Take Your Organization to the Next Level

People with dreams are a dime a dozen. I meet them all the time. So do you. Some even start organizations. But few ever have the impact they initially hoped for. They just can’t seem to get their project to the next level.

Goldfish Jumping from a Small Bowl to a Large One - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mikdam, Image #5754119

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mikdam

Enter Praxis, a new non-profit organization set up to help social entrepreneurs build high-impact organizations. What does the name mean? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, praxis is the practical application of a theory.

In this context, Praxis is designed to help you take your organization to the next level. It is a mentor-driven accelerator program for social entrepreneurs and innovators compelled by their faith to advance the common good.

Praxis provides:

  1. A year-long mentoring program for twelve early-stage organizations. The program includes encouragement, action-oriented education and planning, peer networking, and access to capital sources.
  2. Three unique opportunities to gather and learn in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Over twenty mentors will assemble to share key organizational development advice with “fellows” (those who are being mentored).
  3. Cash awards totaling $100,000. At the culmination of the program at Q 2012 in Washington, D.C., Praxis will award prizes of $50,000, $30,000, and $20,000 to each of the top three organizations.

A complete list of what fellows get is listed here.

Dave Blanchard, an entrepreneur and former Principal Designer at IDEO, founded Praxis in collaboration with Q, a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society. He has recruited a terrific set of mentors, many of whom I know personally. They include:

  • Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love On Her Arms
  • Jason Russell, founder of Invisible Children
  • Gabe Lyons, founder of Q and founding partner of Praxis
  • Chris Crane, former CEO of Opportunity International and founder of Edify
  • Jena Nardella, founder and executive director of Blood:Water Mission
  • Charles Lee, founder and CEO of Ideation
  • Peter Greer, president and CEO of HOPE International

You can find the complete list of accelerator mentors here.

If you are serious about taking your organization to the next level, the Praxis Accelerator Program is for you. You can learn more by visiting the Praxis website. They will be accepting applications from now until July 15, 2011. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Question: What could a program like the one Praxis provides make possible for your organization? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    A question… does Praxis work with non-profits based outside of the US? Might be a question for the Praxis folks directly.

    Michael, another great resource, thanks for the heads up. I will definitely be spreading this around, I work with young Christian leaders daily and this is perfect for development and continued mentoring!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know, Dave. Hopefully, one of the Praxis folks will jump in here with an answer.

    • Dave Blanchard

      Yes, we absolutely accept organizations located outside of the US! We’d encourage you to apply.


      • http://www.transformationalleadershiphq.com Mighty

        Sounds great. I’m from the Philippines and non-profits here can certainly benefit from what Praxis offers. I’ll send a heads up to some of the non-profits here.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to look into this.

  • Gary Taylor

    So…I’m up waaay early. My first words were, “Why, Lord?” of course. At 0330 I had a few choices. Pray for the Captivating and Man to Man weekends of friends. Done. Check out the new Master Writer for the book. On-going. Oh, check incoming and Tweets. AAaaaHA! Maybe this Praxis thing is it. So, a ripe hour behind me, MH, my dream nodes are lighting up.
    1. Soninlaw and co-author (Generational Fathering) has extraordinary talent as a MFT therapist for high-dysfunction teens (and their families)…and a dream.

    2. He’s young, I’m old, and I’ve been there. Done it, too. Enabling the vision from scratch

    3. 12 years as therapist and equine director at major residential youth ranch. It’s shutting its barn doors. Time for the dream to launch. But as a profit, non-profit, or L3C?

    4. A short-term residential ranch for entire families, vice sending the kid away for 2 or 3 years.

    5. And the money, property, incorporating things. What order, where to look?

    6. More the enabler than the practitioner, I’m all in with them (whole family).

    This responds to your closing question, now I think I’ll head over the Praxis

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Gary.

  • john ragsdale

    great post. thanks for the heads up on this. i am forwarding this to a young friend that has a fast growing non-profit, but could certainly use the mentorship.
    this reminds me of some of the church planting entities that are assisting and mentoring church start ups and church planters – one of them being arcchurches.com.
    it is great to see it happening for social entrepreneurs.

    • Dave Blanchard

      Thanks for sending someone our way, John! We appreciate the referral!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Michael, you have no idea how timely this post is. What an extraordinary list of mentors. Some amazing doors have opened up in the past week that might fit this premise. Thank you for sharing opportunities like this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, John. I think this is an amazing opportunity. I know so many social entrepreneurs who are stuck. This could provide just what they need to go to the next level.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Sounds excellent. Reminds me a tad of Ben Arment’s Dream Year program.

