Newsworthy

Business for Impact is here to support you and all of our partners committed to unleashing the power of business to do good – especially in these challenging times. We are heartened to see so many of our corporate partners responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with generosity and innovation. While this lethal virus is devastating communities, crushing the global economy, decimating entire industries, and putting millions out of work, businesses are launching new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to help families, workers, and communities fight back.

In this first installment of Business for Impact’s e-newsletter focused on CSR and the coronavirus, we feature some of our corporate partners’ early responses to the pandemic highlighting what works across various industries – from retrofitting breweries to manufacture hand sanitizer to ramping up pharmacy telehealth, and more.

Woman putting hand sanitize on her hands.

In times of crisis – whether due to a pandemic, earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, or other disasters – the best CSR efforts first meet urgent needs of people most impacted. This includes the employees and customers who are part of the local communities where a business sources and operates. Smart CSR strategies leverage all of the assets in a business’ arsenal, including not only real-time philanthropy but also brand power, operational capabilities, supply chain leverage, customer networks, nonprofit partnerships, and more. Let’s look at how some of our corporate partners are deploying these CSR best practices today.    When disaster strikes, vulnerable communities need cash to address immediate needs. Bank of Americacommitted $100 million to communities impacted by the coronavirus. Business for Impact was proud to see our founding partner act quickly after the pandemic was announced on March 11 by the World Health Organization. Funds will bolster medical response, food insecurity, access to learning, and support for vulnerable populations in Bank of America’s local markets.

Other generous cash donors include our New Strategies for Nonprofit Leaders program sponsors JPMorgan Chase, who committed $50 million globally to communities impacted by the pandemic; American Expresswho pledged $5 million to support groups like International Medical Corps and Feeding America; and Wells Fargo who will give $175 million.Some industries are well-positioned to help fight the virus on thefront lines, including pharmaceutical and goods retailers like CVS HealthandTarget.

CVS Healthis using all the tools in its arsenal to make a positive impact on customers and communities during the crisis. CVS Health remains committed to keeping its stores open. To meet exploding demand, CVS Health is ramping up capacity to serve customers, including hiring 50,000 more workers and giving $500 bonuses to employees who work during the COVID-19 crisis. Also, CVS Health is pivoting to help communities in need by ramping up no-cost home-delivery services, waiving co-pays for subscribers to Aetna insurance, lifting refill limits, and more to promote social distancing.

Targetis also scaling up while investing more than $300 million in added wages, introducing a new paid leave program, offering bonus payouts, and relief fund contributions. In order to respond to community needs quickly and effectively, Target is inviting its “guests” (customers) to direct which local nonprofits receive its corporate donations.Companies are rejiggering manufacturing capabilities to produce urgently needed supplies and ensure that essential goods flow through supply chains.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev) operates breweries worldwide, including in China where COVID-19 first surfaced. ABInBev quickly pivoted to manufacture hand sanitizer and disinfectant to donate to hospitals and frontline healthcare workers, using alcohol extracted from the brewing process of its non-alcohol beers. Here in the United States, ABInBev’s Budweiser is redeploying its sports sponsorship investments to keep stadiums open for American Red Cross blood drives.

Stock image of water bottles.

The global food company Nestlé is laser-focused on keeping products moving through sustainable supply chains and into local markets and stores.Nestlé has promised to pay full salaries to employees affected by work stoppages for a minimum of three months and has temporarily raised wages for factory and distribution center workers in order to protect them from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Also, Nestlé is donating food, bottled water, medical nutrition, and cash to impacted communities.These are a few examples of effective corporate responses to COVID-19. We will share more highlights from our partners in future Business for Impact e-newsletters throughout this crisis, with insights into both how companies can best respond in real-time and how they can aid longer term relief and recovery. We know from our experience working in and teaching CSR here at the McDonough School of Business that fighting a crisis like COVID-19 is not just a sprint – it’s a marathon.

