New social venture Fuse Corps is launching a platform to connect entrepreneurial professionals with governors, mayors and community leaders across the U.S. in an effort drive meaningful social change. The group will identify projects in various communities that address a national issue like education, health care or economic development, then recruit and pair a selected entrepreneur with those working in the public sector to collaborate on the project.
The idea behind the new program is not only to deal with issues on the local level, but come up with solutions that can be replicated by other local governments and scaled nationally.
Fuse Corps says it will extensively interview the potential hosts to determine their needs, interests and expectations and will then seek out, match and place the so-called Fuse Corps “Fellows” with the hosting institution.
Hosts are expected to provide Fellows with access to senior leadership, create a supportive and positive working environment, and demonstrate a commitment to initiate the changes suggested by the Corps members, the group’s website explains.
Kicking off the launch is Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who will host two Fuse Corps Fellows in 2012, one who will help on energy reform issues and other working to reform the Sacramento Unified School District.
Half of the 2012 pilot Fellows will come from Fuse Corps sponsoring companies including McKinsey, Starbucks, G.E., McDonald’s and others, while the other half will be selected from the applications submitted via the Fuse Corps website.
Potential applicants should have at least 8 years professional experience in the private sector, strategic leadership and project management skills, commitment to public service, leadership qualities and more, but subject matter expertise in the particular policy area of the placement is not required.
Since Fuse Corps members will be coming from the private sector for their year-long stints, there is compensation available for those who require it. However, some companies will provide their employees on an “on-loan” basis instead.
The benefit to working in Fuse Corps, of course, is not related to income, but the participant’s ability to impact change on some of the country’s most pressing problems by getting directly involved in the governmental processes to see how they work (and how they don’t work) in order to come up with innovative solutions.
Fuse Corps Co-founder and CEO Jennifer Anastasoff was previously the founding CEO of EnCorps and BuildingBlocks International, where she engaged top corporate professionals in pro-bono projects. She also taught in Teach for America and served as an analyst in the California Legislature.
Other co-founders and advisors include a large group of well-known leaders, including best-selling author and entrepreneur Peter Sims, who recently blogged about the launch on his personal site. In addition to Anastasoff, Sims noted in particular co-founders Lenny Mendonca, a senior partner at McKinsey, David Viotti, the former Chief Learning Officer of Sun and Fuse Corps’ chief learning officer, Ayesha Khana, who leads the Civic Incubator at the Points of Light Institute (which is incubating Fuse Corps in its first year and providing back-end services), Margeurite Kondracke, CEO and now senior advisor to General Colin and Alma Powell’s education nonprofit America’s Promise, and Sonal Shah, who until recently led the White House Office on Social Innovation and Civic Participation, Alan Khazei, the cofounder of City Year, and Teach for America founder and CEO, Wendy Kopp.
Greylock partner and former Mozilla CEO John Lilly is also on board, as is Kiva President Premal Shah, Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman, and over a dozen other big names in entrepreneurship, non-profits, education and more.
Says Sims of the launch, “we hope that Fuse Corps can help provide both positive leadership to help solve citizens’ problems from the ground up, while nurturing a generation of leaders who can think and act differently throughout their lives.”
You can learn more about the program, its founders, advisors, partners and application process on FuseCorps.org.