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Fast Company Magazine




The Meaning of "Social Entrepreneurship" - by J. Gregory Dees


The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship - by J. Gregory Dees


In his 1998 paper, Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Dees goes a long way in defining the profession of social entrepreneurship. "The idea of "social entrepreneurship" has struck a responsive cord. It is a phrase well suited to our times. It combines the passion of a social mission with an image of business-like discipline, innovation, and determination commonly associated with, for instance, the high-tech pioneers of Silicon Valley. The time is certainly ripe for entrepreneurial approaches to social problems. Many governmental and philanthropic efforts have fallen far short of our expectations. Major social sector institutions are often viewed as inefficient, ineffective, and unresponsive. Social entrepreneurs are needed to develop new models for a new century."

The Manhattan Institute Award for Social Entrepreneurship honors non-profit leaders who have found innovative, private solutions for America’s most pressing social problems.


Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management


The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, founded in 1990, is named for and inspired by the acknowledged father of modern management. By providing educational opportunities and resources, the Foundation furthers its mission to lead social sector organizations toward excellence in performance. Since its founding, the Drucker Foundation's special expertise and role has been to serve as a broker of intellectual capital, bringing together the finest leaders, consultants, authors and social philosophers in the world with the leaders of social sector voluntary organizations.  An interesting resource of ideas can be found in the archives of the "Innovation of the Week"section


Tipping Points in Social Networks - by Brad Hunter


Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point, has tipped public understanding of how new ideas, products, enterprises take off and shape behavior and markets in every field. This essay provides a useful description and analysis of how tipping points come to be and what we can learn from them about social change and innovation.

Other Related Organizations of Interest:

Board Cafe


Board Café is the electronic newsletter exclusively for members of nonprofit boards of directors. Short enough to read over a cup of coffee, the Board Cafe offers a menu of ideas, opinion, news, and resources to help board members give and get the most out of board service. Co-published by the National Center for Nonprofit Boards and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services.

Contact Information:

Jan Masaoka, Executive Director


706 Mission Street, 5th Floor

San Francisco, CA   94103


Telephone: 415-541-9000   Fax: 415-541-7708

Email: info@compasspoint.org


Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship


DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University's Fuqua School of Business has created the Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), a research and education center dedicated to promoting entrepreneurial leadership in the social sector. CASE is being financed by a $2.5 million grant over five years from The Atlantic Philanthropies, which will be matched over 10 years by $2.5 million from Fuqua's budget and money raised by the school. Atlantic is an international foundation that has supported social programs worldwide. Fuqua Dean Douglas T. Breeden said CASE is indicative of the school's commitment to educating thoughtful business leaders worldwide. He said it also provides a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation among Duke's business school, law school, divinity school, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and Office of Community Affairs. Heading CASE as faculty director is J. Gregory Dees, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of social entrepreneurship and non-profit management at Fuqua. Dees came to Duke from Stanford University, where he co-founded its Center for Social Innovation. In the mid-1990s, he was recognized as an academic pioneer in the field of social entrepreneurship because of his similar work at Harvard Business School.

Notable Feature(s): Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Contact Information:

J. Gregory Dees

The Fuqua School of Business

Duke University

Box 90120

Durham, NC   27708-0120


Telephone: 919.660.1937  

Email: gdees@duke.edu

Center for Social Innovation (CSI)


Stanford University's Center for Social Innovation promotes innovative, effective, and efficient solutions to social problems in the United States and around the world through research, teaching, and outreach. CSI pursues this mission in a number of ways: adapting business knowledge, experience, and skills to the challenges facing managers and organizations working to improve social conditions; bringing academic rigor to the generation of new knowledge that enhances our collective understanding of the social sector; and supporting and facilitating inquiry that illuminates the fundamental nature of important social problems.

Notable Feature(s): New in 2003 Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), a quarterly journal published by the business school presenting novel ideas at the intersection of the private and social sectors in nonprofit management, philanthropy, and corporate citizenship; SSIR's mission: To provide the best in research and practice-based knowledge to help the people who do the important work of improvind society do it even better. For more information write info@ssireview.com .

