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Each year the Haas Center welcomes Social Entrepreneurs in Residence at Stanford (SEERS) Fellows—outstanding leaders and changemakers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
SEERS Fellows are leaders of organizations taking a groundbreaking approach to advancing social, economic, and political change.
SEERS Fellows spend Thursdays on campus during the academic quarter. The Cardinal Course—Social Entrepreneurship and the Advancement of Democracy, Development and Justice (IR 142)—is the foundation of the program and is offered to undergraduates and select graduate students who work in teams with the social entrepreneurs on specific projects to enhance the fellows' organizational capacity. Example of course projects include: working to help refugees realize their rights in Latin America; improving literacy for children in underprivileged communities in the U.S.; and training women to use sustainable water technologies in Africa; among other projects. The program is partially supported by Echoing Green, with advice from Keeno Sadler, Vice President of Programs.
Lecturer Kathleen Kelly Janus leads the course. Janus is the senior advisor on social innovation to Governor Gavin Newsom. Her book, Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make a Difference, is a playbook for nonprofit organizations based on insights from hundreds of top-performing social innovators.
Beyond the course, SEERS Fellows use their time on campus to advance professional objectives, contemplate their next steps as social change leaders, and broaden their networks in the Bay Area community. SEERS Fellows leave the fellowship with tangible projects to support their professional work, and students gain the practical experience of working on projects for a leading nonprofit organization.
Through Cardinal Quarter, students who participated in the Cardinal Course can intern directly with SEERS Fellows over the summer. In addition, many SEERS Fellows continue their affiliation with Stanford after the fellowship to deepen their engagement with Stanford faculty, student groups, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus.
Building a tangible bridge between academia and practice, the program exposes students to models of social change through a community-engaged learning course and provides practitioners the opportunity to strengthen their individual and personal capacities as social-change leaders.
In 2011, the Program on Social Entrepreneurship was launched at Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). Its founding partners include Kavita Ramdas, founding executive director of the program; Larry Diamond, CDDRL’s former director; and Sarina Beges, CDDRL’s associate director who served as the program’s manager and advisor from its inception to 2019. The program was led for several years by Deborah L. Rhode, the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law at Stanford Law School; and is currently led by Deborah Stipek, Peter E. Haas Faculty Director of the Haas Center for Public Service and the Judy Koch Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education.
Our Social Entrepreneurs
The program welcomed its first group of SEERS Fellows to Stanford in April 2012. Each class is composed of three to four talented social entrepreneurs working locally to advance social change.
Please see the list of SEERS Fellows below and read their bios. The roles and organizations listed are those held during the fellowship.
- Lenore Anderson is co-founder and president of Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ), a national organization that partners with governors, state legislators, and advocates to replace over-incarceration with policies that prioritize prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation to stop the cycles of crime.
- Samuel (Sammy) Nuñez is founder and executive director of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, a nonprofit working on the front lines of racial justice, community healing, trauma-informed care, community reentry, and education equityin California.
- Olatunde Sobomehin, ’03, is the CEO and lead servant of StreetCode Academy, a nonprofit that provides free tech classes to communities of color to equip its students with the mindset, skills, and networks to thrive in the technology industry.
- Scott Warren is the co-founder and CEO of Generation Citizen, a nonprofit that works to ensure that every student in the United States receives an effective civics education that provides them with the knowledge and skills to participate in democracy as active citizens.
- George McGraw currently serves as founder and CEO of DigDeep.org, the only WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) organization serving disadvantaged communities in the United States.
- Tomiquia Moss is the CEO of Hamilton Families, which offers emergency, transitional, and permanent housing services for families experiencing homelessness.
- Damon Packwood is the co-founder and executive director of Gameheads, a tech training program that uses video game design, development, and DevOps to train young people for the tech ecosystem, college, career, and civic life.
- Doniece Sandoval is the founder of Lava Mae, a nonprofit that began by converting public transportation buses into bathrooms on wheels to deliver hygiene and reconnect people experiencing homelessness with their dignity.
- Denise Raquel Dunning is the founder and executive director of Rise Up, which advances health, education, and equity globally with a special emphasis on girls, youth and women.
- Christa Gannon is the founder of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence, crime and incarceration of teens in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Laura Weidman Powers is the co-founder and CEO of Code2040, a Bay Area-based nonprofit organization that creates pathways to success in technology for underrepresented minorities with a specific focus on Blacks and Latinxs.
