Social Capitalists

You are about to meet 20 organizations that are in the business of changing expectations. They reshape reality – so that poor kids can attend college, so that people in the destitute corners of the world can get better health care, so that victims of human-rights abuses can be heard. Most of us see the world’s most daunting problems as impossible challenges. But these groups see the world’s problems as just . . . problems, ones that can be fixed with the right ideas and enough passion. And they see how the systems that produced those problems can be reinvented. So they get to work.

These groups and leaders are neither idealistic dreamers nor neo-hippie do-gooders. They are entrepreneurs in the truest sense of the word. They are adept at marshalling resources behind an idea, at creating organizations that operate both efficiently and effectively. They apply sound management tools and discipline, and they demand results.

They are the winners of our inaugural Social Capitalist Awards. Fast Company, with considerable assistance from Monitor Group, the global consulting firm, has spent months assessing entrepreneurship in the social sector. We have measured organizations’ actual innovations and their impact. We have gauged their aspirations and their sustainability. This endeavor is the first to make these types of quantitative comparisons across a group of organizations with such diverse social missions and business structures.

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