Good Capital'sTriple Impact on Business, Society, and Environment, Part II

In part I of my story about Good Capital, I focused on what made Good Capital a business innovation, who was involved in the innovation, and how it emerged. In part II, I focus on what is both the short and long term impact of the innovation both on business, society and the environment.

While Good Capital's primary focus is to make available capital to promising and innovative social mission and profit making enterprises as well as to non-profit organizations with earned income, its impact reaches well beyond the organizations it supports in some surprising and unusual ways.

Good Capital invests in businesses, like Better World Books, that have a focus on their double or triple bottom line, that of social impact, paired with environmental and financial returns. Working alongside the management at their portfolio companies, Good Capital’s staff brings expertise, hands-on involvement and knowledge from the diverse worlds of investment capital, philanthropy, technology and entrepreneurship.

The organization is still young, but the results of their first investment in Better World Books has been far reaching. They were directly involved in creating a strategy that placed the business’ environmental mission at the core of the brand, and increased sales. Says Jones, “Those college students understand it. They are starting to buy more from Better World Books. They realize that used things are of more value now. They realize the environmental cost of production.” Good Cap also influenced Better World Books to reduce their costs by partnering with the non-profit literacy organizations Room to Read and Books for Africa, and by fine-tuning their book pricing strategy. As a result, Better World Books has increased its revenue from $17 million to $23 million since Good Capital’s involvement began.

Good Capital’s involvement affects the stakeholders also. They influenced the decision to give Better World Books’ charity partners, Room to Read and Books for Africa, 5% of the founders stock and a seat at the board, making them shareholders and giving them a voice. In so doing, GoodCap wove literacy groups into the fabric of Better World Books, and ensured that the cause had an economic value to the business, and thus survived a potential buyout. This is a fresh concept. As Jones puts it, “Nobody has ever put that kind of constraint on any kind of business.”

Good Capital is realizing a similar impact with their second investment, Adina for Life. Here they are helping create more demand for the sustainably grown Fair Trade and organic brand by creating unique, delicious coffee and juice cooler drinks. Good Capital is excited about the results of investing in a company like Adina. For them, a commitment to Fair Trade enables coffee growers in cooperatives around the world to develop economic self-sufficiency, devoting profits toward the building of schools and clinics, the development of clean water infrastructure, or similar community causes.

But Good Capital's impact goes beyond the investments it makes in these companies. On the whole, Good Capital seeks to fill the important role of icebreaker and trailblazer, educating potential investors about this sector, helping bigger funds come in behind them, and setting a new standard for philanthropically motivated investing, proving it as valuable and rigorous as any other type.Ultimately Kevin Jones hopes Good Capital can change the outmoded mindset that “giving is over here and investing is over there.”

They are committed as well to developing a community of socially-minded and change oriented leaders and have several projects to help and foster interaction between socially conscious business development and socially conscious investment such as the Social Capital Markets Conferences, SoCap 2008 and 2009, and the Hub/Bay Area.

For decades, the San Francisco Bay Area has been a center for some of the most successful venture capital firms, the most innovative social entrepreneurship, and the most generous humanitarian enterprises on the planet. It seems natural that this innovation center would give rise to a fusion of these sectors. And yet rumbles of doubt remain over whether any savvy investor should consider investing in a fund that supports social businesses. Without question, Good Capital still faces steep hurdles in raising both awareness and funding.

Innovative ideas often seem idealistic and unrealistic. Not long ago a concept like micro-lending sounded noble but unproven, just like the profit potential of organic and Fair Trade food looked unrealistic. But Good Capital is determined to succeed in forever changing the financing picture for promising social ventures by developing a communications and support network that can further this mission. In spite of the skepticism, Good Capital is already well on their way. As Kevin Jones says, “By our standard, we have succeeded. But we didn't want to sell for success; we wanted to sell a story that has a catalytic impact.”

Good Capital has a triple bottom line of its own. Not only are they changing the landscape of this sector, they’re supporting change for the environment and for society. Most importantly, their fund is growing. “Actually at this point,” Kevin Jones says, “our returns are doing embarrassingly well.”

Certainly Good Capital has nothing to be embarrassed about and plenty to be proud of.

Analysis: A Tale of Two North Koreas (...and UNDP)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

By George Russell

Pop quiz.

