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Upcoming Events

Additional Events Coming Soon.

Past Events

Since the creation of the Public Service Venture Fund in 2010, Harvard Law School has sponsored many events related to social entrepreneurship. Details and videos of past events are posted on this page.

Community Justice Project Launch Party

October 29, 2015, 6:30 pm, Miami, FL

Launch of the Community Justice Project, Inc., a new law firm seed funded through the Public Service Venture Fund, working to advance human rights and racial justice by providing legal services to grassroots organizations led by students, tenants, and workers. Over 200 supporters attended the event raising over $18,000 for CJP.

Public Service Venture Fund Information Session

September 15, 2014, 12 pm, WCC 3018

If you are a budding social entrepreneur looking to start an organization from the ground up, or planning to begin your career through a fellowship with a nonprofit or government agency, the PSVF will help you achieve your goals. Join OPIA’s Assistant Dean for Public Service Alexa Shabecoff to learn more about the Fund and the application process.

Social Innovation @ Harvard: Informational Fair

September 30, 2014, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm, Harvard Innovation Lab

Calling all Harvard students interested in social entrepreneurship! Harvard University Social Innovation Coalition (HUSIC) is planning its second installment of Social Innovation @ Harvard, an informational fair taking place at the i-lab. The event is designed for Harvard students to navigate the full spectrum of resources and learn about the immense number of opportunities from all the University’s schools, including: student groups, research centers, business plan competitions, University courses, events and i-lab programming. Additionally, the event will be a place for students to meet like-minded individuals across the University and build connections that will provide support and camaraderie on one’s path in driving social change. *This event is for current Harvard students only.* Register for this event.

Launching a Social Venture: Workshop 3: Case Studies of Successes and Challenges

March 28, 2013

Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Founder and Executive Director of Accountability Counsel, a non-profit environmental and human rights organization, leads a workshop on case studies of the successes and challenges of social ventures.

Launching a Social Venture: Workshop 2: Becoming Legal: Achieving Non-Profit Status

March 4, 2013

Speakers Victoria Bjorklund, Lecturer on Law at HLS, and Of Counsel at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and Marion Fremont-Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Hauser Center for Non-profit Organizations ( and award-winning author and lecturer on non-profit law, will discuss the nuts and bolts of establishing and formatting new legal non-profit organizations.

Launching a Social Venture: Workshop 1: Building and Sustaining a Social Venture

February 21, 2013

Laurel Dumont, Executive Director for the Center for Collaborative Change in Newark, NJ, discusses how to launch and sustain a venture. Topics include budgets, business plans, in-kind donations, pro bono tech support, and the challenges of governing.

Public Service Venture Fund Application Workshop

December 5, 2012

Judy Murciano, Director of Fellowships at OPIA, leads a workshop for Venture Fund applicants.

Social Entrepreneurship Financing: Developing a Business Plan

November 13, 2012

James Honan, senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, and Matt Klein, Executive Director of The Blue Ridge Foundation, speak about the nuts and bolts of business planning, financing, and governance for successful non-profits.

Hauser Center Social Entrepreneurship Panel

October 19, 2012

The Hauser Center holds a university-wide panel discussion on events, initiatives and courses related to social entrepreneurship at Harvard University.

Panel Chair: Chris Letts, Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in the Practice of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership & Interim Faculty Director, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations

With HKS faculty members John Haigh, Dick Cavanagh, Nathalie Kylander, Jorrit de Jong and programs across Harvard, including the Center for Public Leadership (HKS), the Social Enterprise Initiative (HBS), the Office of Public Interest Advising (HLS), the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, and the Harvard Innovation Lab.

Experts Speak on Social Entrepreneurship

October 15, 2012

Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green Foundation and Lori Parese, Wasserstein Fellow and Founder of Youth Represent, speak about social entrepreneurship.

Harvard Public Service Venture Fund Kick-Off

September 25, 2012

Dean Martha Minow and Alexa Shabecoff, Chair of the Venture Fund and Assistant Dean for Public Service, announce the beginning of the Public Service Venture Fund and provide application information to interested students and alumni.

Launching a Social Venture Workshop IV- Case Studies of Social Ventures and Entrepreneurs

March 6, 2012

Keynote Speakers: Stacy Stern ’93 and Tim Stanley ’94, founders of FindLaw and Justia; Adam Stofsky ’04, New Media Advocacy Project (N-MAP); Timothy Ehrlich ’99, Dettmer and Gunderson; and Marion Freemont-Smith, Hauser Center for Noprofit Organizations and award-winning author and lecturer on non-profit law.

