May 2, 2013
Mario Morino on Why Nonprofits Should Focus on Outcomes—and Why Philanthropists Should Help Them
Mario Morino, who once cofounded and helped lead software firm Legent Corporation to an industry top 10, is today well known as a leader in the venture philanthropy movement and for the company he co-founded in 2000, Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic investment organization that provides both strategic funding and leadership guidance to nonprofits.
In 1992, Morino retired from the private sector to devote himself to philanthropy. "When I retired, I knew I didn't know anything in the new space," he says. "I came in with some preconceptions, of course, but I wanted to simply get out, and learn from other people." To do this, Morino, along with a close friend, dedicated a year to learning about philanthropy. That year turned into a year and a half, and included face-to-face meetings with more than 700 people—everyone from college presidents to gang members—during which Morino had the invaluable experience of hearing multiple views on the same issues.
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Morino—as is clearly reflected in his speaking engagements and writing—believes that excellence must be self-imposed and that philanthropists should prioritize helping their grantees create a culture of performance that stresses outcomes. "Managing outcomes is not a normal act today; it's not a natural act of a nonprofit organization, and I'm not saying it's a function of a nonprofit executive, it's the whole ecosystem there," says Morino. "I think the issue starts right with funders—it does take some money to help an organization build the strength of an organization."
Mario Morino's Key Messages for Philanthropists
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