social innovation

Leaders and Innovators for Social Change

By @ 02/21/12 in Everything, Marketing Trends, Nonprofit Focus

In the first two months of the year we celebrate some major leaders and innovators. We take days to remember and honor Abraham Lincoln, our country’s 16th President, who led the collapse of slavery in this country; George Washington, our first President who presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787; and Martin Luther King Jr., who led the African American Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

There are many more worthy candidates that don’t get their own holiday, but definitely deserve their due credit in shaking up the establishment and helping others.  Some well known, others, not. This list highlights some people who’s vision and action led to creating a positive impact on millions of people worldwide.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver:  A longtime advocate of children’s health and disability issues.  Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968, which now brings together 4 million athletes with intellectual disabilities in over 170 countries in Olympic style events.

“When we wake tomorrow, let us not forget that we have miles to go to overturn the prejudice and oppression facing the world’s 180 million citizens with intellectual disabilities. But what joy for together we have begun.”

White House Speech
July 10, 2006


Millard and Linda Fuller:  Saw the need for decent and livable shelter for those in American and in Third World countries. Out of this need came Habitat for Humanity in 1976. Today, Habitat for Humanity and its volunteers have helped build over 500,000 affordable homes and has served over 2 million people around the world.

“For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other.”

Father John P. Foley, S.J.:  In 1995, helped kick start an innovative college-prepatory high school system for low-income families, including one here in Sacramento.  Students attend classes and work five days each month in an entry-level job at a professional company with the fee for their work being directed to underwrite tuition costs. There are currently 24 high schools in the Cristo Rey network in 22 cities, serving 6,500 students. A segment that aired on “60 Minutes” can be found on this page.

“Cristo Rey is magical. What you see is that hope, that optimism.”

- Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Scott Harrison: In 2006, Harrison was turning 31 and for his birthday, he asked his friends to give $20 to help fund clean drinking water in Third World countries.  Over 700 people came to his birthday and donated to the cause.  The result was Charity Water, which to date has funded 6,185 clean water projects and assisted 2,545,000 people in 19 countries in getting access to clean water.

“For me, charity is practical. It’s sometimes easy, more often inconvenient, but always necessary. It’s the ability to use one’s position of influence, relative wealth and power to affect lives for the better. charity is singular and achievable.”

Robert Egger:  Egger began DC Central Kitchen in 1989.  The nonprofit takes donated food from the hospitality business and farms and instills culinary job training to homeless and hungry adults.  3fold had the pleasure of bringing Egger to Sacramento to speak to several of the area’s nonprofit leaders in the 3fold Spark! series and inspired the group with his client’s stories of survival and redemption.  In 2011, DC Central Kitchen produced over 1.8 million meals, recovered over 242,000 pounds of fresh produce, graduated 80 students from the Culinary Job Training program and placed over 87% of the 2011 Culinary Job Training graduates into jobs.

“If you chase money, you’ll be on an endless loop. If you chase results, the money will come.”