The More Unknown, the Better: A profile on Impact Fellow Mitchell Wulfman

A common theme runs through the staff and students at Sorenson Impact: curiosity. People hail from all walks of life, with a wide array of educational backgrounds, professional experience, family dynamics, cultures, interests, hobbies and more. An innovative social impact center like Sorenson has seemed to attract people who want to do, learn, and experience a little bit of everything. Mitchell Wulfman, one of our phenomenal impact investing students, is no exception.

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Gabe Moreno
$200K For Ideas Improving Housing Affordability

Ivory Innovations has announced a $200,000 Ivory Prize in Housing Affordability to honor innovations in design, financing and policy that seek to increase access in housing affordability.

This new prize is supported by the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation and the Sorenson Impact Center at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. It seeks to recognize the most ambitious, adoptable and innovative solutions to address housing affordability and generate awareness and new ideas to address this national issue.

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Gabe Moreno
Where in the World is William Powers?

Trying to keep up with Billy Powers is a difficult task. He’s lived all over the United States, rarely for more than a couple of years at a time. He worked with Sorenson Impact for about three years, though he only lived in Utah for six months, and in August he left the Beehive State and headed to the Big Apple. For most people, this kind of lifestyle would suggest a lack of commitment, but for Billy it means the exact opposite. The fluidity of Billy’s history is the perfect illustration of who he is and why he does what he does; he is a passionate person on a quest to help children in less-than-ideal circumstances. Getting to know him and learning to understand him is as interesting, and ever-changing, as following his location on a map.

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Gabe Moreno
Lessons from the Millennial Impact Report from Sorenson Impact students

When Calvin Pape interned at the Sorenson Impact Center in Salt Lake City in May 2018, his capitalist mindset was hard-earned. Between having to work part time jobs from when he was 14 and being raised by divorced parents busy with their own lives, “It wasn’t all flowers and unicorns growing up,” he says. It taught the 20-year-old David Eccles School of Business student that, “Monetary incentive is the only way to get people to do anything.”

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Gabe Moreno
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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