North Korea is:

a) An insular, hardscrabble country of 23 million people, ruled by ailing dictator Kim Jong Il and a military clique that tortures, publicly murders and imprisons its people, kidnaps enemies abroad, deliberately starves its population to support a successful quest for atomic weapons, rejects humanitarian assistance, and scoffs at international law and the United Nations;


b) The country next to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's native South Korea, whose human rights situation is "grave" but which faces "complex humanitarian problems which seriously hamper the fulfillment of human rights of the population," whose refusal to grant access to U.N. human rights investigators "has not allowed the secretary-General to obtain the information necessary to report in full to the General Assembly regarding the subject in question;"


c) Both.

The correct answer is c) — especially in the murky diplomatic universe of the United Nations, where the realities of North Korea's ugly human rights situation look vastly different in two separate reports presented on the same day last week to the U.N. General Assembly.

The first report is a blunt and bleak assessment of North Korea's human rights situation prepared by Vitit Muntarbhorn, a Bangkok law professor who works pro bono as the U.N.'s special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is known.

Muntarbhorn, who has held the position for six years, issued his toughest report yet for the situation in DPRK, covering the period from late 2008 to mid-2009, after the North Korean regime had set off its second atomic blast and fired missiles in the direction of Japan and Hawaii.

According to Muntarbhorn, "human rights violations are evidently widespread, systematic and abhorrent in their impact and implications. They compromise and threaten not only human rights but also international peace and security." Elections are empty rituals; the media are the "backbone of an enormous propaganda machine." The regime "monitors its population through the tentacles of its iron-fisted security machinery."

Click here to read Muntarbhorn's full report.

The second report is from Ban himself, a longtime senior South Korean diplomat and ultimately foreign minister, who was responsible at that time for helping to funnel billions of dollars worth of international aid to the North Korean regime.

As for Ban, the current Secretary General, says Jay Lefkowitz, U.S. special envoy for human rights in North Korea during the Bush Administration, "nobody in that chair has known more about the depredations there."

Ban's document freely borrows from the special rapporteur's report but turns it into something far less accusatory.

Ban's 19-page report acknowledges North Korea's atrocious human rights record, while simultaneously soft-pedaling it and accentuating the positive — however small — in order to coax North Korea's rulers into returning to the nuclear bargaining table and bringing their brutalized country at least a millimeter or so under the rule of international law.

Thus, for Ban, DPRK's announcement on July 22, 2009 that it is "setting up the Ministry of Foodstuff and Daily Necessities Manufacturing is a sign that the Government is trying to address the severe food situation."

This is followed by the Secretary General's acknowledgement that "the authorities have blocked access to alternative sources of food by forbidding kitchen farming in private households and closing down markets where food items are traded." Such reports, Ban says, delicately, "indicate that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is failing to fulfill its obligations under international human rights law to protect the right to adequate food."

Click here to read Ban's full report.

Ban's bloodless formulations, however, do not paint anything like the same horrifying picture that Muntarbhorn does in his 24-page document. Forbidden by North Korea from visiting the country, he relies on refugee and local human rights reports to paint a grim picture of the country's "stifling political environment and stultifying developmental process, compounded by a range of stupefying cruelties."

Among them:

• "Citizens who fail to turn up for work allocated to them by the State are sent to labor camps."

• "There are reports of public executions and secret executions in political detention camps."

• "Although torture is prohibited by law, it is extensively practiced."

• The role of lawyers "is to pressure the accused to confess to a crime rather than to defend his client."

• There are plenty of crimes to confess to: citing human rights legal sources, Muntarbhorn says there are "14 types of anti-State crime; 16 types of crime disruptive of national defense systems; 104 types of crime injurious to the socialist economy; 26 types of crime injurious to socialist culture; 39 types of crime injurious to administrative systems; 20 types of crime harmful to collective life; and 26 types of crime injuring life and damaging property of citizens."

• Punishment is collective: "Where the parents are seen as antithetical to the regime, the child and the rest of the family are discriminated against in their access to schools, hospitals and other necessities."

• Forcible child labor, sometimes on state poppy farms, and forcible separation of children from their parents is far from uncommon.

On an even more sinister front, Muntarbhorn notes the regime's practice of "kidnapping a number of foreign nationals," sometimes to steal their identities for use by North Korean spies. Many remain unaccounted for. The report says over 10 countries have been affected by DPRK's extraterritorial crimes (at a press conference, Muntarbhorn later raised the precise number of countries where DPRK kidnappers operate to 12).

When it comes to such basics as food, the regime's strategy is brutally direct: provide it only through state distribution where possible, after the ruling elite takes as much as it wants. Muntarbhorn refers to the regime's stance as a "military first strategy," as opposed to a "people first" strategy in which civilian needs matter.

