Tag Archive for Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship

‘Walking Elephants Home’ Project by Winkler ’16 Nominated for Conservation Grant

 Becca Winkler ’16

Becca Winkler ’16 launched “Walking Elephants Home,” a project that provides a new model of tourism, and has been nominated for a European Outdoor Conversation Association grant.

“Walking Elephants Home,” a Mahouts Educations Foundation (MEF) project launched and run by Becca Winkler ’16, has been nominated for the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) grant—and voting is open until March 23.

“From many conversations with elephant owners struggling to make ends meet and who were unhappy with the conditions their elephants live in at elephant camps, I could see that we needed a new model,” Winkler said. “The forests of Thailand have been home to the Asian elephant for thousands of years; it is their birthright. ‘Walking Elephants Home’ is on a mission to to prove that tourists should do the work to see elephants in their habitat, rather than removing the elephants and forcing them to live in a tourist camp for our benefit.”

Winkler, a Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies major who first began working with elephants in Thailand as an undergrad, wrote her thesis on “Walking with Giants: Eco-feminist Insights on Elephant Tourism in Thailand.” She received a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship grant in 2016 that helped her launch and run “Walking Elephants Home” through the MEF, a nonprofit that supports elephants and their mahouts (owners) in Thailand. Collaborating with indigenous people, the MEF offers a successful business model with ethical tourism alternatives to those who free their elephants. Their goal is to not only improve the elephants’ well-being by returning them to their natural habitat but also enhances biodiversity and prevents further deforestation.

Patricelli Center Awards Seed Grants to 3 Student-Led Ventures

AJ Wilson ’18 speaks about his project, Dream Catchers, which received a seed

AJ Wilson ’18 speaks about his organization, Dream Catchers, which received a $5,000 seed grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

On Feb. 27, three student-led social impact projects received a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship 2017 seed grant. The Patricelli Center will award these ventures with $5,000 each in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

Recipients were selected from a pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, parents, students, faculty and community partners. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact.

The 2017 Seed Grant recipients are:

Dream Chasers led by AJ Wilson ’18, Rhea Drozdenko ’18, Julian Payne and Celina Cotton is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to closing the academic and opportunity gaps in the South and Midwest through peer mentorship, events and workshops, and community engagement.

“Every student needs a peer mentor,” Wilson said. “We believe students need the ability to create, innovate, and work with and for their peers. We also believe students need a safe and nurturing environment that allows them to pursue any academic dream they desire. Our vision is for students to realize no dream is too large or too impossible to pursue.”

Wesleyan’s T.R.A.P. House Business Incubator Working in Hartford’s North End

Members of team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures that won a seed grant, presented their pitch before a live audience of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others.

Members of team behind T.R.A.P. House, one of the three social ventures that won a seed grant, presented their pitch before a live audience of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others.

The Hartford Courant has featured the work of T.R.A.P House, a nonprofit business incubator that targets high-crime, high-poverty areas and has recently started working in the north end of Hartford. T.R.A.P. House is the creation of a team from Wesleyan: Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18, Gabe Weinreb ’18, Sara Eismont ’18, and Bashaun Brown, a former student in Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, where he earned 16 credits while serving six years at the Cheshire Correctional Institution for bank robbery.

Brown will be a member of Wesleyan’s Class of 2018, starting in the fall.

T.R.A.P. stands for “transforming, reinventing and prospering,” and is a play on the street slang for a place to buy and sell drugs. According to the Courant:

The acronym doubles as the organization’s mission statement. Brown wants to set up shop in the North End and recruit drug dealers, providing them an outlet to “pivot their skills to the legal economy” through college-level entrepreneurship classes.

He has already started to make his rounds, visiting halfway houses and touring neighborhoods, spreading word of what he’s doing.

“There are no headhunters looking at these people, no one’s looking to hire them,” Brown said. “But I believe you have the same type of people in these neighborhoods that have the same business acumen that you might find at Harvard or Yale. They’re just using it for the wrong reasons.”

Brown knows this all too well from his upbringing on the streets of Plainfield, N.J., a city 30 miles south of Newark where “preteens act as lookouts and drug mules in exchange for soda-and-chip money.” He tried to distance himself from this life by enrolling at Morehouse College, but after one year, “his dreams collapsed under the weight of debt.” He returned home and made a series of bad decisions that ultimately landed him in prison.

2016 Patricelli Center Seed Grant Winners Announced

Members of team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures that won a seed grant, presented their pitch before a live audience of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others. Presenting (from left to right) are Irvine Peck's-Agaya '18, Gabe Weinreb '18, Bashaun Brown, and Sara Eismont '18.

Members of the team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures awarded a seed grant, presented their pitch before members of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others. Presenting (from left to right) are Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18, Gabe Weinreb ’18, Bashaun Brown and Sara Eismont ’18.

