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Doing good is CLASSY

Nominees for NBC’s CLASSY Awards are on the web, and five Ashoka Fellow organizations made the cut.   The annual ceremony, now in its second year, recognizes the top philanthropic achievements of individuals and organizations in eight cities nationwide. The winners will be announced at a glamorous Academy Award-inspired ceremony in San Diego, and NBC affiliates will stream the event live on the web.

Security and Solidarity: An Ashoka Story

I am often asked to explain the importance of the Ashoka Fellowship as community. Is there actually a sense of common purpose and mutual support, or is it merely a collection of talented individuals? Recently I spent a week in Hong Kong with the Asian Human Rights Commission, a citizen organization built by Ashoka Fellow Basil Fernando. Returning to their neat and busy offices recalled to me a remarkable illustration of the real meaning and value of the Fellowship.

More than Manic

What it really takes to be a social entrepreneur...

Giant Rats put Noses to Work on Africa's Land Mine Epidemic

Ashoka Fellow Bart Weetjens' organization, APOPO, trains HeroRats (giant pouched rats) to detect landmines in Africa. Bart is also employing their superb noses to detect tuberculosis. 

Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know

Ashoka friends David Bornstein and Susan Davis have recently written a new book on the rise and importance of social entrepreneurship.  The book focuses squarely on what social entrepreneurs do and how they do it and serves as a practical guide to anyone that wants to be a part of the movement.

Maternal Mortality in the US

How can it be that America, a country known for economic growth and leadership, has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized country? More so, in a country pioneering equal rights and diversity, black babies are twice as likely as white babies to die before reaching their first birthday. 

What ever happened to apprenticeships? One Ashoka Fellow is working to bring them back and is reengaging students along the way!

"I didn't learn these things until my first year in college!" Ken Hayes said as he describes his architecture apprenticeship with Carlos, a 7th grade Spark student doing his second apprenticeship in architecture. Ken, of the Ken Hayes Group, has been in business for over a decade and helped Carlos deepen his knowledge of house foundations and structures. In fall 2009, Carlos designed the exterior of a dream house for his mother.

"It's my dream to build my mother a unique house, a house not like any others," Carlos said.

Federal Government opens its eyes to social innovation in the citizen sector

Yesterday at a press conference honoring Congresswoman Betty McCollum a legislative act was introduced that could shift the way government interacts with and supports social innovations.

Nonprofit Organization Highlights Local Changemakers in Haiti

"People in poverty are championing the way out of poverty," declared Daphne Nederhorst, Ashoka Fellow and founder of Sawa Global, an organization highlighting local changemakers in their home communities.

What Is a Social Entrepreneur, Really?

In the middle of the night, I wake up thinking about this question. 

Why is this on my mind, you might be wondering? As a recently baptized Ashoka Fellow, I find myself spending a lot of time lately explaining the meaning of the phrase social entrepreneurship. The sometimes confused looks on the faces of people listening tell me that they don't always get it.
Fueled by insomnia and searching for a better explanation, I fire up the Internet and, of course, check Wikipedia. It says this: