Now published in more than twenty countries, David Bornstein's How to Change the World has become the bible for social entrepreneurshipin which men and women around the world are finding innovative solutions to a wide variety of social and economic problems. Whether delivering solar energy to Brazilian villagers, expanding work opportunities for disabled people across India, creating a network of home-care agencies to serve poor people with AIDS in South Africa, or bridging the college-access gap in the United States, social entrepreneurs are pioneering problem-solving models that will reshape the 21st century.
How to Change the World provides vivid profiles of many such individuals and what they have in common. The book is an In Search of Excellence for social initiatives, intertwining personal stories, anecdotes, and analysis. Readers will discover how one person can make an astonishing difference in the world.
The case studies in the book include Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign against landmines she ran by e-mail from her Vermont home; Roberto Baggio, a 31-year old Brazilian who has established eighty computer schools in the slums of Brazil; and Diana Propper, who has used investment banking techniques to make American corporations responsive to environmental dangers.
The paperback edition will offer a new foreword by the author that shows how the concept of social entrepreneurship has expanded and unfolded over the last few years, including the Gates-Buffetts charitable partnership, the rise of Google, and the increased mainstream coverage of the subject. The book will also update the stories of individual social entrepreneurs that appeared in the cloth edition.
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About the Author
David Bornstein is a journalist who specializes in writing about social innovation. His first book, The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank was selected as a finalist for the New York Public Library Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. His articles have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times, and he co-wrote the PBS documentary "To Our Credit." He lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from Chapter 1
The Emergence of the Global Citizen Sector
Social entrepreneurs have existed throughout history. St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, would qualify as a social entrepreneur -- having built multiple organizations that advanced pattern changes in his "field." Similarly, Florence Nightingale created the first professional school for nurses and established standards for hygiene and hospital care that have shaped norms worldwide. What is different today is that social entrepreneurship is developing into a mainstream vocation, not only in the United States, Canada, and Europe, but increasingly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In fact, the rise of social entrepreneurship represents the leading edge of a remarkable development that has occurred across the world over the past three decades: the emergence of millions of new citizen organizations.
Consider that twenty years ago Indonesia had only one independent environmental organization. Today it has more than 2,000. In Bangladesh, most of the country's development work is handled by 20,000 NGOs; almost all them were established in the past twenty-five years. India has well over a million citizen organizations. Between 1988 and 1995, 100,000 citizen groups opened shop in the former communist countries of Central Europe. In Canada, the number of registered citizen groups has grown by more than 50 percent since 1987, reaching close to 200,000. In Brazil, in the 1990s, the number of registered citizen organizations jumped from 250,000 to 400,000, a 60 percent increase. In the United States, between 1989 and 1998, the number of public service groups registered with the Internal Revenue Service jumped from 464,000 to 734,000, also a 60 percent increase. Given the long history of citizen activity in the United States, it comes as a surprise that 70 percent of registered groups are less than thirty years old. And during the 1990s, the number of registered international citizen organizations increased from 6,000 to 26,000.
Historically, these organizations have been defined in the negative -- as nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations. Today they are understood to comprise a new "sector," variously dubbed the "independent sector," "nonprofit sector," "third sector," or, the term favored in this book, the "citizen sector." Hundreds of universities in the United States, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Duke and Johns Hopkins, have established college courses and centers to study this sector. A Johns Hopkins study of eight developed countries found that, between 1990 and 1995, employment in this sector grew two and a half times faster than for the overall economy. Peter Drucker, the management expert, has called this sector America's leading growth industry.
Although public service organizations are far from new, this worldwide mobilization of citizens is new in several respects:
(1) It is occurring on a scale never before seen;
(2) The organizations are more globally dispersed and diverse than in the past;
(3) Increasingly, we find organizations moving beyond stop-gap solutions to more systemic approaches to problems -- offering better recipes, not just more cooking;
(4) Social entrepreneurs are less encumbered by church and state and, in fact, exert considerable pressure on governments (as witnessed in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the creation of the International Criminal Court);
(5) They are forging partnerships with businesses, academic institutions, and governments -- and, in many cases, refining the government's representational function; and;
(6) Because of the natural jostling for position that occurs when a formerly restricted sector suddenly enjoys "open entry" and new players crowd onto the field, the citizen sector is experiencing the beneficial effects of entrepreneurialism, increased competition and collaboration, and a heightened attention to performance.
