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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

How would you change the world with $50,000?

October 1st, 2010

Entry to the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition is now open!

At a time when more and more of the most complex problems require fresh ideas and insightful innovations, we are seeing the rise of social entrepreneurs who are acting as change agents all around the world. Through the Dell Social Innovation Competition, the RGK Center and Dell challenge and encourage aspiring student social entrepreneurs to bring innovation and change to today’s most pressing social issues.

College students worldwide are invited to enter the 2011 Dell Social Innovation Competition for a chance to win $50,000 in seed funding to turn their ideas into a new business or nonprofit with a mission to change lives for the better.

Are you a college student with a world-changing idea? We encourage you to share it by entering the Dell Social Innovation Competition online at: The entry deadline is February 14, 2011.

Along with students, the public invited to comment on, vote for and discuss the ideas in the online community forum. The RGK Center introduced the Social Innovation Competition in 2006, awarding more than $200,000 in prizes to student social entrepreneurs. Learn about our previous winners here.

Certification, Courses and Networking to Advance Your Career

August 19th, 2010

Interested in a career in the nonprofit sector? Our Portfolio Program in Nonprofit Studies offers a concentration of courses in nonprofit management, volunteerism and philanthropy. The Portfolio Program is taken in addition to a Master’s or PhD program and is open to any graduate or PhD student at The University of Texas at Austin. Students receive a graduate certificate on their transcript upon completion.

Program Requirements:

  • Current UT graduate or PhD student
  • Complete 12 credit hours from a list of approved courses, including one required course taught by RGK Center faculty. An internship or a thesis on a nonprofit topic may count.
  • Conduct 40 hours of volunteer service at a nonprofit or public service organization
  • Participate in Portfolio Program events

Easy online enrollment available at:

Suzi Sosa named Senior Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship

July 20th, 2010

Suzi Sosa, President and Founder of the MPOWER Foundation, has been named a Senior Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Ms. Sosa will be researching and writing about social entrepreneurship, while helping with the RGK Center’s graduate and undergraduate teaching in this area. She will also continue serving as a Final Judge in the Center’s Dell Social Innovation Competition.

RGK Center Director Frumkin notes: “Suzi brings both a deep understanding and practical experience to the table. We are delighted to welcome her to the RGK Center as a fellow, and we are eager to see the contribution to knowledge and teaching she will make in the area social innovation and entrepreneurship.”

One of the first projects Ms. Sosa will undertake is a joint paper with Frumkin on how social entrepreneurs go about choosing amongst nonprofit, for-profit or even hybrid forms for the organizations they create.

The MPOWER Foundation is an independent, charitable organization supported by the MPOWER Group — a socially committed venture capital fund and portfolio of social impact companies dedicated to the financial empowerment of underserved people. With a vision of a world in which all individuals have an opportunity to participate freely in markets and thereby to escape poverty and disenfranchisement, the MPOWER Foundation funds and operates nonprofit programs, catalyzes strategic public/private and non-profit/private partnerships, and provides an independent forum for the creation and dissemination of ideas that empower the underserved.

Among its programs, the MPOWER Foundation has launched The Empowerment Lab at Harvard University, a cutting-edge applied research center focused on “Trillion Dollar Problems” affecting the underserved, and RISE, a not-for-profit global entrepreneurship program that connects, empowers, and inspires entrepreneurs.

“Our belief is that there is a methodology that can be used to find, vet, and launch socially entrepreneurial ideas, and that by providing budding social entrepreneurs with that framework we can both accelerate the progress and increase the likelihood of success of those ambitious endeavors,” Sosa said.

Previously, Ms. Sosa served as an economic development specialist in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and as a special advisor to the Prime Ministers of Lebanon and Bermuda. Her areas of expertise include: economic development, social entrepreneurship, and impact investing. She has a Masters in Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a B.A. in Plan II from The University of Texas at Austin.

Net Impact McCombs’ Board Fellows Program

July 7th, 2010

This July, Net Impact McCombs is launching the Board Fellows program in which students serve on the board of directors of local nonprofits in a non-voting capacity, attend meetings, serve on committee(s), and complete a Board-level strategic project. MBA students learn about Board governance, the realities of operations of nonprofits, and get to apply their business skills to serve the community, while the nonprofit benefits from a fresh perspective and gains the business insights of an MBA student.


McCombs Board Fellows was launched in 2010 as an initiative of McCombs’ Net Impact chapter. Both the club and this program are chapters of Net Impact, a national organization for socially-minded business people.  This program places MBA students on the boards of directors of local partner nonprofit organizations as non-voting board members for one year. The purpose of the program is to give talented and committed business students the opportunity to work with and learn from nonprofit leaders, while contributing their time and business skills to benefit the local community.  After Board Fellows are selected through a rigorous application process, they are matched with a partner nonprofit whose needs and mission align with the Fellow’s skills and interests. The nonprofit then assigns the Fellow to a board committee and a mentor. Board Fellows are expected to participate in all board meetings and complete a project specific to the needs or challenges facing their partner organization.

