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Changemaker Central lauded for innovation in social entrepreneurship

Changemaker Central
February 21, 2013

Changemaker Central at Arizona State University started to change the world in 2011. Now the student-led initiative is receiving a national award for its efforts and innovative approach.

Changemaker Central will receive an Ashoka U – Cordes Innovation Award for its high-impact approach to positive change and innovation in social entrepreneurship at the Ashoka U Exchange from Feb. 21-23 at the University of San Diego when more than 150 colleges and universities from more than 40 countries share social entrepreneur best practices and advance collaborative projects across campuses.

“We are excited and honored to be recognized for our work through Changemaker Central at ASU," said Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, director of the Changemaker Central Student Leadership Team. "With this award, we hope to inspire other institutions to provide a pipeline for their students to channel their passions into social impact.” 

Changemaker Central is part of a national effort to harness the energy, idealism and intellect of college students while providing resources and tools to make ideas and dreams reality. It is a student-led initiative on all four of ASU’s campuses that provides places where student visions of a better future can be realized by sharing ideas about service, social entrepreneurship and change in the community.

Recent Changemaker Central projects include a backpack drive to benefit homeless Valley youth in partnership with Zach Bonner, who started his own Little Red Wagon nonprofit organization to help homeless and underprivileged kids when he was just 8 years old.

Social entrepreneurship programs include 10,000 Solutions, a collaborative online platform where students and community members can submit solutions for local and global challenges and the ASU Innovation Challenge that supports students in developing their idea, forming a team, identifying a mentor, creating a business plan, and pitching their idea to a panel of judges who award the grand-prize winner $10,000 to implement the project.

Award winners were selected through their demonstration of how students, faculty and community members can impact society through colleges and universities – from admissions, curriculum, and career services to community and alumni engagement.

“Being the recipients of this year's Cordes Award is a testament to all the hard work that the students of Arizona State University have dedicated to their community," said Luis Aguilera, Changemaker Central Student Leadership Team High Impact Careers Chair. "It is inspiring to be recognized for the culture of service and innovation we have created over the past year and a half while we remain committed to our goal of expanding our impact.” 

Additional winners are: More than Money Careers created and taught by Mrim Boutla and Mark Albion, co-founders and managing partners at More Than Money Careers; Lend for America Fellowship led by Vanessa Carter, executive director at Lend for America;  Global Citizen Year Counts for College developed by Abby Falik, founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year;  Frontier Market Scouts founded by Yuwei Shi of Middlebury's Monterey Institute of International Studies, Sabiha Malik of Sanghata Global, and Ross Baird of Village Capital;  and Design for America founded at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering by Liz Gerber, Mert Iseri, Hannah Chung, and Yuri Malina.  

Awardees were selected by a panel of judges consisting of social innovation thought leaders: David Castro, Ashoka Fellow and founder and pPresident of iLead; Christy Chin, portfolio director at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation; Ron Cordes, co-founder of the Cordes Foundation; Kippy Joseph, associate director of innovation at the Rockefeller Foundation; and Regina Starr Ridley, publishing director at the Stanford Social Innovation Review.