We invite you to help us understand what else companies are doing, including what’s workingwhat’s not, and what business can do betterby sharing your stories with us on Twitter using the hashtag  #CSR+COVID-19 or email businessforimpact@georgetown.edu (new window).

Finally, a heartfelt thank you to all of our partners – especially our New Strategies nonprofit leaders who work in health, medical, and social service fields risking their lives to fight on the front lines every day.

Thank you.

One of the co-founders of the global PR agency Porter Novelli, Bill Novelli is a recognized leader in social marketing and social change. He is a professor of practice in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, and teaches courses in Corporate Social Responsibility, Principled Leadership for Business and Society, and Leadership and Management of Non-proft Organizations. Diane Ty is Senior Partner leading the Portion Balance Coalition and AgingWell Hub at Business for Impact – an initiative founded by Bill Novelli at McDonough; its mission is to help solve the world’s most pressing issues by delivering world-class education and impactfl student experience, and through direct action with global companies, nonprofts and government leaders. Bill and Diane share with us their experience of applying deep consumer insights to purpose-led communication initiatives.

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Being the primary caregiver comes with its fair share of challenges — not least of which can be knowing when and how to fill other family members in on what’s happening with your loved one, and asking for help when necessary. 

“There are several multi-functional caregiver apps, with some including a way to keep family members updated on the day-to-day status of a loved one,” says Diane Ty, senior partner and director at AgingWell Hub, a program at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact, where various organizations collaborate to help seniors. She recommends Caring VillageCaringBridge and Lotsa Helping Hands.

Read the full article. 

Over 130 attendees gathered to hear from retail executives Amy Hall, vice president of social consciousness, Eileen Fisher; Jennifer Gootman, vice president of social consciousness and innovation, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.; and Jesse Sneath, director of social innovation, Warby Parker. Business for Impact at Georgetown University’s McDonough School Business, together with Georgetown’s graduate Retail and Luxury Association (GRLA), hosted a panel discussion, “The Future of Social Impact in Retail,” on Feb. 11. Vishal Agrawal, Provost’s Distinguished Lapeyre Family Associate Professor, moderated the event. 

The retail executives discussed how sustainability is transforming their companies and the retail industry. Also, they shared how social impact has helped to drive their own career paths. 

Hall (B ’83)] kicked off the discussion and noted that she is a Georgetown alum who majored in Chinese and is an avid cyclist who built her own bike from bamboo. 

“After spending nine years fundraising for nonprofits, I answered an ad to be an assistant at Eileen Fisher, then a small women’s clothing company, where I held several jobs before combining my fundraising ability with a desire to contribute to helping people,” said Hall. 

As the only Chinese speaker on staff during a time when almost all of the company’s production was occurring in China, Hall found herself in a fortuitous position — she was able to communicate directly with suppliers. As the community relations manager, she immediately began to focus on the company’s supply chain as news about sweatshops was beginning to make national headlines and decided to take action to bring a human rights lens to the company’s work. 

Today, Hall is continuing the work she began to position the company as leaders in human, environmental, and economic stability. Hall is also guiding the company to align with its Benefit B Corporation status and Quadruple Bottom Line framework, and wants to influence their customers and future generations on sustainability. 

“Create change from the bottom up,” said Hall. “When visiting the base of your supply chains, you need to understand how farmers or whoever is crafting the product are growing the materials. Look into their practices and then engage them to think differently about improving those practices.”

A friend of a friend told Sneath that one of her friends was working on a startup and that she should get in touch. Nearly 10 years later, Sneath is now the director of social innovation at Warby Parker. 

Sneath recalled that the first conversation with the founders. “It surprised me as I did not think my belief system could be mirrored in a company’s mission,” said Sneath. 

Her first job was in customer experience where she realized in order to take good care of the customer, it was equally important to focus on the employees. 

“If the employees are also mission driven, then the customer would be in good hands,” said Sneath. 

