Just eight months after SNHU’s interview with the father of social entrepreneurship, James Gregory Dees passed away from respiratory failure December 20, 2013. Professor and co-founder of Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Dees contributed more than 60 cases, authored or co-authored over 100 articles, and co-authored two books.
A little over a decade ago, the topic of social entrepreneurship was hardly considered mainstream. With a fresh, new approach to tackling tough world in life, social entrepreneurship has become the niche everyone is looking toward for solutions to these challenges. Major businesses, newspapers, universities all have this common goal—innovative change—simple ideas that bring about concrete resolutions that will change people’s lives, change communities and change the world. It’s an exciting time for new ideas in this second decade of the new millennium.
The media has caught the wave of enthusiasm, and CNN is posting a series on people who develop and implement plans of change, such as Andrea Coleman and her husband Barry Coleman who mortgaged their house to bring Riders for Health to Somalia to solve some of the health care problems there. NPR has its own series, Social Entrepreneurs: Taking on World Problems, and they even have podcasts available. Forbes offers tips to aspiring social entrepreneurs and other articles. PBS, Huffington Post, The Guardian—the list is exhaustive when you want learn about the people involved in this exciting new field.
Dees shared his passion and his vision with all of us. He gave to us a legacy of his ambition and foresight to solve the challenging puzzles of the world’s problems. He ignited a spark in us and started a new revolution of change–one with promise, hope, and desire to make a better world around us. Dr. Dees was indeed the ultimate example of a social entrepreneur. He will be fondly remembered.