Despite their magnitude, these changes have gone largely unreported. Almost everyone knows about the explosion of the dot-coms -- a much smaller phenomenon -- but millions have still not heard the big story: the worldwide explosion of dot-orgs. It is a story with far-reaching implications: By sharpening the role of government, shifting practices and attitudes in business and opening up waves of opportunity for people to apply their talents in new, positive ways, the emerging citizen sector is reorganizing the way the work of society gets done.
Excerpted from Chapter 13
J.B. Schramm, USA, College Access
The Talent Is Out There
In the late 1980s, while attending Harvard Divinity School, Jacob ("J.B.") Schramm first recognized the college "market gap." To pay his way through graduate school, Schramm had taken a job as an academic advisor to freshmen. Each year he had to review the admissions files of thirty newly enrolled students. Reading through the applications from low-income students, he frequently came across handwritten notes in the margins: "Wish we could find ten more like him!"
After graduating from divinity school, Schramm, then twenty-eight, moved to Washington, D.C., where, in 1991, he became the director of the teen center at the Jubilee Housing Development. There he saw the college "market gap" from the other end of the pipe. The students with top grades and test scores were zipping off to college. Ivy League schools sought them out. But the vast majority of the kids Schramm worked with had average grades and test scores, and colleges paid little attention to them.
There was a reason. Colleges have systems to identify low-income "stars." They buy lists from the College Board and compete for the top students. All communities launch their academic stars, but only the middle- and upper-income brackets regularly launch their "mid-tier" performers.
The seniors in the teen center all told Schramm, "Yeah, sure, I'm going to college." But two months after high school ended, he would find many of them hanging out on the street. "A year later, their eyes were dulled," he said.
What went wrong?
"Absolutely mundane things," recalls Schramm. "I'd hear: 'I sent the application incomplete and never heard back. I only applied to two schools and didn't get in.'" Schramm discovered that most of these students' parents had not attended college themselves. They had difficulty guiding their children through the application process. And many of the students didn't really believe that they were "college material."
But Schramm saw them differently. "The kids who had middling scores had other things going on," he recalled. "One had written a screenplay. Others took care of brothers and sisters. Some were outstanding artists. Or one day there would be a fight, and I'd see a kid do something wise and courageous. Then I'd see the application and know there's no way the college is going to know about this kid's grit and moxie. But if you saw the kid handle challenges in the teen center, it was crystal clear. For me that was the 'aha!' moment. The challenge was to get the colleges to see these kids as I saw them. Because many were better than their numbers suggested."
In 1993 four students -- Theresa, Desmond, Yonday, and Alimamy -- approached Schramm asking for help getting into college. They were smart kids with lots of ability, but their grades and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were average. How to convey their potential? Schramm believed that a heartfelt essay could make a difference. "I had faith that if people told a part of their story that was important to them, it would convey their strengths to another human being in a way that nothing else could," he said.
He called Keith Frome, his closest friend from divinity school, who had taught expository writing to freshmen at Harvard, and asked him to come down from New York to Washington for a weekend to help the students write essays that would "jump off the desk." "Keith was the best writing teacher I had ever seen," recalled Schramm.
On the Amtrak train, Frome designed a curriculum based on writing theories he'd studied at Harvard. It would begin with ten minutes of unstructured "free writing," in which students would be encouraged to scribble random thoughts without editing themselves. Afterward, they would read the pieces aloud while the other students took note of images and phrases that stuck in their minds. Frome called this process "gold mining." Everyone's comments would be written on charts taped to the walls, a process that would both validate the students' thoughts and help them identify guiding ideas for their essays. Then the main job would be to remind the students to show what they mean, not just to tell it.
When Frome arrived in Washington, he and Schramm ran out to buy pencils, markers, butcher block paper, and masking tape. By late Sunday the students had first drafts of their college admission essays.
Then Schramm called up Derek Canty, a youth motivator whom he had met on a Flyers' excursion to Colorado, and invited him to Washington to conduct a motivational "rap session" for the students. Schramm wanted to help them identify personal obstacles that might derail their college plans. "Derek was without question the best youth facilitator I'd ever seen," he recalled.
