My recent article: “First Power CEO Donna Morton launches program to teach marginalized youth social entrepreneurship”

Here’s a link to my recent article in the Observer that covers an interview I had with Donna Morton — a BC-based social entrepreneur, CEO, Ashoka Fellow, Unreasonable Fellow, Ogunte Fellow, and, most of all, an artist. I talked with Donna about her new alternative education program she launched called SunDrum, which teaches marginalized youth about social entrepreneurship through art, culture, and games.

It really was an inspiring interview, and I may post the audio to the interview after I edit it down a bit (the interview lasted an hour and twenty minutes). We talked about influences, inspirations, life, work, family — everything. She’s an incredibly inspiring person. Here’s an excerpt from the piece about the relationship between art and social entrepreneurship:

Art is an antidote to the travails of the human heart, and when we create or witness true art we achieve a brief respite from our individual struggles, and instead feel, for an instant, connected to something greater than ourselves. As I spoke with Morton, it started to make more sense to me that she so quickly labeled her chief characteristic as “Artist.” Social entrepreneurs are artists. They create entities – businesses – that do not merely seek individual gratification through profits, but have at their core the mission to better the station of their brothers and sisters – of humanity. And in so doing, they, like artists, make us feel connected to something greater than ourselves.

I thank Donna Morton – the artist-social entrepreneur – for making me realize this.

Here’s a quote from Donna Morton on failure:

“[F]ailure is one of the things we talk a lot about in the SunDrum program.  We say, ‘if you do really hard things, you will fail.’ Our society teaches that failing is falling down…and that’s actually messed up.” When I asked Morton about her greatest failure she replied, “I think I failed the worst when I didn’t think of failure as lessons, and that failure is a gift if you use it…. Nobody – none of the people I’ve met who have done extraordinary things – they’ve never done any of those big things without monumental failure, as society defines it.”

I hope you read it, enjoy it, and share it!

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My recent article: “Vancouver+Acumen celebrates social entrepreneurship at DIGNITY 2013”

Sam Goldman speaking pic copy

Sam Goldman, founding CEO of d.light and Ashoka Fellow, speaks about his social enterprise’s work in India and Sub-Saharan Africa at DIGNITY 2013 last night.

Here’s a link to my piece in The Vancouver Observer. As I said in my previous blog post, last night I covered DIGNITY 2013 for the Observer. DIGNITY was hosted by Vancouver+Acumen with the aim of raising money for the impact investing initiatives carried out by Acumen. If you don’t already know about Acumen’s work investing in social enterprises, you should start learning, because impact investing and social enterprises are the future of capitalism. And this future is coming soon to a theatre near you.

Here are some excerpts:

[T]he question “What do you do?” doesn’t make sense to a social entrepreneur. This is because it’s not what they do.  It’s who they are.  They are doers.

…to [social entrepreneurs], this question is personal. It’s probing into their very nature and fundamental identity. To them, I’m not simply asking, “What do you do?” I’m essentially asking, “Who are you?”

And another one:

There were countless stories of action, doing, and inspiration last night at DIGNITY 2013. But the main message was this: the title of social entrepreneur is not exclusive to an elite few. You do not need a certificate or an advanced degree or a million dollar trust fund. You do need to be different. You need to possess the dogged perseverence to find your passion or cause, the audacity to do it, and the ability to tell your story.

To slightly alter a quote from renowned storyteller George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Social entrepreneurs dream things that never were, and ask why not.” The key is to know when to stop dreaming and start doing. As DIGNITY 2013 showed me, there’s no better time than today.

If you like the article I encourage you to share it via Facebook, Twitter, your blogs, etc…

I hope to interview some Vancouver-based social entrepreneurs that are making a difference in this city, in Canada, and abroad in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

Live tweeting tonight Vancouver + Acumen event

Tonight I’ll be covering DIGNITY Vancouver (Celebrating the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) for The Vancouver Observer.  The event is put on by Vancouver+Acumen, a volunteer-run chapter that raises money to support the outstanding work of the impact investment organization, Acumen Fund.  I hope you follow me on twitter at @kurtislockhart for live tweets during the event (under #DIGNITY2013).

I’ll write a post about the event soon.