Social Entrepreneurship DC

1. KaBOOM! Social Entrepreneurship DC

Childhood [Photo by h.koppdelaney] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

KaBOOM!, a social entrepreneurship DC based nonprofit, helps low-income communities to build safe places for children to play. The organization has gone nationwide, most recently organizing volunteers to build a new playground at the Jose Valdez Elementary School in Denver, Colorado.

It’s one of more than 2,000 playground services that KaBOOM! Has helped to build in the last 15 years. Darell Hammond, the founder of KaBOOM!, said the group’s mission is to help communities realize their own dream playgrounds and to put play back on society’s priority list. Hammond is concerned that play and exercise are in danger in the US as kids spend more and more time in front of TV sets, video game consoles and computers. Families in high-crime urban areas face an added challenge because their kids rarely have a safe place to play.

2. Social Entrepreneurship DC Meetups

Diana looks for leadership at the U.S. Capital [Photo by kevin dooley] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Social entrepreneurship DC is taking off in the form of business school offerings and regular meetups as well. The business school trend is important because it foreshadows the types of investments that will drive the financial world going forward.

In the Washington, DC area there are regular impact investing meetups for students and investors alike. These are mostly happy hours which discuss career opportunities and investing ideas. The meetups are sponsored by the Calvert Foundation, DC Net Impact Professional Chapter, American University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, among other groups.

Over the next decade, it’s a good bet that ethical companies and businesses operating to solve social and environmental problems will be all the rage. While many of these organizations are US based, their impact is felt worldwide with much of the action taking place in the emerging markets.

3. Social Entrepreneurship DC Institute

Free Memories Queen Anne's Lace Flower Creative Commons [Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

For example, the social entrepreneurship DC International Peace & Security Institute operates from tiny offices, yet brings together social entrepreneurship and conflict resolution to train the next generation of international leaders.

Fed up with the slow-moving, bureaucratic and costly institutions of their elders, many young people are creating small, nimble nonprofits such as this to work directly with the developing world. This trend involves young people around the globe, such as those in the Middle east who are nourishing the “Arab Spring.” They’ve helped to topple totalitarian regimes while seeking to create representative governments.

More young people today realize that the developing world is much more than war and famine, poverty and disease. It’s also America’s future, and in order to regain a robust economy it’s important to build trade with developing nations in a way that helps their economies to prosper as well.