Social Justice Advocate learns to use business for change

Van Jones is being inducted into Social Venture Network’s (SVN) Hall of Fame as an Economic Justice Maverick, but the green economy champion says he owes much to the network for helping him understand the role business plays in creating positive change.

Jones was in his 20s when he first attended a SVN meeting at the invite of the network’s co-founder Josh Mailman. The Yale-trained lawyer and founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights remembers at the time thinking only nonprofit and government activities could advance social change.

Attending the SVN meeting, where he recalls sitting at the back and “feeling completely intimidated by the level of genius, passion and accomplishment in the room,” Jones began to shift his perspective on entrepreneurship.

“I had never heard of triple-bottom line businesses,” recalls Jones.

“Being in the conversation with SVN showed me that we had a much bigger toolkit to make change, and that some of our most effective change-makers are actually in the private sector.”

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