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2020 Global Social Benefit Fellowship Action Research Project Proposals

Learning how to pivot is a fundamental skill for all social entrepreneurs, and the Global Social Benefit Fellows have learned that by the necessary adjustments of our program this year. With international travel impossible this summer, our social enterprise partners have adapted their requests for practical research to projects that can be delivered remotely via WhatsApp and Zoom. Projects have shifted toward more global research teams (fellows and local social enterprise staff work collaboratively) and more social media strategy / marketing and communication projects. We have remained true to our foundational principle of providing value to our social enterprise partners, but pivoted in how we deliver that value. You can watch presentations of their research project proposals below.

That our fellowship can continue during a pandemic is a testament to the value that our social enterprise partners perceive in our fellows’ work. Six of the original host enterprises have continued with modified projects, and two additional social enterprises have come on board. Ours is one of the few international fellowship programs offered by Santa Clara University that has continued during the pandemic. Unlike other international student programs, our Global Social Benefit Fellowship is designed first to advance the mission of our GSBI social enterprise partners, and secondly to facilitate fellows’ learning. Our partners’ work on the frontiers of sustainable development is needed, now more than ever, and thus so too is the action research of our fellows.


Announcing 2020 Global Social Benefit Fellows

Dear Friends of Miller Center,

I am delighted to announce our new cohort of Global Social Benefit Fellows.

These 16 talented and visionary Santa Clara students come from such diverse academic departments as Finance, Marketing, Communication, Public Health Sciences, Environmental Science, Ethnic Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. Seven of the Fellows are members of the University Honors program.

The COVID-19 pandemic means that their field research experiences, normally conducted June-August, have been postponed until the next academic year. A majority of the 8 GSBI alumni social enterprises hosting fellows have requested remote engagements, research projects that can be initiated now and conducted over zoom and with other distance technologies. The fellows have demonstrated remarkable resilience! They are learning to navigate the ambiguity of this present moment, all while pursuing projects that can add value to the social enterprises. The fellows are learning in real time the real world lessons in how social enterprises manage crises brought about by COVID-19.

Two teams of fellows are working with social enterprises (Eggpreneur, Teach A Man To Fish Foundation) that are apprenticing Catholic Sisters in East Africa in the principles of social entrepreneurship. These fellows are actively contributing to the Sisters Blended Value Project.

Please join me in congratulating the Global Social Benefit Fellows as they pursue their passion for social entrepreneurship — even as they have to navigate the uncertainties of this pandemic.

A documentary about our award-winning fellowship program aired on the show Bay Area Bountiful in 2019.  If you missed the show, check out the 12 minute director’s cut here — it follows the transformational journey that fellows undertake.

Peace and all good,


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The intersection of a movement and metrics

I am very happy to report a successful Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Boost in Yaoundé, Cameroon! The Boost was organized on the campus of the Université Catholique d’Afrique Central (UCAC), in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on July 20-22. Local Jesuits animated a local team of excellent professionals. There were 30 social entrepreneurs representing 29 enterprises, drawn primarily from Yaoundé (the political capital) and Douala (the commercial capital on the coast). Of the 30, three-quarters of the participants are under 36 years old, and 17 of the 30 were women.
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Joy in Togo

This July, in partnership with a local Jesuit social ministry center in Togo, Miller Center co-sponsored the largest ever GSBI Boost workshop, providing training for 30 West African social entrepreneurs. This was the first Boost ever delivered in French, and the largest ever set of participants.
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