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Members of the student-run Social Impact Club.

Kellogg Social Impact Club earns two top awards at 12th Annual Net Impact Conference

11/1/2004 - The Kellogg School’s Social Impact Club took first place in the Chapter Service Award and second place in the Chapter of the Year Award at the 12th Annual Net Impact Conference in New York. Approximately 1,300 MBA students from throughout the country and parts of Europe attended the event, entitled “Business Leaders Building a Better World.”

The Kellogg School’s Ford Motor Company Center for Global Citizenship and Public/Nonprofit Program sent 47 members of the Social Impact Club to the conference, which was held Nov. 11-14 at the Columbia Business School at Columbia University. With more than 10,000 members, Net Impact is the leading network of business students and professionals devoted to using the power of business to create a better world. The San Francisco-based organization has 90 chapters in the United States and Europe.

“We were really impressed with what’s going at Kellogg and the fact that the Social Impact Club won two awards,” said Debbie Mendel, membership manager of Net Impact.

Club president Mina Kumar said the awards “validate how ‘cutting edge’ the club really is, relative to other business schools. It’s the result of having strong student leadership for several years. Unlike many schools, most Kellogg students reach out to our club at some point during their two years to help them think through a strategy for using their business skills to make a positive contribution to society.”

Said public/nonprofit adjunct professor Anne Cohn Donnelly, who has worked with the Social Impact Club: “They are really teaching the whole school what it means to ‘give back.’ These awards are well deserved.”

The Social Impact Club earned first place in the inaugural Chapter Service Award for its fledgling Board Fellows program, in which Kellogg students work with a Chicago-area nonprofit board. The program also supports nonprofit organizations through pro bono consulting and builds the school’s reputation of producing strong, community-oriented leaders, said Kumar. In addition to taking a half-course in nonprofit board governance, participating students have the option of enrolling in a year-long seminar on issues in nonprofit board governance.

Kumar said the Social Impact Club’s large membership and outstanding programs earned it second place in Net Impact’s Chapter of the Year award. Last year the club won first place.

“We have 480 members, which is roughly 40 percent of the Kellogg student body, and in the last year we sponsored 35 programs,” Kumar said. These include a fall speaker series, career development discussions and workshops, and a faculty case debate. Partnering with other clubs at the Kellogg School, the Social Impact Club sponsored community tutorial and youth programs; Special Olympics, Walk to Cure Diabetes and other outreach events; and Kellogg events such as a charity auction ball and blood, clothing, food and toy drives.

On Nov. 10, the Social Impact Club, along with the Kellogg Finance Club and Operations Management Club, sponsored a second faculty case debate, which centered on a 1997 case study involving BayBank Boston. Kellogg faculty presented two views of how the bank should respond to past Federal Reserve study findings that indicated racial discrimination in lending by the financial services industry.

Sunil Chopra, IBM Distinguished Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems, and Kent Daniel, John L. and Helen Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Finance, argued that inner-city lending is often an unprofitable business venture and not a private sector solution. Edwin Mills, Professor Emeritus of Real Estate and Finance, and Scott Schaefer, Richard M. Paget Associate Professor of Management Policy, contended that inner-city lending provides yet-unrecognized profit potential and critical social benefit. Audience members voted Chopra and Daniel the winning team. At the conclusion of the debate, moderator Anne Cohn Donnelly revealed that BayBank Boston was not found to be discriminatory. The bank eventually opened up branches in the inner city.