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Bill Drayton

For other men with this name, see William Drayton.
Bill Drayton as Ashoka Celebrates its 25th Anniversary (2006)

William "Bill" Drayton (born in New York City, USA), is a social entrepreneur. Drayton was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's 25 Best Leaders in 2005.[1] He is responsible for the rise of the phrase "social entrepreneur", a concept first found in print in 1972.[2]

Drayton is the founder and current Chair of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding and fostering social entrepreneurs worldwide. Drayton also chairs the Community Greens, the Ashoka: Innovators for the Public Youth Venture, and Get America Working! organizations.

Drayton's philosophy of social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems. To quote Drayton, "Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry."


  • Biography 1
  • Awards 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Drayton's mother emigrated to the US from Australia. His father was an American who became an explorer. Public service and strong values run through the history of both parents' families - including several of the earliest anti-slavery abolitionist and women's leaders in the U.S.[3] Drayton was born in 1943 in New York City.

Drayton attended high school at [4]

Bill Drayton

Drayton became a manager and management consultant, working for McKinsey and Company as a consultant for almost ten years.[5] During the Carter administration (1977–1981) he was an Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency where he launched emissions trading among other reforms. He has been a visiting Professor at Harvard and Stanford.[6]


Drayton has received many awards and acknowledgments for his achievements. He was elected one of the early MacArthur Fellows for his work, including the founding of Ashoka.[7] The American Society of Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration jointly awarded him their National Public Service Award[8] and he has also been named a Preiskel-Silverman Fellow for Yale Law School[9] and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[10] On May 25, 2009 he was awarded an honorary degree, Doctorate of Humane Letters, by Yale University at Commencement.[11] David Gergen has called Drayton the “godfather of social entrepreneurship.” [12] And in 2008, Drayton was named a “visionary” as one of Utne Reader magazine’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World.”[13] In 2011, Drayton won Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Awards for international cooperation for his work promoting entrepreneurs. The prize foundation described him as a "driving force behind the figure of social entrepreneurs, men and women who undertake innovative initiatives for the common good." [14] Within the next two weeks, Drayton also accepted the John W. Gardner Leadership award, "established in 1985 to honor outstanding Americans who exemplify the leadership and the ideals of John W. Gardner," and the World Entrepreneurship Forum's Social Entrepreneur Award.[15] In 2012, Drayton would go on to be named an inaugural recipient of Middlebury College's Center for Social Entrepreneurship Vision Award, in recognition of the impact of his contributions to the field of social entrepreneurship.[16]


  1. ^ The social entrepreneur: Bill Drayton
  2. ^ see J Banks, The Sociology of Social Movements, London, MacMillan, 1972.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Changing the World on a Shoestring
  5. ^ Bill Drayton Paints a Vision of Changemaking
  6. ^ Events - Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship(CASE)
  7. ^ He is not to be confused with William Drayton of reality television fame.MacArthur Fellows, November 1984, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved February 9, 2008.
  8. ^ National Public Service Awards
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Visionaries Who Are Changing the World
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Vision Award | Center for Social Entrepreneurship. (2015-08-13). Retrieved on 2015-08-13.

External links

  • Ashoka Leadership page (Drayton profile and others)
  • Video (and audio) of interview with Bill Drayton at
  • MIT Press Journals - Innovations: "Everyone a Changemaker" by William Drayton
  • Lessons for Social Entrepreneurs from Bill Drayton & Ashoka Foundation
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