In fact, Muntarbhorn makes it clear that where the regime is concerned, the people often should have no ranking at all. While acknowledging that floods and bad harvests made a bad situation worse in 2006 and 2007, Muntarbhorn notes that "at the end of 2008, in the pursuit of State control over the population, the authorities planned to close general markets and banned rice sales in such markets, even though those markets had been a major source of income and food for the population."

In effect, the issue was not merely whether the military clique had first call on food and income, it was more that any independent sources of food and income should be removed. The market closures have caused some of the few reported confrontations between authorities and protestors.

Citing a South Korean Bar Association paper, Muntarbhorn also makes the claim that international food aid — in its extremely limited amounts — may have accelerated the trend to impose state monopolies of distribution.

But if so, maybe not by so much. In July, in the wake of its second atomic blast, North Korea announced that it would turn its back on 500,000 tons of food aid offered by the U.S. through the U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP).

When a dry-up of donor funds after the blast limited WFP's other supplies, the regime cut the agency's access to North Korean territory in half, forced all Korean-speaking U.N. employees out of the country, and made the agency announce inspection visits for its food distribution a week in advance.

Women in particular have been hard-hit by the food power-plays, Muntarbhorn reports. All those under 40 were banned from trading in the markets at all — an age later raised to 49. Muntarborn cites report that women have also been prosecuted for wearing trousers, or riding bicycles.

DPKR is a signatory to the U.N.'s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Even so, Muntarbhorn cites legal sources who say that assault against pregnant female refugees who return home is "routine, and wrapping the forcibly aborted fetus' face with plastic to [induce] death is known [in] frequent occurrences."

North Korea is also a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, not to mention the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Secretary General Ban's report notes North Korea's signatures on those documents, without comment, although from his perspective these legal adherences clearly matter a great deal. Among other things, he carefully lauds the regime for the creation of a "2008-2010 work program" by the Central Committee of the Korean Federation for Persons with Disabilities, even though DPRK "has yet to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."

Ban does not note, however, as Muntarbhorn does, that DPRK has not yet signed protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that ban child trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography, or the involvement of children in armed conflict, among other legal instruments.

To be fair, Ban does forthrightly note "with serious concern continuing reports that the situation of human rights In [DPRK] remains grave." He also declares that the North Korean government "has not taken significant steps to address persistent reports of systematic and widespread human rights violations."

He cites a "range of reports" that refer "to the continuous absence of due process and the rule of law," torture, forced labor, and the vulnerability of women in detention to sexual abuse. But Ban is careful to note that the reports "could not be independently verified."

The main reason they could not be verified is that the regime does not allow anyone in to verify them.

The regime has vetoed, Ban notes, requests for a visit by the U.N.'s special rapporteur on free expression since 1999, by the special rapporteur on religion since 2002, the special rapporteur on the right to food since 2003, and the special rapporteur on human rights — that is, Muntarbhorn — since 2004. On Muntarbhorn's latest request, dated July 21, 2009, the regime said such a visit "would never be possible."

But in the cases of 11 separate kidnapping victims from Japan—some dating back to the 1970s — Ban could report glimmers of progress: essentially discussions that in the future might "lead to the clarification of the outstanding cases." There was also an agreement in August 2008 for the DPRK regime to conduct "a comprehensive investigation of the unresolved cases of abduction."

In other words, the regime agreed to investigate itself for the alleged crimes.

When it comes to food issues, Ban acknowledges stark shortages, but places much of the blame not on the regime's predatory policies but on North Korea's poor soils, small percentage of arable land, and the lack of "key inputs such as fertilizer, fuel, seed, plastic sheeting and mechanization." Among these, he also notices "structural constraints (including constraints on market activities)." But a bigger factor is "natural disasters."

Even then, he adds, citing the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), "increases in agricultural production can only be achieved through improved yields, given that all suitable arable land is already under cultivation." The biggest need is for fertilizer — which the regime refuses to request from its South Korean neighbor.

FAO is one of five U.N. agencies that maintains a small presence in North Korea, as part of a U.N. "country team." Each part of the team can claim to see small improvements In North Korea's situation, and Ban gravely notes all of them.

UNICEF, for example, reports that DPRK "has done well in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, "to the extent that information is available about these matters." But the agency adds that "it is difficult to estimate progress toward reducing child mortality owing to the absence of reliable data."

The United Nations Population Fund, on the other hand, says that it "continues to implement the national reproductive health strategy with a program focusing on reducing maternal mortality, with funding from the U.N., Norway and New Zealand. It soon plans to establish a family planning clinic to serve three mountainous North Korean counties.

