Trends in Social Innovation

Celebrating the Creative Powers of Community Entrepreneurs

The United States is one of the most prosperous, enterprising, and philanthropic nations in world history. Gift-giving has deep roots in human history, but it has been in America where the possibility of a truly philanthropic society—a society in which people freely embrace their shared humanity and elevate what it means to be human—has come closest to reality.

In the minds of many today, however, humanity and freedom seem to be in tension. Responsibility for social welfare has accrued to bureaucracies (both governmental and nonprofit) and away from communities, voluntary self-help associations, and religious institutions.

Yet the remote, hierarchical, paternalistic entities of the twentieth century—whether governmental, commercial, or nonprofit—are increasingly brittle and ineffective. As a result, people are rediscovering their desire and ability to work together to create prosperity, educate their children, address neighborhood problems, and extend a genuinely helping hand to the poor.

Millions of Americans—indeed, millions of people in communities around the world—are envisioning and creating new ways for humanity and freedom to advance hand-in-hand. The American dream has not died, but it does need to be reclaimed.

Decision-makers, opinion-shapers, thought-leaders, policymakers, scholars, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists—the members of all these groups need to be made aware of these efforts so that they can learn from them, be inspired by them, and help what really works take root in every community across the nation.

Trends in Social Innovation is filling this need through a compelling collection of stories featuring real people doing practical things to make their communities better.