The Batten School’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative Recognized for Its Commitment to Spark and Accelerate Changemakers

CHARLOTTESVILLE, July 25, 2019 —The University of Virginia has been recognized for Social Entrepreneurship @UVA’s (SE@UVA) commitment to fostering innovation and empowering the next generation of future changemakers and citizen leaders. The recognition comes from AshokaU, the higher education initiative of Ashoka, a global organization that identifies and invests in the world’s leading social entrepreneurs as part of its #MillionsofChangemakers global campaign. The #MillionsofChangemakers campaign encourages colleges and universities to incite change in their local communities and the world at large.

As part of the campaign, SE@UVA — an initiative of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy — was recognized for its commitment to expanding support for the New Vinegar Hill Project. This project is part of SE@UVA’s locally-focused Policy in Action Lab, which aims to advance racial equity and economic mobility in Charlottesville. SE@UVA will work with six student fellows, twenty partner organizations, and over 1,000 community residents to support the project by Aug. 2020. The primary community partner is New Hill Development Corporation, which is dedicated to building avenues of upward mobility for residents of Charlottesville.

This commitment is one of 73 announced by leading academic institutions, ecosystem building organizations, and individuals in 14 countries who are working together to spark and accelerate more than 200,000 changemakers. SE@UVA’s commitment represents one of the many ways leading academic institutions are contributing to building a world where everyone is a changemaker.

“With this commitment, SE@UVA is joining Ashoka U’s global community of higher education innovators who are collectively activating and equipping the changemakers the world needs,” said Jessica Lax, Ashoka U’s Growth & Partnerships Director. “We’re thrilled to celebrate SE@UVA’s commitment and look forward to sharing it with others through this campaign.”

SE@UVA’s commitment reflects the initiative’s ongoing efforts to bring University resources, including engaged students, to the Charlottesville community to create positive change reflective of the goals of residents.

“These Policy in Action Labs provide students with an opportunity to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to a real-world situation, by partnering with local community leaders and policymakers to address a compelling issue,” said Laura Toscano, assistant director of SE@UVA.

In addition to Charlottesville’s New Vinegar Hill Project, students working with SE@UVA also seek out solutions to real-world questions that take them farther afield — from how impact investing can support economic growth in southwest Virginia and Appalachia, to how social entrepreneurs can build a more climate-resilient economy in Caribbean island nations dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes.

Check out all of the #MillionsofChangemakers commitments sorted by country or focus area.

About Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia (SE@UVA): Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia creates opportunities for students to learn about social entrepreneurship through minor, experiential classes, workshops, speakers, hackathons, concept competitions, Global Field Experiences, and internships. We prepare future social entrepreneurs to launch or work within organizations arrayed along the continuum of innovative non-profits to world-changing for-profits and everything in between including public-private partnerships, impact investing and innovative financing. Learn more at

About the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy: The University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy is authoring a new model of public policy education. Of the 250-plus schools of public policy and administration in the U.S., the Batten School has the distinction of being the only one explicitly committed to teaching leadership—how it works, why context matters in decision-making and which actions lead to tangible results. The School’s programs inspire students to act vigorously, effectively and ethically on behalf of the common good. Learn more at  

About Ashoka U: Ashoka U is the higher education initiative of Ashoka - the world’s largest community of changemakers. Since 2008, Ashoka U has worked with more than 500 colleges and universities to help build a world where everyone is a changemaker. Learn more at

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