Photo (left to right): David Eccles School of Business Dean Taylor Randall, James Lee Sorenson, University of Utah President David Pershing, and Lewis Hower, managing director of the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing.
Tech entrepreneurs may opt to put their money into tech firms. But not this one. James Lee Sorenson has given $13 million as a personal gift to the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business to set up the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing.
In addition to advancing investment into early stage companies, organizations, and funds that generate positive social and environmental as well as financial impact, the Center will engage students at the University of Utah with partner universities to create sustainable change on regional and global levels through innovative curriculum and research.
“The James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing will provide unparalleled experiences for our students and faculty to participate directly in solving some of the world’s thorniest and most persistent societal problems,” said David W. Pershing, president of the University of Utah, in a statement.
“The Center will be a global leader in the creation of new knowledge of how to solve widespread structural problems, while training a generation of transformative leaders in social impact investment.”
The Center will accelerate the work of the University Impact Fund, established as a joint venture in 2010 by the David Eccles School of Business, the Melvin J. Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance at Brigham Young University, James Lee Sorenson, and global impact investor Geoff Woolley.
The Fund was set up to provide students with real-world experiences in impact investment, and consulting and advisory services in the social entrepreneurship and impact investment sectors.
Problems that the Center will address include healthcare, education, housing, sustainable and green energy, agriculture, and entrepreneurial livelihood training and development. Students will benefit from fellowship opportunities offered throughout the world.
Although universities such as Oxford already offer centres focusing on social entrepreneurship, the primary focus at the University of Utah is impact investing.
Sorenson, whose experience as a multifaceted, global entrepreneur has helped him create highly successful businesses in industries ranging from technology and life sciences to real estate and private equity investment, will play an active role in setting the direction for the Center and mentoring its students.
“It is an honor to participate in this venture, which has the potential to effect genuine societal change and improve the quality of life for countless individuals throughout the world,” said Sorenson.
“On a personal level, this center is an opportunity to apply on a greater scale the lessons I learned about high-impact societal change at Sorenson Communications, where the major risk we made in time, energy and money yielded extraordinary returns in opening up brand new personal and professional possibilities for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.”
Source: University of Utah.
Photo by Karalee Webb.
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