News

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation grant supports the pioneering effort of CISB

Camarillo, Calif., Mar. 3, 2014 – The California Institute for Social Business (CISB) at CSU Channel Islands (CI) has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.  The grant will help the CISB, its students and community partners make a positive impact on the world through the advancement of social business programs and ventures. 

The CISB was formed in 2010 in collaboration with Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and founder of the Grameen Bank, and financial support from the Hilton Foundation.  Part of the Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics, the CISB is the first institute of its kind in the U.S. to offer a minor and certificate in social business and to employ academic research in this fast-growing and understudied field. 

“We are grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for its critical role in creating and sustaining the work of the CISB to promote social businesses that help solve the region’s most pressing social issues,” said Martin Loeffler, director of the CISB.  “Today, more and more corporations and individuals are looking for ways to give back.  We look forward to working with businesses, nonprofits and organizations throughout our community as we equip current and future leaders to create positive change in the world.” 

Social business, as defined by Yunus, is a form of social entrepreneurship that innovatively and cost-effectively tackles the world's most pressing social or environmental issues.  Described by some as “enlightened capitalism,” social businesses promote objectives – such as alleviating poverty, hunger, sickness, education gaps, or environmental problems – that are equally as important as their financial goals.  All profits are re-invested into the company to expand its positive social impact.  Investors get their investments back, but receive continued returns in the form of social change, not in form of dividends. 

CI’s innovative social business minor and certificate programs teach students how to use market-based principles to create social value and solve community problems.  More than 70 students are currently enrolled in social business courses. 

The institute also conducts research, helps community businesses and organizations convert to self-sustaining “social business-style” models, and provides consulting and incubation services for new social businesses.  It is currently advising nonprofits like Neighborhoods for Learning, Segue, the Community Gardens in Oxnard, and a social business initiative in the Dominican Republic; teaching social business to high-schoolers in the Los Angeles Unified School District; and publishing the first social business college textbook outlining interdisciplinary approaches to alleviating poverty and successful social business models.  The book, Social Business: Theory, Practice and Critical Perspectives, edited by CI Professor of Political Science Andrea Grove and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Extended University and International Relations, Gary Berg, was released this month. 

"Social business is another tool in CSU Channel Islands’ effort to educate students for the 21st century and empower them to improve the world they will inherit," Loeffler said.  “With valued partners like the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, we are preparing the next generation of economic, social and political leaders to find solutions to our most pressing local, national, and global ills.”

For more information on CISB, visit http://socialbusiness.csuci.edu or contact CISB Director Martin Loeffler at 415-990-3973 or martin.loeffler@csuci.edu.

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.

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