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2010 Summer Fellows
Nonprofit and Public Management
Gabrielle Breslow ’11 interned at the Vera Institute of Justice. She worked with the Substance Use and Mental Health Program on the Comprehensive Transition Planning Project. This project is an initiative with the New York City Department of Correction to examine the jail reentry process for individuals released from Rikers Island. Gabrielle helped to augment the current transition model to provide people with greater, more targeted access to community service providers.
Mikki Columbus ’11 interned with Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC), one of New York’s oldest not-for-profit local development corporations. Since its founding in 1967, GJDC has stressed economic development as it pursues its community-building mission. Its mission is to plan, promote, coordinate and advance responsible development to revitalize Jamaica, Queens, and strengthen the region. Mikki worked on GJDC’s real estate development, assisted with several housing and retail projects now in pre-development and worked on property acquisition opportunities for future projects.
Emily Criste ’11 worked in the NYC Business Solutions Financing team at New York City’s Department of Small Business Services, which helps small business owners and entrepreneurs to obtain financing from a range of different lending partners, including banks, credit unions, community development financial institutions and microlenders. Through conducting interviews with past and present financing customers, Emily developed pre- and post-loan educational and self-service resources to improve a customer’s chances of both successfully obtaining and managing a loan. In addition, Emily reviewed the spending patterns of the business solutions centers to determine best practices in allocating resources across the five boroughs.
Three students worked with Education Pioneers a national nonprofit, which aims to train, connect and inspire a new generation of education leaders dedicated to transforming the educational system through placements at premiere education organizations:
- Daniel Gennaoui ’11 interned at Uncommon Schools, a nonprofit organization that starts and manages outstanding urban charter public schools that close the achievement gap and prepare low-income students to graduate from college. Daniel worked in the Human Capital Division analyzing current performance related processes and researching best practices of relevant performance management systems. The work helped to support long term organizational efforts to drive tailored compensation, increased retention, succession planning and stronger recruitment.
Diya Gullapalli ’11 worked at the New York City Department of Education conducting marketing research to improve an online teacher collaboration tool called ARISConnect. The project involved quantitative and qualitative research to understand how New York City teachers are utilizing ARIS Connect. The goal was to develop recommendations for DOE staff to improve ARIS utilization and implementation city-wide.
Stacey Wang ’11 spent her summer working at the Oakland Unified School District in the Office of Charter Schools and Office of Portfolio Management, a progressive office seeking innovative solutions to improve equity in schools. Her project focused on providing education stakeholders with an understanding of how varying levels of autonomy could enhance a school’s ability to provide quality education to students. To achieve this, Stacey interviewed various Oakland education leaders to understand existing best practices and areas for improvement, researched successful pilot school models around the nation and developed a framework for how Oakland schools could evaluate and adapt the appropriate amount of autonomy to drive success.
David Goldberg ’11 worked for the Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit that fights poverty in New York City by identifying, funding and partnering with effective and innovative programs. Their unique approach to fighting poverty includes applying investment principles to philanthropy, attacking poverty at its root causes and rigorously evaluating programs to measure results. David interned for the Jobs and Economic Security Portfolio, where he assessed the effectiveness of prior grants to organizations other than community-based nonprofits, made grant recommendations and analyzed the utilization of job training programs to determine the number of duplicated users and the programs’ overall effectiveness.
Lisa Lindgren ’11 interned with the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC), a nonprofit organization that acts as a forum for businesses and their social and philanthropic interests. Lisa divided her time between the Global Corporate Citizenship (GCC) and Business and Society programs that help address the private sector’s role in international development efforts and provide thought leadership on the role of business in society. The GCC asked Lisa to create a system for mapping social investments in Haiti’s recovery to be expanded and applied to the Millennium Development Goals. Lisa also developed a system enabling companies to provide donated technical services and expertise to social enterprises for difficult public-private sector development challenges.
Ray Liu ’10 worked with the Office of Tibet in New York, which is the official agency of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and the Tibetan Community of New York & New Jersey. Alongside senior leaders from the Isdell Foundation, a private foundation focusing on human rights in the developing world, and Aristeia Capital, the hedge fund that endows the Isdell Foundation, Ray worked on establishing a Tibetan Community Center in Queens, NY. He focused on determining an optimal location for the building and studying the feasibility of different programming options, as well as researching additional financing streams for the organization.