For the last eight years, Sneath has been running the company’s social innovation team, which includes the company’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Sneath expanded on this program and began the Pupil Project, which gives free screenings and glasses to students in New York City schools. Today over 270,000 students have glasses, and the program is now serving students in the Baltimore area.

“Look for these careers as the job can live under many divisions within a company and it’s a continually evolving space,” said Sneath. “Our employees usually come to us for our social mission, and all teams need to understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.”

Gootman is now the vice president of social consciousness and innovation for Williams-Sonoma, Inc., where she spearheads social and environmental impact across the company’s eight brands. Before Williams-Sonoma, Inc., Gootman had several careers, including being a travel writer and a workforce developer for a nonprofit. She realized she wanted to find a career where she could follow her career passion to make jewelry. 

“While in Nicaragua for a summer program, I did a consulting project to encourage youth to stay in school, which inspired me to combine my love to create with business,” said Gootman. 

In 2011, Gootman went to work for West Elm, a modern furniture and home décor company, a division of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. She started there when the brand made its first public commitment to scale handcrafted products. Then, she launched the company’s partnership with Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. The company just celebrated five years of partnership, and is the first global home retailer to partner with this organization. 

“A commitment to craft and how things are made is what drives me, and those who work in sustainability see things how they could be not how they are,” said Gootman. “A company needs both visibility and ripple effects. The Board and the CEO need to be interested and engaged — you need that level of accountability and insight. Cross function ownership is key, and is the only way to drive programs forward.”

Students from the GRLA helped to organize this event along with Business for Impact.

“It is critically important to connect students with business leaders who inspire them,” said Daniel Schneider-Weiler (MBA’21), president of GRLA. “All three companies are  great examples of how the retail industry is responding to sustainability.”

Olivia Wujek (MiM’20) said, “I care about the underlying mission of a company, as I want to align my work in the future with purpose. I am looking for companies that truly make a positive impact on the world.”

For more information about Business for Impact, visit https://businessforimpact.georgetown.edu/.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition is a chance for organizations and coalitions to submit proposals for the chance to win a $100 million grant to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

The vision care proposal was created under the leadership of the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the release states. Other partners include Global Vision 2020 and Georgetown University Business for Impact.

Read the full article.

High-scoring 100&Change applications featured in Bold Solutions Network

Washington, D.C. — The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today unveiled ‘Let There Be Sight’ as one of the selected proposals designated as the Top 100 in its 100&Change competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

‘Let There Be Sight’ combines the talents of lead partner, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, with supporting partners Georgetown University’s Business for Impact, OneSight and Global Vision 2020, to address the world’s largest disability.  Over one billion people, mostly in the Global South, need basic reading or distance correction, but do not have access to eyeglasses. This consortium leverages four proven, field-tested approaches to create a sustainable, scalable, low-cost system that provides access to vision care through a series of vision centers. These centers will be located in local health centers and support a network of ‘Visionpreneurs’ who will travel to private sector workplaces and remote communities, offering on-site exams and glasses. They will be recruited from the large percentage of young people in the Global South who are unemployed. Business for Impact’s role will focus on training and supporting the Visionpreneurs, and on providing eyeglasses to employees in private sector workplaces.

The Top 100 represent the top 21 percent of competition submissions. The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review, a Peer-to-Peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges, and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project.

Each proposal was evaluated using four criteria: impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposalsthis spring.

”We are honored to be among the top 100 applicants and to have the opportunity to work with our partners,” said Gael O’Sullivan, Senior Partner at Business for Impact. “This project aligns with our mission, which is focused on leveraging the power of the private sector to solve social problems.  In this case, our model is a win-win for businesses.  They will see an immediate substantial return on investment through increased employee productivity, as well as via reductions in workplace injuries and accidents.”

MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change. “Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”

Since the inaugural competition, other funders and philanthropists have committed an additional $419 million to date to support bold solutions by 100&Change applicants. Building on the success of 100&Change, MacArthur created Lever for Change (new window) to unlock significant philanthropic capital by helping donors find and fund vetted, high-impact opportunities through the design and management of customized competitions. In addition to 100&Change, Lever for Change is managing the Chicago Prize, the Economic Opportunity Challenge, and the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award.

