Over two dozen social impact professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, and community organizers, including members of our own Hillbrook parent community, gathered together to connect and share the impactful work they are doing to forward positive change and support others throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.
This inaugural event for Hillbrook’s Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship, which launched this past summer, brought motivated minds and varied perspectives to a shared conversation of what social entrepreneurship means to those involved with the work, how it impacts a community, and how we can combine and connect our efforts to magnify our impact. Attendees shared their current social impact work, in fields ranging from business, to social, cultural, arts, and educational sectors in the Bay Area and beyond.
The founding Director of the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Hillbrook, Annie Makela, welcomed guests with the following:
People of all ages approach social impact work in unique, personal ways…Over the past several weeks, during my own personal listening tour to get to know Hillbrook, I have spent time chatting with students, faculty and staff. Most of these conversations have started with me asking the sometimes daunting question, “what matters to you?” The answers are fabulous and raw and silly and brave, vague and at times strikingly specific. A third grader shared with me that gender equality in sports matters to her. That she doesn’t understand why she can play flag football during PE, but when she goes with her dad to watch the 49ers, there are no women on the field. A 1st grader shared that what matters to her is that all kids get candy for halloween… The responses of this community have confirmed what I had seen to be true in many years working in social entrepreneurship before joining Hillbrook: Children care deeply about the world. We owe children the opportunity to build the skills and have the learning experiences that will shape how they will tackle and think about the toughest challenges facing society. Challenges that currently exist and ones we can’t begin to imagine yet.
Annie then invited luncheon guests to share in small groups what mattered to them, what work they were currently doing that impacted people or planet, and what experiences in their lives they feel led them to it.
“Social Entrepreneurship is a frame of mind, both a way of interpreting the world and of interacting with the world,” said Ilsa Dohmen, Director of Teaching and Learning at Hillbrook and one of the co-facilitators of the luncheon. “As we develop the strategy and programming for the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship, we want to gather adults who are making a social impact, and figure out how to translate the skills and experiences that have made them successful agents of change into everyday experiences for students in JK-8th grade, both at Hillbrook and beyond.”
The luncheon provided a key opportunity to imagine the future of the Scott Center for the Hillbrook community...Guests collaborated and imagined ways to bring social entrepreneurship into the elementary school experience, which included leveraging opportunities, building partnerships, and - with the support of adult mentors and teachers - challenging students to step outside of their comfort zones.
“Young people see the world with a clarity and focus that allow them to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our community in innovative ways,” said Annie Makela, Director of the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Hillbrook. “One of the goals of the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship is to create a platform for children to turn an idea into real impact. A place to connect, collaborate and catalyze social change. To be an entrepreneurial thinker means you are able to see the world as it is and imagine they way it might be in the future. Our goal as educators is expose students to the many possibilities and paths and allow each of them to decide where they fit in best.