Can Business Foster Social Change, Cure Poverty? Scholars Will Ponder Those Questions at Back-to-Back Programs Here April 24

Two back-to-back programs … the first asking if the new “benefit corporations” can be a better agent for social change, and the second exploring practical ways social entrepreneurs can help cure poverty … will be held Thursday, April 24, on the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University St. Thomas.

The programs, both free and open to the public, are part of the Higher Calling Series sponsored by six St. Thomas institutes and academic departments.

  • The first program, “The Law’s Relationship to Social Enterprise and the New Benefit Corporation,” will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. in the School of Law’s Schulze Grand Atrium. It will be followed by a reception and is approved for continuing-legal-education credits.
  • The second program, “Curing Poverty,” runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Great Room on the second floor of Opus Hall and includes a complimentary dinner for those who register ahead of time.

The first program, on benefit corporations, will discuss the Minnesota Public Benefit Act, a bill submitted to the Minnesota Legislature last month that would create a type of for-profit business organized to pursue a public benefit or social purpose. Speakers will discuss pros and cons of the bill and the role these proposed corporations could play in bettering the world.

Elizabeth Schiltz, a St. Thomas law professor and co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, will moderate a panel consisting of Elizabeth Babson, an attorney and crafting author of the benefit corporation white paper; Lyman Johnson, on the faculty of the St. Thomas School of Law and the Washington and Lee University School of Law; Dr. John McVea, a member of the St. Thomas entrepreneurship faculty; Dr. Michael Naughton, director of St. Thomas’ John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought; and Dr. Haskell Murray, who teaches business  and social enterprise law at Belmont University.

The second program will feature Michael Miller, producer of the award-winning video series “PovertyCure.” He will show clips from the series and lead a discussion on ways entrepreneurs can help combat global poverty.

Michelle Rovang Burke, director of the St. Thomas-based Veritas Institute, will moderate the discussion. T. Dean Maines, president of Veritas, and St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan, will give the welcome and introduction.

The Higher Calling Series is a collaboration of the Habiger, Veritas, Ryan and Murphy institutes, and the departments of Entrepreneurship, and Justice and Peace Studies.

More information can be found here. Register here.