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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

Hilton Foundation Reserves Funds for Cal State

The California Institute for Social Business at Cal State Channel Islands has received a big boost, courtesy of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The Agoura Hills foundation donated $300,000 last month to the Camarillo school’s social business education program established in 2010. The program teaches entrepreneurship with a twist: creating self-sustainable businesses that solve a social or environmental problem, such as poverty, education gaps or malnutrition. The donation will be used to aid the more than 70 students enrolled to receive a minor or certificate in social business. “We are very thankful for donors like the Conrad Hilton Foundation,” said Martin Loeffler, director of the social business program. “The money will be used in more than one area to support the entire program.” The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is known for its work to improve lives of disadvantaged or vulnerable people globally. “We’re glad to support CSUCI’s California Institute for Social Business, because of the important work they are doing to identify and prepare the next generation of leaders,” said Marc Moorghen, communications director of the family foundation. “These students will face new challenges requiring the creative use of business skills to solve pressing social issues and benefit their communities.” Social business is modeled after the works of Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladesh social entrepreneur who received the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank, a global effort to eradicate poverty. Loeffler assumed leadership of the program last year after leading a social business company in Colombia called Grameen Caldas. One of the company’s goals was to end malnutrition in the Colombian region by selling iron and zinc supplements to schools in the area. A key goal of the local university’s program is to help graduates start businesses that not only focus on some social problem but do so by reinvesting their own profits, unlike a non-profit that relies on donations. The companies are supposed to pay comparable salaries with those in other industries, but “you’ll never be a millionaire,” Loeffler said. And even investors cannot expect to turn a profit, because their return is capped at the exact amount put in. “The idea is that once they get that back, they can invest in another social business,” Loeffler said. Finding a Cure Local schools and a national cancer foundation were among the big winners last month in the 29th annual Dole Great Race of Agoura Hills. The event, sponsored by Dole Food Co. in Westlake Village, drew 6,300 runners with a total crowd of 15,000 and raised funds for schools in Agoura Hills and Oak Park. The races consisted of two half-marathons, as well as 10-K and 5-K runs. Among the big list of corporate participants was the Woodland Hills office of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., which was signed on as a presenting sponsor for the third year in a row. The local office of the Milwaukee insurer provided 40 volunteers to help staff the event and 25 race participants. “It was a great chance for our office to come together,” said Mitchell Beer, managing partner for the firm. “And we just really wanted to give back to the community.” The Woodland Hills office raised funds for the local schools and also directly contributed more than $18,500 to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Alex’s Lemonade Stand, based in Wynnewood, Pa. and named after its founder Alexandra Scott, a cancer patient with a dream to sell lemonade to cure all children of cancer who passed away at eight years old in 2004, will allocate the monies to research projects examining better treatments and ultimately cures for all kids with cancer. Northwestern Mutual established its companywide childhood cancer program in 2012 and also donates to Starlight Children’s Foundation of Los Angeles, which works with community partners to provide entertainment, education and family activities to seriously ill children and their families. Gillian Kocher, an Alex’s Lemonade Stand spokeswoman, said the contribution from Northwestern will go toward the funding of research projects examining better treatments for pediatric cancer. “Northwestern Mutual employees and financial representatives, as well as their families, friends, clients and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation have been working to make an impact, which is only further evidenced by the Great Race,” she said in an email. Over the last five years, the Great Race has collectively donated $500,000 to local schools. The total donation for this year will be announced in May. Staff Reporter Stephanie Forshee can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or sforshee@sfvbj.com.

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