Q&A: Mulago Foundation chief on why he's done with gobbledygook

Kevin Starr, managing director of the Mulago Foundation. Photo by: Kris Krüg / PopTech / CC BY-SA

SAN FRANCISCO — At the annual Big Bang Philanthropy happy hour at the Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco, social entrepreneurs working in areas such as conservation, education, and health care perform limericks. They are asked to capture the work they do in five-line stanzas that following the strict rhyming scheme of AABBA, and the crowd goes wild with laughter and applause. While this group of funders and entrepreneurs are serious about poverty, they do not take themselves too seriously.

“I have the attention span of a gnat and I think it gets very boring for people to get presentation after presentation,” said Kevin Starr, managing director of the Mulago Foundation, a private foundation based in Silicon Valley that finds and funds organizations focused on the basic needs of the very poor, and is also a member organization of Big Bang Philanthropy. Social entrepreneurship should be fun, he said.

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    Catherine Cheney

    Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported from all over the world, and freelanced for outlets including the Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the West Coast ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that trains and connects journalists to cover responses to problems.