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.
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.