“Give us the Black Sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things. Those nobody is listening to…” – Pixar Director Brad Bird
Inspired by trips to Pixar, a group of Bay Area entrepreneurs, writers, artists, and social entrepreneurs started the BLK SHP (black sheep) in 2012. BLK SHP is focused on empowering the artist within us all, recognizing no one unlocks their creativity alone. We convene BLK SHP to forge genuine relationships and community, establish collaborations to work on projects and initiatives (“Operations”) that can benefit society, all while having a hell of a lot of fun. Today, the BLK SHP community numbers over 3,000 creative thinkers and doers in the US and abroad.
The BLK SHP have started and scaled several social ventures. In our first significant “Operation,” a group of the NYC BLK SHP formed the core team that founded #GivingTuesday, which is now a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media. The idea was the brainchild of Henry Timms who recruited a “motley posse” (as we came to call it) of conspirators and influencers including Adam Hirsch, Sharon Feder, Matthew Bishop, Aaron Sherinian, Asha Curran, and Peter Sims. In addition, the BLK SHP nationally mobilized everywhere from Kansas City social innovators to General Electric’s executive suite to those working in the White House to drive engagement as well as a White House endorsement. In the years that followed, the BLK SHP helped spread the idea into Europe. Today, GivingTuesday raises hundreds of millions of dollars in small philanthropic gifts annually.
FUSE is another such example. FUSE, which has become one of the fastest growing social ventures in America, recruits entrepreneurial leaders to serve in local mayors offices for a year — in order to solve problems creatively, across sectors, and from the bottom up. Thanks to a great team, FUSE has become one of the fastest growing social ventures in America, growing from 5 to 16 fellows in 2015, and to 35 fellows in 2017, tackling everything from developing a strategy and plan to combat widespread urban blight in Los Angeles to developing responses to opioid epidemic in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh or to preparing a strategic plan to address climate change in New Orleans.
Every once in a while, we also make angel investments in companies led by dynamic BLK SHP, with a social mission that parallels our own. GoldieBlox is one such company.