Giving Compass’ Take:
• Bill Drayton founded Ashoka to help social entrepreneurs eliminate systemic weaknesses. He started investing in youth after he discovered their enormous capacity for impact.
• How can other funders follow this model for impact? What role does youth need to play in civil society?
• Read about youth as an agent for change in society.
All Bill Drayton wants to do is change the world — so, pretty simple. In 1980 he founded Ashoka, a global association of social entrepreneurs whose flagship program provides up to three years of financial and logistical support for projects with the potential to do good on a large scale.
He’s famous in policy circles for launching emissions trading, otherwise known as cap and trade, whereby companies can choose how to meet environmental targets, by reducing their own emissions, say, or paying another company with a better environmental record for emissions “credits.”
Drayton always understood that good policy ideas often come from entrepreneurs. An ideal Ashoka project isn’t about a particular school or hospital; rather, it helps eliminate a systemic weakness.
By the mid-1980s, Drayton noticed that almost all Ashoka fellows had had an entrepreneurial experience as a young teen; even more striking, about a third of their projects addressed youth issues. “So now we had these two patterns together, both saying the same thing—that putting young kids in charge is really, really important,” he says.
Ashoka now runs a full slate of programs aimed at teaching early teens leadership skills, including Youth Venture, which has provided kids who have ideas for social-entrepreneurial projects with help getting started.
Read the full article about Bill Drayton’s investment in youth by Arianne Cohen at Bloomberg.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy.
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