Innovators David Schwartz ‘09, Angela Blanchard Named Spring 2018 Swearer Center SEIR

The Swearer Center will host two Social Entrepreneurs in Residence this spring.
by Emily Wright, Assistant Director of Communications & Public Engagement
November 2, 2017

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- Social entrepreneurs and social innovators, David Schwartz ‘09 and Angela Blanchard, have been selected as Taubman Fellows and Social Entrepreneurs in Residence at Brown University for the spring 2018 semester.

The residency program, a partnership between Brown University academic departments and the Swearer Center for Public Service, brings experienced social change leaders to campus for a semester as educators, advisors and conveners within Brown’s social innovation community.

Schwartz is the co-founder of the Real Food Challenge, a venture he started while attending Brown through a Social Innovation Fellowship at the Swearer Center. During his tenure, Real Food Challenge has built a nationally recognized nonprofit that leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. Schwartz was also an Echoing Green Fellow (2010) and named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 (2014).

“The question of how we tackle urgent issues like racial, economic and gender justice requires serious grappling,” Schwarz reflected. “My work bringing together tens of thousands of young people for food justice started here at Brown ten years ago, and I’m thrilled to be back to reflect and learn with this community about how we bring powerful and needed social transformation to scale.”  

Angela Blanchard is a globally recognized expert practitioner in community development, disaster recovery and effective long-term integration of immigrants and refugees. Angela Blanchard will join the Swearer Center from Houston, Texas where she serves as the President and CEO of BakerRipley, Texas’ largest community development organization. Blanchard currently is a leading expert in community development, disaster recovery and effective long-term integration for immigrants and refugees.

In September, in the midst of leading BakerRipley’s long-term disaster recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey, Blanchard was recognized as the recipient of the 2017 Heinz Award in the Human Condition. After more than 20 years as CEO and the end of 2017, Blanchard will continue working with the BakerRipley team as President Emerita, before joining the Swearer Center for her appointment. The nonprofit currently serves more than a half-million people across 48 counties.

“My life’s work has been about creating welcome--establishing landing places and on-ramps to opportunity in cities,” Blanchard said in a statement. “Over the past 25 years, working with a tribe of social entrepreneurs, we built a lasting institution in Houston. Creating opportunities to earn, learn and belong for over half a million people each year, and finding solutions to challenges that the rest of the country will face in the next decade.

“We share an unshakeable belief in the human spirit, an authentic curiosity about people and their journey, and the will and work ethic to deliver on community aspirations,” Blanchard added. “I appreciate the opportunity to share what we’ve learned. I’m even more excited about learning from other like-minded changemakers.”

The Swearer Center announced the social innovation-focused residency in Fall 2015 and has since hosted two SEIRs. Jyoti Sharma, the founder of nonprofit FORCE, which works for water security and sustainable sanitation in India, joined the Swearer Center as its first SEIR for the full 2016 calendar year, facilitating two Brown University courses. She was followed by Generation Citizen co-founder and CEO Scott Warren in Fall 2017, who joins the Swearer Center in Fall 2017 as its first-ever Democracy Fellow. For more information on Sharma and Warren’s residencies and to read reflections on their appointments, visit our website.

The Swearer Center is currently accepting Social Entrepreneur in Residence applications for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters. The application review process will begin Dec. 15, 2017. For more information, please visit our website. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.