Ban clearly sees the need for more international carrots where the special rapporteur on human rights issues sees the North Korean regime wielding many sticks.

In his conclusions, Muntarbhorn says that North Korea's human rights violations are "evidently widespread, systematic and abhorrent in their implications." He recommends that the regime cease and desist, allow him to visit the country, "modernize the government system," and "act against the impunity of those responsible for the violence and violations" — meaning, essentially, themselves. Muntarbhorn also calls on the international community to push North Korea toward a "people first" policy and "enable the totality of the U.N. system, including the Security Council," to "protect people from victimization and provide effective redress."

Ban, on the other hand, "urges the government of [DPRK] to provide safeguards for human rights," "implement fully" such things as "the need to improve access for United Nations agencies in order to ensure equal distribution of humanitarian assistance," and to engage with the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights "in substantive dialogue and technical cooperation."

Ban's sanguine attitude about deepening the U.N.'s involvement with a repressive regime engaged in a naked hunt for nuclear weapons bears a strong resemblance to the attitude that resulted in the U.N.'s biggest scandal in North Korea, back in 2006 — a year before Ban took office.

That was when the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was revealed by a whistleblower, an employee in North Korea named Artjon Shkurtaj, to have funneled millions of dollars in hard currency illegally to the Pyongyang government, allowed North Korean government employees to fill sensitive UNDP posts, turned a blind eye to the hand-over of sensitive "dual use" technology of potential value in North Korea's nuclear program, and kept $3,500 in defaced U.S. counterfeit $100 bills in UNDP's North Korean safe for more than a decade without reporting them to the U.S. Treasury.

The aim of all that excessive engagement with the North Korean government was ostensibly to retain influence with the regime and, through incentives, keep it from continuing its quest for atomic weapons.

The engagement ended badly — for the whistleblower. Shkurtaj was removed from his job, and eventually his employment contract was not renewed. A 353-page report by a three-member "External Independent Investigative Review Panel" subsequently confirmed virtually every one of Shkurtaj's accusations, and added more, notably that the U.N. was ignoring its own technology sanctions against North Korea, even as the U.N. Security Council called on the world to tighten those restrictions in the wake of the regime's nuclear explosion.

The U.N.'s Ethics Officer, Robert Benson, subsequently determined that the investigative panel had not given Shkurtaj a chance to answer allegations leveled against him, which he called a "due process failure," and ruled that UNDP should pay Shkurtaj 14 months' wages. UNDP has not yet done so.

And UNDP, after a brief stint out of North Korea, is now about to rejoin the U.N. agencies offering North Korea greater "technical cooperation." It has reopened its dormant offices in Pyongyang and is preparing to restart programs there, a stance that not only has the backing of Ban, but of the Obama Administration.

In addition to his call for greater North Korea-U.N. engagement, Ban also calls on the international community in far less specific terms than Muntarbhorn to "uphold its commitment to protecting human rights and addressing critical humanitarian concerns."

Where Ban and Muntarbhorn agree is on setting store by a new U.N. ritual, the so-called "universal periodic review" of North Korea's human rights practices by the notorious 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHCR), which has largely busied itself since its founding in 2006 with attacks against Israel. Among its members are Angola, China, Cuba, Egypt, Nicaragua, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, as well as Belgium, Hungary, and — as of this year, the U.S., ending a three-year boycott of the institution. North Korea is not a Council member.

The Universal Periodic Review is described on a UNHCR web page as a "unique process" in which all 192 U.N. member states eventually appear before the Council every four years to "declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations In their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations." It is "designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situation are assessed."

In other words, it puts democracies like the U.S., Germany and India on the same level as North Korea when it comes to justifying their behavior.

Ban Ki-moon is quoted as saying "this mechanism has great potential to promote and protect human rights in the darkest corners of the world."

The UNHCR says its goal is to complete the entire Universal Periodic Review by 2011.

North Korea's turn is slated to come between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 7, 2009.

The U.S. turn is slated for Friday, November 26, 2010, between 9 a.m. and noon.

Special rapporteur Muntarbhorn won't be there to see it. After presenting his report in New York last week, he let it be known to some reporters that he would be leaving at the end of his six-year-term in December.

Before then, he clearly hopes to see whether the U.N.'s Human Rights Council will adhere to one of his main recommendations for the international community: use North Korea's refusal to cooperate with the special rapporteur "as a key indicator of the Universal Periodic Review."

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News.

