I have always maintained that social entrepreneurs are my role models.
Together with my husband, Klaus Schwab, the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, I decided to create a separate foundation in 1998. For decades, the World Economic Forum had engaged the leaders of civil society organizations at the Annual Meeting in Davos and in all activities throughout the year. However, we observed the emergence of a new model for social change: a model that combines the mission, dedication, and compassion to serve the most vulnerable and marginalized populations of society with business principles and the best techniques from the private sector. That model, of course, is social entrepreneurship.
We saw the urgent need to identify, highlight and give a platform to these organizations, thus including social entrepreneurs in the meetings, discussion platforms and research projects of the World Economic Forum, as well as developing a community of social entrepreneurs. In addition, we wanted to develop a community of interaction and experience exchange and provide social entrepreneurship with higher visibility on the global scene.
For twenty years now, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has supported the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in their efforts to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world and I am proud that over 300 social entrepreneurs continue to be engaged in our activities.
I have always maintained that social entrepreneurs are my role models. They work in a challenging, even adverse environment. They persist, despite setbacks and frustrations. And collectively they have transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, providing education, opportunity, livelihoods, and dignity. It is one of the greatest joys of my life to accelerate and amplify the work of social entrepreneurs in the Schwab Foundation’s global community and to support social entrepreneurship in general.
Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder
Guiding the Foundation
Managing the Foundation
Hilde Schwab joined her husband Klaus Schwab in 1970 as his first collaborator in the organization known today as the World Economic Forum. In 1998, together with her husband, she created and endowed the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship to provide social entrepreneurs with a platform where they can engage global business and political leaders to solve social and environmental challenges. The Schwab Foundation has today a global network of over 350 leading social innovators. Hilde Schwab has been instrumental in infusing a cultural, social, and environmental spirit into the Forum’s activities, including the co-creation of the “Crystal Awards” to honor outstanding artists from across the world. She serves on the Advisory Board of a number of organizations, including International Bridges to Justice, Global Dignity, and La Chartreuse de Neuville.
Katherine Milligan is the Director and Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she was the recipient of the Pforzheimer Scholarship for Excellence in Nonprofit Management. She is an adjunct faculty at the University of Geneva, the author or co-author of 17 publications, and a sought after speaker and lecturer on social entrepreneurship.