A $10 million gift from The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation has established the
nation’s first comprehensive Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program at
Harvard University. The grant will provide for more than 100 fellowships at the
Social Entrepreneurship is an exciting, new interdisciplinary field with
significant potential to remedy a host of intractable societal ills that have
plagued humankind for generations. It does so by merging time-tested financial
theories and practices with solid scientific research and proven methodologies,
resulting in creative, effective solutions that draw on the best of both worlds.
This crossing of traditional boundaries between commerce and academia in the
interest of achieving enlightened social goals holds enormous promise, but has
not been pursued in a major, systematic way at the very highest levels of the
American educational system.
The establishment of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellowship Program at
Harvard is a benchmark in the development of more effective approaches to
teaching, learning, and research in social entrepreneurship. To date, most
social entrepreneurs have emerged from business backgrounds, and have been
self-taught with regard to the social maladies they sought to alleviate. The
vision underlying the Reynolds Foundation gift – and which makes it unique – is
that it will enable the teaching of entrepreneurial and academic skills to be
combined in a structured, contemporaneous, and heretofore unprecedented way.
The Program is designed to prepare talented young people for national leadership
positions as social entrepreneurs – real world practitioners, who will be able
to develop innovative solutions to our most urgent social problems. Perhaps most
importantly, the Program will give them the skills they need to create solutions
that are not only effective, but are also practical and financially sustainable.
This solid grounding in economic reality – as essential to the success of
nonprofit social action programs as it is in any for-profit enterprise – is what
sets the Reynolds Foundation Program and its Fellows apart. This new generation
of social entrepreneurs will be able to bring vast, untapped reserves of
imagination and ingenuity to be a positive impact on the societal problems
confronting America and the world in the 21st Century.
There are three major components to the Social Entrepreneurship Program made
possible by the Reynolds Foundation’s $10 million gift to Harvard.
- First, there is the Fellowship Program which will fund tuition and stipends for
more than 100 master’s degree candidates at Harvard’s Graduate School of
Education, School of Public Health, and John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Second, the gift will establish a Leadership Fund to underwrite a wide array of
curricular and co-curricular activities, programs and events that complement the
Fellowship Program and further its goals. These will include off-campus visits
to actual social action endeavors, face-to-face meetings between Fellows and
successful social entrepreneurs, and a Business Plan Award Competition open to
all Harvard students.
- Finally, the Reynolds Foundation gift will support a Visiting Dignitaries
Program, whereby high-profile national and international leaders will be invited
to speak on leadership experiences and challenges at one or more of the Harvard
Schools mentioned above.
Through these initiatives, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation seeks to nurture
leaders that will create viable, self-sustaining enterprises capable of
developing effective practical answers to pressing domestic social issues.
Countless members of our society – and of societies around the world – stand to
Lawerence H. Summers, President of Harvard University, announces
the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellows for Social Entrepreneurship
at Harvard University during the 2005 Academy of Achievement Summit.
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