WORLDSHAPERS is the successor to SOCIAL PROFITS. We help you develop a social entrepreneurship program, curriculum, course, or certificate at the high school, community college, four year college or graduate level. SOCIAL PROFITS was a group of consultants organized by Mark Pomerantz who developed and implemented sustainable and integrative approaches to enhance the productivity and capabilities of non-profit organizations, community groups and businesses. Weaving their individual talents and expertise together, they designed multi-faceted solutions with the strength and resiliency to endure. For more information contact email@example.com
November 8, 2005
Mark has been a champion of social entrepreneurship for years and in fact was one of the very first government officials at any level to recognize its importance and make it a priority … his imprint on the city of Seattle and his other clients over the years has been systemic
July 4, 2009
Mark is one of thos folks who took to heart the vision which drove Antioch College in its’ heyday and which was sparked by the leadership of Arthur Morgan during the Great Depression. Now going into what may prove to be even worse (we have not yet experienced the coming world wide dust bowl brought on by global warming, but we know it is coming) Mark’s commitment to social enterprise and understanding how it can work will hopefully serve us all through better understanding of the critical issues involved in bootstrapping entrepreneurial social changes.
June 15, 2010
As his profile suggests Mark has had a remarkable career to date – managed to achieve a great deal & usually with the bare minimum of resources. That’s a testament to his ability to identify ways for people and organizations to work together, despite bureaucratic or personal barriers. (He has been a great sounding board for me personally.)
More recently, he accepted the challenge to grow as an educator by enrolling in a PhD program, where he is already contributing mightily to social entrepreneurship in the academic world.
I’ve met few who are so plain-spoken (even blunt) yet able to do so diplomatically – his ability to juggle a dizzying array of stakeholders – and without looking as though he’s juggling – is a talent that I’m not sure that even Mark realizes he has. To him, it’s just getting things done in ways that are both fair AND productive. (Hmm… sounds like a social entrepreneur to me!)
I am honored to know Mark & I look forward to working with him for years to come.
June 28, 2010
Thanks for all of your work moving social entrepreneurship into the mainstream. After meeting you over six years ago as I was learning the field, I have been impressed with your ability to connect your professional consulting to your teaching. Your ability to lead the social entrepreneurship interest group at USASBE and your continual communications with the leaders in the field providing us with a regular listing of resources and current news is outstanding. Thanks for doing such a great job and keeping us on our toes!
100 years beyond civilization
People will still be living here in 100 years-if we start living in a new way soon.
But how would we get there, and what would it look like? Utopians can’t let go of the ideal of sweeter, gentler, more loving people taking over. I prefer to look at what worked for millions of years for people as they are. Sainthood was not required.
To project into the future: as people begin going over the wall in the early decades of the new millennium, our societal guardians are at first alarmed, seeing it as portending the end of civilization as we know it. They try heightening the wall with social and economic barbed wire but soon realize the futility of this. People will keep dragging stones, if they’re convinced there’s no other way to go. But once another way opens up, nothing can stop them from defecting. Initially, the defectors derive their living from the pyramid builders. As time goes on, however, they begin to be less dependent on the pyramid builders. They interact more and more with each other, building their own inter-tribal economy.
After a hundred years civilization is still hanging on at about half its present size. Half the world’s population still belongs to the culture of maximum harm, but the other half, living tribally, enjoys a more modest lifestyle, directed towards getting more of what people want (as opposed to just getting more).
200 Years beyond Civilization
Gradually, the economic balance of power shifts between “civilization” and the surrounding “beyond civilization.” More and more people are seeing that they can trade off a plenitude of things they don’t deeply want (power, social status, and supposed conveniences, amenities, and luxuries) for things they really do deeply want (security, meaningful work, more leisure, and social equality-all products of the tribal way of life). “The economy” no longer tied to an ever expanding market, has become an increasingly local affair, as global and national corporations gradually lose their reason for being.
200 years out, the thing we call civilization has been left behind and seems as plainly obsolete as Oliver Cromwell’s theocracy. The cities still are there-where would they go?-as are the arts, the sciences, and technology, but they are no longer instruments and embodiments of the culture of maximum harm..
Daniel Quinn, “Beyond Civilization”
America in 100 years
Technology will be largely “invisible”. There will be few large cities but many smaller cities and small towns and villages. From the air, the landscape will appear to be largely rustic. Miniaturization and minimalization will have been carried to great extremes.
