The Center for Social Entrepreneurship Vision Award is designed to recognize leadership and vision in the world of social entrepreneurship. Each year, the awards honor the contributions of two leaders who share a commitment to the ideals embedded in the center’s mission of preparing individuals to lead a life of social change. In early January, we look forward to announcing our 2016 Vision Award winners, who will join us at our 5th Annual January Symposium, scheduled for January 28th and 29th, 2016.
Past recipients of the CSE Vision Award include:
Bill Drayton (2012) has been a social entrepreneur since elementary school. By high school, he was an NAACP member, engage in and deeply moved by civil rights work. Once focused on such a chasm. any entrepreneur would have to ask: “What can I do?” At Harvard and Oxford, Bill did ask. Fully appreciating how central to significant change (“development”) entrepreneurs are, his answer was the Ashoka idea. He was a McKinsey and Company consultant for almost ten year, gaining wide experience serving both public and private clients. Bill Drayton received many awards for his achievements, among them the MacArthur Fellowship.
Jacqueline Novogratz (2012) is the founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty. Acumen Fund aims to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas. Her best-selling memoir The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World chronicles her quest to understand poverty, and challenges readers to grant dignity to the poor and rethink their engagement with the world.
Billy Parish (2013) dropped out of Yale to cofound the Energy Action Coalition, a national youth organization focused on clean energy and climate solutions. He is the founder and president of Oakland, California-based Mosaic, a company that uses crowdsourcing to enable individuals to finance solar projects and receive a return on their investment. Billy is the youngest person to receive the honor of an Ashoka Fellowship. Ashoka is a global nonprofit association of social entrepreneurs. Parish is coauthor of Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World.
Majora Carter (2013) is an eco-entrepreneur and host of the Peabody Award-winning public radio series The Promised Land. In 2001, Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx, which she headed up until 2008. At that time few were talking about “sustainability” and even fewer were talking about it in places such as the South Bronx. By 2003, Carter had coined the phrase “Green the Ghetto” as she pioneered one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems. Since 2008, her consulting company, the Majora Carter Group, has focused on climate adaptation and urban revitalization.
Shabana Basij-Rasikh ’11 (2014) is co-founder and president of SOLA (School of Leadership Afghanistan), a nonprofit that helps exceptional young Afghan women access education worldwide and jobs back home. SOLA is also the first, and perhaps the only, girls’ boarding school in Afghanistan.
Born and raised in Kabul, Shabana finished high school in the U.S. through the State Department’s Youth Exchange Studies program. She went on to attend Middlebury College, where she majored in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies in 2011. While at Middlebury, she founded HELA, a non-profit to empower Afghan women through education. She also raised funds across the U.S. to build a high school for girls in her ancestral village and wells in the outskirts of Kabul.
Today, 32 students attend SOLA’s preparatory program in Kabul. They range in age from 11 to 19 and represent all of Afghanistan’s major ethnic groups, tribes, and religious sects and 14 of its 34 provinces. The school’s mission is to provide these future leaders of Afghanistan with global educational opportunities so that they can return to develop Afghan solutions to Afghan problems.
Shabana was selected as one of Glamour® Magazine’s Top 10 College Women in 2010, and received the Vermont Campus Compact 2011 award for outstanding public service. In 2011–12 Shabana was the National Gender Mainstreaming Advisor at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul.
David Bornstein (2014) is a journalist and author who focuses on social innovation. He co-authors the Fixes column in The New York Times Opinionator section, which explores and analyzes potential solutions to major social problems. He is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which supports journalists who report on constructive responses to social problems.
His books include How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank, and Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know. He is currently completing a book on social innovation in the U.S. and Canada. He lives in New York.
Dr. Mitchell Besser (2015) is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. As an obstetrician and gynecologist, his professional career has been dedicated to the public health needs of women. Dr. Besser recognized the need for an education and psychosocial support program that would contribute to PMTCT services achieving the best medical and social outcomes. Hoping to fill this void, he created mothers2mothers, in which mothers living with HIV are employed to work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centers, educating and supporting pregnant women and new mothers with HIV. These Mentor Mothers, as they are called, reduce the workload of doctors and nurses and increase the effectiveness of interventions that protect babies from HIV infection and keep mothers healthy and alive.
Dr. Besser has received Global Health Council’s Best Practice Award, Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Presidential Citizens Award of the United States Government, and is an Ashoka and Schwab Fellow. He has presented at TED, appeared on BBC’s Forum and has given a Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
Jennifer Staple-Clark (2015), then a sophomore at Yale University, founded Unite For Sight in her dorm room. Unite For Sight is now a leader both in global health education and in providing cost-effective care to the world’s poorest people. She has been featured twice in Nicholas D. Kristof’s columns in The New York Times. She was also featured weekly on CNN International in 2007 and 2008.
Jennifer is the recipient of the 2011 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, presented by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to “an individual whose contributions in the realm of community service, advocacy or grassroots activism have elevated the debate or changed the landscape with respect to a public issue or issues.” In 2013, she received the Praxis Award in Professional Ethics from Villanova University. Jennifer also received the American Institute of Public Service’s 2009 National Jefferson Award For Public Service, which is regarded as the “Nobel Prize” for public service. In 2007, Jennifer was awarded a BRICK Award, which honors and funds change-makers who identify problems and work to change the world. She has also been featured in the book Our Time is Now: Young People Changing the World, as well as in many other publications.