Joellen Perry ’11 worked for the pilot Professional Program for Public Leadership (PPPL) at Columbia University, a new cross-disciplinary program that aims to train talented graduate students to lead in reforming K–12 education institutions. Joellen worked as the PPPL pilot’s project manager, overseeing start-up milestones, including securing pilot funding, creating a pilot budget, establishing the program as a university Institute, developing a pilot curriculum and creating a sustainable funding strategy.
Josh Porter ’11 spent his summer interning in the White House with the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy. Josh worked under Christina Romer, Austan Goolsbee and Cecilia Rouse running regression models, providing research and studying economic data to support President Obama in setting U.S. economic policy. Throughout the summer, Josh spent a majority of his time helping with financial regulation and the economic recovery act.
Ziad Zoueihed ’11 worked with Students Participating in Resolving International Tensions (SPIRIT), an initiative to create a global open source community working towards confliction resolution. In this role, Ziad worked closely with SPIRIT management, students and faculty members at Columbia Business School and the School of International and Public Affairs, as well as various partner organizations on the planning of the second annual SPIRIT conference, fundraising efforts and development of a business plan, marketing materials and platform blueprints.
Olivia Albrecht ’11 worked for Northern Gulf Partners (NGP), an economic development private equity firm investing in war-torn Iraq. Today, Iraq continues to need substantial infrastructure and economic development in order to achieve its potential. NGP provides such opportunities through world-class standards of investment professionalism, linking the global capital to the development opportunities in this remarkably promising economy. Through capital, proven financing experience and a deep knowledge of the region, NGP aims to develop the economy of Iraq helping to bring stability to a war-torn country. Olivia’s work consisted of conducting economic analyses of Iraq and the region on macro and micro-levels, and sourcing and screening investment opportunities.
Joaquin Alemany ’11 interned for Claire Enfance, an organization that works to improve health, education and work prospects for the youth within the old colonial city of Saint Louis, in Senegal. Joaquin’s primary goal was to evaluate the impact of the microcredit program that Claire Enfance deploys for the most advantaged students amongst the young workers whom it helps. In addition, he reviewed the processes and repayment capabilities of the microbusinesses created in areas including: textile, poultry and leather treatment. He also quantified the life conditions for the beneficiaries. After the visit to Senegal, Joaquin created a report on the microcredit impact that will be used as a tool to attract new investors for the microcredit fund.
Jason Ballet ’11 interned this summer for Acumen Fund, based in Hyderabad, India. Acumen Fund is a nonprofit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. It invests patient capital (long-term debt and equity investments) in early stage enterprises to provide low-income consumers with affordable access to healthcare, water, housing, alternative energy and agricultural inputs. Jason helped expand Acumen Fund’s agriculture portfolio in India by conducting due diligence on potential portfolio companies and structured investments. He also performed market research on opportunities within the agriculture sector.
Melissa Cheong ’10 interned at Women’s World Banking (WWB), an organization that provides support, training and access to information to a global network of 40 microfinance institutions and banks in 28 countries. These network members provide credit and other financial services directly to 20 million poor entrepreneurs, 74 percent of which are women. While at WWB, Melissa was responsible for conducting research on prospective new markets for the organization’s pilot owner/operator Microfinance Institution (MFI) strategy for underserved microfinance markets. Her research will be used to present potential points of market entry to the board, which has approved the creation of up to 70 new MFIs over the next 10 years.
Antoni Codinas ’11 interned at the Inter-American Development Bank, the leading multilateral development bank in the Latin-American and Caribbean region. As an intern at the Financial Markets Division, Toni focused on the development of capital and financial markets in the region by providing syndicated loans and guarantees to local financial institutions to help them develop new products and approaches and to mobilize other financial resources from international commercial banks. Toni also worked in supporting the development of international trade and regional integration through the implementation of a trade finance facilitation program aimed to support private sector companies in the Latin-American and Caribbean region.
Jane Del Ser EMBA ’10 worked for the summer at Jacaranda Health in Nairobi, Kenya. Jacaranda Health, named a 2010 Ashoka Changemakers finalist, is a startup social venture founded by former Acumen Fund staff members. Jacaranda Health aims to set a new standard for maternity care in East Africa by combining business and clinical innovations, providing fully self-sustaining and scalable chain of urban clinics, offering respectful care and mobile units and generating demand and awareness. Jane was responsible for developing and implementing mobile electronic health records and SMS-based patient-doctor communications in launching the pilot for first clinic and mobile unit near the Kibera slums.
