The Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced a $1 million gift to the Georgetown Global Social Enterprise Initiative and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security last Wednesday to establish a fellowship on women in the economy and to support programming on corporate responsibility.
A portion of the donation will create a BOA Fellowship on and Women and the Economy at GIWPS, which will offer qualified recent graduates the opportunity to research topics related to women’s empowerment and economic development.
In a statement on the university website, President of the BOA Charitable Foundation Kerry Sullivan said that she is excited to continue the partnership with Georgetown through this donation.
“Georgetown’s tradition of service closely aligns with our commitment to making corporate social responsibility the core of our business, and both of these programs support our efforts to foster economic empowerment around the world,” Sullivan wrote.
According to GIWPS Executive Director Melanne Verveer, the gift shows BOA’s dedication to empowering women in the economy.
“They understand that women’s economic participation is critical to growing economies at home and around the world. They also recognize that women entrepreneurs and the small and medium size businesses they create are growth accelerators,” Verveer wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Verveer said that the donation will be important in furthering the institute’s outreach and programming.
“BOA has been committed to growing women’s economic participation through a range of initiatives relating to access to capital for women, entrepreneurs, mentoring programs, leadership and related commitments,” Verveer wrote.
Verveer also said that the fellowship will help create a cadre of young talent for women’s issues.
The inaugural fellowship recipient this year, Tricia Correia (MSB ’15), plans to engage in a number of research projects related to various cutting-edge topics in women’s economic participation.
“It will cover my research expenses to a reasonable level, and I am currently working with a professor in the [McDonough School of Business] to design one of my projects,” Correia said. “Just being able to focus on conducting research and not having to apply for separate grants is a great thing for me.”
The donation will also be used to fund the GSEI to deliver programming on corporate responsibility. The GSEI was originally launched within the MSB in 2011 using a $1 million gift from the BOA Charitable Foundation.
GSEI plans to put the grant to use by proposing a new Corporate Social Responsibility series, which will start Sept. 30. The series, which will be open to students, will look at the evolution of the concept of corporate social responsibility, using BOA and other companies as examples. Later this fall, GSEI also plans to organize a discussion on green investment.
In addition, GSEI plans to use the funding to expand its existing internship program in order to connect more students to career opportunities, including a summer internship with the World Business Council on sustainable development.
A portion of the gift will also fund the work of author Leslie Crutchfield, who is currently writing her next book on social innovation as a senior fellow at GSEI.
The initial donation from BOA in 2011 has allowed GSEI to offer a range of different programs over the past four years. According to GSEI Executive Director Ladan Manteghi, the $1 million were awarded over three years for an array of programming events.
With the funding, GSEI has invited a number of speakers to campus, including Bono and Warren Buffett. GSEI has also supported and funded internship opportunities for students interested in pursuing studies in social entrepreneurship, including two Masters of Business Administration students who worked with the State Department’s Global Partnership Initiative office.
In addition, the endowment has provided operational support to other activities, such as supporting student leadership, developing program marketing, funding new student initiatives and inviting experienced business professionals who connect MSB students to real business experience.
Manteghi said that the additional funding will help GSEI enhance its mission.
“From what I learned, BOA believes in helping to support a new generation of leaders to view the approach to business and how it can contribute to society in a meaningful way,” Manteghi said. “We are growing, and we are utilizing the fund to enhance those programs as well as enhance the experience of our students.”
With regards to how the partnership between GSEI and BOA will continue to evolve in the future, Manteghi said that she is positive about its potential.
“I think we will continue to grow together, grow the practice of social enterprise and the mindset of being able to take on challenges of being catalysts and leaders in social enterprises,” Manteghi said.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.