Three social ventures started by Wesleyan students were recently awarded $5,000 seed grants in the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s annual Seed Grant Challenge. They are Kindergarten Kickstart, TRAP House and Walking Elephants Home.

The last weekend in February, all six finalists for the seed grants presented pitches for their ventures before the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and Seed Grant judges, as well as representatives of CT Innovations and the ‎State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, fellow students, and others. The event was also livestreamed. One of the other finalists, <Zim/Code>, chose to withdraw from the Seed Grant competition before selections were made, after the project received $10,000 from another funder.

The remaining finalists, Give Education and Pertiwi Initiative, were awarded smaller runner-up grants funded by members of the Board of Trustees who attended the pitches and believed all six teams were worthy of validation.

“This was the third year that we awarded seed grants in a pitch competition format,” said Makaela Kingsley, director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “I am always blown away by the finalists, and this year was no exception. From Becca Winkler’s thorough understanding of the environmental and cultural conditions in northern Thailand to Irvine Peck’s-Agaya’s deep personal commitment to her economic development work, every person who took that stage captured the audience’s attention and garnered their support. More than launching ventures, this process helps students develop creative competence and confidence that will make them effective changemakers and capable leaders. I believe it’s a critical piece of a Wesleyan education.”

Patricelli Center Receives Challenge Grant from Propel to Complete Endowment

Propel Capital, a philanthropic and impact investing fund that supports innovative strategies to deploy capital for social impact, has announced a challenge grant to Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE). Every dollar raised in gifts or pledges to the PCSE endowment by June 2017 will be matched 1:1 by Propel, up to $700,000 which will fully endow the Center.

Co-founded by Jeremy Mindich ’87 and Sarah Williams ’88, Propel Capital provides grants and investments to nonprofits and social enterprises early or at critical junctures in their development. Mindich and Williams were part of a small group of Wesleyan alumni who came together in 2009, along with Bob Patricelli, and conceived of the Center. In 2011, Propel Capital provided seed funding to launch the Center’s programming. Williams co-chairs the Advisory Board and Mindich serves as a seed grant judge and advisor to the Center.

“One of the hallmarks of a Wesleyan education is the ability to challenge commonly held assumptions and beliefs and to chart new ways of doing things,” Mindich said. “The Center creates a pipeline of talented students skilled in this kind of thinking and then connects them to the amazing alumni network of Wesleyan social entrepreneurs.“

The Patricelli Center provides students with the training, experience, and connections to accelerate their growth as social entrepreneurs. “Wesleyan students combine ingenuity, drive, and passion for impact,” Williams said. “We are proud of the work the Center has done to date and excited about its future as a critical Wesleyan institution.”

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship provides workshops and a class, seed funding to explore new ideas, opportunities and training to serve on boards of local nonprofits, business mentors, summer internship financing, connections to and between alumni in related fields, and helps incubate new enterprises on campus. This year, the Center organized and hosted the first Social Impact Summit, a conference attended by 120 people that featured many enterprises launched by Wesleyan alumni.

In addition to its work around the world, Propel Capital is a sustaining supporter of key projects across Wesleyan, including the PCSE, the Center for Prison Education, and the Kevin Sanborn ’87 Scholarship and Summer Experience Grants.

To learn more about the Patricelli Center, visit www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli. For information about making a gift or pledge, contact Steve Kirsche at skirsche @ wesleyan.edu. View past News @ Wesleyan stories on the Patricelli Center here.

Patricelli Center to Host Social Impact Summit, Nov. 13-14

URAL15241_ShashaSummitPostcard_0811_smj-1On Nov. 13-14 Wesleyan will host the inaugural Social Impact Summit, a gathering of alumni and parents who are passionately working for social change on a local, national and global scale. The summit is underwritten by James Shasha ’50, P’82, and organized by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, and the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations.

Many alumni joke about the “Wesleyan Film Mafia” but less well-known is the “Wesleyan Social Impact Mafia,” a large web of alumni engaged in social impact work.

Patricelli Center Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

The Patricelli Center, opened in 2011, is working to close a funding gap. At the May 2011 ribbon cutting for the center, from left to right, are Jessica Posner Odede '09, Kennedy Odede '12, Board of Trustees Chair Joshua Boger '73, P '06, P '09, Bob Patricelli '61, P '88, P'90, Margaret Patricelli  P '88, P'90, and Alison Patricelli '90.  (Photo by Olivia Drake.)

The Patricelli Center, opened in 2011, is working to close a funding gap. At the May 2011 ribbon cutting for the center, from left to right, are Jessica Posner Odede ’09, Kennedy Odede ’12, Board of Trustees Chair Joshua Boger ’73, P ’06, P ’09, Bob Patricelli ’61, P ’88, P’90, Margaret Patricelli  P ’88, P’90, and Alison Patricelli ’90. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Since 2011, Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) has supported students who want to change the world by providing training, grants, advising, networking and an incubator workspace. PCSE has a funding gap for 2015-16, and is seeking to raise money through a crowdfunding campaign.

