Big Topic on Campus--Doing Well by Doing Good
In their most recent article in Forbes.com, Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker highlight college students’ burgeoning interest in careers focused on social change. These days, the speakers who draw the biggest crowds on campus are nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs like Dr. Paul Farmer, cofounder of Partners in Health, whose speech at Stanford was met with tremendous enthusiasm. Organizations such as Teach for America (TFA), a nonprofit that recruits and trains college graduates to teach in low-income schools, have become top employers for recent grads. This enthusiasm for the social sector doesn’t stop there. Over 300 universities, including Yale, Stanford, and Oxford, are currently offering programs that focus on the study of nonprofits and foundations.
The rise in the appeal of the social sector is indeed exciting. However, as with all good things, challenges and pressing questions remain. Meehan and Jonker argue that many social impact courses “do not provide a substantive basis for maximizing impact or for building organizations that can achieve significant impact at scale.”
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