21 October 2010 - NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program

David Gergen@ NYU Reynolds, 10/13/10, 5/6

David Gergen @ the NYU Reynolds Program's "Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century" speaker series. For more information please visit ...

okay hi my name is Liz walls I get a

student at the Wagner school and I have a question about scale when you were talking about the relationship between social entrepreneurs and government and I know that I know a question that arises often is the scalability of of ideas and of innovative programs and government is often seen as a way or the connection to government is often how people think of big ideas being able to be scaled to reach broader populations and I love your thoughts on that it also leads me to a second question which is around resources and the funding of social entrepreneurial ideas and how that sort of changes the dynamic of funding in the nonprofit community and how a lot of these ideas are scaled to reach broader populations and some of those challenges and answers that you may have thank you how do we get the scale well Kathy stories amazing as far as scale she built a social enterprise a multi-billion dollar social enterprise with no capital so maybe you should take that I really believe much like David and and much like Paul has said in public-private partnerships and we created a whole industry if you will by without one nickel of capital or without

one nickel of a charitable contribution using a non-profit and a for-profit I would tell you I would love to tell you that I'm just brilliant and the most creative person but I think in our case it was that we were creative we had perseverance but we also tapped into a real need and that need drove that business model and ultimately the success of that project I mean just like know what I want to come back to that's just a little bit more I don't know the answer to the scale question I think one of the challenges for NYU and for the Kennedy School given the fact we're both proud to host the apprentice program is we ought to be thinking about this more than we are within the school is a matter of research in faculty time and investment by my fellows into thinking about this you can go but you can go to the you can get your formal relationship of government but I will just tell you it comes fraught with a lot of problems I've been going through this now for the last several months with Teach for America and it is one heck of a lot harder than I thought one heck of a lot harder and I just had a meal with marian

wright edelman who has done to Children's Defense Fund now she has built this up but she's now thinking I'm thinking she's thinking about going really big she's got all she's got a wonderful model she's done a really good work but we her question was I've never taken government money should i be willing to do this or not and she's not sure and when you look at it it's not clear so if that's that's one possibility but it's got ? you can do it with you know you can go to venture philanthropy and how do we create policies that encourage venture philanthropy which I think it's really important for us to think about you can think about having a social enterprise that maybe instead of building the central core up and getting a great big budget which have people have art done to it maybe you ought to franchise it maybe you want to have you know there are due if McDonald's can franchise an automobile companies can franchise maybe we ought to franchise nonprofits in effect you start up the program but you find ways to people to actually do it in their communities and you don't do it from

for headquarters if the final thing is it may be L ago maybe you ought to become a private company maybe you ought to be a for-profit company the what's what's interesting is that right now public policy whether its tax policy or even corporate structures don't really foster social entrepreneurship from my perspective Karen Raz who I see standing up there is one of our fellows and Karen's working on that precise issue what does a new entity look like and it's really sort of a hybrid it's a hybrid between a for-profit and a not-for-profit and how do you create that what does that look like what should L should the IRS look at that how should the IRS have policies toward that you can't treat some of the social entrepreneurship programs certainly that need to go to scale and treat it like a 501 C 3 like the Junior League of Topeka Kansas they're very very different and the policies today that that we live with and and deal with within the confines of corporate structure the ability to raise capital tax structure the way the IRS looks at things really are not in my opinion current or up to date with what I think your ideas are

and where we want to go with social entrepreneurship and and with a coming crutch on budgets at the federal level and the state and local level this is going to get harder not easier there's going to be less money to spend on these kinds of experiments and the forces of the status quo are going to be there blocking the expenditures it's a governmental level and that's why I I started out I had three years ago I was big advocate for relationship of government I am much cooler on that then I just fell I'm not so sure about that there's you also get these ups and downs well the minute you touch a dollar federal dollar yeah you have built a mini bureaucracy to server and you know that you know what's coming at social spending yeah but I I think one of the the big issues is to let the form of the organization or the platform follow its purpose decide where you want to go and then adopt whatever approach you feel is most appropriate and me it could be a non-profit it could be a low-profit limited liability corporation could be a blended or hybrid whatever i do think one of the other things it's occurring to thinking about scale is there's much

more now community networking going on among the social entrepreneurs than there was before you know that various cities are now embracing this as an idea they become in effect there are a lot of social entrepreneurs who begin to connect up with each other and you can get the venture philanthropy fund going within that City there's a lot of good work that our son all right I got into this in part through our son who is a social entrepreneur educational space he's up he's it teaches it touched on dropping out and apprised of Duke at part time and but he's got an incubator and Durham now for social change agents he's got like 15 and 20 different organizations under one roof and they're they're you know they're sparking off each other they're raising money together doing a lot of things to sort of create a community that will but that will be supportive of each other and really committed together I i need the sharpest question on earth which has a one-minute ants

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