Miami's Center for Social Entrepreneurship receives gift to develop innovative solutions to domestic poverty issuesApr 06, 2010
Miami University’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship has received a $50,000 gift to target cyclical domestic poverty issues that plague the resurgence of local economies, families and communities.
This is the second gift from Scot (’93 English/journalism) and Kelly Billington of Naperville, Ill., to the center. It will fund initial research to determine which problems might best be addressed by the effort, and then provide seed money for a social entrepreneurship program targeting those problems.
“We like the fact that an investment in social entrepreneurship is returned as revenues replenish it,” said Scot Billington. “As the enterprise grows, the social good and the financial impact of that gift are compounded.”
The Billingtons’ initial $50,000 gift provided seed funding for the center and its first social venture, EDUN Live on Campus. Launched in 2006 as a partnership between Miami’s students and EDUN, the high-end ethical fashion line started by singer Bono’s wife Ali Hewson, EDUN Live on Campus purchases blank T-shirts made by workers in Africa who are paid premium wages and turns them into custom designs for organizations and companies.
The emphasis is on “trade, not aid,” as a way to lift people out of poverty. Recently the venture celebrated the sale of its 25,000th shirt. The concept has rolled out to more than a dozen other campuses, including Ohio State University, the University of Notre Dame, and U.C. Berkeley.
“The initial gift was a visionary commitment to help launch the center,” said Brett Smith, founding director of the center, housed in Miami’s Farmer School of Business. “This second gift is a testament to the continued commitment of Scot and Kelly to develop innovative solutions to social problems through Miami’s world-class program in undergraduate social entrepreneurship.”
Scot is the co-founder and principal of Covenant Capital Management and Kelly is the founder of Baby Bella Photography.