Metropolitan Washington, DC is a prosperous region and one with great need. It is home to more than 1500 foundations — worth a total of $13 billion — and 15,000 registered nonprofit organizations. Its GDP is one of the largest in the nation with approximately $400 billion. 38% of households in the region are worth between $200,000 and $5 million. And it is host to the most prosperous government on earth.
Despite the prosperity, there is great need. More than 30% of the city’s children live in poverty. It has one of the worst graduation rates in the nation. The region is divided East-to-West by wealth, race, education, and income.
The good news is that we have the ability to bridge this divide. It’s going to take a pattern-breaking partnership among the sectors –government, philanthropy, business and individuals — where the region’s wealth and innovation is found.
Social entrepreneurship is uniquely set in the national capital region to bridge these sectors. The region is a powerhouse of social innovation with many of the major national and international players calling it home, including: Ashoka, College Summit, Kaboom!, The Case Foundation, The White House Office of Social Innovation, The Social Enterprise Alliance, Venture Philanthropy Partners, George Mason University, and many others. However, there is no central organizing agent to unleash the full potential of social entrepreneurship as a driving force within the region, for its needs.
This blog promotes the need for an office of Partnerships for Social Innovation in the Washington, DC region. It does so by releasing sections of an upcoming scoping study on the topic and through interviews, meeting notes, and discussions with regional leaders. The scoping study examines how each sector — government, philanthropy, business, and individual wealth — is uniquely positioned in the region to support social innovation.
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