Sep 01, 2008

Winners Chosen for the Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation

CLAREMONT, Calif — The Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University has announced this year’s winners of the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation.

KickStart International, a San Francisco-based organization that fights poverty in Africa by creating and selling simple tools that help poor entrepreneurs increase their income, was awarded the $35,000 first-place prize. Among its innovations is the MoneyMaker irrigation pump, which allows small-scale growers to produce high-value crops year-round and make the transition from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.

This year’s runner-up (to receive $7,500) is Hidden Harvest, based in Coachella, Calif. The program employs low-income farm workers to “rescue” produce that is left behind in fields and orchards after harvest. This fresh and nutritious food is, in turn, delivered free of charge to more than 60 local agencies that serve the poor and hungry. The third-place winner (to receive $5,000) is the Bethesda, Md.-based Calvert Foundation. Its Community Investment Notes raise capital from individual and institutional investors and lend it to nonprofits and social entrepreneurs working around the world to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development.

“Peter Drucker was among the first to articulate that innovation-change that creates a new dimension of performance-is essential for all organizations to thrive,” said Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute. “This includes businesses, of course, but it’s also true for nonprofits. This year’s crop of winners illustrates precisely what Peter was talking about.”

The Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation has been given annually since 1991 to recognize existing programs that have made a real difference in the lives of the people they serve. Cash prizes are designed to celebrate, inspire and further the work of innovative social-sector organizations based in the United States.

KickStart officials noted how pleased they were to receive the Drucker Award. “We are extremely honored,” said co-founder and CEO Martin Fisher, Ph.D. “Nick Moon and I had two goal in mind when we founded KickStart: to get millions of people out of poverty and, in the process, change the way the world fights poverty. When we first started, the idea of using business models to solve social problems was considered crazy-if not complete heresy. Today social enterprise is the most vibrant sector in philanthropy. Peter Drucker’s work was a real inspiration to us.”

KickStart International impressed the judges, in part, because of the extraordinary results it has demonstrated. More than 66,000 profitable enterprises have been created using its MoneyMaker pumps. Farmers utilizing the pumps see, on average, a 10-fold increase in farm income. KickStart estimates that its pumps have helped lift 330,000 people out of poverty. (For more, please visit www.kickstart.org.)

“Peter taught that for any nonprofit organization, the bottom line must be measured in changed lives,” Wartzman said. “KickStart’s bottom line is most impressive in this regard.”

The Drucker Institute will honor the winner and two runners-up on Oct. 28 in Los Angeles at a gala dinner. Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, will be the keynote speaker. The dinner will be preceded by an all-day conference: “When the Bottom Line is Changed Lives: How Do We Know Whether Nonprofit Organizations are Effective?”

To attend the dinner or the conference, which will feature leading experts in the field and a keynote address by Karen Baker, California’s Secretary of Service and Volunteering, you must register atwww.DRUCKERinstitute.com/store.

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