Echoing Green wants deeper engagement with social entrepreneurs

By Ma. Eliza Villarino 31 March 2015

Men install low-cost, solar-powered pipeline systems that will provide access to clean water. The idea is from TOHL, a for-profit co-founded by Benjamin Cohen, one of Echoing Green’s global fellows. Photo by: Echoing Green / CC BY-NC-SA

Echoing Green is seeking partners for a soon-to-be-launched program that will place young, rising stars in the corporate world into the boards of its fellows’ organizations.

The global nonprofit is on the second year of a growth plan that not only projects an increase in the number of social entrepreneurs that participate in its fellowship program, but also a deepening of support to those already part of the network.

“Our philosophy at Echoing Green is once a fellow always a fellow,” Lara Galinsky, senior vice president at Echoing Green, told Devex.

The three-year growth plan upholds Echoing Green’s ecosystem approach, which will enable fellows to have “a very, very strong foundation,” including having a competent board. Apart from setting the strategic direction of enterprises, boards ensure fiscal responsibility and become chief fundraisers.

Now on its 28th year, Echoing Green is “lucky” to have an engaged and committed board, and wants “other people to have a similar experience,” Galinsky noted.

Launching in a couple of months, the initiative isn’t merely about identifying and putting young corporate leaders into boards. Rather, it will be a leadership development program that will include four months of training, retreats and site visits to fellows’ organizations. Once participants graduate, Echoing Green will introduce them to fellows and support them until their first board meeting.

“We want to make sure they are trained, not only to be outstanding board members and to really understand what it takes to be a great board member but also to really look within themselves and understand what skills and competencies and qualities they need as leaders to be able to have them of influence and impact as people throughout their lives,” Galinsky said.

For the first round of the program, Echoing Green will choose 10-15 rising corporate stars and match them with fellows’ organizations that are a little more mature, such as those that launched their organizations about seven years ago. Interested applicants can either apply as individuals and then advocate their companies to help subsidize the program cost or have their companies nominate them.

Currently, Echoing Green is trying to identify companies — especially in New York where it is based and places where it has a lot of fellows — which can be partners for the pilot phase. Contact the organization if your company wants to get involved in the board matching program.

“We would love to identify more partners and we could have a conversation just to explain what it is that we're expecting from corporations.”

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About the author

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Ma. Eliza VillarinoDevexElizaJV

Currently based in New York City, Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.


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