Growing ‘one of the most important social movements of the 21st century’

Growing ‘one of the most important social movements of the 21st century’
July 6, 2012

Kristian Partington

The growth and momentum of social entrepreneurship, fueled by the millennial generation of young leaders eager to mix business with social impact on the global stage, is a great source of excitement for Echoing Green president Cheryl Dorsey.

For the past quarter-century, the organization has been the proud source of seed investment for more than 500 social entrepreneurs who view business as a tool for world benefit.

In the past two years, the number of young people applying for fellowships has jumped by 160 percent.

“I’ve been around long enough to watch social entrepreneurship grow from being a nascent field to what I think is arguably one of the most important social movements of the 21st century,” Cheryl says.

“The involvement and interest of the millennial generation in particular that has really fuelled the explosive growth of social entrepreneurship on campuses across the country and in communities around the world has been really exciting to see.

She was one of those early leaders from a different generation when she was awarded an Echoing Green fellowship in 1992 to create The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston.

She was a young doctor who found that though medicine was a noble profession, her calling lay within the scope of social entrepreneurship, and she’s been connected to Echoing Green in one way or another ever since, taking on the role of president in 2002.

Cheryl was recently named as one the of Social Venture Network’s (SVN) Hall of Fame Impact Award Winners as a Visionary Social Entrepreneur for her work as a pioneer in the field.

She’s careful to point out the honor is in fact a testament to Echoing Green as the angel investment organization that has brought clarity to the concept of social entrepreneurship as a viable option in business, helping keep the momentum strong.

The Hall of Fame award, she says, “is a wonderful tribute to Echoing Green and that community of which I am a part.

“It’s a real honor for us to be recognized for the role that Echoing Green played to help build the field of social entrepreneurship. It’s an organization I’m so proud to be a part of and so to get this honour is a really big deal for us.”

Echoing Green, SVN, and all members, fellows, eager supporters and partners are part of what Cheryl describes as larger ecosystem, one that is alive and growing, ready to meet the challenges of the world around us.

Click here for more information on the SVN Hall of Fame awards celebration,, to be held in New York on Nov 13, 2012.

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