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Bringing Innovators Together
We believe that our collective impact as a society will ultimately be greater than the impact any one of us can have alone.
By bringing all sectors together, we can learn, share, and challenge one another to build organizational and leadership capacity, bridge the gap between social entrepreneurship and government, and develop and nurture an emerging social capital market.

Citizens and leaders alike lack awareness of solutions that exist, which in turn fosters low-expectations for overcoming our greatest social problems. Through our convening strategy, we aspire to help build partnerships across sectors, develop initiatives to transform public problem solving, create innovative market-based solutions to pressing social problems, and ultimately release our collective potential to drive change.

The Gathering of Leaders
We held the first Gathering in 2005. Social entrepreneurs and other leaders from government, philanthropy, academia, business, and the nonprofit sector came together to catalyze the development of new ideas, relationships, and resources that can help scale social innovation and transform public problem solving. A central question guided that first convening—how can we release the potential of social entrepreneurship to accelerate social change?

Over the past several years, the Gathering has created an enduring platform to advance the impact of social entrepreneurship. Through peer-to-peer discussions, knowledge sharing between organizations and across growth stages, and cross-sector learning that includes the opportunity to engage with leading thinkers, participants have explored three areas that represent the most stubborn barriers to scaling social innovation:
  • The challenge of identifying, developing, and retaining exceptional talent
  • The gap between social entrepreneurs and policymakers who allocate resources and drive change at the city, state, and federal levels
  • The ineffective capital market for social innovation
These are also the very areas that offer the most promising opportunities for releasing the full potential of social innovation to transform our broken systems and create meaningful, lasting change for children, families, and communities.

What the Gathering initially sought to do—identify what holds social entrepreneurship back from scaling its impact and figure out how to change it—has been addressed. But the work of overcoming these barriers to impact is far from finished, and this will be the Gathering's focus in the coming years.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day...act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.
T.E. Lawrence
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