Bold Solutions Network Launches

The Bold Solutions Network launched today, featuring Business for Impact, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, OneSight and Global Vision 2020, one of the Top 100 from 100&Change. The searchable online online collection of submissions contains a project overview, 90-second video, and two-page factsheet for each proposal. Visitors can sort by subject, location, Sustainable Development Goal, or beneficiary population to view proposals based on area of interest.

The Bold Solutions Network will showcase the highest-rated proposals that emerge from the competitions Lever for Change manages. Proposals in the Bold Solutions Network undergo extensive evaluation and due diligence to ensure each solution promises real and measurable progress to accelerate social change.  

The Bold Solutions Network was designed to provide an innovative approach to identifying the most effective, enduring solutions aligned with donors’ philanthropic goals and to help top applicants gain visibility and funding from a wide array of funders. Organizations that are part of the network will have continued access to a variety of technical support and learning opportunities focused on strengthening their proposals and increasing the impact of their work. 

More About 100&Change

100&Change is a distinctive competition that is open to organizations and collaborations working in any field, anywhere in the world. Proposals must identify a problem and offer a solution that promises significant and durable change.

The second round of the competition had a promising start: 3,690 competition registrants submitted 755 proposals. Of those, 475 passed an initial administrative review. 100&Change was designed to be fair, open, and transparent. The identity of the judges and the methodology used to assess initial proposals are public. Applicants received comments and feedback from the peers, judges, and technical reviewers. Key issues in the competition are discussed in a blog on MacArthur’s website.

In the inaugural round of 100&Change, Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee were awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Syrian response region and to challenge the global system of humanitarian aid to focus more on building a foundation for future success for millions of young children. 

Media contact: Berry Brady, berry_brady@yahoo.com, 703-609-6643

Bill Novelli speaking at the World Social Marketing Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Bill Novelli, founder of Business for Impact gave the keynote address at the 2019 World Social Marketing Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. Novelli discussed his social marketing expertise to drive social change.

“When we started Business for Impact nearly a decade ago, one of our students – in learning about business doing well by doing good, remarked, ‘Especially with issues like the climate, there’s a huge business opportunity there, and there’s going to be a huge market for solving it.’ Earlier, we were relegated to charity or do-gooder-ism, but we now know it can also make you money.

The public is concerned about companies’ impact on the environment. But at the same time, the public has come to expect, even demand that companies do good – to take a positive stand on social issues, to support communities and to invest in causes and nonprofits.

Companies are moving along the continuum toward greater corporate social responsibility, or better stated, doing well b doing good and integrating social and environmental strategies into their core businesses. There are good reasons for doing this, from profit to cost savings, employee satisfaction and engagement, attracting talented new employees, like our Georgetown students, competitive advantage and license to operate.”

View the full keynote address.

Georgetown McDonough (new window) MBA students interested in embracing environmental, social, and governance programs now have the option of a new MBA Certificate in Sustainable Business. The Certificate, available to both Full-Time and Flex MBA students starting this season, will prepare graduates to address the social and environmental challenges facing the business world. They’ll understand how to integrate sustainability into all business functions and continually respond to shifts in consumer demand, employee interest, industry volatility, and more.

Read the full article.

Fink’s pledges — including a “commitment to accountability,” proxy pressure on boards and actions to avoid thermal fossil fuels — “have teeth” compared to a high-level commentary on sustainability only a year earlier, said Leslie Crutchfield, executive director at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact center. “Yes, more-progressive advocates for [environmental, social and governance] investing will say BlackRock is late to the parade, but this [year’s letter] is not lip service.”

Read the full article.

