Sunday, May 6, 2012

Social Entrepreneurship at Villanova!

We've been so blessed to have such great support, particularly from Villanova University. As a Villanova alum, this past fall I was able to connect with Dr. Jim Klingler in the Villanova School of Business. Dr. Klingler has been an invaluable resource to Jenn and I, lending insight on multiple occasions from his experience with international non-profits. He reommended I read Forces for Good, by Leslie Crutchfield, to learn some of the most important findings from a study on impactful non-profit organizations. Crutchfield highlights themes such as forming partnerships, advocating for a cause, inspiring evangelists, adapting, sharing leadership and networking.

This past spring, Dr. K offered us the opportunity to propose a project to his Social Entrepreneurship class. Jenn and I first Skyped the class from Guayaquil in January, when I was visiting and Jenn had just arrived. We proposed for a group to design sustainable fund-raising ideas for  our organization. Two weeks later, I met with Martin, Erin, Jay, James, Ayyoub, and Ashia to discuss ideas.

The Starfish team at their final presentation!
Photo by Dr. Jim Klingler

The group spent a semester learning about impactful social entrepreneurship endeavors, culminating in a final presentation about ideas for sustainable funding for Starfish. I don't want to spoil the surprises, but let me say that the four ideas presented were great! One in particular was quite original, and it provides a great avenue for Starfish Scholars to collaborate in our program. Another included some stellar planning for our benefit dinner this fall - appropriately named "Dinner Under the Brightest Stars." The third project detailed ideas for some website revamping, and the fourth project assists in grant research. A HUGE thanks to the Starfish Team for all of their hard work this semester!!

Martin, Peter, Ayyoub, Ashia, Jay, Beth, James and Erin at the final presentation!
Photo by Dr. Jim Klingler

--Beth Awalt, Co-Founder of The Starfish Foundation, Inc.

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