Though the population will be substantially smaller due to a variety of factors, there will be a great revival of spiritual values. Possessions will be cherished only if they are finely crafted and have some deeper personal meaning. People will adopt many of the surface customs and mores, including types of dress and furnishings of their ancestors, as a way of making a connection with their past.
So-called “hi-tech” items will not be valued highly since it will be fashionable to disguise technology. There will also have been a revulsion against the sophisticated virtual reality set-ups of the mid 21st Century as well against synthetic memory and brain enhancing drugs.
There will be much less disparity of wealth between the countries of the Western Hemisphere and the old Third World countries. Developments in educational technology, communications, and psychology will insure virtually equal levels of education for all.
Most former national governments will have disappeared, replaced by loose national confederations with more powerful local governments. These will be run on a cooperative, Town Meeting style.
“A billion customers in the world are waiting for a $2 pair of eyeglasses, a $10 solar lantern and a $100 house.” – Dr. Paul Polak, Founder, IDE
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”- J.R.R. Tolkien
“The future participates actively in the present, providing part of the context within which today’s decisions are made.” – Fred L. Polak
“The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds” – Mark Twain
“The only thing we have to fear… is fear itself…nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Frankin Delano Roosevelt
“New forms of work that enhance the Social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967
“America [ will ] never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor as long as adventures like Vietnam continue to draw men and skills and money, like some demonic destructive suction tube” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Our financial system is designed to liquidate our life support system, rewarding current returns over any hope for our descendants.” – Jason Bradford, Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL)
“Lack of something to feel important about is almost the greatest tragedy a man may have.” – Arthur E. Morgan
“Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.” – Russell Baker
“People think that you can have learning malls in the same way that we have shopping malls, and that the consumerism that we now have has changed the culture’s sense of worth and value of what an education is. People have confused certification and degrees with being educated.” – Richard Hersh, past president, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
“[The] good news is that there is plenty of money sloshing around out there and a tiny fraction, a ridiculous, infinitesimal proportion of it would be enough to provide a decent life to every person on earth, to supply universal health and education, to clean up the environment and prevent further destruction to the planet, to close the North-South gap—“ – Susan George
“Anyone can be ejected from the system at any time–because of illness, age, pregnancy, perceived failure, or simply because economic circumstances and the relentless transfer of wealth from top to bottom demand it. Shareholder value is all. “- Susan George
“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” – Voltaire
“Living in a capitalist society with no access to capital is just a sophisticated form of slavery.” – Ambassador Andrew Young
“Only a fool would choose war over peace – for in peace sons bury their fathers and in war fathers their sons” — Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484 BC-ca. 425 BC).
“There never was a good war or a bad peace” – Benjamin Franklin
“Frankly speaking, you sometimes have to get annoyed to make things work well” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business” – Henry Ford
“People do not die for lack of incomes. They die for lack of access to resources” – Vandana Shiva
“In fact there are times when I believe that our feelings about illness and our visions of the future may be the determining factor in whether we sucumb or survive.” – Dr. Robert Rountree, MD
“Entrepreneurs have a mind-set that sees the possibilities rather than the problems created by change.” – J. Gregory Dees
“The ultimate purpose of a global immune system is to identify what is not life affirming and to contain, neutralize, or eliminate it.” – Paul Hawken
“There is no reason goodness could not triumph over evil, so long as the angels are as organized as the Mafia.” – Kurt Vonnegut
“Charity is maintaining the status quo. Social entrepreneurship is hands-on building of a just and equitable society.” – Mark Pomerantz, Seattle University
“…in an era where new leaders have to be trained to solve immense social and environmental problems…the mix of analytic, quantitative, ethical, and interpersonal skills needed to keep sometimes seemingly contradictory goals of mission, politics, and finance in balance are best taught in the liberal arts college.” – Mark Pomerantz
“The survival of both society and the individual depend in part upon the creation of balanced yet stimulating environments characterized by preventive health care, positive, optimistic thinking, manageable stress, and cooperative but effective endeavor.” – Mark Pomerantz
“Society needs social innovators in times of rapid change to keep our institutions functioning and in balance.” – Mark Pomerantz
“The challenge for social innovators is not so much to develop good ideas and solutions. That’s the easier part. But, rather to move those who cling to the old dysfunctional ways and block needed change.” – Mark Pomerantz
”Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“Our Gross National Product…counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the loss of the redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl…” – Robert Kennedy, 1965
“Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home…. Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts—serious, sad thoughts—and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.” —Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
“Education is the ability to perceive the hidden connections between phenomena.” – Vaclav Havel
