START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

How Ashoka is Making Everyone a Changemaker

How Ashoka is Making Everyone a Changemaker

Note: In honor of Social Venture Network’s 25-year anniversary, the network is inducting 25 of its most innovative and influential leaders into its hall of fame Nov. 13 at Gotham Hall in New York City. To recognize these sustainable business pioneers, SVN’s news program, ‘Sustainable Solutions,’ is interviewing the hall-of-famers to celebrate their accomplishments and learn what more needs to be done. Read the whole series here

When Bill Drayton envisions the future, he doesn’t see a small group of people holding the levers of power.

Instead, the Ashoka founder sees a world where people across the globe understand their ability to effect change and have the freedom and support to rise to the challenge.

“There is no possibility of problems outrunning solutions when everyone is a changemaker,” says Drayton, adding that empowering people to make change is the new wave of innovation.

“The key factor for success now is what proportion of your people are changemakers, at what level, and how good of a job you are doing at helping them to be changemakers in an open, fluid way.”

Ashoka’s mission has been helping create this transformative shift, since its formation 32 years ago.

That’s when Drayton saw the very beginnings of social entrepreneurship, a model where individuals and organizations working on social and environmental challenges adopt business tools to create sustainable impact.

Wanting to accelerate this opportunity, Ashoka became the network to help social entrepreneurs focus on changing systems. The organization identifies and invests in the top game-changing individuals knowing their disruptive work will lead to more innovation and changemaking by other players in the field.

Called Ashoka Fellows, these individuals are given the tools and resources they need to do their best work, including access to social financing, business and academic sectors and partnerships that deliver social and financial value.

Under this model, the fellows — whose work spans healthcare to technology — flourish.

Ashoka evaluates its impact and consistently finds that within five years, 76 percent of the fellows have changed national patterns in their field and 52 percent have changed national policy.

There are now more than 2,700 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries.

It’s for these reasons Drayton is being awarded a Social Venture Network (SVN) Impact Award for his work as a Visionary Social Entrepreneur. SVN executive director Deb Nelson applauds Drayton and other social visionaries, referring to their innovation models as ahead of their time.

For Drayton who says SVN is a peer organization pursuing the same goals and ascribing to the same values, the honor is even more meaningful.

“When your close family hugs you, it means more than any other type of hug,” he says.

Drayton will join 24 other SVN Hall of Fame inductees at SVN’s Hall of Fame celebration Nov. 13.

This article written by is part of a Social Venture Network series featuring its Hall of Fame honorees.


Related Stories:

Social Change vs. the Status Quo

B Corps Go Global: Ouro Verde Amazonia Becomes the First Brazilian B Corp

Record-Breaking Petition Filed to Protect Reptiles and Amphibians


Read more: , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
12:36PM PST on Nov 4, 2012


12:57PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

I now have to read upon Ashoka :o) THANKS!

1:48PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Good stuff but having seen what oil, gas, and coal did to the elctric car can we be sure that innovation is not going to be wiped out by large companies with lots of money and lots of political clout they frighten?

9:39AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012


9:36AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

9:18AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Good article.

3:40AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

It would be informative if the article gave a few concrete examples of what Ashoka has accomplished.

4:15PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Good stuff.

4:07PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

I have followed the efforts of Ashoka for several years, and they are helping to make some positive social changes, worldwide.

3:31PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

"And maybe more consumers would see the need for regulations of industry due to pollution." ... Am I…

I think you are right, Norma L - our politicians in the UK, David Owen in particular, forced Ian Smith…

What a cool idea! I'd do it.

ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.