Simon Heckscher ’11 worked with the TechnoServe Food Security Initiative in Kenya. TechnoServe helps entrepreneurs in poor areas of the developing world build businesses that create income, opportunity and economic growth. The Food Security Initiative aims to sustainably reduce chronic hunger, raise the incomes of the rural poor and reduce the number of children suffering from under-nutrition. Simon analyzed whether farmers in Kenya can expand their mixed farming activities (planting food crops and keeping small ruminants for household consumption) into poultry rearing to diversify household income and reduce food insecurity. His work included a poultry industry assessment, investment attractiveness analysis for farmers as well a preliminary poultry strategy development.
Pablo Lubbert ’11 interned with PEACE Mexico, a not-for-profit organization that focuses its efforts on the communities in Nayarit, Mexico. PEACE works to provide education and implement action programs that enable unprivileged people to improve their quality of life. Pablo supported the development of PEACE’s new microfinance program. He built financial models to project funding needs based on different growth scenarios, market conditions and portfolio of products. Additionally, he worked directly with loan officers and visited clients to obtain feedback and evaluate the program. Pablo’s recommendations helped to structure a sustainable growth strategy for his new social venture.
Matthew Magenheim ’11 interned with Insitor Fund, a social venture capital fund that provides capital to entrepreneurs proposing market solutions to critical development issues and promoting a responsible and sustainable economy. Focusing on the Mekong Region of Southeast Asia, Insitor targets investments in the housing, water, education and healthcare sectors. Based in Insitor’s Phnom Penh office, Matt worked closely with Cambodian entrepreneurs, nongovernmental organizations and microfinance institutions to develop a financing tool for small-scale, rural water supply enterprises. Over the course of the summer, Matt built a financial model for rural water supply enterprises and researched best-practice funding structures that blend commercial, social impact and philanthropic returns.
Jean Saint-Geours ’11 worked in Kampala, Uganda, with the United Nations World Food Program, the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Jean worked with local farmers to improve their business and the way they run their finances. He also wrote case studies on the efficiency of the warehouse receipt system and concept notes to help the WFP plan and review its interventions from a business perspective.
Aaron Scheinberg ’11, a West Point graduate and Iraq War Veteran, worked with Anza Technologies in Tanzania and Kenya. Anza is a technology-focused international development startup that sells low-cost, poverty-alleviating products made from recycled materials to villagers in rural Africa. By harnessing the most unusual of raw materials— trash—Anza makes breakthrough products at a price $1-a-day, which farmers can afford. Aaron helped to formulate the company’s market entry strategy and establish the company’s supply chain. The main focus of this position was to work in Tanzania and Kenya to spearhead Anza’s expansion into water transportation products.
Kate Szostak ’11 interned with Pro Mujer, an international women’s development and microfinance organization that alleviates poverty in Latin America by providing financial services, healthcare and training to poor women entrepreneurs. Pro Mujer currently operates in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. Kate had the opportunity to work on several marketing and development projects with the goal of helping Pro Mujer raise its visibility, including formulating a board strategy and launching a government relations effort.
David Castillo Zapata ’11, worked with Endeavor, a global nonprofit that recruits MBA students from leading U.S. business schools to spend their internships working with emerging market entrepreneurs, helping them address, analyze and offer solutions to their critical business challenges. Those entrepreneurial companies have the potential to increase employment opportunities, bring innovative ideas to fruition and ultimately change emerging market economies for the better. David worked in Chile with the company Max Service—a vertically integrated manufacturer, importer, distributor and retailer of industrial safety goods—in developing a sustainable and scalable model that will prepare the entrepreneur for growth and geographic expansion.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability
Two students worked with RecycleBank, founded by Ron Gonen ’04, a company that offers a rewards and loyalty program that motivates more than one million households in the U.S. to recycle and engage in environmentally beneficial activities:
- Raphael Anstey ’11 worked on its energy markets initiative in New York City. Raphael developed a go-to-market strategy that leverages RecycleBank’s successful incentive platform to reduce electricity consumption, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions and delivering valuable demand reduction to power generators. In addition, Raphael was responsbible for implementing this plan and negotiating partnerships with energy providers.
Orit Meidan ’11 interned as a product analyst contributing in a strategic, organization-wide effort to improve reporting to support informed decision making across the company. Orit documented the different functions and roles across the organization, mapping information needs and existing gaps. Her findings and recommendations will be implemented in RecycleBank’s new Business Intelligence tool designed to increase performance and efficiency in key functions such as strategic development, sales, customer acquisition, financial planning and operations.
