Rebecca Masisak

Rebecca Masisak is the CEO of TechSoup Global, an international network of 52 partner NGOs in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Since its founding in 1987, it has leveraged technology to build NGO capacity towards solving social problems in local communities and fostering global social change. TechSoup Global's core capabilities include running one of the largest technology philanthropy programs in the world; providing NGO validation services to funders and corporations; gathering, analyzing, and distributing global social-sector data; and catalyzing community-oriented technology innovations. Using a social-enterprise business model, its operations are grounded in collaborations with a range of stakeholders: NGOs, government agencies, social enterprises, technology activists, foundations, and 90+ leading technology companies- such as Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, Cisco, and Intuit.

Ms. Masisak received her MBA from the Columbia University Business School, and worked as a management consultant with Coopers & Lybrand for 9 years, and in leadership roles in several Internet businesses thereafter. She joined the San Francisco nonprofit, CompuMentor (now known as TechSoup Global) in 2001, with the task of building the organization’s relatively small ‘product philanthropy’ program into both a programmatic hub of the organization and a revenue engine that could support other nonprofit and educational programs as well.

In her role at CompuMentor, Ms. Masisak designed a supply chain that addressed the needs of corporate product donors, end-user recipients and CompuMentor itself. In 2002, she led her team's creation of a business plan called DiscountTech which won a $100,000 grand prize in the Yale School of Management, Goldman Sachs, Pew Charitable Trust's "National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations," among over 650 entries.[1]

The organization’s success in the competition attracted the attention of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, which led to CompuMentor undertaking its first loan--$1.55M to build the technology backbone for an expanded product philanthropy system. Four years later, CompuMentor repaid the loan.

In recognition of her achievements, Ms. Masisak became co-CEO of the organization, joining founder Daniel Ben-Horin in 2006. Marnie Webb was also named co-CEO at that time, forming a 3-member co-CEO office that continued to lead the organization until Ms. Masisak became TechSoup Global's CEO in 2012. (In 2008 the organization formally changed its name from CompuMentor to TechSoup Global (with the name of its primary website still known as TechSoup.))

From January 2002 when the technology product donation service began through September 30, 2013, TechSoup Global has served more than 213,000 organizations, distributed more than 11.9 million software and hardware product donations, and enabled recipients to save more than US$3.9 billion in IT expenses in 58 countries around the world.

After establishing the program in North America, Ms. Masisak developed a global expansion model called the TechSoup Global Network (TSGN). At the September 2008 Clinton Global Initiative, Ms. Masisak joined then TechSoup Global co-CEO Daniel Ben-Horin and co-CEO Marnie Webb to announce the organization’s commitment to provide technological products and services to nonprofits worldwide, especially in developing countries.[2]

Fundacja TechSoup, the first separately incorporated regional hub established under this initiative, employs a staff of twelve in Warsaw, Poland, and supports activities in 16 European countries (as well as playing a central role in supporting the global partner network overall). Through the TechSoup Global network, including 35 TechSoup Global Network Partner NGOs and regional affiliates, the TechSoup technology donation program is now (September 30, 2013) available to community-based organizations in a total of 58 countries, including: Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. TechSoup Global held its "PNGO Summit" in San Francisco in 2009, and its first "Contributors' Summit" in February 2011.

The financial success of TechSoup.Org's donation program has enabled TechSoup Global to obtain and leverage additional philanthropic support (primarily from the Gates, Surdna, Mott, Kellogg, Zero Divide and California Emerging Technology Fund foundations) and create a portfolio of innovative programs including NetSquared, TechSoup for Libraries, GreenTech, and the Refurbished Computer Initiative (RCI). Ms. Masisak played a particularly instrumental role in designing the latter program, through which one-generation-old corporate IT equipment is made available at low cost to nonprofits and low-income families. In 2008, the initiative was awarded a $500,000, two-year grant by the California Emerging Technology Fund, enabling to scale up to a statewide level.[3]

In recognition of the RCI effort, Ms. Masisak received the Full Circle Fund’s "Full Impact Award in Technology" celebrating her innovation and leadership as a social entrepreneur.[4]

In 2008, The New York Times highlighted the organizational model Ms. Masisak created in the article “When Tech Innovation Has a Social Mission.”[5]

Two themes of Ms. Masisak’s tenure as co-CEO (and now CEO) have been that the organization needs to diversify its social enterprise, in terms of business sustainability, and also that there is currently a huge, unmet need for reliable data about civil society organizations worldwide. This need is widely cited by philanthropists, academics and civil society advocates.[6][7] The widespread enthusiasm for better nonprofit data represented, in Ms. Masisak’s view, an untapped market that TechSoup Global could serve in an economically sustainable fashion.