In the months that followed, one student enrolled in Brown University, one went to Montgomery County Community College, and the other two received full scholarships to Connecticut College, a liberal arts school in New London. Lee Coffin, who was then dean of admissions at Connecticut College, recalled: "Most college applications from low-income students fail to provide a good picture of the kid. The essays are flat. The recommendation letters consist of a single paragraph or even just a sentence. We're asking ourselves: 'If we accept the kid, can he succeed?' We're looking to predict the future. So when the kid doesn't have the numbers, you need something else to hang on to. And these kids told evocative stories that gave a vivid sense that they were succeeding against the odds."
In 1994 four more students went through the same process. All four were also admitted to colleges. "The difference between someone who is an entrepreneur and someone who isn't," explained Frome, "is that I went back to my job, but J.B. knew that we had invented something unique. He saw it. And he refined it and bottled it."
* * *
By August 2002 nearly 4,000 students had passed through the program that Schramm had created: College Summit. Ninety-five percent were minorities: 50 percent African American, 35 percent Latino, and 10 percent Native American. The average grade point average (GPA) was 2.8. College Summit reports that, between 1993 and 2002, the college enrollment rate for high school graduates who attended its workshops was 79 percent; retention was 80 percent. According to the U.S. Census, the national enrollment figure for high school graduates at similar income levels is 46 percent. (There are no national data on college retention rates.)
In addition to the intangible gains, college graduates can expect to earn $1 million more during their working years than high school graduates and contribute $300,000 more in taxes. In first-generation college families, graduates generally establish new patterns of achievement that carry forward in siblings, cousins, and children. Says Schramm: "That young man who is the first in his family to get a college degree has basically ended poverty in his family line forever."
Copyright © 2004 David Bornstein
Table of Contents
Restless People 1
From Little Acorns Do Great Trees Grow 11
The Light in My Head Went On: Fabio Rosa, Brazil: Rural Electrification 21
The Fixed Determination of an Indomitable Will: Florence Nightingale, England: Nursing 41
A Very Significant Force: Bill Drayton, United States: The Bubble 48
Why Was I Never Told about This? 62
Ten-Nine-Eight-Childline!: Jeroo Billimoria, India: Child Protection 70
The Role of the Social Entrepreneur 92
"What Sort of a Mother Are You?": Erzsebet Szekeres, Hungary: Assisted Living for the Disabled 101
Are They Possessed, Really Possessed, by an Idea? 120
If the World Is to Be Put in Order: Vera Cordeiro, Brazil: Reforming Healthcare 130
In Search of Social Excellence 151
The Talent Is Out There: J. B. Schramm, United States: College Access 164
New Opportunities, New Challenges 183
Something Needed to Be Done: Veronica Khosa, South Africa: Care for AIDS Patients 188
Four Practices of Innovative Organizations 205
This Country Has to Change: Javed Abidi, India: Disability Rights 214
Six Qualities of Successful Social Entrepreneurs 238
Morality MustMarch with Capacity: James Grant, United States: The Child Survival Revolution 247
Blueprint Copying 262
Conclusion: The Emergence of the Citizen Sector 271
Selected Readings 329
Resource Guide 333
What People are Saying About This
The social entrepreneurs chronicled in this book are part of the vital generation of independent, creative leaders . . .
Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman, Skoll Foundation; first president of eBay
. . . a book about hope, about courage, and about the power of those extraordinary men and women who change the world.
Arminio Fraga, Former Governor of the Central Bank of Brazil
. . . Bornstein's book will touch the hearts and minds of many. I hope it will get the wide readership it deserves . . .
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The number and range of examples in this book show that it really is possible for individuals to make a substantial impact not just on the world around them but even on how it works. From creating and branding a child rescue line in India to establishing a network of more lasting medical care in Brazil the social entrepreneurs showcased by David Bornstein represent the impact leaders can have on the problems of the world. What I appreciate most about this book is that he shows how the most effective activators combine modern leadership and organizational methods with personal passion and persistence. It's not a right-wing vs. left-wing problem; McKinsey consulting is mentioned as often as the UN. Boorstein does rely almost entirely on social entrepreneurs from Ashoka for his examples. Clearly this organization has developed a model that works, but to what extent are there other equivalents not funded by Ashoka.
Bornstein has been the recognized lead expert in this field ever since his study of Muhammad Yunus' Grameen Bank. "How to Change the World" is a good general introduction to social entrepreneurship, but it needs to be updated more frequently because so there's so much innovation in this field and the thought leaders are changing.