The Social Enterprise Institute places an important emphasis on responsible investing across the spectrum, from charitable giving to impact investing. Two courses we offer where students can apply their knowledge of social enterprise within the larger social finance context are ENTR3520 / ENTR4520: Impact Investing and Social Finance, and ENTR4506: Advanced Topics in Social Entrepreneurship.


The Ubuntu Fund

Social Enterprise Institute founder, Dennis Shaughnessy, established the Ubuntu Fund, which supports the most economically disadvantaged students at TSiBA Education, the Tertiary School in Business Administration. This grant-giving SEI fund has partnered with TSiBA in the South Africa Dialogue of Civilization Program since 2008. This fund is used for TSiBA students who are experiencing economic hardships. Small amounts are released to these students, confidentially, to meet their needs such as food, transport to and from TSiBA and temporary housing. These funds provide the highly motivated students the ability to continue their education and pursue opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

The word “ubuntu” originated from a Bantu term meaning humanity towards others and is loosely translated to “I am because we are”. It is one of the principle philosophies in post-apartheid South Africa where Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained that ubuntu is what held the nation together in finding our common humanity.

The Ubuntu Fund was inspired in part by a student whom Shaughnessy worked with in the South Africa Field Study Program. This student walked 2,000 miles from Rwanda to Cape Town, South Africa to attend college. Despite working full-time as a night security guard and often living homeless, he successfully completed his program at TSiBA. For his graduation, he rented a suit as not to show his Northeastern peers his circumstances. He said to Professor Shaughnessy, “Those are just circumstances; they are not who I am.”

The Ubuntu Fund is sustained by donors to the Social Enterprise Institute.


2013 – 2014 Dean Tom Moore Honors Investment Pitch 

$15,000 awarded to Aakar Innovations 

$10,000 awarded to Solar Sister

$5,000 awarded to Empower Generation 

$5,000 awarded to Livelyhoods

$5,000 awarded to VisionSpring

Spring 2013 – Nicaragua Capstone Impact Investing 

$10,000 awarded to Chinantlan Juice & Fruit Cooperative – Nicaragua

2012 – 2013 Dean Tom Moore Honors Investment Pitch 

$ 5,000 awarded to Manna Project International

$5,000 awarded to Micro Credit Limited  – Jamaica 

Spring 2012 – Nicaragua Capstone Impact Investing 

$5,000 awarded to SOPEXXCA Coffee Cooperative – Nicaragua

$5,000 awarded to Manna Project International in La Chureca – Nicaragua

2011 – 2012 Dean Tom Moore Honors Investment Pitch 

$ 10,000 awarded to One Acre Fund 

$5,000 awarded to Njabini Apparel 

$2,500 Research Grant awarded to the 2011 Honors Scholars to measure the impact of the funds disbursed to  One Acre Fund and Njabini Apparel