Things are changing, and for the better – for the betterment of corporations, for their employees and for society.  In our Business for Impact center at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, two of our key operating principles are that business can and should be a powerful force for good, and that complex societal problems can only be solved by leaders working effectively across sectors: private public and civil society. Bill Novelli, founder of Business for Impact shares three changes currently occurring in social impact work:

  1. The role of private sector in advancing people, planet, and profit
  2. A broader application of social marketing
  3. Exciting new opportunities to carve out meaningful careers in social impact

Let’s take advantage of all this to make a real dent in the universe.

Read the full article.

Young people, who tend to be politically progressive, are being confronted with the ascendancy of conservative movements in many countries, which is pushing them toward activism. And they are using social-media tools to mobilize large numbers of youths to protest quickly. Those factors set them apart from previous generations of youth activists, says Leslie Crutchfield, executive director of Business for Impact at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and author of How Change Happens: Why Some Social Movements Succeed While Others Don’t.

Read the full article.

DTN photo by Joel Reichenberger

Matt McKenna, executive in residence at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact, presented at the 13th annual DTN Ag Summit to explain why rural America continues to struggle to attract financial investors and what venture capital firms are looking for.

“I don’t blame the investment itself. I don’t blame the entrepreneurs. I don’t blame bankers. What I blame is a disconnect between the financial resources and the information available and the awareness of it,” McKenna said. “That fear and that wariness (about venture capital) is largely attributable to a lack familiarity, to a feeling that — what am I going to lose, as opposed to what am I going to gain? And the way to make that conversion is by education, experience and awareness.”

Read the full article.

As gridlock persists in addressing our nation’s critical infrastructure challenges – America’s roads, bridges and railways – a similar, yet vastly underreported set of challenges exist with our natural infrastructure: namely, the loss of our large privately-owned working forests. Consider the following: 36 million acres of forestland have disappeared over the past 30 years. Another 37 million more acres are at risk of fragmentation and development. It’s quietly becoming an irreversible environmental and economic crisis for communities across the country.

As companies competing in the 21st century embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs and integrate these strategies throughout their businesses, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is launching an MBA Certificate in Sustainable Business to prepare graduates to address urgent environmental and societal challenges that affect companies’ operations and business models. 

The certificate will be open to both Full-time and Flex MBA Program students in the spring of 2020. It offers students the opportunity to hone their ability to lead and manage organizations that are both profitable and sustainable through the lens of ESG.

“Companies understand the need to incorporate sustainability approaches into all business functions in response to changing consumer demand, shifting employee interests, increased volatility in supply chains, greater exposure to public scrutiny, and other factors,” said Vishal Agrawal, Provost’s Distinguished Lapeyre Family Associate Professor and academic director of the certificate. “It is imperative that our MBA students understand how to assess and identify these challenges and opportunities as they assume management and leadership positions after graduation.”  

The MBA Program developed this interdisciplinary certificate in collaboration with Agrawal and the school’s Business for Impact initiative. The development of the certificate was partially supported by a grant from Georgetown University’s 2019 Laudato Si’ Fund.

“A heightened curricular focus on sustainable business supports Georgetown McDonough’s goal to educate students to be responsible business leaders,” said Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley Chair. “The certificate reflects Georgetown McDonough’s focus on educating our students in ways that can help them enhance their own success, help businesses achieve their goals and at the same time make the world a better place.”

Students who elect to enroll in the certificate program will take a 10.5-credit sequence of integrated MBA core and elective courses to build understanding of challenges and opportunities related to business sustainability and how to address them. Upon graduation from the MBA Program, students will receive a notation on their official university transcript along with a certificate of completion.

The school has two elective courses that are fundamental to the program:

  • Environmentally Sustainable Operations and Business Models, which takes on a business-oriented perspective by focusing on voluntary or economically motivated sustainability considerations and initiatives.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility, which focuses on the relationship between business, society, and the environment, and its evolution to ESG in its most current form.

MBA students will be able to apply for the program starting January 2020. For more information, visit this website

Matt McKenna, with Georgetown University’s School of Business, explaining why large investment firms shy away from investing in rural water projects.

Listen to the full article.

