This profile was prepared when Aaron Hurst was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Aaron Hurst created the Taproot Foundation to harness human capital to improve the human condition. Inspired by the Peace Corps model for bridging cultures through peer-to-peer relationships, Aaron has devised a similar process to bridge the corporate and citizen sectors. He has found a way to bring together business professionals and nonprofit leaders as peers in extended, team-based projects, and apply quality management practices to ensure that these engagements have a concrete value to all participants. The projects challenge and enlighten the volunteers, strengthen both the citizen sector and private sector organizations, and benefit the community.Aaron recognized that in our fast-paced mobile society, business professionals seek to gain a voice in and contribute meaningfully to their communities, but often lack the social networks to do so. His idea is to mobilize these individuals into a corps of skilled volunteers that will be a “taproot” of growth and development for the social sector. With the help of the Taproot Foundation, they will expand our country’s capacity to solve entrenched social problems. Aaron envisions a society in which marketing, technology, human resources, accounting, and other professionals work side by side with professionals in the citizen sector for the benefit of their communities.