The McDonough School of Business announced that it will partner with Bank of America to form the Global Social Enterprise Initiative, a program designed to prepare students to conduct successful socially conscious business.
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has donated $1 million to Georgetown to support the initiative. The gift is among the largest donations given to the university by the banking industry, according to an MSB press release.
According to former AARP CEO and MSB professor of the practice William Novelli, who will head the initiative, the program plans to integrate its socially minded focus into the business school’s curriculum and research. It is Novelli’s hope that every student that graduates will leave prepared to conduct a new form of business that he calls “doing well by doing good.”
“We want to … create the leaders of tomorrow,” Novelli said.
The integrated effort will also work with campus organizations such as Net Impact and Compass Partners.
Neil Shah (MSB ’10), co-founder of Compass Partners, says the group has been in talks with GSEI and is excited to interact with the new initiative. There is no formal relationship currently planned between Compass and GSEI.
“We’re working toward the same goal, we’re in the same school, and I’m sure we’ll cross paths in future,” Shah said.
The university approached Bank of America about the partnership, drawing on already existing initiatives by the bank, according to Novelli.
“They are very interested in tackling economic development and job growth, so it was a big issue that fit within our model,” he said.
GSEI plans to partner with the government, non-profits and corporations to help creatively solve global problems. According to the initiative’s website, it will focus on the areas of global health and well-being, responsible investing, clean energy technology, international development and economic growth.
“The initiative aims to tackle the big social and economic issues of the day,” Novelli said. “Businesses have to create economic value for their stockholders, but they’ve discovered that they can do that by creating social value.”
GSEI aims to collaborate with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown Law Center, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Center for Social Impact Communications and other university programs, according to a flier used at the kick-off panel.
“We are thrilled to partner with Georgetown’s new Global Social Enterprise Initiative to explore new ideas in solving our most pressing social issues,” James Mahoney, global public policy and corporate communications executive at Bank of America, said while announcing the donation.
Novelli said that eventually GSEI will look to grow beyond the United States as it seeks to fulfill its mission.
“We mean this to be global. Georgetown is global. The companies and organizations are global. The problems are global,” he said.
Correction: This article originally stated GSEI stood for Georgetown Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. The correct name is the Georgetown Social Enterprise Initiative.