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Social Enterprise News

March 21, 2004

Spring Newsletter - Alumni Profile - Laura Goodman '03: Public-private partnerships

Laura Goodman works at Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's oldest and largest children's literacy organization.


Laura Goodman works at Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's oldest and largest children's literacy organization. Last year, RIF programs reached over 5 million children and distributed over 17 million new books through a grassroots network of volunteers at over 21,000 sites in every state and U.S. territory. Goodman challenges corporate partners to build social relevance for their brands and to use an integrated approach to corporate philanthropy to achieve business objectives. "I use my sales, strategy and marketing skills to help form corporate cause-related marketing partnerships, identify new sources of corporate support and maintain strong relationships with our current corporate partners" she says.

Prior to joining Reading Is Fundamental and immediately after graduation from Columbia Business School, Laura joined KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit that inspires companies, communities and individuals to create safe play space for youth. Using the community-build model, KaBOOM! creates partnerships between community groups and major corporations in an effort to change the world - one playground at a time. Laura managed corporate sponsorships overseeing the execution of corporate partnerships and programs.

Prior to business school, Goodman worked in executive recruiting at J. Robert Scott, a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments. "I was energized to create novel solutions to building management teams at entrepreneurial organizations." However, after evaluating and recruiting talent for several years, Goodman realized that further education would be necessary to achieve her goals. "I knew that to successfully run a company, whether nonprofit or for-profit, an understanding of all the different components and functions - from finance to marketing to operations - would be critical. Attending a top business school was the logical next step."

While at the School, through the Social Enterprise Program and the National Social Venture Competition, Goodman grew increasingly interested in the connection between the business and nonprofit sectors. After working with Professor Cathy Clark on the Research Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship and spending a summer at a venture philanthropy fund, Goodman felt that her MBA could be put to good use immediately in the nonprofit sector. "Some of us need to give back right away," she says. Columbia Business School awarded her the Guenther Family Public and Nonprofit Assistance Grant in 2003.

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