As gridlock persists in addressing our nation’s critical infrastructure challenges – America’s roads, bridges and railways – a similar, yet vastly underreported set of challenges exist with our natural infrastructure: namely, the loss of our large privately-owned working forests. Consider the following: 36 million acres of forestland have disappeared over the past 30 years. Another 37 million more acres are at risk of fragmentation and development. It’s quietly becoming an irreversible environmental and economic crisis for communities across the country.

Working forests provide us with clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. They support species diversity and generate more than 8.5 million jobs in the forest products and outdoor recreation industries. Perhaps even more important, they are an essential part of our nation’s efforts to address climate change, sequestering 12-15% of the United States’ annual carbon emissions.

As a country, we need to keep these forests intact and create a pathway for their permanent conservation as sustainable, working forests – and fast. This is where the bond markets come into play. In today’s economy, they are particularly good at identifying recurring streams of cash flow, risk adjusting and lending against them. Public policy isn’t a viable solution for a number of reasons – particularly state budget priorities that result in forest protection being an afterthought. According to the Institute of International Finance, total green and sustainability debt issuance in 2019 is projected to double levels from 2017. It will be nearly four times the level of issuance compared to 2016. So why not harness the bond market to help acquire these assets when they come up for sale in order to buy the time required to work out a permanent solution?

It’s worth noting that this isn’t a commercial proposition, but one defined by the non-profit sector. It has found a way to tap into the investment grade bond market and help re-engineer the markets to protect forests and stem the pace of loss. An abundance of capital and at-risk working forestlands, combined with a low-interest rate environment, squarely works in favor of conservation solutions that investors are gravitating toward. We must build on this.

Consider the example of The Conservation Fund, an Arlington, VA-based nonprofit that recently issued the first-ever green bond for conservation – a $150 million ten-year investment-grade offering. It provides a glimpse into how we might protect these forests. Investors received a market yield (thanks mostly to the revenue from sustainable tree harvesting) and the Fund received critical capital to accelerate their purchase of high conservation value forests when they become for sale. Once acquired, the Conservation Fund works with public agencies to put in place conservation easements that lock in the environmental and local economic benefits associated with working forests. Moreover, by combining philanthropic capital with the bond proceeds, there is a real chance to achieve impact at scale that is truly significant in moving the needle on climate change and rural economic development.

The power of the capital markets to leverage philanthropy and government action is real. We can achieve permanent, tangible results on the ground at the speed and magnitude these great challenges demand. The world needs this kind of innovation, bringing the strength of the markets to bear on the greatest land use challenge in America today. While the world waits for governments to align their policies and practices to address the climate crisis, this is something permanent we can do right now. In short, we buy critical time. Let’s seize upon it.

Robert Bonnie, Executive in Residence at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, served as Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Obama Administration. Matthew McKenna was a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and currently leads the Rural Opportunity Initiative at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business

How Change Happens explains why some of the most significant 21st century shifts happened. By studying the movements behind many important causes—from LGBT marriage equality and tobacco control, to gun rights expansion, acid rain reduction and more, author Leslie Crutchfield explores how society came to celebrate gay weddings and ban smoking in public, and at the same time allow guns to be carried in most U.S. states, and friends won’t let each other drive drunk. The answer to why some movements succeed while others don’t is not what you think.  

According to Leslie Crutchfield and her team at Georgetown, who have crunched the numbers and compared the data, “There’s no real recipe for social change, no ‘movement in a box’ that we can put in place to create a more equitable, just society” (ix). But there is good news: These researchers have identified six strategies that “seemed to distinguish the effective movements from the others”:

  1. Strong grassroots
  2. Builds momentum state-by-state 
  3. Changes hearts and policy 
  4. Partners with “Adversarial Allies” 
  5. Partners with Corporations
  6. “Leader-full” (12-14)

Read full article.

