 12/17/08