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May 6, 2015 11:30 am

Cultivating Community and Impact in Princeton

The project, which held its first meeting just weeks ago, will hold the Cooperative Impact Conference on May 14.

The Princeton Impact Project brings together community members, social entrepreneurs and impact investors to share their resources, insight and advice. The group, which had its first meetup just a few weeks ago on March 26, meets weekly.

“We use the meetups as a chance for people to talk about the projects they are working on, and any obstacles they may be facing,” wrote founder Daniel D’Alonzo in a blog post.

D’Alonzo launched the project to develop a social enterprise ecosystem in New Jersey, after having built small-scale social enterprises, taught social entrepreneurship at the university level and mentored college students in building their own social businesses.

“The purpose behind this is to give people a platform to speak who would not typically have a platform, and to give the members a chance to learn about problems in which they can build solutions. It is a super-effective feedback loop,” he added.

After listening to the different members tell their stories, D’Alonzo noticed four different phases of the social impact process beginning to take shape:

  • Humanity: finding purpose, meaning, and unlocking our potential as humans
  • Community: immersing ourselves in the community to identify unmet needs
  • Incubation: creating value to fill those unmet needs
  • Impact: attaching revenue models to the value we create

The project will also host the Cooperative Impact Social Innovation Conference on May 14 at the Princeton Garden Theatre to bring together all the stakeholders: government, community, business, and technology.

The conference will follow the same structure as what D’Alonzo sees as phases of the social impact process, with speakers in the beginning of the day tell personal stories about humanity, then moving into community, incubation, and impact.

Next steps for the project,  D’Alonzo said, is to “build New Jersey’s first-ever social enterprise coworking space.”
“It will be the city’s civic incubator. I am now aligning the stakeholders to prepare for this revolutionary push into the future,” he said. “Our civic incubator will solve civic problems by bringing together community members to build solutions funded by private equity. The goal is to align the goals of business to coincide with the goals of the people.”

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Image via Princeton Impact Project

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