- Chris Ategeka is the founder of Health Access Corps in Uganda, an organization working to strengthen healthcare systems in Sub-Saharan Africa by using local talent to combat the extreme shortage of health care professionals in underserved areas.
- Cristi Hegranes is the founder and executive director of Global Press, an organization that professionally trains local female journalists to produce ethical, accurate news coverage to engage a global audience with the world’s least-covered places.
- Raj Jayadev is a co-founder of Silicon Valley De-Bug, a San Jose-based advocacy organization working to support the interests of youth, immigrants, low-income workers, and the incarcerated.
- Carolyn Laub is a nonprofit strategy consultant, social entrepreneur and co-founder at Springboard Partners, where she shares her expertise in LGBTQ equality, education justice, youth leadership, and community organizing.
- Tomás Alvarez is a pioneer of "Hip Hop Therapy,” a modern form of therapy that radically transforms how mental health and wellness are promoted in marginalized communities.
- Rajasvini (Vini) Bhansali is the executive director of the International Development Exchange (IDEX), which supports grassroots leaders in the Global South to create lasting and transformative change.
- Jered Lawson is the co-founder of Pie Ranch, a sustainable farm that cultivates a healthy and just food system from seed to table through food education, farmer training, and regional partnerships.
- Josefina Alvarado Mena is the executive director of Safe Passages, an organization that advocates for vulnerable children, youth, and their families in Oakland and Alameda County.
- Katie Albright is the executive director of the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, a community-based organization that works to support healthy families and promote children’s well being in the Bay Area.
- Kennedy Jawoko is a career journalist working to harness the power of new technology to create an online portal for East African journalists reporting on agriculture and food security journalism in the region.
- Lateefah Simon is an activist for at-risk youth and young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently the director of the California Future’s Program at the Rosenberg Foundation and previously served as the executive director of the Center for Young Women's Development in San Francisco.
- Rob Gitin is the co-founder and executive director of At The Crossroads, a San Francisco-based organization working with underserved homeless youth and young adults to help them build healthy and fulfilling lives.
- Natalie Bridgeman Fields leads the Accountability Counsel, which defends vulnerable communities across the developing world from abusive practices committed by international institutions.
- Michael Lombardo is the CEO of Reading Partners, a not-for-profit organization that provides literacy programs for elementary schools in low-income communities across the United States.
- Lateefah Simon is an activist for at-risk youth and young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently the director of the California Future’s Program at the Rosenberg Foundation.
- Gemma Bulos is a multi award-winning social entrepreneur and director of the Global Women’s Water Initiative, an organization building a cadre of women trainers in East Africa versed in a holistic set of water, sanitation, and hygiene strategies.
- Simeon Koroma is the co-founder and director of Timap for Justice, a pioneering non-governmental organization in Sierra Leone, that provides free justice services through community-based paralegals employing mediation, advocacy, education, and organizing.
- Maxwell Matewere is the executive director of Eye of the Child in Malawi, an organization which engages in child rights advocacy, training and strategic litigation to protect and promote child rights in Malawi.
- Zainah Anwar is one of the founding members of Sisters in Islam, an NGO that works on women's rights in Islam based in Malaysia. She also founded Musawah, a global movement of equality and justice within the Muslim family.
- Emily Arnold-Fernandez founded Asylum Access, an international organization dedicated to securing refugees' rights by integrating individualized legal assistance, community legal empowerment, policy advocacy and strategic litigation.
- Mazibuko Jara is the founder of the Ntinga Ntaba ka Ndoda organization that supports rural development in the eastern cape of South Africa. Jara is also active in advocating for the rights of women under traditional law, and those living with HIV/AIDS.
- Taida Horozovic founded CURE, an organization committed to ending gender violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina through educational awareness, media tools, and global campaigns.
- Ramzi Jaber launched Visualizing Palestine, an initiative that uses visual stories and graphics to build international awareness around past and present injustices in Palestine.
- Steve Williams co-founded the San Francisco-based organization POWER, which works to defend the rights of low income workers, immigrant women, and advocates for housing justice in some of San Francisco's poorer communities.
Nomination and Selection
At present there is no open application process to the program. The program's advisory committee and partner organizations help identify and invite dynamic practitioners to participate in the entrepreneur-in-residence program. Nominations are reviewed by the program team and perspective social entrepreneurs will be invited to submit a formal application and supporting materials.
If you are interested in learning more about the Program on Social Entrepreneurship, please contact Paitra Houts, Director of Community Engaged Learning in Education.
For more information on the program and resources for social entrepreneurship at Stanford please join our listserv
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