Critical Thinking & Social Entrepreneurship: A Harvard Graduate On a Financial Mission

by Aman Singh Das | July 06, 2010

  • My Vault

One of the greatest challenges for the upcominggeneration of leaders, active citizens, and responsible adults is to figure outways to reclaim balanced lifestyles from a contrived system of over-consumptionand credit card debt. Luckily, this generation is equipped with visionaryand innovative solution-making skills that combine contemporary thought andrespect for time-tested wisdom. The result: quirky, out-of-the-boxthinking that just might help society kick some nasty habits.

Innovators realize the power of entertaining,individually-empowering yet educational technologies and communications. One promising venture, Zindagi, combines social gaming and penny-wiseknow-how with the vision of shaping how rising generations view personalfinance. Imagine socially-conscious teenagers who make enlighteneddecisions about how personal philanthropy can make a difference.

FormerMerrill Lynch manager and Harvard graduate, Jason Young is the epitome of asuccessful Gen-X professional. What drove him then to leave behind ahigh-profile job on Wall Street and reinvent a career in socialentrepreneurship by starting Zindagi, a project aimed at increasing financialliteracy among Americans?

What inspires such forward thinking? Inevitably a personal story that contributes to a wave of talented individualscarving unique career paths towards social change. Jason Young, cofounderof Zindagi, has a Harvard degree and worked at Merrill Lynch managing high-profile projects. Perhaps 10 years ago, those achievements would have symbolized theprecipice of success for a 20-something beginning his career. Thescenario today is a lot different.

Young describes his vision behind Zindagi to teachAmericans personal financial responsibility and the advantages of beingfinancially capable. "It's important to use criticalthinking when we spend and learn about how we can incorporate philanthropy inour personal finance. Society is not doing a great job of serving those inneed, so how can we inspire individuals to do better?"

Zindagi exemplifies two key features of promisingsocial entrepreneurship: incorporating social gaming and onlinecommunications to shape younger generations, and fulfillingyoung entrepreneurs' idealistic lifestyle needs. While Young andhis teammates are still in the early stages of executing on their dream ofeducating a more financially capable America, you can learn more about Zindagiat OneZindagi.com/kickstarter.

--By RuhiShamim

Editor's Note: For regularreaders, this might remind you of the highly successful Pepsi Refresh Project. Where Zindagi might potentiallyelevate the power of social engagement and financial literacy is by itsinnovative idea of connecting millennials and future generations with corporateand individual philanthropy. Keep writing in by leaving a comment, emailingInGood Company or connecting with us on Twitter @VaultCSR.

RuhiShamim is a social media marketer and blogger, specializing in corporate socialresponsibility, urban planning and sustainable transportation, and culturaldiplomacy. She has worked with Sosauce, Justmeans, Sparkseed, and theInterfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and is currently developing aGreen Network for JobThread, a New York based technologystartup.

Filed Under: CSR

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