At U.N., contractor's case again raises questions about nepotism

Internal investigation will examine whether official abused authority


By Colum Lynch
Washington post staff writer
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UNITED NATIONS -- Nicola Baroncini, a U.N. contract employee from Italy, was doing a routine review of his boss's correspondence in the summer when he stumbled upon an e-mail that would seal his fate.

Baroncini's supervisor had received a message from the United Nations' top envoy in Congo asking her to bend U.N. rules so that his daughter could be hired -- for the very position that Baroncini was holding temporarily and was hoping to keep.

What followed was not pretty. After learning that he had been passed over for the job, Baroncini lost his temper and bit the forearm of a security officer who had been called in to remove him from the building, according to U.N. officials. Baroncini says he bit the guard in self-defense after being attacked, beaten and maced.

The incident, while unusual, highlighted a phenomenon that Baroncini and others say is common at the United Nations: nepotism. "This way of doing business can't go on," said Baroncini, whose case has triggered an internal U.N. probe into whether a senior official was trying to manipulate a hiring process.

There are no hard figures on nepotism and favoritism at the United Nations, but the ranks of the U.N. Secretariat and U.N. agencies include scores of children and grandchildren of the organization's luminaries and foreign diplomats. Many top U.N. jobs in peacekeeping, political affairs and other areas are reserved for politically connected officials from powerful governments, including the United States.

The U.N. Charter requires that the organization's civil servants be independent of their governments, and the organization's rules restrict the hiring of the relatives of U.N. employees. But the rules have long been breached. In his 2003 book "Peacemonger," Marrack Goulding, a former British diplomat who once led the U.N. peacekeeping department, said he strove to show his independence after the British government nominated him.

"A senior U.N. official nominated by his or her own government was . . . assumed to be in the [U.N.] secretariat to do that government's bidding," he wrote.

The United Nations' largest employee union says it frequently hears allegations of nepotism. But the group also says it fears that today's top U.N. officials, including Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the recently departed president of the General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, are ill-suited to initiate reform. D'Escoto hired his American nephew, Michael Clark, as an adviser, and his niece, Sophia Clark, as his deputy chief of staff. Ban's daughter Hyun Hee-ban and son-in-law Siddarth Chatterjee also are employed by the United Nations.

"There is something that doesn't look quite right," said Thomas Ginivan, vice president of the U.N. Staff Union. "He's the chief executive officer, and it's ultimately his responsibility to ensure all regulations are followed. It's hard for him to stand up on the podium and criticize when he's not wearing a spotless suit."

Differing perspectives

U.N. officials say the organization has been scrupulous in avoiding favoritism. But not everyone agrees. Several months after Ban ascended to the top post, his son-in-law was promoted by Staffan de Mistura -- then the United Nations' top Iraq envoy -- to a high-profile post as the organization's chief of staff in Iraq.

Some U.N. officials felt that Chatterjee, a former Indian special forces officer with extensive experience in security, lacked the political and diplomatic skills for the job. In May, he was promoted again, to become regional director of the U.N. Office for Project Services in Copenhagen -- only this time he competed against more than 120 other candidates.

De Mistura, a Swedish national, said he hired Chatterjee because he "needed a military guy" who could oversee the organization's expansion in Iraq, not because he was Ban's son-in-law. Chatterjee had overseen security for de Mistura in Iraq in the 1990s, before he had met Ban's daughter.

"For two years, we succeeded in not having one staff member wounded, not one killed," de Mistura said. "The chief of staff was my right hand in handling priority number one, priority number two and priority number three: security."

Chatterjee said that working in an institution where his father-in-law is the boss has been less of a blessing than a burden and that he recently turned down a job offer as the top U.N. official in Namibia because that would mean serving directly under Ban.

"Till now I've been a quiet worker being recognized for the merit of my work rather than for whom I was related to," he said. "When these questions come up about nepotism and favoritism, it breaks my heart."

Similarly, U.N. officials deny that nepotism played any role in the hiring of Ban's daughter, Hyun Hee-ban. She applied for a U.N. job in March 2003 through a program that invites foreign governments to fund their nationals' employment. Officials said that, without her father's intervention, she finished first among 180 South Korean candidates vying for five U.N. posts.

Carol Bellamy, a former director of UNICEF, is among those at the United Nations who say the allegations of nepotism are unfair. The real problem, she said, is the organization's system of political patronage.

"What bugs me is not the hiring of family members, but how often former U.N. ambassadors get appointed" to run complex peacekeeping and humanitarian field operations, Bellamy said.

