The Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship is launching two new programs — the Banga Family Social Entrepreneur Postgraduate Fellowship and the Banga Family Social Innovation Research Research Grant — to catalyze social entrepreneurship and support social impact research. This fund expands the center’s campus-wide efforts to incubate promising ideas, transform research into actions that serve the public good, and unlock the potential of bright undergraduates seeking to make a transformative social impact.
Mastercard Foundation has donated $2.5 million to establish the Banga Family Social Innovation Fund at Harvard. This endowed fund honors the work of Ajay and Ritu Banga, two innovators who have enhanced the social missions of their respective business ventures. As CEO of Mastercard, Ajay Banga significantly expanded the organization’s focus on financial inclusion by using technology, data, and analytics to extend investment and lending to engage millions of workers and small businesses in underrepresented markets around the world. As the co-founder of Zoomdojo, Ritu Banga’s work helps students and young professionals find impactful career opportunities. The Bangas believe that deeper investment in research, social entrepreneurship, and cross-sector partnerships will lead to discovering promising and sustainable outcomes for many social issues.
The Banga Family Social Entrepreneur Postgraduate Fellowship will fund two graduating seniors to develop socially innovative ventures. These ventures will be incubated by the Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship, where fellows will have access to the center’s resources to develop structures for their concepts, make connections with leaders and innovators, and utilize campus programming to recruit volunteers and increase visibility for their social ventures. Ventures can be nonprofit or for-profit, but fellows will be selected based on their ability to deliver the greatest social impact.
The Banga Family Social Innovation Research Grant aims to catalyze student interest in social impact research from all academic disciplines at Harvard College. The center is surveying academic departments to determine where research support is needed most and will determine the final features of the program in the coming months. In spring 2023, current juniors students will be able to apply for grants to support their senior thesis research and capstone work.
For updates about the Banga Family Social Innovation Fund, visit https://publicservice.fas.harvard.edu/.