Contact Information:

The Center for Social Innovation

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford University

Stanford, CA   94305-5015


Telephone: 650-725-5399   Fax: 650.723.0516

Email: CSI_Info@gsb.stanford.edu

Digital Partners


Digital Partners, a Seattle-based nonprofit institute, taps the power of the digital economy to develop market-based solutions that benefit the world's poor. It does so by fostering a global leadership movement in which the market-development acumen of IT entrepreneurs is linked with the poverty-alleviation activities of social entrepreneurs, foundations, and development institutions. Digital Partners believes its ability to use IT and markets to address the needs of the wealthy can also be harnessed to address the needs of the poor.

Notable Feature(s): Programs and Social Enterprise Laboratory for strengthening the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Contact Information:

Digital Partners Institute

World Trade Center

2200 Alaskan Way

Suite 455

Seattle, WA   98121


Telephone: 206.770.9355  

Email: info@digitalpartners.org

Social Enterprise Alliance


The Social Enterprise Alliance is the only membership organization devoted exclusively to building sustainable nonprofits through earned income strategies. Our members are predominantly practitioners and grantmakers; the remainder are academics, technical consultants and for-profit businesses. Our practitioner members include both early stage entrepreneurs seeking the nuts and bolts knowledge to start and run a social purpose venture as well as established practitioners seeking an opportunity to exchange ideas with other pioneers of the field. The Social Enterprise Alliance links nonprofit executives who have operated in isolation with an ongoing forum for addressing the needs and concerns of the social entrepreneur.

Notable Feature(s): Resources on building sustainable nonprofits through earned income.

Contact Information:

Beth Bubis, CEO/President

Social Enteprise Alliance

Columbus, Ohio


Telephone: 614.235.0230  

Email: beth@se-alliance.org

Social Venture Network (SVN)


Founded in 1987 by some of the nation's most visionary leaders in socially responsible entrepreneurship and investment, Social Venture Network (SVN) is a nonprofit network committed to building a just and sustainable world through business. SVN promotes new models and leadership for socially and environmentally sustainable business in the 21st century. SVN champions this effort through initiatives, information services and forums that strengthen community and empower members to work together on behalf of their shared vision.

Notable Feature(s): SVN members' initiatives include the Social Venture Institute (SVI) , which, since 1996, has offered the leaders of socially responsible businesses and innovative nonprofits a forum in which to air their business problems and receive expert advice and mentoring by leading members of Social Venture Network. Founded by Gary Hirshberg, President and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, SVI was designed to provide an interactive and affordable way for socially conscious business ventures to explore ways to succeed.

Contact Information:

Social Venture Network

P.O. Box 29221

San Francisco, CA   94129-0221


Telephone: 415.561.6501   Fax: 415.561.6435

Email: svn@svn.org

Using Business Skills in the Service of Social Entrepreneurship


The Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures is a major initiative at the Yale School of Management focusing on social entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector. The Partnership was created to respond to a growing interest in income generation among nonprofit organizations. Many of these organizations seek to supplement their philanthropic activity with business income, but need assistance to do so. With major funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Partnership educates nonprofits about nonprofit enterprise, serves as a mechanism for capitalizing promising profit-making ventures with financial support, and provides intellectual capital to build the practice of social entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector at-large. It provides educational and financial support for nonprofit enterprise. The Partnership offers business planning assistance, cash awards, and access to the investment community through its National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations. Information and guidance on launching nonprofit ventures are available through an online resource center. Nonprofit organizations receive networking and training opportunities at the Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony.

Notable Feature(s): Details about the national business plan competition for nonprofit organizations; Resource Center.

Contact Information:

Yale School of Management - The Goldman Sachs Foundation

Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures

560 Sylvan Avenue

Englewood Cliffs, NJ   07632


Telephone: 201.894.8950   Fax: 201.894.8610

Email: venturesinfo@yale.edu

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