In March, a living legend of social enterprise, Jerr Boschee, wrote a piece cataloging the music that defined the social justice movement. I was honored to be asked to contribute and, not surprisingly, I picked Beyoncé’s “Run the World” and Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.” As I reviewed his final list and reflected on the social entrepreneurship movement that he helped start, one song stood out as the anthem for the past decade of the movement: “The Times They Are A-Changin’” by Bob Dylan.
In his new book, The Mission-Driven Venture, Marc Lane, another living legend, has beautifully documented these changes. Just as the music has evolved, so too has the movement, but its undercurrent of social justice remains true, just with a twist. As a sign of the progress made, Juma Ventures, which started in California and now has expanded to other states, provides life-changing employment to inner city youth as concessionaires at local ballparks. They taught these youth about money management and customer service skills. Remarkably, they also set up an Individual Development Account for each teenager to assist with college. In 2011, every Bay Area youth participant in Juma Ventures graduated from high school, and now 83 percent are on track to graduate from college. Juma is just one example of many mission-driven ventures across the country that are “disrupting” the status quo and intentionally choosing to occupy the intersection between mission and money. As Marc suggests, “mission-driven ventures are helping to restore our fraying social fabric and to repair the world.”
In his book, Marc also showcases other NEW and “disruptive” strategies that are building the movement toward a more self-sufficient and accountable social ecosystem, including:
We are experiencing explosive growth in the field of social entrepreneurship, and The Mission-Driven Venture, gives us a close-up look at the change that has happened and hints at what lies ahead. It is not an academic odyssey, but is instead a practical and inspirational narrative of new strategies alongside stories of social entrepreneurs charting the path ahead. It is a chance to celebrate our successes as a movement, but also challenges us to make it easier for mission-driven ventures to make a difference in our communities. We invite you to share the strategies that have proven successful for you and invite you to join us next week as we look at change management.
Reprinted from Social Impact Architects ® April 30, 2015 article.