Mike Brown ’11 spent his summer in Northern Region Ghana with Community Water Solutions (CWS), a not-for-profit social enterprise that partners with rural communities in developing countries to establish sustainable water treatment businesses. Over the course of the summer, Mike helped launch the CWS Fellowship Program, a three-week water education and leadership training experience. The purpose of the fellowship was to teach individuals about the global water crisis and inspire them to become leaders in the field of international development. Mike developed and led the program’s curriculum and assessed its success. At close of the summer, Mike left CWS with a set program for future CWS Fellowships.
Nancy Brown ’11 spent her summer interning with Solais Lighting, a venture-backed startup that designs and sells energy efficient LED lighting products. Her projects included designing and executing a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant strategy plan, developing materials to be used for the Series B funding process, exploring pricing strategies and assisting in the product launch.
Stacey Epstein ’11 interned with HappyBaby, which was started by green entrepreneur Shazi Visram ’04 and is dedicated to making organic baby food and other products that facilitate a healthy lifestyle for its consumers. The organization also partners with the Peanut Butter Project to feed malnourished children in Malawi. Stacey spearheaded the development of a new non-food consumer product through research, competitive analysis, production management, pricing and promotion. With the development and launch of this new product, HappyBaby will better meet the needs of its customers who seek products that are safe for themselves and the planet.
Two students worked with the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, an intergovernmental organization that is committed to responsible forest stewardship and climate compatible economic development:
- Edward Flanagan ’11 worked on a joint project with the Coalition and McKinsey & Company to assess the benefits of a national approach to climate compatible development and to evaluate the potential role of the private sector in that process.
Daniel Pittman ’10 worked on an assessment of the benefits of a national approach to climate compatible development and an evaluation of the potential role of the private sector, as well as the drafting of climate compatible economic development plans for a collection of member states.
Jackson Hewett ’11 interned at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program. REDD is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. Jackson worked on researching the best model for conditional payments to indigenous peoples, an effort to ensure that any transfer of value from wealthy nations to developing countries under the REDD program would generate positive outcomes for peoples most affected. Jackson investigated whether payments could be made via mobile phones, thereby reducing costs and the difficulty in accessing government offices for indigenous peoples.
William Mack Knight ’11 interned for Just Energy, a startup solar energy developer focused on customers in the northeast. The company’s mission involves encouraging the acceptance and integration of solar energy sources by providing its clients with an economically attractive solar contract that immediately reduces energy expenses with zero upfront cost. Just Energy primarily serves educational institutions but has developed projects with municipal, retail, office, commercial, industrial and agricultural clients as well. Mack’s responsibilities included assembling sales pitches to pre-qualified customers and developing a strategic growth plan for expansion into new markets and for the acquisition of new customers.
Yves Lawson ’11 worked with Bali BioSciences, a local biomedical startup focused on reducing health and disease worldwide by commercializing novel, low-cost medical foods enriched with antibodies that address specific nutritional deficiencies and strengthen the body’s own immune defenses. Yves worked as a business development director where he helped to define Bali’s core operational strategy by working with the executive team, legal staff, investors, foundations, state financing officials, banks and industry partners. In an effort to obtain bridge financing in anticipation of seed financing, he developed essential documentation, including business models, business and financial plans.
Sharon Park ’11 interned at BBMG, a marketing and branding organization focused on integrating sustainability, technology and a social purpose to both for-profit and nonprofit client branding. Sharon focused on strategic business development, market research and consumer insight as well as benchmarking best practices in sustainability. Additionally, Sharon collaborated on an event for BBMG’s online community as well as assisted in the drafting of the agency’s thought leadership papers.
Erika Zauner ’11 completed her summer internship at Greenwich Energy Solutions. GES’s mission is to deliver greening and energy efficiency solutions to commercial properties and multi-family residences in the United States. GES covers the entire process from assessment to implementation and LEED certification and provides tracking and monitoring services to make sure that the building upgrades continue to perform at their maximum efficiency. Erika’s project consisted of evaluating growth opportunities for GES compatible with its overall mission of reducing the energy footprint in the U.S. To this end, GES is considering acquiring an energy savings project and expanding it, as well as gaining a foothold in the metering and sub-metering business in NYC.
Two students worked at Jalia Ventures, a socially focused investment venture capital firm founded by Kesha Cash ’10 that provides seed and growth capital to minority-owned businesses, with a focus on healthcare, education, information technology and environmentally friendly innovations. Ben Brown ’11 and Nii Koney ’11 worked on developing a strategic plan for an Impact Investing Fellows Group, which will work closely with Jalia Ventures on potential and completed investment deals.
