I’ve been lite-blogging the past few days, as I’ve been attending the board meeting of the Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF), where I stepped down as board chair after fifteen years on the board, and the last twelve as board chair. MDLF is a nonprofit private investment fund that provides low cost financing and business expertise to media businesses in places around the world with a history of media oppression. Independent media that provide a reasonably large amount of straight news reporting. It’s an extraordinary organization, and I am both incredibly proud to have been associated with it from its founding up until today, and very sad to be stepping down from the board after all these years.
But I am leaving it in the excellent hands of Bernard Poulet, my old friend and redacteur-en-chef of L’Expansion in Paris, as the new board chair. And, thanks to the acumen of its staff, the organization is in stunningly good financial shape. The sale of a couple of equity investments left the organization cash rich at exactly the right time – but more importantly, that cash cushion gave MDLF the ability and confidence to be able to reschedule many of its clients loans, helping them weather the financial storm. Meanwhile, MDLF is backing a new newspaper in … Zimbabwe!
(I’ll say more on the fascinating topics of international venture philanthropy, development finance, and nonprofit governance later on. But MDLF held a lovely farewell dinner for me, and I was very touched.)