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Spark: A space for social innovators to combine ideas with networks

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Spark Workshop on Inspiring Capital
with Nell Derick Debevoise ’12, Founder & CEO, Inspiring Capital;
Yael Silverstein ’13,  Director of Products & Marketing, Inspiring Capital

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Workshop will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Please plan on arriving 10-15 minutes early.
Reception to follow at 8:00 p.m.

Warren Hall, Room 208
1125 Amsterdam Avenue (between 115th and 116th)

“To be or not to be… a 501c3?”  This workshop will focus on finding solutions to whether Inspiring Capital should be structured as a nonprofit or a for-profit venture.  Nell and Yael will outline the Inspiring Capital business model, explain the goals for Inspiring Capital’s future, and discuss their thought process as it relates to picking a business structure for the firm. Each participant will be prepped on the different business structures (i.e. 501c3, LLC, L3C, B Corp, etc.) prior to the workshop as background information for brainstorming.

Breakout topic areas for discussion:
Attendees will breakout into groups based on different business structures (i.e. 501c3,  corporation, LLC, L3C,  benefit corporation, B Corp, etc.) to help Inspiring Capital (IC) determine which business structure will be most beneficial to them in terms of taxation, client relations, funding opportunities, etc.

  • Given the background and goals of IC, what are the pros/cons of each of the different business structures as they relate to IC? Topics to consider for each breakout business structure:

    • Tax implications

    • Client perspective and consumer behaviors

    • Organizational culture: operational and/or governance considerations

    • Funding: What  are  the most promising sources of  funding – individual contributions or foundation grants?  Fees paid by customers? Private investment?

About Inspiring Capital
Inspiring Capital is a network of entrepreneurs and investors who use their financial, intellectual, human, and social capital to change the world. Having earned income rather than relying on donations and grants allows high-potential not-for-profits to improve and grow their work efficiently. Eventually, many not-for-profits may be able to develop a business model that generates all the revenue they need to support their operations and grow. This creates an optimal social enterprise business model that is inextricably linked to its social mission. 

Nell Derick Debevoise ’12
Nell Derick Debevoise is the founder and CEO of Inspiring Capital, which uses all forms of capital – human, social, intellectual, and financial – to help socially minded ventures become self-funding. She is passionate about using insights from business and entrepreneurship to make high-potential social ventures sustainable. Before establishing Inspiring Capital, Nell was the founding director of Tomorrow's Youth Organization, a nonprofit that supports children’s and women’s development in the Middle East. She has studied psychology, education, and entrepreneurship at Harvard, Columbia and London Business Schools, and Cambridge, as well as informal classrooms in 44 countries. Nell talks a lot in many languages, and has spoken alongside President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Cherie Blair, and Sir Ronald Cohen.

Yael Silverstein ’13
Yael Silverstein is the Director of Products and Marketing at Inspiring Capital, and deeply involved in all of the firm’s activity as the second employee. Yael brings several years of for-profit and non-profit experience to her role, including operations experience at microfinance institutions in India and Israel/Palestine; teaching early childhood education in Israel; corporate philanthropy strategy at the Tory Burch Foundation; and research at a long-short equity hedge fund.

Yael earned her M.B.A from Columbia Business School focusing on management, entrepreneurship, and social enterprise. She holds two B.A. degrees: one from Columbia University where she graduated magna cum laude and earned departmental distinction on her thesis and a second from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America where she graduated magna cum laude, was a List College Fellow, and received the Esther Sommerstein Zweig Educational Award. She has lived and worked on four continents and has traveled to more than 50 countries.

Spark provides Social Innovators with an opportunity to explore resources, connections and potential solutions to help their social ventures, by tapping the collective knowledge within Columbia University, and the larger entrepreneurial and social impact community in the New York area and beyond.

This workshop is open to all who are willing to bring their ideas, experience, and connections to help solve social and environmental challenges that these social innovators aim to address.


If you are unable to attend the above events but would like more information on Spark, please register for our mailing list.

For more information, or if you would like to suggest a future Spark workshop, please contact:
Diana Rambeau:

This event is supported by the Social Enterprise Program, the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center and the Social Enterprise Club at Columbia Business School, and the Social Enterprise Program at Columbia Law School.

December 3rd, 2013 from  6:30 PM to  8:30 PM
Warren Hall, Room 208 (2nd floor)
1125 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027
United States
Phone: (212) 854-1649