Why Social Entrepreneurs Could Use a Little More Faith

Long before Toms, Kiva, and Warby Parker, churches, synagogues, and mosques have pushed social change, so why so little secular collaboration?


As your average Fast Company subscribing, TED Talks-watching, New York Times reading, SXSW obsessed pop culture junkie, I know a few things about social innovation. Having followed the game-changing efforts of TOMs Shoes, Kiva, Kickstarter and Warby Parker, it's easy to think of social innovation and entrepreneurship as a secular thing. A recent Southern California Faith-Based Social Innovation Forum showed though that when it comes to collaboration with faith-based social entrepreneurs, there's plenty of room for growth.

The forum, held in Los Angeles and co-hosted by Jewish Jumpstart, and Community Partners, was organized on the heels of this summer's White House Faith-Based Social Innovators Conference. Jumpstart co-founder and CEO Shawn Landres attended the White House summit and saw an opportunity to inspire local change. He and fellow White House guest Paul Vandeventer, head of Community Partners, began working on the idea of a regional follow-up.

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When catastrophe strikes, relief efforts often include concerts to raise awareness, funds, active support, or all three. Such is the case tonight, as a series of Gulf Coast Benefit Concerts will take place across the nation to bring some relief to Gulf Coast area fishermen and wildlife affected by the oil gusher. The event's organizers—a collective of music industry insiders and social entrepreneurs—hope to raise $500,000 for the Gulf Restoration Network through in-kind donations and ticket sales from the dozens of music venues in cities across the country hosting these GCB concerts.

Want to see some live music for the Gulf's sake? Check out a roster of local meetups here or organize your own. Armchair activists can make online donations at GulfCoastBenefit.com.

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