Donalbain (donalbain_) wrote in ontd_political,

Social Entrepreneurs Carry the Kennedy Mantle Today

 It was fifty years ago Thursday that John F. Kennedy delivered one of the most famous inaugural addresses in history, challenging and inspiring America in ways that still resonate half a century later. One aspect that made JFK's stirring call to "Ask not" so memorable was that it focused entirely on foreign policy and America's place in the world. ...

As far as I can tell, the true heirs of the values underlying the Kennedy Administration today -- its approach to the world and its view of the individual -- are social entrepreneurs. These are the men and women who are working in poor communities around the developing world today to apply business principles to the work of empowerment to achieve results.

Jeff Skoll, founder of the Skoll Foundation -- whose mission is to invest in, connect, and celebrate social entrepreneurs around the world once said -- "Whether the issue is disease and hunger in Africa; or poverty in the Middle East; or lack of education across the developing world - we all know the problems. But social entrepreneurs, I believe, have a genetic deficiency. Somehow, the gene that helps them look past the impossible is missing.

"By nature," he added, "entrepreneurs aren't satisfied until they do change the world, and let nothing get in their way. Charities may give people food. But social entrepreneurs don't just teach people to grow food - they're not happy until they've taught a farmer how to grow food, make money, pour the profits back into the business, hire 10 other people, and in the process, transform the entire industry."

It may be hard to see the words of John Kennedy and Sargent Shriver reflected in our current political debate today. But it's nice to see that the principles they espoused are hard at work by people across the globe, being driven by young men and women who, as Sargent Shriver said in the 1963 speech, "are proving, if proof is needed, that deeply committed individuals, prepared to work and sacrifice, can have a profound effect on the most difficult and intransigent of problems."

Source has some parts of a speech given by Sargent Shriver, the founder of the Peace Corps who recently died.

For a long time I struggled personally to understand how business can be reconciled with social movements, and I think I just found my answer. Not that governments don't have a role in improving social issues, but more often than not government may be inefficient, paralyzed, or corrupt. On the other hand, social entrepreneurship stresses the power that the individual--any individual--has in lobbying government, solving social ills, or initiating real change. Also mods, can we get a business or social entrepreneurship tag?
Tags: activism, change we can believe in

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