World-Class Blessed Unrest
Briar Dick Raymond founded the Portola Institute in 1966 as a nonprofit focused on new approaches to education. It was also a catalyst for several community-based groups, including the Menlo Park branch of the Briarpatch business network. Under the Institute’s umbrella, Dick also worked with Stewart Brand to publish a major counterculture touchstone, the Whole Earth Catalog beginning with the first issue in 1968. He also collaborated with Brand to launch the Point Foundation to responsibly manage the profits generated by the Catalog.
Raymond and Brand hired their friend, Briarpatch founder and former banker Michael Phillips, as Point Foundation’s first president.
Founded sometime in 1971-72 by Stewart Brand and Dick Raymond, with Michael Phillips as the first president, Point gave away $1 million in three years to assorted “effective individuals.” It was the umbrella for all the Whole Earth activities through 2003 and co-owned the WELL during that period.
Among the many remarkable projects funded by Point Foundation was the very first New Games Tournament held at the Gerbode Preserve in the Marin Headlands of Northern California. Stewart Brand had a major hand in its organization and design.
Common Good Association
Co-founded in 1980 by Michael Phillips, Fran Peavey, and a host of other community organizers, Common Good Association’s purpose was to create a “school” to provide training for the next generation of community organizers and advanced training for those with some experience already.
Lectures, classes, and workshops were led by organizers with many years of experience.
(See also Michael Phillips’ “History of the Common Good Association and School.”)
Founded in 1982 by fine artist Carole Rae Watanabe, Apprentice Alliance was a matching service between those seeking new skills in the arts, trades, and business and those willing to serve as “masters.” Several hundred matches were made in the 10 years of its active life.
As a result several apprentices learned a new trade and started businesses of their own.
Winner of the “Best Social Invention of 1987” award from the Social Invention Institute of London.
Compumentor (now known as TechSoup)
In the early 1980s, Daniel Ben-Horin was director of Media Alliance at Fort Mason. He and Briar Claude Whitmyer were next-door neighbors on Potrero Hill. Daniel credits Claude’s neighborly help with computer issues as the inspiration for Compumentor, the first nonprofit matching technologists who wanted to share their knowledge with nonprofits that needed tech volunteers. Whitmyer served as the founding treasurer of Compumentor.
Ben-Horin led Compumentor through a transformation into TechSoup, arguably the most successful technology helper organization offering assistance to nonprofits to date. As of 2017, TechSoup had more than 200 employees and a budget north of $30 million annually.