The final workshop of the series focuses on case studies of venture start-ups and social entrepreneurs. Speakers discuss specific factors that led to some of the successes, challenges and failures of organizations and exciting new social ventures. Additional topics include:

  • Uniting law & technology for global access to justice, human rights, and advocacy
  • Scaling and growing your venture
  • Measuring performance and success
  • Creating a non-profit tax-exempt venture: practical lessons in filing a Section 501(c)(3)
  • Recreating the steps and missteps of launching a social venture in action
  • From Social Venture to Social Innovation: Exciting new landscapes


Launching a Social Venture: Workshop III – Financing and Sustaining Your Venture: From Seed to Scale

February 28, 2012

The third workshop of the series targets building and sustaining your venture.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Shirley Sagawa ’87, an author and consultant, has served in two White House administrations, helped create Americorps, and was named a “Woman to Watch in the 21st Century” by Newsweek
  • James Honan, faculty at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Graduate School of Education, Co-Chair of the Institute of Educational Management and faculty at the Hauser Center for Non-Profit Organizations

Sagawa and Honan lead a workshop focused on financial strategies for your organization, understanding foundation and government grant making sources, and best practices in governance. Additional topics include:

  • Recruiting and building your Board
  • Managing and sustaining finances
  • Marketing, fundraising, branding, and buzz
  • Attracting foundations, government grantmakers, and donors
  • Eight Ways to Grow the Charismatic Non-Profit
  • Writing business plans, pitches, and press releases
  • Choosing and retaining an effective staff
  • Adhering to the public interest social venture mission


Launching a Social Venture: Workshop II – Leading in an Everyone a Changemaker™ World

February 23, 2012

Bill Drayton (Harvard College ’65), MacArthur Genius Grant Winner, CEO and founder of Ashoka Innovators for the Public, named as one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report, discusses being a Changemaker™ in the 21st century. Topics include:

  • The Courage of Great Ideas
  • Metrics for Success
  • Changemaker Skills: Leadership, Empathy, Teamwork
  • Important Patterns and Historic Change in Social Entrepreneurship
  • Collaborative Entrepreneurship
  • Big Win Buy-in from Key Stakeholders
  • Building Trust with Integrity


Launching a Social Venture: Workshop I – Preparing to Leap

February 16, 2012

Keynote Speaker: Julia Harrington Reddy ’95, Open Society Initiative

This workshop focuses on launching, financing, and growing a social venture. Ms. Harrington Reddy draws from her experiences in risk-taking and building new initiatives in the U.S. and abroad as well as her insights into how to persuade funders to invest in your vision. Topics include:

  • Generating the idea for your social venture: motivation and opportunity
  • Defining the mission of your enterprise
  • Designing the type of social venture: Non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid
  • Building a 501(c)(3), financial partnerships, or new initiatives
  • Identifying and applying for seed money, fellowships, and grants
  • Creating international and domestic ventures


Interweaving Strategy, Leadership, Web Entrepreneurship and Social Sector Impact – John Williams, The Bridgespan Group

November 10, 2011

As an established entrepreneur and social innovator, John Williams ’79 offers a number of lessons learned over the course of his 32+ year career. How do organizations – both for-profit and not-for-profit — achieve strategic clarity, and why does it matter? How does one go about re-positioning an iconic product or organization when the market changes? What did it take to launch the first Webby Award-winning online travel business? How do the most sophisticated not-for-profits and philanthropists think about how to maximize their impact on society? John shares his personal career explorations since graduating from Harvard with a JD and an MBA in 1979 and offers insight into his most valuable experiences.

A Conversation Between Social Entrepreneurs: How to Identify a Problem and Solve It

October 31, 2011

Keynote Speakers: Earl Phalen ’93, a longtime, highly decorated entrepreneur who has founded several nonprofits committed to education reform, including Bell, Reach out and Read, and Summer Advantage, and Adam Stofsky ’04, Executive Director of the New Media Advocacy Project, in his early stages of social entrepreneurship.

The speakers discuss experiences, challenges, and triumphs in their work. Both offer their advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs on how to go about creating new solutions to today’s most difficult problems and how to start, run and grow organizations that can implement those solutions.

A Conversation Between Social Entrepreneurs: How to Identify a Problem and Solve It

November 9, 2010

Alan Khazei ’87, a longtime social entrepreneur who founded City Year and is founder and CEO of Be the Change, Inc., and Brooke Richie ’04, who is in the early stages of social entrepreneurship as founder and executive director of the Resilience Advocacy Project, discuss the experiences, challenges, and triumphs of their work. Both offer their advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs on how to go about creating new solutions to today’s most difficult problems and how to start, run and grow organizations that can implement those solutions.