The Surprising Complexity of Doing Good

race togetherEarly in my career, I served as an Admissions Officer at my Alma Mater, Vassar College. I was deeply passionate about my work recruiting and assessing admissions decision for the school. Going to Vassar had changed my life. It was an incredible case of serendipity that got me there – and it created opportunities that were life altering and cycle-breaking for me and my family. My mother had been hesitant to even let me apply because she couldn’t fathom paying for a private school. She did let me apply, though, and through a generous financial aid package, I was able to attend.

As an Admissions Officer, I had a personal mission for doing good and I took this very seriously. I aimed to visit as many schools as I could that had students like me – hard working, smart, poor kids who had no idea that a place like Vassar was within reach.  I was assigned an oddly gerrymandered territory – New York City, Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. As a product of NYC public schools, I understood the NYC ecosystem well and knew where to go to find students I hoped to bring to Vassar.

I also felt certain that I understood the best way to fulfill my mission outside of New York. I had studied Native American history in college, and have a little bit of Native American heritage. A few years out of college, I was still seething at the injustices suffered by Native Americans and the long odds they face in achieving economic mobility in the US. My response was to create a Vassar recruiting program for Native American students starting in the Pacific Northwest.

The statistics on educational and economic achievement among Native Americans were (and still are) catastrophic. I was certain that I could be a force for good. I just needed to tell my own story, of how a poor kid who felt Vassar was out of reach, had a world of opportunity opened for him. I shared my plan with my boss, Vassar’s Director of Admissions. He shot it down immediately. Continue reading

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Berkeley-Haas MBAs Have an Impact with Peer Funding

kory-caro-hsif

Kory Caro, MBA15

Since 2004, the Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF) has provided funding to first-year, full-time Berkeley-Haas MBA students who will use their summer internships to have a social impact. The program allows recipients to leverage their background and Berkeley-Haas education on a project tackling social and environmental issues. Students typically work for organizations that serve the public interest but cannot offer to pay a “typical” MBA salary. HSIF benefits social impact employers by providing them access to much-needed MBA talent for summer projects that they could not otherwise afford.

“We really want to ensure that social impact organizations are able to compete with the private sector for MBA talent as well as provide an opportunity for Haas students to explore these MBA-level roles in the social sector,” MBAA Vice President of Community Robbie Heath said.

The HSIF is a true student led and student-run initiative. It is funded by first year Haas MBAs and alumni contributions. Students donate one day of their summer internship pay to the fund.

In 2014, the fund provided a total of $30,000 in awards to 12 students working on a wide variety of projects, including healthcare, education, environmental sustainability, and others. Kory Caro, MBA15 (above), helped several small businesses through the MBAs Across America.

Students with a passion for social impact are encouraged to apply. The deadline is 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 26. For more information about the fund and to download the application, please visit the HSIF website at http://socialsector.haas.berkeley.edu/programs/haas-social-impact-fund.html, and feel free to contact robbie_heath@mba.berkeley.edu with any questions about the application or how to get involved with the fund.

The fund has established a strong track record of success and impact.

Community Partner Spotlight – Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco

ecs_logoFA_CMYK - high resEpiscopal Community Services (ECS) of San Francisco is the city’s largest provider of emergency shelter and shelter behavioral health services. For 30 years, it has helped homeless and very low-income people every day and every night obtain the housing, jobs, shelter and essential services that each person needs to prevent and end homelessness. It assists over 8,300 homeless and low-income people annually.

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