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Award-winning social entrepreneurs to join Stanford this winter

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From left to right: Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Michael Lombardo and Lateefah Simon

Stanford's Program on Social Entrepreneurship is proud to introduce its fourth class of Social Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at Stanford (SEERS Fellows) who will be joining the academic community in January. Tackling complex social justice issues in the Bay Area and globally, this group is working to raise literacy rates in public schools, hold international institutions accountable for their abuses, and defend the rights of women and girls across the state of California.

The three SEERS fellows will co-teach a course (IR/CAS 142) that explores the role of social entrepreneurship in advancing democratic change. This service-learning course allows students to work first-hand with the SEERS fellows on projects to scale-up their work as social change leaders.

The 10-week residency program brings social entrepreneurs inside academia to document the impact of their work and build their institutional capacities. It also provides students the opportunity to learn about the emerging field of social entrepreneurship by working with practitioners inside the classroom.

The incoming group of SEERS fellows have been widely recognized for their innovative work pioneering new approaches to address outstanding social problems, receiving prestigious awards including; the MacArthur Genius Fellowship; the Echoing Green Fellowship; and the Social Innovation Fund award from the U.S. federal government, among others.

Leading innovative organizations, these SEERS fellows have been successful in introducing new programs but also influencing policy changes to transform educational and social outcomes for communities in the developed and developing world.

While studying abroad in Chile, Natalie Bridgeman Fields witnessed indigenous women being tear-gassed as their land was being forcibly seized for a World Bank-financed project. At that moment, Fields was inspired on her journey as a social entrepreneur, working to launch the Accountability Counsel in 2009 to defend the environmental and human rights of communities across the developing world. The Accountability Counsel has been successful in winning victories for marginalized communities and influencing international institutions to change their policy and practices.

Michael Lombardo is a successful product of the public education system in the U.S. When as an adult he saw that only 35 percent of fourth graders read at a proficient level he decided to commit himself to closing the early reading achievement gap. Reading Partners employs an innovative model of matching mentors with children in public schools to tutor them and improve reading outcomes. The model has worked and Lombardo has been successful in growing Reading Partners to serve over 40 school districts across eight states nationwide.

At the age of 19, Lateefah Simon was appointed the executive director of the Center for Young Women's Development, an organization working to support the needs of low-income young women in San Francisco. Since then, Simon has committed herself to a life of service to support juvenile and criminal justice reform and gender rights in the state of California through positions at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, and most recently at the Rosenberg Foundation.

The SEERS fellows will be on campus through March in residency with the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. For more information on the program, please visit pse.stanford.edu.