What is a Social Entrepreneur – and why are we so focused on supporting them?
Over the past decade, a new generation of solutions-minded pragmatists have begun to apply conventional business and management skills to tackle chronic social and environmental problems.
These “Social Entrepreneurs” have created a transformative new field, pioneering practical, inventive, sustainable and scalable approaches to address the world’s most pressing social issues: poverty, disease, malnutrition, environmental degradation, injustice and illiteracy.
Combining the best of the traditional non-profit and for-profit models, these social innovators are creating disruptive new structures which seek to leverage the best of both models to develop entirely new, and game-changing solutions.
In our portfolio, these include social enterprises that:
In 2006, just after we created the Foundation, a great friend and member of our Board, Jerry Hildebrand, called with a proposition. He had been retained by the University of the Pacific inCaliforniato start one of the country’s first university-based centers for Social Entrepreneurship.
Jerry’s question for Ron – can I count on your support ??
Ron’s answer was an immediate yes – but he too had a few questions:
- What is Social Entrepeneurship ?
- Where is the University of the Pacific ?
In addition to a MapQuest link to the University of the Pacific campus in Stockton, CA (where Ron now serves on the Board of Regents), Jerry promptly forwarded what has become the seminal book on the social enterprise movement – - “How to Change the World”, by David Bornstein. (BetterWorldBooks).
The Foundation soon agreed to provide seed funding and Ron agreed to Chair the Board of Stakeholders for the newly formed Global Center for Social Entrepeneurship - – and over the next few years Jerry and Ron met with dozens of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs to build a world-class Board which now represents leaders from every continent and recipients of every major global award in the social enterprise sector (See – Board of Stakeholders).
Today, the GlobalCenteris recognized as one of the leading university-based social entrepreneurship centers in the world.. In addition to supporting the global Center, the Foundation also sponsors the Cordes Fellows program at theOpportunity Collaboration global poverty conference, which selects 50 of the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs to participate as delegates in the Collaboration held each Fall inIxtapa,Mexico.