'Didn't do anything wrong'

In Baroncini's case, the allegations of nepotism stem from the e-mail his boss, a senior official at the U.N. Development Program, received from Alan Doss, the top U.N. envoy in Congo. Doss, who was winding up his career with UNDP, asked for his daughter to be hired even though his employment would overlap with hers, according to the e-mail, which was first reported by a blogger at Inner City Press.

If found by a U.N. investigation to have abused his authority, Doss could face censure, according to an official familiar with the probe. The investigation is expected to conclude within the next month.

Baroncini, meanwhile, will appear Wednesday in a New York court, where he faces third-degree assault charges for the biting incident. He said he wants to take the case to trial.

"I didn't do anything wrong," he said. "I was the victim of nepotism, retaliation, assault and imprisonment."

MIRA Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon

WHEN: Tuesday, November 17, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Great Hall of the State House.

The luncheon includes the public release of the New American's Agenda by Governor Deval Patrick, who commissioned the report from the Governor's Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants, in joint partnership with the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants and MIRA.

Numerous elected officials are expected to attend, as well as community, labor and business leaders, not to mention a large media contingent. Governor Patrick's release of the NAA report underscores the theme of the luncheon, "Celebrate the Immigrant Family." With 131 policy recommendations to better integrate immigrants and refugees into the civic and economic life of the commonwealth, the report is indeed a celebration of immigrants, their families, and the communities of which they form an integral part. These policy recommendations recognize that immigrant families form a vital cornerstone in our communities, and that their hopes and needs deserve respectful attention and response.

The next phase of this ambitious and crucial agenda is a response. Some of the policy recommendations require further legislative action; others need only administrative implementation, which the Governor has promised to bring about as quickly as possible. But they also call for legislative and administrative advocacy by MIRA and its members to bring them fully to fruition.

To attend this free luncheon, RSVP by contacting Kirsten Dees at or 216-350-5480, ext. 218.

The Personal Economics of Domestic Violence

Guest Lecturer: Deirdre Hunter M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
WHEN: Friday, October 30, 2009 Noon-1pm
WHERE: Greater Boston Legal Services, 197 Friend Street, Boston, MA
South Gate Conference Room, 2nd Floor

Please join Greater Boston Legal Services' Family Law Unit on October 30, 2009 for a brown bag lunch presentation on the personal economics of domestic violence. Guest lecturer, Deirdre Hunter M.S.W., L.C.S.W, will discuss the economic challenges faced by victims of domestic violence and how these challenges are used by abusive partners to control their victims. Ms. Hunter received her M.S.W. from the University of Connecticut and is currently a Lecturer in Women's and Gender Studies at Brandeis University and the director of programs at Justice Resource Institute. Ms. Hunter has over 20 years of experience working with victims of domestic violence and will be available to take questions during the event. Coffee and sweets will be served.

Please RSVP by emailing Lisa Locher at and indicate if you are a student from New England Law.

"Most powerful NZ lesbian" and partner unite

By Daily News staff - 25th October 2009

The powerful and influential Chief of Staff to then-Prime Minister Helen Clark and the most powerful lesbian in the country at the time yesterday joined with her partner in a civil union ceremony in Wellington.

Heather Simpson, a trained economist and publicly formidable presence who was nicknamed 'H2' during Clark's prime ministership, was 'united' with Sue Veart in front of 45 close friends and family.

Clark, who is now the highest-ranked woman in the United Nations, selected Simpson to accompany her to the United Nations headquarters in New York as a staffer, a right extended to senior appointees under UN rules. It is understood the civil union may make it easier for Veart to join Simpson in New York.

Clark's professional closeness to Simpson over a twenty year period was one factor feeding politically-motivated rumours and innuendo that Clark herself was a lesbian during her NZ political career.

Clark's aide home to marry partner


Heather Simpson, the long-term assistant of former prime minister Helen Clark who was once known as H2, has returned from New York to marry her partner, Sue Veart, in Wellington.

The pair were joined in a civil union at their home in Wadestown yesterday, in a ceremony reportedly attended by about 45 close friends and family. Clark was not present.

When she worked for Clark in the Beehive, Simpson was known as "the second-most powerful woman in New Zealand", or "H2". Clark once joked that Simpson was actually the most powerful woman in the country.

Simpson has been working for Clark in New York since the former prime minister took over as head of the United Nations Development Programme in April. Veart, who recently quit after 10 years in managerial jobs at Porirua City Council, will join her long-term partner there.

