Social Entrepreneurship is a very important subject and very relevant to the need of the times. This summer, my mentor, Prof. Bob Hopkins is offering a 12 week course on Corporate and Social Entrepreneurship sponsored by Eastfield College and the Dallas Museum of Biblical Art. Students not only get to learn about how to start and run non-profit organizations, but they also get an opportunity to learn from various civic leaders.
Last week, I found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with former NBC 5 Sports anchor, Scott Murray, and the founder of Global Community for Education, Don Wilks. We had been invited to share our experiences in the social entrepreneurship arena with the students.
Scott Murray of sports broadcasting fame gave a presentation on leadership. The Emmy winning anchor shared inspirational stories of famous sports stars such as Troy Aikman, Nolan Ryan, John Wooden, and John Elway. He discussed their determination, loyalty, honor, and what made them good leaders . It was heartwarming to hear Mr. Murray's anecdotes about his interactions with these famous personalities, and it exposed me to a new perspective on leadership in the world of sports. One of my favorite takeaways was “Don’t just be a go-getter, be a go-giver”.
The next speaker was Don Wilks, founder of the Global Community for Education (GCE). GCE is an organization that builds schools in the remote parts of Nepal. Mr. Wilks talked about how his chance meeting with a sherpa named Tanka got him started with GCE. One of the most interesting things about GCE-built schools is their emphasis on gender equality. Mr. Wilks made it clear that a family could enroll their sons in the school, only if they agreed to send their daughters to the school as well. GCE believes that for a society to progress, it is very important to educate and empower women.
My topic was about philanthropy and kids. I spoke about the common traits of leaders and how these traits can be fostered in kids by getting them involved in philanthropy. I discussed the behavioral changes seen in kids when they volunteer in community service projects, raise funds for non-profits, and show kindness to others. There are significant improvements in their communication skills, confidence, creativity, and compassion. I talked about Philanthropy Kids, it’s mission to celebrate and inspire philanthropy in kids and the PAVE program (Philanthropy and Volunteerism in Entrepreneurship). I then called upon a couple of PAVE alumni to share their experience post-PAVE. Katherine Adams shared the story of how her non-profit organization, Paper for Water, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the building of wells in drought ridden parts of India and Africa. Roma Majji talked about how PAVE helped her gain more confidence to speak up at school and get involved in her community.
It was a wonderful event where I learned a lot from the other speakers and the members of the audience. It’s amazing to see how many people are involved in philanthropy, and how many more are eager to get started. It reminded us all that you don’t have to be rich or old to be a philanthropist, you just have to care!