February 21, 2020 | By Diana Acosta

Communities have voices, narratives, and histories that are powerful and steadfast. Way too often, we choose to ignore the voices of historically overlooked communities, perpetuating inequities throughout generations. Despite these challenges, communities persist and resist as I have witnessed and experienced throughout my life. This is why engaging with Georgetown TEDx’s Persist and Resist event was so important to me. It highlighted the resilience of many communities and experiences through the voices of inspiring speakers who were willing to share stories intimately tied to pressing themes of our time. Watching and listening to each speaker’s honesty, words, pain, and strength was a reminder that fortified the importance of each of their calls to transform the world. 

The talks throughout the day had a general theme: it is not enough to just be aware of or aligned with a cause. We must act now, continue to learn, and truly partner alongside each other because whether we acknowledge it or not, the pain spread affects all. In my story, I wanted to highlight communities’ resilience and power as strong foundations that continue to raise generations upon generations. The intentional, hard work of community-building that has been a key mechanism of survival within our experience and identities. The amazing power of comunidad and the humanity that propels it. The people who form part of such a transformative learning space and share that wisdom with others. Thank you for all you are. 

I am grateful to the people in my communities, from El Salvador, to Columbia Heights, to Hyattsville, who have shaped my journey. Through them we have learned the importance of seeing each other and taking action to create lasting change. Muchísimas gracias por lo que son y toda la fuerza y el corazón que le ofrecen al mundo.  

 

Diana Acosta is the Beeck Center’s Program Associate in Fair Finance. She is a graduate of Harvard University, and is involved with a number of youth development and mentoring programs in the DC area. 

 

January 15, 2020 | By Nate Wong, Sheila Herrling & Audrey Voorhees

As public trust of business and markets wanes, there’s an ever important call for everyone to play a critical role in reforming the system “so that it delivers prosperity for the many, rather than the few.” The Beeck Center has been observing the trends in the corporate social impact (CSI) space for the past few years as mainstream rhetoric has shifted from a shareholder to stakeholder-centric view of capitalism, most importantly seen in the recent United States Business Roundtable announcement

The question remains, where does the CSI movement stand and where do we go from here? As a “grasstop” player, the Center links grassroot and institutional efforts poised for action, and puts our energy toward the messy infrastructure work that can accelerate and sustain positive social impact movements like corporate social impact. It’s what we’d call “Impact at Scale.”


CSI Defined: The increasing recognition that corporations need to rethink their role in society and embed social purpose into their business model in order to manage risk, maintain market share, and secure competitive advantage. For those more bullish, you could be more specific that purpose will drive higher profit.


We set out to explore the topic – who is doing what – and to identify gaps in the CSI landscape that require concentrated action to accelerate impact at scale. My colleagues Sheila Herrling and Audrey Voorhees conducted this analysis to consider potential roles for the Center, but believe it serves as a “global public good” for all interested parties to help move this movement forward.  

Analysis highlights include:

  • The CSI movement arguably began over 12  years ago… with at least 11 key flashpoint events that have been foundational in building momentum, but there is still more work to do to tip the movement. 
  • 22 actors stand at the forefront of accelerating this movement and their efforts are worth looking out for.
  • There are 4 major gaps standing in the way of mainstreaming this movement that require attention.

We have 7 gap-closing ideas. Dive deeper here.

Our hope is that this will ground people’s understanding no matter where you may sit in the space – a corporation finding its position relative to others, a policymaker navigating the shifting system, or an academic seeking to teach business through a more current lens – and empower coordination.

With all of the Beeck Center’s work, we pair learners and expert practitioners. Watch MBA candidate and Student Analyst Audrey Voorhees’ capstone presentation as she shares her own journey and some of the research highlights.

Engage with us. 

This is our first pass at creating a comprehensive landscape analysis of the corporate social impact movement. As a community of practitioners driving impact at scale, we want this analysis to provide value along the learning continuum, from initiate to expert. How does this analysis resonate with you? And the market? We’d love your feedback.

The potential for corporates to drive social impact is scale is enormous. If partnerships can be leveraged, strategic alliances formed and critical gaps in the movement filled, this movement just might tip!

Sheila Herrling is a Fellow at the Beeck Center, where she pursues initiatives in impact investing and measurement, inclusive entrepreneurship and social innovation at scale.

Audrey Voorhees is a Student Analyst at the Beeck Center. She is currently pursuing an MBA at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.

Nate Wong serves as the Interim Executive Director at the Beeck Center, where he leads the Center’s pursuits and thinking on social impact at scale across its major portfolios. He previously helped launch social impact units at Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte Consulting LLP.


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