Work on Purpose – 2014 Awardee

Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose program helps emerging professionals identify their purpose and put it into action, creating lives and careers that are both right for them and good for the world. Throughout our 26 year history, Echoing Green has performed hundreds of in-depth interviews with our world-changing social entrepreneurship Fellows— from the founder of Teach For America, to the founder of the Freelancers Union, to the founder of City Year. Along the way, we’ve uncovered a series of common ethos and experiences that led them to fulfilling work that makes the world a better place. We then compared our findings to over 100 academic studies on purpose development in order to develop Echoing Green’s signature Work on Purpose curriculum on which faculty and staff at over 120 colleges, universities and nonprofit leadership development programs have already been trained. This curriculum puts theory into action. Students develop critical thinking skills through reflective activities that help them clarify their purpose, and develop competencies that will help them succeed on their purpose paths over time. Ultimately, we envision a paradigm shift: a world in which people first consider what kind of person they want to be and then what they will do with their lives that allows them to be that person.

To date, Echoing Green has trained over 400 faculty and staff representing over 120 colleges, universities, and nonprofits on our Work on Purpose curriculum. We estimate that these faculty and staff have in turn touched 3,000 young people through leading Work on Purpose workshops from our interactive curriculum. Early results from our workshop evaluations indicate that after attending a Work on Purpose workshop, young people are far more reflective about social issues they connect with, more discerning about their motivations, and most importantly, three times as likely to take active steps toward their purpose.

How can people become involved in or replicate your innovation?
Are you a faculty or staff member at college, university, or nonprofit who has the opportunity to facilitate classes or workshops for people between the ages of 18-35? If so, we invite you to bring the Work on Purpose Curriculum & Training to your organization or institution. The full-day professional development training will enrich your own sense of purpose and equip you with research and resources to help emerging professionals identify and live out their social impact purpose.

Contact Information

Cordes Innovation Awards

In partnership with Cordes Foundation, Ashoka U seeks to recognize globally relevant teaching, learning, and partnership practices that may be adapted and replicated across the field.