Conference Session: Philanthropy from Entrepreneurs: Engagement, Giving & the Critical Path to Launching a Founders Pledge

Entrepreneurship has become a core priority across higher education, with many schools and universities fielding pitch competitions, opening startup incubators, and even creating or partnering with venture funds to invest in alumni startups.

These activities represent significant investment of financial, capital and personnel resources, with institutions hoping to inspire additional philanthropy from alumni entrepreneurs over time, as well as educate future entrepreneurial leaders.

Some schools have begun to explore a new model of engagement and philanthropy—the founders pledge–to cultivate support from alumni whose wealth is built in the startup sector. This approach can generate powerful results from this unique constituency. In this session, we’ll explore the basics of the model, and offer an overview and discussion of the critical elements needed to launch and sustain a founders pledge program.

Session leaders Dee Dee Mendoza and Robert Wicks have collectively worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, and have launched the Dartmouth Founders Project and the Berkeley Founders Pledge—the largest such program in higher education. We’ll review examples from Dartmouth College, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and institutions with a wide variety of entrepreneurial environments.

You will leave this session inspired and armed with insights you can put into practice right away.