A happy new year indeed for one nonprofit
For the nonprofit sector, perhaps the two most beautiful words in the English language are these: unrestricted funding.
That's money with no earmarks, no designated purpose, virtually no strings attached. It can be spent however the organization likes, including on professional development and strategic planning, which are often unaffordable luxuries for nonprofits.
Which explains why shouts of joy were recently heard at My Life My Choice, a Boston group that works to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. It's been named the latest "investee" of Social Venture Partners Boston, which operates like a venture capital firm for local nonprofits.
SVP looks for innovative organizations with strong leadership and the potential for big societal impact, and it tries to strengthen them with money and business advice. In its latest search, it vetted more than 20 groups, and the semi-finalists included Room to Grow, uAspire, and 826 Boston.
As the winner, My Life My Choice will receive $100,000 in unrestricted funds over the next three years, plus access to a network of business professionals who will lend their expertise.
When the good news arrived, recalled founder and director Lisa Goldblatt Grace (above), "there was some screaming — actual screaming!"
The money is a gift, she said, but the professional resources are invaluable.
"This will allow us to take a moment, breathe, and focus not only on the work we do right now, but how we can make it better," Grace added. For example, "there are parts of the state where this is happening to girls but there aren't well-trained service providers," she said. "So we want to figure out where we need to reach out to as opposed to just respond."
— SACHA PFEIFFER
RBC Global Asset plans to double its Boston staff
RBC Global Asset Management is expanding its Boston hub for sales and marketing.
The investment arm of banking giant Royal Bank of Canada has added space at its 225 Franklin St. offices downtown — enough room to nearly double its staff of 47, according to managing director Matthew Appelstein.
With $280 billion under its watch, mainly for pension funds and institutions, RBC's investment group is based in Minneapolis but, "the fastest growth is clearly in Boston,'' he said.
Appelstein is a longtime investment executive in Boston, having done stints with Old Mutual and before that Fidelity Investments.
"When I started, Ned Johnson had breakfast with you,'' Appelstein, 54, said of his time at Fidelity. "He would take five or six people in his private dining room."
Now RBC Global is looking to expand its reach with individual investors, he said, mainly by focusing on wealthy clients and advisers. The effort comes even as the bull market appears long in the tooth and 2015 has delivered near-zero returns to investors.
Said Appelstein, "In the next three to five years, the single biggest revenue opportunity in the world is US retail."
— BETH HEALY
When New Media Investment Group announced its latest deals, the public attention focused on its sale of the Las Vegas Review-Journa l. It's not hard to see why, given the strangeness involving casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and the effort to hide his involvement in the paper's purchase.
But there was another deal, one with bigger ramifications for the Boston area. New Media — known around here as GateHouse Media, a New Media subsidiary and predecessor — expanded its fast-growing empire by agreeing to buy the Dolan business and legal publications for an undisclosed amount. The national group includes the Boston-based Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly.
This is a huge prize for Kirk Davis, the Massachusetts-based COO of New Media and CEO of GateHouse, because, overnight, it makes his company one of the largest publishers of business journals in the country. Davis says this expansion into business-to-business media represents an important effort to diversify New Media beyond the community publishing it's known for — local papers such as the Telegram & Gazette, The Patriot Ledger, and the MetroWest Daily News, to name a few.
Davis sees Dolan's readers and advertisers as a natural audience for Propel Marketing, New Media's Quincy-based digital services business, and for his newly created events business, called GateHouse Live.
Davis says his company will look to add more B2B media brands to its portfolio through acquisitions. "The key is to expand the current properties that come with the deal, and [then] add to the group," Davis says in an e-mail.
Yes, the New Media/GateHouse expansion model often involves cost-cutting. "Certainly there are some synergies that we can capitalize on, but our primary focus will be on growth," Davis says, referring in part to plans to improve Dolan's online presence. "They don't have a digital suite of services today."
Here in Boston, publisher Susan Bocamazo says she doesn't expect any staffing changes to the 17-person team running Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly. She says there could be opportunities for her publications to share stories with the local GateHouse papers.
Local media consultant and lawyer Bob Ambrogi says he was surprised to learn that New Media/GateHouse was the Dolan publications' buyer. This is essentially a new market for the company, but Ambrogi says he sees parallels between legal publishing and community publishing: "It's just a different [kind of] community."
— JON CHESTO