Compared with their enterprising west coast rivals, social entrepreneurs at HBS seem downright genteel.
The Harvard Business School alumni magazine in its June issue profiles five social innovation projects by HBS alumns.
HBS (part of Harvard EIN 04-2103580 Form 990) maintains a lower profile on social entrepreneurship than Stanford (EIN 94-1156365 Form 990), which assumes a very visible role in the sector by publishing the Stanford Social Innovation Review. But Harvard has a social enterprise track in its MBA program (which addresses corporate social responsibility along with social ventures), and the elective courses in that track attract about 400 of the school's 900 second-year students. An executive education program attracts about 330 participants (out of about 8,000 in 2005).
The top venture in the list is Bridgespan Group (EIN 31-1625487 Form 990), which is the nonprofit consulting affiliate of the management consulting firm Bain & Company. With 85% of its $10.1 million income in fees, Bridgespan truly qualifies as a social enterprise venture. Bain partner and HBS grad Tom Tierney is chair of the organization and says that the target for the group's consulting efforts are nonprofit organizations in the $1 million to $30 million range. Mr. Tierney says that larger scale organizations would have access to other resources, which I suspect means that they pay for consulting services from Bain at the going rate. Bridgespan's Form 990 reports that the company operates with consultants borrowed from Bain & Company, which continues to pay their salaries while on loan.
Year Up (EIN 04-3534407 Form 990) was founded in 2000 by HBS grad and entrepreneur Gerald Chertavian. It's a training and apprenticeship program for urban youth from 18 to 24. Starting in Boston & Cambridge, the program has expanded to New York, Providence, and Washington. (Boston, New York, and Washington are three of the big five cities for social ventures, the other two being San Francisco & Seattle.) The organization's most recent available Form 990 reports revenues of $6 million, almost entirely from private fundraising. This group will face a challenge in scaling up its operation to smaller cities that might not have the range of apprenticeship opportunities and corporate sponsors.
Endeavor Global (EIN 13-3931449 Form 990) is headed up by Linda Rottenberg, a graduate of Yale Law School, but it has been the subject of an HBS case study and has HBS grads on its board like Jamen Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank. The organization facilitates links between a small number of promising entrepreneurs in developing countries and various sources of financing and support in the US—really big names like Citibank and Goldman Sachs. The most recent available Form 990 shows an organization with just $2.7 million in income, nearly all donations, supporting a staff of just eight. It is not clear that this social venture would need to be organized as a nonprofit. Since Endeavor selects only the most promising and least risky prospects to help, it seems closer to commercial prospecting than to international development work.
Cure Altzheimer's Fund (EIN 52-2396428 Form 990) is a project of Henry McCance, an HBS grad that is chair and president of Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm in Boston. Along with two other friends who had been affected by Alzheimer's in their family, Mr. McCance raises money and helps to direct an Alzheimer's research program. The organization was started in 2004 and shows $1.3 million in revenue for 2005, but the article indicates that they are on their way to raising $6 million this year. There's an interesting note in the Form 990 that the Pittsburgh Foundation (EIN 25-0965466 Form 990) helps out by providing a pay-through method that enables the organization to raise money in states where it is not registered.
Partners of 63 (now Applecore Partners EIN 13-4147092 Form 990) is something like a giving circle. There are currently 100 members (it started with 25 from the HBS class of 1963), who contribute up to $25,000 a year for specific projects selected by the group. Members have the option of contributing time, which they can credit to their membership dues at the rate of $1,000 per day (these are HBS grads, after all). They have supported high-profile causes like DonorsChoose (EIN 13-4129457 Form 990), the web site that lets donors fund individual school projects ($7.8 million in income in the year ended June 30, 2006), and the New Teacher Project (EIN 13-3850158 Form 990), a $13.1 million organization that helps school districts recruit better teachers.