Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge

In a kickoff event on Oct. 19, the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management and the Department of Public Affairs launched the Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.

This fun new initiative is designed to develop social entrepreneurship and innovative civic leadership in the Greater Kansas City region as it enables the next generation of civic leaders and social entrepreneurs to serve our community.
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Bloch School Ranked in Nonprofit Management

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The city’s top business leaders and business educators gathered at the University of Missouri-Kansas City today to celebrate the university’s achievements in applying entrepreneurial practices to address social problems.

UMKC announced that in the recent U.S. News & World Report listing of “Best Graduate Schools 2013″ rankings, the nonprofit management emphasis in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s Master of Public Administration program jumped 10 spots from its former ranking at No. 25 to No. 15 in the nation.

Frank Ellis, president and CEO, Swope Community Enterprises and chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, makes the ranking announcement to guests.

School namesake Henry W. Bloch said this represents achievement in “social entrepreneurship” and reflects his vision for the school that bears his name. He was joined by Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Chair Frank Ellis, Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan, UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton and Department of Public Affairs Chair David Renz at the celebration, held at the university’s James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

Four MPA alumni joined Henry Bloch onstage for the event, explaining their roles as social entrepreneurs in the community. From left, Marlene Leonce, senior environmental officer for the Kansas City Department of Public Works; Henry W. Wash, president and CEO of High Aspirations; (Henry Bloch); Sondra Goodman, programs and grants manager with the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation; Jim Doyle, director of business operations at Marillac Children’s Psychiatric Hospital

“I am an entrepreneur and an innovator in both the for-profit and the nonprofit sectors, and I am proud to have my family name associated with a school where exciting things are happening and the good news just keeps coming,” Bloch said. “In my personal life and my career, I am a businessman who cares about his community and gives back to it. I never wanted to be one or the other, because our city relies on us for civic leadership and business growth.”

According to Frank Ellis, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce reviewed dozens of submissions that addressed solutions to the City’s needs. “We are working on what we call the Big 5, each goal promising significant impact and each goal achievable. Fortunately, they align perfectly with existing programs in the Bloch School of Management,” said Ellis.

“The Bloch public administration programs, especially the Levitt Challenge, will foster innovative collaborations with ideas that could turn our urban core around.”
Announced at the June 20 event, the Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge allows students from across UMKC to compete in developing innovative strategies that address some of the most complex urban community needs and challenges. This is similar to the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge – a UMKC competition designed to encourage venture creation by students, where the new venture concepts are presented to business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs.

The Master of Public Administration program is housed within the Bloch School’s Department of Public Affairs, which also is home to the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, a nationally recognized community leadership development center; and the L.P. Cookingham Institute for Urban Affairs, which focuses on promoting sustainable communities through educational programs and research directed at understanding how the financial, civic and environmental sustainability of local communities can be improved.
“This is the single most noteworthy ranking of public affairs programs in the nation,” said David Renz, Chair, Department of Public Affairs, Beth K. Smith/Missouri Chair in Nonprofit Leadership and Director, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership.

The nonprofit management emphasis at UMKC focuses on “social entrepreneurship,” agency governance, executive leadership and the role of the nonprofit sector in the economy.

Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan reiterated the successes the School has had over the past few years, particularly in entrepreneurship and innovation. “The Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s key mission, vision and value proposition focuses on twin pillars of excellence: entrepreneurship and innovation in the for-profit sector and ‘social entrepreneurship’ and civic innovation in the public/not-for-profit sector,” Tan said.
“The rankings Bloch has achieved reinforce the fact we are a top school in both areas.“Entrepreneurship and non-profit ‘social entrepreneurship’ is what the life of our school’s namesake, Henry Bloch, is about,” Tan noted.

“Our job at the Bloch School is to nurture our students to become more like Henry Bloch each day. Our academic excellence and recognition shows we are certainly going in the right direction.”

For more information on Public Administration programs at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, click here.

For the listing of U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate School rankings, click here.