The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it will commit $2 million to support a project investing in young entrepreneurs.
Together with partners General Atlantic, Newman’s Own Foundation, The Pershing Square Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Echoing Green, who will jointly commit an additional $2 million, this three-year initiative will select twenty young social innovators working in developing countries to join two classes of the Echoing Green Fellowship Program.
The goal of this partnership is to “prime the pump” for global social entrepreneurship, according to USAID.
“We are proud to partner with organizations like Echoing Green that have a legacy of proven, smart investing in successful social entrepreneurs, including City Year, SKS Microfinance, and One Acre Fund,” said USAID administrator Rajiv Shah in a new release. “In order to answer President Obama’s call to end extreme poverty in the next two decades, we need exactly these kinds of strategic partnerships to encourage young people to take their innovative, game-changing social enterprises to scale.”
Echoing Green’s Fellowship Program, which is currently accepting applications, is a competitive program, accepting around 40 Fellows each year from over 3,000 applicants. But if chosen, Fellows receive up to $90,000 and various non-financial support, regardless of whether their ideas are already operating or not. The bet is on individuals who show potential to carry out transformative work – like Wendy Kopp, a 1991 Echoing Green Fellow and the founder of Teach for America.
Other than investing in young people, it was announced that the partnership will foster the growth of the social entrepreneurship sphere. USAID Missions and Echoing Green will take part in coordinating events and field building activities, and the partners and Echoing Green Fellows will share best practices within the social enterprise community.
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