  • Louise Thaxton

    I think this is an incredible idea – and definitely something I will investigate and pray about this. Thank you for sharing the information. The book I am working on is about success through serving – and for the past several months I have been meditating on the principle of serving, and how most people miss out on true joy in live because they want to be SERVED rather than to SERVE.

    Several years ago, I felt a call to evangelism – and I thought I should quit my job and preach. God had other plans for me and my passion now is to share the love of Christ in the workplace.

    I have been interviewing various individuals for my book who have stories of incredible service. Because the majority of my clients are military (I am a mortgage banker with focus on VA loans), I have a heart for the military. I have become immersed in a non-profit http://www.BootCampaign.com and my team have a renewed passion for giving back to those wounded warriors when they come back (see blog – http://suitsinboots.wordpress.com).

    Yesterday, I spoke with Char Fontan Westfall, the widow of one of the Navy Seals killed in Operation Red Wing. She is passionate about 2 things – #1 Jesus #2 Serving the wounded warriors and their familes – Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vuxLM6lymI and blog on the widows perspective – http://bootcampaign.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/operation-red-wing-a-widows-perspective)

    So, mentorship by a group of individuals who could help me to clarify my vision of serving those who serve….well, it draws me.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

    Great article. Thanks for letting us know about something like this. I wish I had my persnal organization up and running to take advantage of something like this.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I have not attended any such program on a corporate/organizational level. But, personally I try to learn and apply some certain self improvement techniques. Currently, I am about to begin the book ” Put your dream to test” by John C Maxwell.

    P.S. I like today’s photo in the post a lot. The picture of jumping fish was very relevant and symbolic of today’s topic. Classic.

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    Wow…what great timing and how incredibly awesome! I just forwarded this whole message on to the team at LeadHer a new Women’s Ministry launching this weekend to “encourage, educate, equip, and exemplify biblical leadership for women so they can have a stronger impact within their spheres of influence.” This is a fantastic resource for us as a LeadHer team! Thanks again Michael for always being right on time with your information!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad this was timely. Awesome!

  • Anonymous

    This post raises a great question of how one defines a “social entrepreneur” and how Christians define “common good.” For the past two years, I’ve been learning how to community organize to meet a basic need in our neighborhood: physical fitness. It seems simple, and at least on a global scale, insignificant. But the impact in our little community has been HUGE. Now I wish I could expand to help other communities. Thanks for making me think!

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    What an amazing opportunity… and FOR Christians, too! I’m forwarding this to Bro. Charlie Haynes who is founder of Jacob’s Well — an organization that helps women overcome addictions (about 3% recidivation!) I’m teaching a class there. My heart goes out to these women who are trying hard to understand they are NOT worthless, but worthy in God’s eyes, worthy enough for Him to send His Son to die for them.

    • Dave Blanchard

      Thanks for sending the word around!

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    Wow that sounds amazing.
    Glad to see such talented people willing to share with others and take the call of mentoring serious.

    Thanks for sharing this Michael

  • Joe Lalonde

    Never heard of Praxis before. It sounds like a great organization doing some great things. I’ll keep my eye on them.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      My thoughts exactly.

  • http://www.adjuvancy.com/wordpress Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.

    This is an absolutely fantastic idea. Too many organizations lack the management/logistics/organizations skills to effect their mission fully. Zeal only goes so far. Kudos to Dave Blanchard and Q- and to you, for insuring more folks can learn about this wonderful new resource.

    • Dave Blanchard

      Thanks Roy!

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      I agree, Roy. This looks like a great idea for small Christian companies.

  • David Roth

    Michael, I am loving your Blog. My mentor and close freind Steve Graves is involved with Praxis. Are you at Q? By the way, love your fish pic. See our blog :-) http://fromsundaytomonday.org/

  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    Sounds like a fascinating organization; I just followed them on Twitter. Do they only work with startups?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think so, but, hopefully someone from Praxis will jump in with an answer. Thanks.

    • Dave Blanchard

      We generally look to work with organizations under $1m in revenue, new or old.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Sounds like a great plan!

  • Jmhardy97

    Thank you for sharing. I work with a non profit and this will be very helpful, especially from a Christian perspective.

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    This could also help with “take your blog to the next level”!

  • http://twitter.com/BobbyWarrenTDR Bobby Warren

    Praxis comes from the Greek word for “acts,” as in Acts of the Apostles. Conveys the idea of work, doing, taking action.

  • Givelovecoffee

    it could take Moon Monkey Coffee Company beyond a”me idea” to a God Sized Opportunity to impact others through connection in Life over coffee. The company is 6 years old and has been one-anothering on artists, authors, & leaders.

  • http://simplemom.net Tsh @ Simple Mom

    Personally, I love that they also welcome for-profit organizations — there’s still a world of good you can do socially while claiming a for-profit status. I’m looking into this now. Thanks so much for telling us about it!