“No one can deny that a network (a world network) of economic and psychic affiliations is being woven at ever increasing speed which envelops and constantly penetrates more deeply within each of us. With every day that passes it becomes a little more impossible for us to act or think otherwise than collectively. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Formation of the Noosphere, 1947
The following thinkers and writers et al. provided the inspiration for Worldshapers
As a baby boomer born in the northeast U.S., I was taught that history had ended. Our teachers in elementary school taught us that the United States was the greatest nation that ever existed. We were the richest nation, we were the smartest nation, we were the most powerful nation, we were the most moral nation, and every other nation in the world deferred to our leadership. (Except of course for the communists)
There would never be a reason for change, because in factwe had reached utopia. Reaching utopia had been a dramatic story. As a nation we’d gone through the winter in Valley Forge, the Civil War to free the slaves, the Great Depression where all our relatives had become poor, the attack on Pearl Harbor by the dastardly fascists, the middle class revival after the war, and now a state of permanent prosperity and contentment. (Albeit somewhat marred by the presence of the misguided red Russians and Chinese)
I attended a small liberal arts college in the Midwest, Antioch College. Antioch’s philosophy of higher education involved going off to work for half the year. The highlight of this period was an off campus residential experience under the mentorship of Robert Theobald, a leading futurist. My higher education complete (I thought) after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in education from Antioch and receiving a master’s degree in urban planning from a large northeast university, I headed into the job market.
Even though somewhat disillusioned by the Vietnam War, I still believed in the concepts of the New Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society. Therefore it made sense for me to go into government work. I soon found that government had lost its taste for innovation and leading social change. I found myself as a manager when I really wanted to be an innovator and entrepreneur. Unfortunately I did not know this.
Over the years, I had the chance to design several innovative projects. None of the more innovative projects were implemented. At some point, I had the nagging thought that what I really wanted to be was a futurist like Robert Theobald. But all of my family training pointed me in the direction of remaining in a safe managerial position.
In the early nineteen nineties I was one of the leaders of a state run project to develop community group homes for the mentally ill. Unfortunately the economy in New England where I worked went into the dumper and the whole project was canceled. I found myself working at the Multiservice Center for the Homeless in Cambridge Massachusetts. I experienced a milieu of hope, desperation, and intensive though often unsuccessful effort to help these homeless people. I realized the government did not seem to have the tools or the will to help much. I began looking around for other models and soon found that there were organizations, later, to be called “social enterprises” that seemed to have better helping models. Instead of giving people a bowl of soup or a cot in a shelter, they gave them job training, subsidized housing, counseling, mentorship, peer support and other tools that allowed them to actually turn their lives around.
My career in government led me to Seattle, where I administered funds for low income housing. As the project manager for converting part of the navy base into housing for the homeless, I was concerned that the future residents of the base would have opportunities for job training as well as pre-employment or supported employment opportunities. I obtained a large grant for this purpose, including mini-business incubation, from the Federal government, which unfortunately disappeared when the Republicans took over control of Congress. Eventually I transferred into another office which allowed me more latitude to develop innovative projects. Organizing a group of like-minded individuals in the area, we in short order developed a social enterprise expo or trade show, a conference on new empowering forms of philanthropy and entrepreneurship, and the first social venture fairs in the U.S.
I also found that there were people within government and the third sector that did not like these new ideas and who managed to bring the project to a premature end. My next position was doing business development for a large nonprofit that served disabled people and had a reputation as a social enterprise. The former CEO of the organization was known as an innovator and leader in the social enterprise movement. He was succeeded by a CEO from the corporate world. The board believed that the second generation CEO should be a manager rather than an innovator or an entrepreneur. The skills of the corporate manager often do not include that of fostering cooperative effort and innovation. There was a need to design new programs for aging disabled workers. The new CEO was not interested in supporting this effort. He concentrated on the skills he brought from the corporate world, maximizing the fiscal bottom line, controlling the staff, and cultivating a compliant board. The lesson I learned was: A social enterprise needs a manager who is proficient at maximizing the “double bottom line”, the mission and the money.
As a doctoral student studying social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and leadership and involved in academic efforts to develop social innovation curriculum, I felt I was finally fulfilling my destiny as an entrepreneur and a futurist. While I was told in government not to be such a “big picture” person and to “stay on my own turf”, my new career will require me to look at the big picture and be interdisciplinary. The big picture is an exciting one. In a time of accelerated technological change, is it possible that social change will catch up? And if it doesn’t, will society continue to go forward, stagnate, or will it collapse?