Steven Jordan, ’14 B.A. Economics

Social business entrepreneur

By Marya Jones Barlow

Steven JordanBy day, alumnus Steven Jordan works as the interim program associate for WestEd, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that helps schools, districts and states improve education outcomes and equality through research, evaluation and consulting. In his free time, he’s working on his other passion: developing an Internet application to alleviate food insecurity.

“There’s enough food to feed everyone, but we lack the communication and delivery methods to get the food where it needs to be,” he said.

According a 2014 study by Feeding America, approximately one in seven Americans is “food insecure”—or lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 30 to 40 percent of the nation’s food supply is wasted.

“I intend to create an application that can help eliminate food waste, reduce hunger, and build community,” Jordan said. “Givers can use the app to invite receivers to join in cooking and sharing the meal, or they can simply provide food for receivers to pick up.”

As a student at CI, Jordan was active and engaged. An honors graduate of CI’s Economics Program with minors in Social Business and Political Science, he served as Student Government Vice President and ASI Treasurer; earned awards as Outstanding Senior Student Leader at CI and Outstanding and Distinguished Delegate at Model UN competitions; attained the rank of Eagle Scout; participated in Green Generation, Bicycle Kitchen, CI View, Island News, the Multicultural Caucus, International Relations Club, Golfin Dolphins, and intramural basketball; and held various jobs and volunteer positions as a tutor, student assistant, barista, and consultant for the California Institute for Social Business and FOOD Share. He also traveled to South Korea, South Africa and Detroit in short-term UNIV 392 courses.

Yet at times, Jordan knew what it was like to be food insecure.

“I have never been in a dire poverty situation; however, as a young, broke college student, I have experienced what is it like to be hungry and the effects it has while you’re trying to study or work a job,” he said.

With his Internet app, he hopes to connect people at a community and consumer level who have extra food with individuals who will use the food so it doesn’t go to waste.

“I live in apartment complex where I would love to have a convenient way to share food I won’t use with my neighbors or simply have a reason to meet them,” he said.

After an academic path emphasizing social business, Jordan is learning a new skill set to achieve that goal. He takes classes online at Code Academy with his friend and former roommate, CI alum Kyle Jorgensen. As founder of a social media marketing company and an employee of FOOD Share, Jorgensen shares his friend’s passion.

“He’s doing well connecting what he learned at CI to something entirely foreign in coding,” said Jorgensen. “The app will be a long time coming as we continue to develop features and figure out how and why people will be using it.”

In his work as interim program associate in the Institutional Development department at WestEd, Jordan helps guide business development, identify funding sources, support proposal development, and build programs’ capacity to secure funding. He says the education, leadership experiences, and vast network of friends and mentors he cultivated at CI continue to serve him.

“Dr. Claudio Paiva, Chair and Professor of Economics, mentored me throughout my college career, teaching me to love economics and be a professional,” said Jordan. “Dr. Paiva pushes his students to learn outside the box and think critically. The way I studied and interacted with my professors at CI is something I carried to WestEd. I speak up when I do not know something, challenge my supervisors on issues, and find passion and humor in the work.”

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© Fall 2015 / Volume 19 / Number 02 / Bi-annual

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