A strategic planning process involving all members of the Portion Balance Coalition (PBC) resulted in our work being grounded with three key strategic pillars: 1) Individual Empowerment; 2) Food Landscape; and 3) Collaborative Learning, Sharing & Amplifying. Together, these strategic focus areas combine to define our theory of change: activating consumers to create demand and acceptance for balanced food portions, enabling industry to respond to the demand.

“The solution here can’t be solved by one sector alone, we’d all be talking past each other,” says Ty, who works at Georgetown University’s business school as the coalition’s project director. The group’s diversity makes it uniquely powerful among previous efforts; it’s also a powder keg. Still, members of the coalition think it’s worth a shot.

Read full article.

“It’s a good sign for the category, we are all collectively growing,” said Seth Goldman, executive chairman of Beyond Meat, when asked about new alternative meat products during a recent interview at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact, part of the McDonough School of Business.

Read full article.

You’ve heard about portion control, but what is portion balance? Stephanie Ho, Diane Ty, Portion Balance Coalition leader and senior partner at Business for Impact, and Stephenie Fu, CNPP, discuss why diverse partners are working together to define portion balance.

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Los Angeles officials are considering banning all e-cigarettes and vaping devices in the city, one of the most extreme proposals yet to curb a nationwide outbreak of lung illnesses linked to vaping.

“We really did get the rates down pretty low, and then this e-cigarette thing happened and it all kind of blew up again,” said Gael O’Sullivan, an expert in health marketing at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. “As unfortunate as these illnesses or deaths are, it’s a tipping point where it really is a public health emergency.”

Read full article.

Matt McKenna, a founder of Georgetown University’s Rural Opportunity Initiative and Executive in Residence, shared with Agri-Pulse to why rural areas need more, not less government funding. ROI aims to serve rural American communities by driving financially and socially-sustainable rural development. It has been well-established that rural businesses lag behind their urban counterparts in terms of venture and early growth capital investment, and accessing debt and operating capital. “You can’t expect people to move where the opportunities are, you have to bring the opportunities to the people,” says McKenna.

At the same time, private investors are eager to identify and support rural growth opportunities, but most are not aware of what is available, and often the deals are misaligned with traditional investment models. The investor experience in U.S. rural communities in some ways mirrors that of impact investors in search of deals overseas in developing regions, where the amount of capital is more robust than the pipeline of deals, and a mismatch exists between the levels and kinds of returns investors seek, and what small and growing businesses can offer. 

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Many MBA programs across the nation have noticed a steep rise in social impact interest and continue to respond to the growing interest in social innovation. Stanford Graduate School of Business reports more than 90% of the 488 Stanford GSB MBA and specialty business master’s students took a course related to social innovation or social impact.

At Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Business for Impact believes solving our world’s most complex challenges requires collaboration across sectors – public, private, and nonprofit. Business must be at the table in order to succeed. The initiative creates partnerships with business, government, and non-profit leaders to co-create solutions and drive positive impact.

With more than 100 current Business for Impact student leaders, Georgetown students have access to additional course electives and hands-on experience working with external partners in the field.

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The Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI), founded in 2011 by Bill Novelli at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, is now Business for Impact. Our dedication to solving the world’s most pressing issues through delivering world-class education, impactful student experience, and direct action with global companies, nonprofits, and government leaders remains at the center of our work. We look forward to continue teaching and working with students and companies to manage the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.

Photo of farm with rolling hills in background.

For over a decade the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (NDPI) has supported communities throughout the Niger Delta in Nigeria by empowering them to create and sustain jobs, end conflicts, and build a better future. NDPI focuses less on giving direct grants and more on helping individuals access information, establish key relationships, and enhance their capacity to create change for themselves. NDPI is an independent nonprofit established by Chevron Corporation.

NDPI is based in the United States and works closely with its local, Nigerian-led partner, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND). Together these organizations are dedicated to fostering peace, economic development, and advocacy/transparency in the region, while recognizing that each of these goals reinforces the other and creates a cycle that leads to stability and growth.

