Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Worthy Investment?

The 92nd Street Y 8th floor kitchen became an FFF director debate room Monday night. Ioana, Saranda, and I discussed the pitches and constructively argued their premises, implications, and entrepreneurial fervor.

My opinions and impressions were changed and enriched by theirs and I found myself heading back to my room with an underlying question - Which investment(s) is worthy of Fast Forward funds?

PublicStuff's entrepreneur and website impressed me on a success/professional level. She knew what she was doing, she was smart and seasoned, the pitch was business-like and she was a go-getter. But can I back investing in a human right - albeit arguably very worthy - that streamlines community members' access to local government when torture exists as it does in Sierra Leone? I can certainly support better resource access for Southeast Asian women victims of domestic abuse (Out Against Abuse). But the entrepreneurial venture seemed to spread its resources too thin, to try to appeal to too many audiences, and to too vaguely address too many concerns without enough research to back up potential efficacy.

There's value in passion and there's value in strong logistics. And, too, there must be a core idea that makes sense and will work. But to come across all the ingredients best suited for high impact change in a core area of need is rare indeed. I've learned to be both more respectful and more critical, and I take valuable lessons from this pitch that I expect will help me in many of my future social justice ventures.

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