TechNet and Leading Innovators Launch New Nonprofit to Better Leverage Technology to Address America’s Critical Challenges
ConvergeUS’ Founding Board Includes Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone, TechNet’s Rey Ramsey, Cisco’s Tae Yoo, Kaboom! CEO Darrell Hammond, Entrepreneur Kim Polese and Others
Washington, DC – TechNet, the bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, today announced the creation of a new nonprofit called ConvergeUS, whose mission is to leverage the collective power of the technology sector to accelerate social innovation in collaboration with nonprofit organizations, government entities, academic institutions and the private sector. TechNet’s President and CEO Rey Ramsey and Twitter Co-Founder and Creative Director Biz Stone are launching the nonprofit at a gathering today in Washington, DC along with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, former White House Deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin, White House Director of Social Innovation Marta Urquilla, former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and others.
ConvergeUS will function as a facilitator and convener to bring diverse stakeholders together to create a “Technology Innovation Blueprint” that focuses on purposeful applications of technology and social media. ConvergeUS will initially select issue areas for this collaboration that focus on STEM and early childhood education.
The board of the new non-profit includes Rey Ramsey; Biz Stone; Kaboom! CEO Darrell Hammond; Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cisco; technology entrepreneur Kim Polese, and Paul Silverglate, Deloitte Strategic Services Partner.
“Technology has transformative capacities and when combined with purposeful aspirations, amazing advances can occur,” said Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet and Chairman of ConvergeUS. “If we converge the skills of the technology sector with key stakeholders engaged in the social sector, we can produce social dividends for this country.”
“I am honored to be a part of ConvergeUS because of its potential to use technology solutions to help achieve meaningful results for people who need them most right here in the United States,” said Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter. “The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact but we have only begun to scratch the surface in harnessing technology to address tough social challenges. A more coordinated approach to the way we work together in technology will lead to significant accomplishments on a truly amazing scale. That is what ConvergeUS will help us do.”
As an organization that understands and has access to key leaders in the technology, nonprofit, government and academic sectors, ConvergeUS is uniquely positioned to serve as a driver of technology-based social innovation. ConvergeUS will partner with non-profit organizations that have a capacity and interest in a problem area that has the potential for enhanced outcomes through technology. In this regard, ConvergeUS is proud to announce its partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a coalition led by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and more than fifty other organizations dedicated to enhancing reading proficiency. The Campaign for Grade Level Reading has committed to working with ConvergeUS to increase the use of technology solutions to improve early learning. ConvergeUS will also work with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), which focuses on raising student performance in the critical areas of math and science, to support better deployment of technology to improve math and science education. ConvergeUS will announce a third major partnership in the coming weeks.
“The time has come to harness technology to accelerate our efforts,” said Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, speaking on behalf of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are excited to be partnering with leading tech companies through ConvergeUS. The time has come to harness technology to accelerate our efforts to get more children, particularly children from low-income families, reading on grade level by the end of third grade.””
“As an operating foundation born in Silicon Valley, we recognize the importance of technology in advancing every aspect of our lives,” said Muhammed Chaudhry, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Education Foundation. “We support ConvergeUS’ efforts to harness technology for social innovation. We believe our partnership with ConvergeUS will allow us to accelerate our efforts to improve math and science education here in Silicon Valley and then across the nation.”
ConvergeUS will convene technology experts and social innovators at an annual gathering to create innovation blueprints and to secure financial and human capital commitments. After the gathering, ConvergeUS will utilize social media to facilitate commitments and transparency on these issue areas.
ConvergeUS has named Babson College as one of its first academic sector partners. Babson College, located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is recognized internationally for its entrepreneurial leadership in a changing global environment and is ranked #1 for Entrepreneurship by U.S.News & World Report’s 2011 “Best Colleges in America” for the 14th consecutive time.
“Babson College is happy to contribute its global expertise in entrepreneurship to ConvergeUS,” said said Leonard A. Schlesinger, President, Babson College. “Our talented faculty and students are eager to use their minds to determine how technology can help solve some of America’s great social challenges. It is time for a new generation of students to invest some of their entrepreneurial spirit in removing social barriers and creating greater opportunities for all.”
“By applying technology, we can solve social problems faster and with much greater impact,” said Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cisco. “Cisco looks forward to collaborating with other social innovators to address some of the world’s most pressing problems through technology.”
ConvergeUS is designated as a 501 (c) (3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service (web address: www.convergeus.com). In summary, the organization’s approach will focus on the following areas:
- ConvergeUS Annual Summit: Beginning in the fall of 2011, ConvergeUS will assemble social innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, problem-solvers and subject matter experts in a high-level conference to address specific social challenges. The technology sector participants will be recruited into a permanent corps of Innovation Fellows. With its nonprofit partners and the resources committed at the summit, ConvergeUS will create technology blueprints and report the results of these plans at subsequent summits.
- Online Clearinghouse for Innovation Fellows and other Social Innovators: To enable the Innovation Fellows and other social innovators to work on the summit blueprints in the most effective manner, we will develop and manage a virtual innovation marketplace. This clearinghouse will enhance communication and provide access to additional innovation resources.
- Social Innovation Technology Projects: In addition to the social challenges and the blueprints arising out of the summits, ConvergeUS will identify and implement other model social innovation projects that are effective and scalable. These projects may be the result of requests from existing nonprofit partners or may be a response to new studies or data showing an unmet social need for which technology can increase the likelihood of finding an effective solution.
More about Patrick Gusman, Executive Director, ConvergeUS
Patrick Gusman comes to ConvergeUS from the National Urban League where he was Chief Innovation Officer. In his work at the Urban League, Gusman also helped manage strategic planning and was responsible for introducing a groundbreaking social media effort, www.iamempowered.com. Prior, Gusman was an in-house counsel for Chrysler Financial Corporation and then created and managed Chrysler Financial’s French subsidiary in Paris, France. He also worked at the law firm of Lemle & Kelleher in New Orleans. Gusman received a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame. He also serves on the Board of the National Human Services Assembly. He and his wife Jill are the proud parents of three children.
Rey Ramsey added, “We are also excited that Patrick Gusman will lead this important effort as executive director. Patrick is an innovative leader who will help us better utilize the unique power of technology to help all of our citizens.”
“It’s a great honor to join ConvergeUS to work on the important mission of leveraging innovation to solve our nation’s most difficult economic and social problems,” said Patrick Gusman, Executive Director of ConvergeUS. “I look forward to working with many partners in the technology industry, nonprofit sector, governments and communities across our great country to leverage the force of cutting-edge discovery to help our fellow citizens. If deployed for the correct purposes, technology can be the great equalizer and thus open the doors of opportunity for millions of more people.”
ConvergeUS is the nonprofit arm of TechNet, the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy. The mission of ConvergeUS is to leverage the collective power of the technology sector to accelerate social innovation in collaboration with nonprofit organizations, government entities, academic institutions and the private sector. ConvergeUS’ primary areas of interest are early childhood education, science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM), support for military families, healthcare, sustainability and emergency preparedness. Web address: www.convergeus.com. You can also follow us on Facebook (http://:facebook.com/MyConvergeUS), Twitter at @ConvergeUS, and Tumblr at http://convergeus.tumblr.com/.
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