Simpson had a formidable reputation as a member of the inner circle of power and a person who did not suffer fools gladly. A former economist, she has worked for Clark in various roles for more than 20 years.

She is the fourth of seven children in a large and close-knit family from Southland. Although her public reputation is stern, she is known as a loving aunt and sister, and her wider family flocked to the ceremony.

Simpson did not initially want to move to New York to work for Clark, but "her arm was twisted", according to those who know her. One acquaintance said she believed the civil union would make it easier for Veart to live in the US.

Clark's government brought in civil unions as an alternative to marriage.

October Designated as Pro Bono Month

Governor Patrick has signed a proclamation designating October 2009 as Pro Bono Month at the request of the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Services. Click here to see the proclamation.

Temporary Family Law Position at WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School

January 2010 through June 2010

The WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School (“LSC”) is the community law office and largest clinical program of Harvard Law School (HLS), serving over 100 HLS students annually (see below). Among its many clinics, the LSC offers a Domestic Violence/ Family Law Clinic to students each semester. The primary work of the Domestic Violence/ Family Law Clinic is its collaboration with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, called the Passageway Health Law Collaborative (PHLC). Through this innovative health-law collaboration, law students and LSC attorneys provide comprehensive legal services to low- to moderate-income victims of domestic violence. The PHLC, with its multi-disciplinary and holistic service model, is staffed primarily by two LSC staff attorneys, one of whom is going on temporary leave from January 2010 through June 2010. In order to fill this temporary vacancy, the LSC is looking to hire a temporary family law attorney to be responsible for implementing the PHLC and supervising students in the Domestic Violence/ Family Law Clinic, beginning January 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2010.

The temporary family law attorney will provide direct legal assistance to low- to moderate-income victims of domestic violence in the area of family law, and closely supervise and mentor student attorneys in that case work. The attorney’s (and students’) caseload will include family law cases involving issues of domestic violence, paternity, custody, support, visitation, asset division, removal, and restraining orders. The attorney will also conduct client intakes, deliver legal trainings for hospital-based staff and patients, and provide technical assistance and program support to hospital-based social workers. The attorney will work collaboratively in a team setting with hospital-based staff at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and affiliated health canters, as well as with the staff and clinical instructors at LSC.

The WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School has a dual mission of providing high quality legal services to low-to moderate-income residents in the greater Boston area, while offering Harvard Law students hands-on lawyering experience in a heavily supervised setting. Our students work side-by-side with experienced practitioners on their casework. You may learn more about the LSC at


  • Provide full representation and limited assistance to low- to moderate-income victims of domestic violence in the area of family law.

  • Work closing with, and provide technical assistance to, hospital-based social work staff.

  • Conduct legal trainings and presentations for hospital-based staff on various areas of law.

  • Directly supervise law students on cases, including reviewing and editing all written work, preparing students for court appearances and meetings, and providing constructive feedback.

  • Participate in student trainings on substantive law and practice skills.

  • Prepare detailed written evaluations of students’ work, as well as in-person performance evaluations at mid-semester and the end of the semester.

  • Attend and participate in weekly clinical class at Harvard Law School.


  • Law degree and admission to Massachusetts Bar.

  • At least three years family/ DV law experience, which may include internship or student clinical experience.

  • Experience supervising and/or teaching students in a clinical setting, preferred.

  • Strong writing, legal analysis, legal research and oral advocacy skills.

  • Litigation experience, including motions practice and trial preparation.

  • Experience working with domestic violence survivors, social justice issues, diverse communities, and social change preferred.

  • Strong people skills, including ability to communicate and work well with diverse groups and individuals.

  • Spanish language skills preferred.

COMPENSATION: $28,000 plus benefits.

JOB STATUS: Full-time, six-month contract to begin January 1, 2010 and end June 30, 2010.

Director of Family Law Unit, Lecturer on Law, Robert Greenwald, Esq.
Staff Attorney, Clinical Instructor, Nnena E.J. Odim, Esq.

Apply online through the Employment @ Harvard Website: (Requisition # 37908)

Good Capital: Innovation In Socially Conscious Investing-Part I

Last August, I interviewed Kevin Jones of Good Capital for a story for Case Western University's Weatherhead Schools of Management's Center for Business as Agent of World Benefit. BAWB is hosting a World Inquiry into stories of successful business innovations that are making a positive impact on society and the environment. Good Capital is a true example of just such a business innovation. This is Part I, the description of the innovation.

A San Francisco based investment firm, Good Capital is mixing up the ingredients of socially conscious investing in bold and dynamic new ways. In the process they may end up changing the whole face of philanthropic investment.