The crowdfunding campaign, the first run by the Patricelli Center, launched on Aug. 17 on the website Indiegogo and closes on Sept. 26. Donors can choose from a variety of different perks, depending on their contribution level, including a ticket to Wesleyan’s Social Impact Summit (Nov. 13-14), a mentoring session with a Wesleyan alumnus/a, lunch at the Patricelli Center, or a named grant.

About two-thirds of the Patricelli Center’s operating costs are currently supported by an endowment fund, created in 2011 by a founding gift from the Robert ’61 and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation, and built up over four years with gifts from Propel Capital and several alumni and parent donors. Until the Center is fully endowed and financially self-sustaining, it needs to raise approximately $50,000 annually.

Claudia Kahindi '18, left, and Olayinka Laval '15, right, at work in the Patricelli Center. The two used a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch KIU, an English education program, in Kahindi's home area of coastal Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

Claudia Kahindi ’18, left, and Olayinka Laval ’15, right, at work in the Patricelli Center. The two used a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch KIU, an English education program, in Kahindi’s home area of coastal Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)

The Patricelli Center’s $140,000 yearly budget covers personnel; seed grants, internship grants and enrichment grants for students; training, workshops and office operations.

“The Patricelli Center teaches practical skills for students seeking to have social impact. Raising money – in particular crowdfunding – is one of those skills, so it seemed fitting that we practice what we preach and launch a campaign of our own,” said PCSE Director Makaela Kingsley. “We hope this project will not only help close our urgent funding gap for 2015-2016, but also increase awareness about the Center overall. Obviously I’m biased, but I think social impact and entrepreneurship is a perfect fit for Wesleyan – and a great cause to support.”

Nearly 10 percent of Wesleyan students take advantage of PCSE’s services, and demand has been steadily growing. In 2014-15, PCSE held 37 workshops, trainings, and networking events; awarded 24 grants to 39 applicants; provided 277 advising sessions and dozens of professional connections to 121 students and alumni; and added 38 alumni volunteers to its growing network.

Learn more at the Patricelli Center’s website, or its Indiegogo page.

Faculty, Students Discuss Risk at Symposium

On May 2, the Wesleyan Symposium on Risk brought together faculty and students for an interdisciplinary discussion of risk. The event was sponsored by American Studies, the Center for the Humanities, the College of Letters, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, the Science in Society Program, and the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies support funds. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

Brian Stewart, professor of physics, professor of environmental studies, spoke on "The Metastasis of Risk."

Brian Stewart, professor of physics, professor of environmental studies, spoke on “The Metastasis of Risk.”

PCSE Awards Seed Grants to Student-Led Ventures

The Wesleyan Doula Project is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin '16, Julia Vermeulen '15 and Zandy Stovicek '17.

The Wesleyan Doula Project, a seed grant winner, is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin ’16, Julia Vermeulen ’15 and Zandy Stovicek ’17.

Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship announced the winners of the 2015 PCSE Seed Grant Challenge. These student-led social ventures will each receive $5,000 in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

Recipients were selected from a strong pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, students, faculty and staff. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact.

The 2015 Seed Grant recipients are:

Alumni Speak on Careers for the Common Good

alu_act_2014-1120153923

On Nov. 19, four Wesleyan alumni spoke to students about their post-Wesleyan journeys in a panel discussion on “Careers for the Common Good.” The event was moderated by Lily Herman ’16, pictured at left. Panelists included, from left, Gregg Croteau ’93, Christian Philemon ’97, Katie Nihill ’10 and Matt Lesser ’10.

Youth, Business, Healthcare Discussed at Africa Innovation Summit

Wesleyan's African Students Association hosted an Africa Innovation Summit Nov. 7 in Daniel Family Commons.

Wesleyan’s African Students Association hosted an Africa Innovation Summit Nov. 7 in Daniel Family Commons.

Hirut Mcleod ’00, a management consultant at The World Bank, delivered the keynote address. Mcleod has experience coaching leaders at all levels in Africam Asian and the Balkan region. She served as elected alumna trustee of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees from 2012-2014.

Hirut Mcleod ’00, a management consultant at The World Bank, delivered the keynote address. Mcleod has experience coaching leaders at all levels in Africam Asian and the Balkan region. She served as elected alumna trustee of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees from 2012-2014.

Patricelli Seed Grant Winners Share Project Progress

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo '14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo '14 is JooMah's chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo ’14 is JooMah’s chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

In March, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded three student-led social ventures with a Seed Grant. Student representatives from each group received $5,000 in unrestricted startup funds as well as trainings, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

This summer, the students are putting their grants to good use.