The MBA class of 2011 is currently launching this program at McCombs.  Members of this class will serve on local boards from September 2010 – May 2011 when they will graduate from UT.  All future classes (including this fall’s incoming students) will serve on a calendar-year cycle.  They will apply and be matched in the fall, and will serve from January – December.  When you apply, you will be able to choose when you’d like your Fellow to start: September, January, both periods, or either time.


The national Net Impact organization recommends the following guidelines for a Board Fellows partner organization, and is obligated to share this information with you.  Since the program is new to McCombs, the focus will be more on the student/organization match than on strict guidelines. They are flexible in their selection and matching process and encourage ALL organizations to apply.  Please be assured that a good student match, enthusiasm, and commitment to the program will outweigh these criteria.

  • Nonprofit (501(c)3) status  (STRICTLY REQUIRED)
  • An operating history of at least one year
  • An annual budget of at least $350,000
  • A minimum of 3 full-time staff members
  • Have a board member willing to serve as a mentor (STRICTLY REQUIRED)

As long as you are confident that someone at your organization could be available enough to facilitate a positive student experience (provide mentorship and needed information/data for their project in a timely manner, etc), you are encouraged to apply.


  • Attend all board meetings and relevant committee meetings for their organization
  • Attend monthly seminars at McCombs to learn more about the nonprofit sector and corporate governance
  • Commit at least 10 hours of work per month to a special project for their organization’s board


Complete the online form here:
Ideally, students and organizations will be matched in early August so they can begin work upon returning to school.

To complete the form, you will need:

  • Mission statement (or summary of your organization’s work)
  • Proposed project for the Fellow to undertake
  • Name of the project coordinator (a full time staff member at your organization who will collaborate with the Fellow on the project)
  • Name of the board member who will serve as a mentor for the Fellow

Free eBook Download: Strategic Volunteer Engagement Guide

June 7th, 2010

For a limited time, we are offering a free download of Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Guide for Nonprofit and Public Sector Leaders.

Developed through a research project funded by the Volunteer Impact Fund and published through a gift from the OneStar Foundation, Strategic Volunteer Engagement provides a strategic framework and offers critical management directives for working effectively with both skill-oriented and mission-focused volunteers serving on either a long term and episodic basis.

While executive directors of nonprofit organizations have grown accustomed to seeing their roles defined in terms of leveraging tight resources, maximizing community engagement, and advancing organizational growth and development, too few have made the connection between those goals and creating an effective system for volunteer engagement. The Guide offers a framework and guidance for executive directors interested in engaging volunteers to reach strategic goals in their organizations.

Download a free copy of the Guide here. Registration required.

New Book from Peter Frumkin

May 25th, 2010

And the winner is…

May 6th, 2010

Congratulations to Shining Hope for Communities! Not only did they win the $50,000 Grand Prize, but they also took home the People’s Choice Award at last night’s Final Event.

Thank you to everyone that attended! And congratulations to all three finalist teams for putting together such amazing projects and presentations. I know it was a tough decision for our judges.

Brisket. Peach Cobbler. The United Way Case Study. Longhorns.

April 27th, 2010

Dear Reader:

I know what you are thinking, ‘What on Earth do all of these things have to do with one another?!’ Answer: They have all been an integral part of what has been a most amazing DCSCS exchange experience here at the University of Austin!

While all wonderful in their own way, I did come here – first and foremost – to gain practical experience in the nonprofit management sector. My group, ‘Team United’ (Yes Reader, this IS an original name!!) has been tasked with looking particularly at the ‘President’s Cabinet’ of United Way Capital Area (Austin). The group serves as something akin to an ‘internal advisory board’, comprised of approximately 14 skilled volunteers from a cross-section of the community. They have come together to advise the organization’s Executive Director on a wide array of issues, ranging from public relations strategies to fiscal management. After spending hours interviewing members of the organization, Team United is in the midst of perfecting our second case study draft. The process can be challenging and tedious at times, but we are really beginning to see the fruits of our labour come together!

We have also begun brainstorming ideas for the accompanying Teaching Notes, in addition to structuring a lesson that will really bring out the key management issues that we are focusing on: transitional leadership and managing skilled volunteers. The entire experience so far has really been an unparalleled opportunity to not only gain theoretical knowledge regarding the nonprofit sector, but to get some ‘hands-on’ experience that I am confident will serve me well in my future.

With only 3 weeks left, I will leave Austin with a heavy heart (and a heavy suitcase – so much BBQ sauce to bring back!!). I feel invigorated, inspired, and much more confident in my abilities and understanding of this challenging but rewarding sector. I am curious to see what the future holds, but I will always look for ways to come back to Austin.


Who will win $50,000?

April 26th, 2010

Disaster in Context: A Symposium on Haiti

April 13th, 2010

The Global Health Project is hosting Disaster in Context: A Symposium on Haiti. This event offers a diverse group of academics, activists, and professionals highly experienced in work related to Haiti. Some of these include individuals from Partners in Health and the United Nations.

The Global Health Project at UT is an organization dedicated to the idea of health as a human right. Their focus is improving health care quality and accessibility to under-served communities both locally and internationally while striving to illuminate under-reported health and humanitarian crises across the globe. GHP emphasize the importance of sustainable health care practices while incorporating an anthropological perspective for a more rich and effective understanding of medicine.