Business for Impact, part of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University is working with NDPI to write and publish a case study identifying key lessons learned to-date and recommendations going forward to leverage the NDPI experience for further progress. In fall 2019, Business for Impact and NDPI will unveil the case study and share research findings at a public convening of cross-sector global development leaders at Georgetown University. The goal of the project is to develop new knowledge that can help NDPI and other leaders from corporate, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government organizations to seek to improve their global development impact through public-private partnerships. The project has two main objectives:

  1. Research and Write a Case Study: The case study will look at its partners’ key activities over the past 10 years in the Niger Delta region, focusing on what has worked, what has not, and what approaches might be developed in the future to achieve greater impact.
  2. Produce Recommendations: These insights will include best practices and lessons learned that can be applied by NDPI, its partners, and other corporate, NGO, and government leaders seeking to employ public-private partnerships to create better futures for people living in emerging regions.

A case writer has been assigned to this project and will create a 20-30 page case study, which will include the following elements:

  • Documentation and description of NDPI and its NGO, government, and corporate partners’ key activities and approaches with a focus on the working relationships between local, national, and international partners
  • Analysis of the positive, neutral and negative aspects of these partnership approaches; and
  • Synthesis of patterns to inform the development of key findings, lessons learned, and recommendations for NDPI and its partners for future forward progress.

For more information, please contact Project Director Gael O’Sullivan at gao2@georgetown.edu.

Georgetown McDonough received high marks across the board in a new analysis of recruiter responses (new window) to the annual Bloomberg Businessweek MBA employer survey, scoring first in the world for having the best-trained graduates in addition to being listed in the top seven of all six categories.

“Georgetown McDonough’s alumni continue to raise the reputation of our MBA programs among employers as they arrive on day one prepared to make an impact,” said Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean of MBA programs. “A key component of the Georgetown MBA is finding ways to integrate the changing needs of employers into the curriculum, from analytics and big data to the rise of fintech. Our students are ready to be leaders and problem-solvers in an ever-changing world.”

Read more here.

The New York Review of Books

In this provocative piece in THE NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS, “The Path of Greatest Resistance,” author David Cole makes a compelling case for why social media help spark movements in a flash, but digital networks might stall long-term change more than foster it. He reviews Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci along with Leslie Crutchfield’s new book, How Change Happens: Why Some Social Movements Succeed While Others Don’t, and shows how social media has helped new progressive movements flare up – MeToo, Parkland Students’ March for our Lives and the Women’s March – but protests these days can be ephemeral. READ MORE (new window)

Reed Smith, an international law firm, has become a member of the Student Leader Advisory Council of the Business for Impact at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. The council works with Business for Impact leadership to drive growth and impact of the Student Leader Program. Roles and responsibilities of council members include serving as mentors to the student leaders, providing seed funding for student-led projects, and speaking at sponsored networking and leadership development events.

Business for Impact partners with companies, nonprofits, and government agencies – and across sectors – to create lasting social, economic, and environmental impact.

Student engagement is central to the organization, with more than 75 student leaders from across the university who are involved in partner research, strategic planning, internships, case studies, and other activities.

“We are pleased to be part of this important program,” said Sandy Thomas, global managing partner, Reed Smith. “Our firm’s emphasis on corporate responsibility, community service, and pro bono work will enable us to provide great experiences for the participating Student Leaders.”

Business for Impact Student Leaders’ work with Reed Smith initially will focus on social impact finance, the U.S. opioid epidemic, and the international refugee crisis.

“We are excited to have Reed Smith on our council,” said Joe Weinstein, Business for Impact senior partner and co-director of the Student Leader program. “They will provide strategic counsel and will be great mentors for our students.”

About Reed Smith: Reed Smith is an international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their business forward. We enrich our client’s experiences with us and support them in achieving their business goals. Our longstanding relationships, international outlook and collaborative structure lead to the speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions and regulatory matters. For further information, visit reedsmith.com (new window).

About Business for Impact: Based at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Business for Impact enables current and future Georgetown-educated leaders to drive social, environmental, and economic impact across the globe.