GoodCap, as it is often referred to, is leading the way in socially conscious investing b
y making available capital to promising and innovative social mission and profit making enterprises as well as to non-profit organizations with earned income.

Good Capital’s first financial product, the Social Enterprise Expansion Fund, has already provided much needed financing to established enterprises that are ready to scale up their business and expand their impact on their social change programs. GoodCap acts as venture firm that is actively involved with their investees by providing them with the expertise, knowledge and strategic advice to help them better realize their social mission objectives while increasing their bottom line.

The pioneering firm has undertaken a daring task: a commitment to their investments but also, perhaps more audaciously, to the investors as well, providing them with the opportunity to realize solid financial returns while investing in philanthropic endeavors. In such a way, Good Capital hopes to fuse profit with social change.

The founding principals, Kevin Jones and Tim Freundlich, met back in 2004. Jones had enjoyed success in a number of his own startups, including non-profits, and already had extensive private investment experience with a range of technological and social enterprises. Freundlich too had long been involved in the social investment sector, particularly in the development of socially responsible funds and financial instruments.
Together they started to explore the sort of funding available to social enterprises in need of growth. As they learned, numerous foundations offered grants to startup ventures with a viable concept, but none gave the growth capital needed to sustain and develop them.

They also researched the other side of the equation, checking to see if potential recipients existed. As Jones recalls, “This was 2004 when we started looking at it, did some research about demand to make sure there were enough social enterprises ready for that kind of capital. We spent about nine months in seeing what the demand by the entrepreneurs was, and whether it was far enough along for these kinds of resources.”

Immediately they realized that such a need existed, and so they set out in search of capital to launch the effort. They encountered, however, more than a few raised eyebrows. The idea of socially conscious organizations yielding profits for the investor was unconventional, to put it lightly. Kevin Jones describes the challenge of persuading one potential backer: “We were pitching a potential investor, a successful telecom entrepeneur and he loved our story. He said, ‘I love what you do, and I would give you ten million dollars, but I just can’t think like that. Investment is this; giving is that; and you are in this middle space. My head hurts!”

At last, though, Good Capital raised a few million dollars, and in April 2009, made their first round of investment, initially devoting $2 million, and then later another $2.5 million, to Better World Books, an online vendor specializing in used textbooks. Better World Books was at that point the first such company with a triple bottom line: selling used books, utilizing profits to support literacy programs, while also benefiting the environment by sparing millions of books from landfills.

Following that, Good Capital made their next investment move with $1 million for Adina for Life Inc., a company that produced organic and Fair Trade coffees and teas, as well as beverages made from fruit and plant-based ingredients founded on traditional recipes from around the globe.

In truth the idea of a socially responsible investment is not entirely new. Its early form favored companies that did no harm. More recently a new vogue has emerged: investing in companies that pursue socially responsible business policies. Now as philanthropists look to create the maximum impact with their donations, social philanthropy groups have proliferated rapidly, awarding grants to non-profits or social entrepreneurs. This is the milieu into which Good Capital has injected their dynamic innovation. Good Capital not only seeks to lead the in the creation a new way of investing in social ventures but in changing the mindset within the social investment sector by proving that philanthropically motivated investing can be as rigorous as any other investing. As Kevin Jones said: “That idea challenges people. We want to push the envelope the space between giving and investing is real and valuable and we want to change the way people think, (alluding to the potential investor) we want to make their head hurt.”

As Good Capital takes very seriously the investment potential of their funding, by looking to invest in and help grow businesses that can provide a return when they are sold. In spite of some scepticism they are already, as Jones put it: "doing embarrasingly well. " Yet they have one stipulation, that is, when the businesses are sold, they will not be selling out the mission. Kevin Jones reiterated several times, that they do not want to see a business like Better World Books become a Ben and Jerry’s, referring to their buyout by a giant conglomerate, where the social mission goes out the door at the exit. The way they seek to secure that the mission survives the exit is by having the mission “baked into” the business. “So if we sell, when we get a hundred million, which is good for an online retailer, and when buyers come in with their hardnosed look at what they are going to do;the mission keeps the cost low and the mission increases the margin because it’s the core of the brand and the mission might be more likely to survive the exit.” As Kevin Jones stated: “This is quite innovate, it is a new idea that hasn’t been completely explored ."

Good Capital may be in the innovation phase, but already it has "baked" up excitement and infused energy into the worlds of social enterprise and socially conscious investment.

In Part II, we will look at Good Capital's long and short term impact on business, society, and the environment.