While we ask ourselves how to build lives and careers that are both right for us and the world,  Lara Galinsky (SVP of Echoing Green) is equipping a generation to discover their social impact purpose.

-Lara Galinsky

You got your degree; you have 2, maybe 3 different jobs on your resume; you work 9 to 5 and collect a paycheck, yet for months the thought of wanting to do more with your life goes to sleep and wakes up with you. You long for purpose – a way to help others, but the fear of changing careers and the thought of losing financial security trumps the exploration.

This is a common connection among twenty and thirty somethings, which is why Lara Galinsky and the Echoing Green team have devoted their mission to teaching people how to achieve their social impact purpose. They are providing the tools and knowledge to equip people with bold ideas that will change the world.

Lara began her philanthropic career at Do Something, but today, she is currently in charge of day-to-day operations for Echoing Green. Lara Galinksy is the co-author of two books that have become cornerstones of the Echoing Green program: Work on Purpose (2011), and Be Bold: Create a Career with Impact (2007). One of her favorite quotes, which sums up her career mantra is, “Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.” by Basil King.   

In 1987, Echoing Green was launched by General Atlantic. It is amazing to think that even back then, the founders had a philanthropic footprint, and pioneered this type of thinking. This organization is centered around entrepreneurs with incredible business ideas geared towards creating a social change. Back then, this idea of applying principles and merging sectors was not part of the standard business vocabulary.  Even today,  Echoing Green continues to create programs that keep them at the forefront of social entrepreneurship, and for that they are recognized as a leader in this growing field.

Echoing Green’s Fellowship Program, which provides over $2 million in seed funding, had individuals apply from 128 countries. The seed money is provided to launch a ground-breaking social venture with the strongest foundation. Echoing Green was able to  fund over 100 diverse organizations, 530 individuals and launch in over 49 different countries. Echoing Green is nimble and open to the best ideas to attack long standing social problems in ground-breaking ways. They have financially supported solutions in hunger, education reform, product development, and countless others, which encompass a big milage of bold ideas.

Echoing Green recognizes a world where we need more social entrepreneurs to come up with ideas, which can be carried forward, and Echoing Green would love to see these ideas grow and develop.

Echoing Green’s programs take lessons learned and framework of stories of social entrepreneurs. They provide these lessons to young people, so they can learn from examples to craft their path. A new program, Work On Purpose, provides knowledge by access to data, trends, and 2 year studies looking back to the past 6 years of social behavior – what’s important to them, where are they coming from, etc. Echoing Green’s Impact Investment Initiative helps to fund organizations that still have a social purpose, but are not necessarily registered non-profits.

To honor Echoing Green’s support of individuals and their bold ideas, meet a few world changers who are members of Echoing Green’s Ecosystem:

George Srour, 2007 Echoing Green Fellow, Building Tomorrow (

Bold Idea: Create and nurture one-to-one partnerships between US-based colleges and communities in sub-Saharan Africa that will generate funds to build new schools and support strong educators in the partner African communities.

George Srour developed an idea that evolved into Building Tomorrow as a student at The College of William and Mary. In just six weeks, he helped raise $45,000 to construct a three-story school in Kampala, Uganda, which now serves 350 children. George, a 2005 college graduate, credits his experience working with the United Nations World Food Programme for inspiring him to launch Building Tomorrow.

Julie Carney, 2009 Echoing Green Fellow, Gardens for Health International (

Bold Idea: Enable HIV-positive individuals to improve their nutrition and health through low-cost sustainable agriculture practices.

Julie Carney believes that access to land and food are basic human rights, especially among vulnerable populations. Julie graduated from Yale in 2008 with a degree in Political Science and received Yale University’s prestigious Gordon Grand Fellowship. She founded Gardens for Health International in 2008.

Scott Warren, 2010 Echoing Green Fellow, Generation Citizen (

Bold Idea: Expand democracy by empowering historically underrepresented youth to participate in the political process through an action-based and student-led curriculum in our nation’s high schools.

Prior to co-founding Generation Citizen in 2008, Scott Warren was a student activist working towards the end of genocide in Darfur. While receiving his degree in International Relations at Brown University, Scott successfully lobbied for the divestment of Brown University, the city of Providence, and the state of Rhode Island from companies doing business with the Sudanese government. Scott served as the Executive Director of STAND, a national student anti-genocide coalition. During Scott’s tenure, STAND grew to include over 800 high school and college chapters, raised more than $200,000, helped pass a national divestment bill, and recruited thousands of new activists.

As you can see, Echoing Green has been successful in advancing social change by helping individuals advance their bold ideas. So, how can you become one who changes the world?

Going back to the principles of  Work on Purpose, the question commonly asked when you are younger is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think for some of us, we are still looking for the answer. Well, what if we asked the question this way: “What would the world look like if you did _______?” Why not think big, be bold, and challenge yourself to see if you are capable of creating an industry that gives back? If people know that they can use their time here to create a solution that is meaningful to them and the rest of the world, then imagine what our world would look like. To get there, you need to act.

According to Lara, fear (not in the sense of imminent danger) means go. If we think of fear as an indicator to move forward, then this is how we push through our own obstacles, like fear of failure. So, you need to be comfortable with the idea of not succeeding at a time and see failure as a way to create a wiser start for the next time around.

Be willing to stand up for what is right, and do not be afraid to work hard; be innovative and ground-breaking. Work hard to come up with smart and untested solutions, and be able to create something out of nothing; be committed, and keep the idea of being different central to your identity.

Check out Echoing Green’s Work On Purpose as well as their other programs for  tools to help you succeed in making social change.  (

Photo: Colin Mukuri