A $1 million grant for research on the social enterprise movement and women’s economic mobility was awarded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the McDonough School of Business’ Global Social Enterprise Initiative in August.
The grant is intended to spur research on methods for fostering economic opportunity for women living in nations in conflict, according to GIWPS. The study is formally commencing at Bank of America’s October conference on women’s entrepreneurship in Dublin.
The grant also creates a Bank of America Research Fellow position for the next two years; Raiyan Kabir (GRD ’17) is filling the position for the 2018-19 academic year. For the first phase of research, GIWPS is concentrating on actions that would enhance women’s economic equality in conflict-torn nations, according to Ambassador and Executive Director of GIWPS Melanne Verveer.
“There are a growing number of fragile states in the world,” Verveer said in a news release. “Women’s economic empowerment is an issue of utmost importance because it is critical for economic viability, political stability, and peace and security.”
The grant will be put toward research that can help eliminate gaps in women’s economic opportunities, according to Verveer.
“This important research will fill a critical need by contributing to what we know about creating economic opportunity and improving conditions for women,” Verveer said in the news release.
The grant will also serve to fund research on the extent of the broadening social enterprise field for the Global Social Enterprise Initiative. GSEI is exploring how social enterprises, which are businesses focused on positive social impact, increase economic mobility, particularly in the United States.
The GSEI aims to use its findings to make social enterprises more efficient, particularly analyzing how large multinational companies can advance their own causes while creating shared value for others.
GSEI leaders hope the research will help students learn to balance their industry’s bottom lines with the well-being of society at large, aligning with Georgetown’s Jesuit values, according to Leslie Crutchfield, executive director of GSEI.
“We are trying to understand how the social enterprise movement is accelerating economic mobility for the nation’s most vulnerable and marginalized people,” Crutchfield said in the news release.
Through grants like this, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation intends to support communities struggling with economic mobility, workforce development and education, as well as the organizations that study and assist them, according to President of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation Kerry Sullivan.
“We are guided by a common purpose to make financial lives better,” Sullivan said in a news release. “Supporting research and programs like those at Georgetown is a key demonstration of how we deploy capital and invest in partnerships that advance women entrepreneurs and build thriving communities.”
The foundation funded similar GIWPS studies in the past. Previous support for GIWPS led to the creation of the Women, Peace and Security index, which seeks to quantify the state of women’s well-being across the globe and identify which nations pose the greatest and most disproportionate risk to women. Bank of America says that advancing economic mobility is one of the focuses of its leadership, and that research by the GSEI will give women the tools they need to expand this focus.
In addition to the funding, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation is planning to continue to co-host a series of lectures on leadership on Georgetown’s campus. Past lectures have featured Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, U2 lead singer Bono and filmmaker Ken Burns.