In 2008, Ms. Masisak led TechSoup Global’s successful bid to receive the Council on Foundation’s formal endorsement to create NGOsource. Launched in March 2013, NGOsource is an equivalency determination service that helps U.S. grantmakers streamline their international grantmaking process. NGOsource intends to simplify the often expensive, complicated, and duplicative task of evaluating whether a non-U.S. organization is equivalent to a U.S. public charity — a process known as equivalency determination.[8]

Obtaining the Council on Foundations’ tender, combined with TechSoup Global’s existing eligibility determination mechanism which it had built to support product donations, put TechSoup Global in the forefront of the creation of global data standards for NGOs. In March 2010, Ms. Masisak consolidated the organization’s position by orchestrating a combination (the term under British law) with Guidestar International,[9] a noted international NGO with a competency of creating a publicly visible data structure for civil society organizations in participating countries. The merger of the two organizations was welcomed in philanthropy media and Ms. Masisak’s leadership role was widely acknowledged.[10][11]

Ms. Masisak is a frequent speaker on topics relating to the integration of social enterprise and nonprofit mission, as well as on the topic of Digital Inclusion, or e-Inclusion. In March 2010, she joined Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive, RSA), Nick Clegg (MP), Jonathan Welfare (Chair, Nominet Trust) and Tristan Wilkinson (Inclusion Lead, Intel) as a Plenary speaker at the fifth annual National Digital Inclusion Conference in London.[12] A video of her presentation was posted, along with other speakers at the conference (which included a keynote speech by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown).[13] In late May 2010, Ms. Masisak participated in the European Foundation Centre’s annual “Foundation Week” in Brussels, publishing her reactions in one of philanthropy’s major publications, Alliance Magazine.[14]

In recognition of her leadership for nonprofit and NGO development in the technology sectors, on February 3, 2010, the Telecentre.org Foundation Board of Trustees appointed Ms. Masisak as a member of its Advisory Council, and then in April 2011, appointed her to the board itself.[15][16] Telecentre.org’s social investors include Microsoft, Canada's International Development Research Centre, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. On March 3, 2010, Ms. Masisak gave a talk at the International Telecentre Forum in Manila, “Telecentres for Promoting Digital Opportunities.”[17] Ms. Masisak again traveled to The Philippines as a member of Telecentre.org Foundation’s International Advisory Council on November 24, 2010.[18]

On November 11, 2010, Rebecca Masisak joined TechSoup Global co-CEO Marnie Webb in presenting a panel at the BoardSource Leadership Forum 2010 in which they shared their experience guiding TechSoup’s growth as an international organization, at that time operating in 34 countries with three distinct boards of directors.[19][20]

Ms. Masisak continues to speak about the work of TechSoup Global at international events and in the media. On May 29, 2013, she spoke before an audience of 1,300 at the 4th Global Forum on Telecentres in Granada, Spain. A member of the Telecentre.org Board of Trustees, she described the work of TechSoup Global in bridging the digital divide at this bi-annual event (sponsored in 2013 by Microsoft, Telefonica, Vodafone, AgoraNews, Autoritas, Cibersur.com, and Devex). There are now approximately 500,000 telecentres in the world with 1 billion users, providing access to the web in libraries, internet cafes and other community venues across the globe. She was introduced by Telecentre.org Foundation Director Miguel Raimilla in the recording of her remarks.[21]

On June 4, 2013, an interview with Ms. Masisak appeared in the online magazine VitaEurope in a piece titled “TechSoup: Changing the world one click at a time.”[22]

Ms. Masisak's philosophy can be illustrated in a 2008 interview with the Columbia Business School Alumni News. "Some months ago, when I was visiting NGOs in China, I met a woman in her early 30's — a cancer survivor and single parent — who had enrolled in a Microsoft Excel course at a technology-training center for the disadvantaged that our program has benefited. She described Excel to me this way: ‘It’s like magic.’ That may sound funny to us, but Excel changed her life. It taught her a whole new skill set and gave her a sense of excitement about the possibilities in life ... on a holistic level, I’m inspired every day by the fact that we are doing something that is game-changing..."[23]

See also

References

External links

  • TechSoup Global
  • “#Spark13: Rebecca Masisak at the SPARK 4th Global Forum on Telecentres” May 29, 2013
  • “Expanding Internationally through Partnerships: Practical Lessons for 21st Century Nonprofits” Remarks by Rebecca Masisak and Marnie Webb, TechSoup Global co-CEOs, BoardSource Leadership Forum, November 11, 2010
  • “Private Sector Approach to Leveraging Technology for Social Change” Video of Rebecca Masisak, Plenary Session Speaker, Fifth Annual National Digital Inclusion Conference, London, March 11, 2010
  • “TechSoup sees upside for nonprofits in downturn” The San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2009
  • “Full Circle Fund Forum Interview with Full Impact Award Winner Rebecca Masisak” Full Circle Fund, 2008
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