One of our mantras at the Gathering of Leaders is: Collaboration is nothing without action. By bringing together leading social entrepreneurs and their counterparts from other sectors, our aim is to foster dialogue and build community, but we are also intent on sparking collaboration and action. The story of America Forward, New Profit’s policy arm, is a case study in how this can work.
In 2006, Gathering keynote speaker David Gergen, an advisor to four U.S. Presidents, challenged our community to get more involved in policy advocacy, arguing that because federal funding for social services dwarfs philanthropic funding, we were missing a huge opportunity to improve outcomes if we ignored policy change. The idea struck a nerve and led to the creation of America Forward in time for the 2008 Presidential election. To date, America Forward has grown to a 70+ organization coalition that has helped drive a series of successes – the White House Office of Social Innovation, the Social Innovation Fund, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Pay for Success movement, and the Every Student Succeeds Act, among other things.
The 2016 Gathering is happening in the midst of another open seat Presidential campaign, and we’ll be doing in-depth sessions on how social entrepreneurs and the broader social impact community can get productively involved. America Forward recently published a comprehensive briefing book for Presidential candidates of both parties that includes the best problem solving ideas from social entrepreneurs in the coalition. They produced a video to go along with the briefing book featuring some of those social entrepreneurs, and both can be viewed below.
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