Onwards & Upwards - Farewell To Kaitie Jowers

If you know Kaitie Jowers, then you know how bittersweet it is that her time at Sorenson Impact recently came to an end. Kaitie officially left the Center in July of 2018 to attend law school at Georgetown University. Although everyone will miss her greatly, we’re excited for her to pursue her dreams. We’re also very appreciative of everything she did for the Center. Here’s a glimpse at some of the incredible things she did in her time at Sorenson Impact, and a chance to get to know Kaitie a little bit better.

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Jake Harper
From Colombia to Utah; High Aspirations for Helping the World

Within the first 30 seconds of talking to Gabe Moreno, one thing will undoubtedly stand out to you: he’s a really good person. Gabe is exceptionally charismatic yet admirably humble, and extremely intelligent though he’d never admit any of those things. With a small ego and large aspirations, it’s clear that Gabe is headed places with a very bright future ahead of him.

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Jake Harper
Investing in Hearing Solutions For Children in Economically Disadvantaged Communities

In 2018, earAccess tapped the Sorenson Impact Foundation for funding, and the student fellows at the Sorenson Impact Center jumped on the project. Students conducted impact research, financial modeling, market analysis and more to form an educated opinion on the success of earAccess's business model. Learn about earAccess and their impact.

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Kindergarten Readiness in Coastal Oregon

In 2017, the Northwest Oregon Kinder Ready Collaborative asked the Sorenson Impact Center to examine eight school districts' education data to inform their journey of developing a preschool program, aiming to increase Kindergarten readiness. Data scientist Gwendolyn Reynolds traveled to Oregon with her team, gathered mounds of data from hundreds of spreadsheets, and created a visualization to help explain the relationships found among different factors that influence early childhood learning.

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Catalyzing Impact and Empowering Early Childhood Education Leaders

The first big project in which I participated as a Policy Innovation Fellow was the Early Childhood Innovation Lab (ECIL). The inaugural lab was a collaboration between the National Head Start Association, the Sorenson Impact Center, and the David Eccles School of Business that aims to enable early childhood service providers to create sustainable solutions to the most pressing issues they face at work.

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Gabe Morenostudent, impact fellow
Evidence-based Policy in a Bipartisan Congress (Yes, It’s a Real Thing)

Our work in evidence-based policy at the Center began with a federal grant initiated by the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation under something called the Social Innovation Fund (“SIF”). Designed to be a “catalyst for impact,” the SIF provided funding and support for direct services in evidence-based programs as well as enabled entities such as ours to explore whether a new approach to public-private partnerships, called Pay for Success (“PFS”), could help move the needle on difficult-to-solve social problems like persistent homelessness, school readiness, and breaking the cycle for justice-involved youth and adults. Catalyzing systems-level change came without a federal mandate that this is how it (whatever it was) ought to be done. Instead, the SIF empowered local governments and nonprofits to implement evidence-based approaches to problems defined and informed by local knowledge.  

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Lisa Cox
Bringing an Entrepreneurial Perspective to Impact

It’s a sad fact that entrepreneurship has taken a sharp decline over the past decade. This waning economic dynamism has left communities across the country in distress and has closed the doors of economic opportunity to millions. One of my objectives in endowing the Sorenson Impact Center and other endeavors is to help build the ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in this country.

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Lisa Cox
On the Ground in Jakarta

Since joining Sorenson Impact nearly two years ago, I am frequently reminded of the nascent state of social impact investing.  Earlier this fall, I attended Sankalp’s third annual Southeast Asia Summit hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia. While there, I met with dozens of social entrepreneurs, on-the-ground investors, and local incubators. As the field is maturing, many conferences I attend debate the same three questions: What is social impact investing? How can we help others get more involved in this space? and finally, What is the future of impact investing?

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Behind the Scenes at the Winter Innovation Summit

The Winter Innovation Summit is the convening that busts the conventional conference mold and brings together leaders in government, non-profits, social enterprises, venture capital, private foundations, family offices, data and evaluation experts, philanthropists, and the private markets to discuss innovation and impact for social good (and did we mention skiing?). With over 700 people in attendance this past January, the third iteration of the Summit has set high expectations for the upcoming 2018 Summit. As the project managers for the 2017 and 2018 Winter Innovation Summits, we thought we’d give you a behind-the-scenes look at how it all comes together.

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Lisa Cox
Clearing the Path to Educational Empowerment for Refugees

As a recent graduate from the University of Utah, I’ve experienced firsthand how empowering receiving a diploma is. A small, 11x14” piece of paper represents four years of learning about topics you didn’t know existed, building lasting connections with professors and peers, and an unbelievable amount of hard work. The same small piece of paper also represents overcoming the hurdles that come hand-in-hand with higher education: rising tuition costs, student debt, and an increasingly competitive environment.

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