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2018 Social Entrepreneurs in Residence

SEERS fellows 2018

L-R: Denise Raquel Dunning, Christa Gannon, and Laura Weidman Powers

Mar 29 2018

Stanford’s Program on Social Entrepreneurship welcomes three social entrepreneurs to campus this spring: Denise Raquel Dunning, Christa Gannon, and Laura Weidman Powers. They are serving as Social Entrepreneurs in Residence at Stanford (SEERS) Fellows at the Haas Center for Public Service through a partnership with Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). In addition to meeting with members of the Stanford community, they are teaching a community-engaged learning course.

The SEERS Fellows lead organizations using entrepreneurial models to advance social justice and pioneer new approaches to public service in marginalized communities. They have all been recognized for path-breaking contributions to the field with awards and prestigious fellowships. The 2018 cohort join 23 alumni who have been part of the program since its launch in 2011.

Advancing Health, Education, and Equity Worldwide

Denise Raquel Dunning is the founder and executive director of Rise Up, which advances health, education, and equity globally. Since the organization’s founding in 2009, Rise Up’s global network of 500+ leaders has improved health, education, and rights for seven million girls, youth, and women, and advocated for over 100 laws and policies impacting 115 million people. Denise has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University. She graduated summa cum laude from Duke University.

Breaking the Cycle of Violence, Crime, and Incarceration of Teens 

Christa Gannon is the founder and CEO of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence, crime, and incarceration of teens. FLY serves youth in three Bay Area counties with legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring, and engages in local system reform efforts to help youth get off probation, engaged in school, and back on track with their lives. Christa has also served on the Haas Center's National Advisory Board. She holds a BS both in sociology and law and society from the University of California, Santa Barbara; graduated with honors from Stanford Law School; and is a member of the California Bar.

Creating Pathways in Tech and Innovation for Underrepresented Minorities

Laura Weidman Powers is the co-founder and CEO of Code2040, a nonprofit organization that creates pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities with a specific focus on Black and Latinx people. Code2040 aims to ensure that by the year 2040—the  start of the decade when the United States will be majority people of color—they are proportionally represented in America's innovation economy as technologists, investors, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs. Laura has a BA cum laude from Harvard College and a JD and MBA from Stanford University.


Read full bios on the CDDRL site.


Stanford undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to work on service-learning projects with the SEERS fellows through the spring course, INTNLREL 142/AFRICAST 142. Through the course, students gain experience working alongside these nonprofit leaders to tackle real organizational challenges. From designing policy reforms to developing fundraising strategies, students emerge with new insights into the field of social change and concrete skills in the social sector. The course is led by Kathleen Kelly Janus, an attorney who has spearheaded many social justice initiatives in the Bay Area, and is co-taught by the SEERS Fellows.  

The Fellows will be on campus through June to teach the course, participate in events, and engage with student groups. Learn more about the Program on Social Entrepreneurship. To connect with the SEERS Fellows, please contact Sarina Beges.