Andrea Davila ’11 worked with Blue Ridge Foundation, a social innovation fund that operates as a seed funder and incubator by identifying ideas with high‐potential for social impact and helping transform them into institutions that demonstrate practical and effective solutions to social problems. Andrea worked with the Foundation's portfolio organizations to help focus their missions and operational measures by engaging in short-term consulting projects in the following issue areas: financial modeling, strategic planning, organizational development and marketing.
Jessica Harrison ’11, worked on the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). GIIN seeks to accelerate development of an effective impact investing industry, which is the use of for-profit investment to help solve critical social and environmental problems around the world. At IRIS, Jessica’s work focused on refining quantitative metrics to measure social and environmental impact for investors focused on generating financial and social returns. She also worked on developing a user-friendly interface for impact investors to elect metrics that are relevant to their social impact goals as well as building an effective basis for comparison across impact investing funds. The results of Jessica’s work supported the launch of IRIS 2.0.
Sanin Mody ’11 interned with SJF Ventures, a sustainable venture capital fund that invests primarily in Cleantech and sustainability, business services and web-enhanced services. Sanin evaluated opportunities to invest in various sustainable ventures by conducting financial analysis, operational due diligence and industry segment analysis. His work also included developing a strategy for concurrent capital-raising initiatives.
Nandini Nayar ’11 interned at Intellecap, a social sector advisory firm based in Hyderabad, India. She worked to assist nonprofits, development agencies and governments working in developing markets to engage with customers at the bottom of the pyramid.
Stephanie Palmeri ’11 interned with NYC Seed, a seed-level public/private venture fund that provides capital, mentoring and support to technology entrepreneurs to create the next generation of companies and jobs in New York City. Stephanie evaluated companies seeking venture capital, conducted due diligence on companies of interest, built financial models, analyzed market opportunities and participated in the funding process for new deals. Additionally, Stephanie also completed business development projects to support entrepreneurial participants in SeedStart, NYC Seed’s newly launched, intensive startup boot camp that provides funding and mentorship to very early stage companies.
Edoardo Policano ’10 interned with Frogtek in Bogotá, Colombia. Frogtek, cofounded by David del Ser ’08 and Mark Pedersen ’07, is a social venture dedicated to creating business tools for micro-entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Using mobile phones, Frogtek has developed management applications for small businesses, providing point-of-sales functionality, basic accounting and financial reporting. Edoardo worked on a marketing and execution plan involving shopkeepers, which are the end users of the product, as well as senior executives at prospective corporate clients who are interested in improving the efficiency and lives of these micro-retailers.
Christine Sedky ’11 interned with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs whose mission is to provide an unparalleled platform for leading social innovators that highlight social entrepreneurship as a key element to address social and ecological problems in an innovative, sustainable and effective way. Christine split her time between identifying and analyzing the financials of finalists from the Middle East and setting up a process to identify and select U.S.-based social entrepreneurs.
Shashank Shekhar ’11 interned with Altura Capital, a women- and Hispanic-owned investment advisory and research services firm in the emerging and diverse managers space. Shashank worked in close collaboration with Monika Mantilla ’96, president and CEO, to cultivate new sales leads for the firm. He created marketing and financial presentations and reports and composed marketing and follow-up letters to help Altura expand its client base. In addition, he provided investment advisory services to institutional investors and helped them to formulate innovative, performance driven investment strategies.
Joe Silver ’11 spent the summer interning at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaborative that uses mainstream financial markets to improve historically neglected urban neighborhoods. Living Cities is funded by 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions and creates social investment vehicles to enable institutions and individuals to invest in organizations that improve the quality of life for low-income urban residents and their communities. Joe worked on the Capital Formation team to select project investments, performed due diligence on potential projects, negotiated loan agreements, assisted with the deployment of debt and developed metrics to assess the financial, social and environmental impact of these projects.
September 25, 2015
Social Enterprise Conference
September 14, 2015
Lessons on Social Investing with Acumen Global Fellows
Social Venture Innovators
Founder and CEO
Lending money to entrepreneurs whose endeavors are too large to receive microfinance loans but too small and risky to receive funding from traditional banks.
Founder and CEO
Hiring unemployed residents of financially underserved communities to install solar and energy-efficient technology for small businesses, nonprofits, and affordable housing.
Leveraging crowdfunding technology to reduce preventable maternal and neonatal deaths and disability.
View the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise brochure, Empowering Leaders to Change the World