Center for Social Entrepreneurship

at Middlebury

Vision Award

The Center for Creativity, Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship’s 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. The 2019 Vision Award winners are yet to be announced.

Past recipients of the CSE Vision Award include:

Marina Kim (2018) Marina Kim‘s work in social entrepreneurship dates back over 15 years. She co-founded and leads Ashoka U, which works with colleges and universities to embed social innovation as an educational focus and a strategic approach to aligning the university’s culture, programs and operations. To date, Ashoka U has worked with over 400 institutions globally. Marina’s writing on institutional change and higher education innovation has been featured in Forbes.com, SSIR.org, and the Diversity & Democracy Journal, and Ashoka U has been featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Huffington Post and The New York Times. Marina was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship and is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Northampton. Marina holds a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.


Anita Fernández (2018) is a scholar activist at Prescott College (Arizona) and teaches in both the undergraduate Education program and the graduate program in Social Justice and Human Rights.  Anita’s work in education began as a high school English teacher in Tucson, Arizona which later influenced her research to focus on preparing activist teachers who are both compassionate and critically conscious.  Anita is locally and nationally involved with organizations that focus on Latinx access to education, social justice activism, critical pedagogy and transformative teacher education.  Anita has worked closely with the now banned Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, and in that work she created a structure for the eliminated classes to continue on in a non-formal setting for college credit from Prescott College.  Anita co-founded La Tierra Community School, a K-8 Expeditionary Learning school in Prescott, AZ, and is also the co-founder and Director of XITO.



Bill Drayton (2012) has been a social entrepreneur since elementary school. By high school, he was an NAACP member, engaged 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-Carterentrepreneur 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. 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.


_D3_2547Dr. 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-ClarkJennifer 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.


CSE Symposium (Wednesday) 36Dr. Charlie MacCormack (2016) is currently an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University. He served as Executive-in-Residence at Middlebury College from 2012 through 2015, is the Senior Fellow for Private Development Assistance at InterAction and works with other international think tanks. From 1993 through 2011, Charlie was President of Save the Children, the world’s leading independent nonprofit organization serving children in need. From 2012 – 2015, he served on the CSE’s Advisory Board.



Cheryl Dorsey (2016) is a pioneer in the social entrepreneurship movement and president of Echoing GreCSE Symposium (Thursday) 71en, a global organization supporting next-generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. As an Echoing Green Fellow herself in 1992 she helped launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. She became the first Echoing Green Fellow to head the social venture fund in 2002.

She has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); Special Assistant to the Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and Vice Chair for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-present). She serves on several boards and has a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a master’s in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School. She received her bachelor’s degree in history and science magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges.


Michael J. Sorrell (2017) is the 34th President of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership, Paul Quinn has become nationally renowned for its innovative approach to using higher education to address societal problems. Michael received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (where his dissertation defense was awarded “with Distinction”). He is one of the founding members of the Journal of Gender Law & Policy. Among the entities on which President Sorrell serves as a trustee or director are Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, the College Board, the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, Amegy Bank, Dallas Advisory Board of Teach for America, the Dallas Foundation, the Dallas Regional Chamber, and Earth Day Texas. The Washington Monthly Magazine recently identified Michael one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents, and he is the only two-time recipient of the HBCU Male President of the Year Award in history. He was the 2016 recipient of both the Dallas Bar Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award and the Father of the Year Award for the City of Dallas.

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