By Carol L. Cone
I recently attended a meeting of social entrepreneurs and other leaders from business, government, philanthropy, academia and the nonprofit sector at an event called the Gathering of Leaders, hosted by New Profit, a Boston-based national venture philanthropy fund.
New Profit’s mission is to harness America's spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to help solve our country's most pressing social problems, and the Gathering’s goal was on point: to catalyze the development of new ideas, relationships and resources to scale social innovation and transform public problem-solving on a broad scale.
This year’s Gathering focused on a few critical questions for the social sector to address:
I trust they will inspire you as they did me.
Peace First, a New Profit grantee and partner in the Reimagine Learning Fund, exists to create the next generation of “peacemakers” -- youth who are taking action in schools and communities to create greater understanding, cooperation and engagement for societal benefit.
“It’s not enough to teach a group of young people a set of skills, and then send them off into a world that doesn’t acknowledge them —and worse, actually undermines their 'peacemaking' efforts,” offered Peace First President Eric Dawson.
“We live in a culture of violence, hatred and intolerance. We need a compelling and competitive alternative — a cultural counterweight — that we can only create through a movement led by young people, who are powerful agents of social change.”
“The medical community has not even begun to have a comprehensive response to this crisis,” she said. Her 'big bet:' to develop a system of comprehensive routine screening, early detection and effective intervention to reduce the morbidity and early mortality from ACEs and toxic stress.
Like Amazon or Walmart, Founder and CEO Elizabeth Mason wants to provide an online marketplace – a “single stop” for social services. Single Stop aggregates and simplifies social service information linking to nonprofit services and government benefits creating comprehensive resources reaching millions to significantly reduce poverty.
That led to a new Kiva service, called social underwriting. Kiva Zip bases its lending decisions on a borrower character and trust network, re-inserting human relationships into the U.S. financial system.
Inspired by his personal journey to lose 100 pounds and realizing that the medical system needed to follow up on patient care beyond the initial visit, Vineet Singal started CareMessage to offer underserved populations a way to receive feedback for personal healthcare needs through mobile technology.
“Being a low-income patient is a significant predictor of low health literacy and poor self-management skills in terms of health behaviors. Being connected to healthcare providers especially via text messaging can often alleviate and prevent many common ailments, as well as support post treatment compliance,” he said.
CareMessage has already established contractual relationships with nearly 100 healthcare organizations and social services agencies in 17 states across the country joined by a shared vision of improving clinical outcomes and reducing cost of care.
Big bets? You bet.
For me the Gathering was a unique experience: quirky, compelling and immensely energizing. I was exposed to terrific new ideas, I met individuals with deep appetites for powerful collaboration and gained wonderful inspiration for my ongoing work to create distinctive public-private partnerships for business and societal impacts.
Want to connect with any of these entrepreneurs? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credits: 1) New Profit 2) and 3) Carol L. Cone
Carol L. Cone is a Global Chief Strategist for Business + Social Purpose at Edelman.