H.R.H. Princess Mathilde of Belgium Applauds KaBOOM! Founder & CEO Darell Hammond for Being Named a Schwab Foundation United States Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner Link copied!

June 28, 2011

Washington, D.C.

H.R.H. Princess Mathilde of Belgium applauded Darell Hammond, Founder & CEO of Washington D.C. based non-profit KaBOOM!, as a recipient of The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship 2011 United States Social Entrepreneur of the Year on Tuesday.

H.R.H. Princess Mathilde, a Schwab Foundation board member, met with Hammond during a visit to the KaBOOM! headquarters in Washington D.C. H.R.H. Mathilde is currently visiting the U.S. as part of a Belgian Economic Mission of more than 300 delegates, including H.R.H. Prince Philippe.

Hammond becomes the 15th recipient of the award from the U.S. and joins a prestigious group of social entrepreneurs throughout the world. Previous U.S. winners include Habitat for Humanity’s Millard Fuller, Teach for America’s Wendy Kopp, College Summit’s J.B. Schramm and First Book’s Kyle Zimmer.

“I am extremely humbled to receive an honor of this magnitude and am grateful to Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde for taking time away from her delegation’s mission to the United States to learn more about our work and impact,” said Hammond, who founded KaBOOM! in 1996 and released The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play earlier this year. “As KaBOOM! celebrates our 15th birthday and recently led the construction of our 2,000th community-built playground, this recognition further validates our long-held belief that every child throughout the world deserves to have a great place to play within walking distance.”

As a recipient, Hammond will attend the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions Sept. 14-16 in Dalian, China. The Schwab Foundation is the sister organization of the World Economic Forum. Hammond will speak at a session entitled “Recharging Science in Society” during the conference, which will feature nearly 2,000 social entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the world.

Hammond was selected based on the span and scope of his career and the estimated number of lives affected by his work. In 1996, Hammond founded KaBOOM! after reading a story in the Washington Post about two children who suffocated while playing in a car because they did not have a safe place to play.

Since founding KaBOOM!, Hammond has raised more than $200 million to fight the Play Deficit and save play for America’s children by ensuring that every child has a great place to play within walking distance. Under Hammond’s guidance, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to inspire more than 1 million volunteers to build more than 2,000 playspaces across North America that serve more than 5.5 million children.

Social entrepreneurs identify practical solutions to social problems by combining innovation, resourcefulness and opportunity. Deeply committed to generating social value, these entrepreneurs identify new processes, services, products or unique ways of combining proven practice with innovation, driving through pattern-breaking approaches to seemingly intractable social issues. Most importantly, they act as social alchemists, converting under-utilized resources into productive assets by working with, and motivating, groups of people and communities.

There are five criteria for selection:

  • Innovation: has brought about demonstrable, high-impact social change by transforming traditional practice.
  • Sustainability: has generated the social conditions and/or institutions needed to sustain the initiative.
  • Reach and Scope: has spread beyond its initial context and been successfully adapted to other settings.
  • Replicability/Expandability: aspects of the initiative can continue to be transferred to other regions and are scalable.
  • Ethical fiber: the entrepreneur is an individual who can serve as a role model for future social entrepreneurs and the general public.

The term “social entrepreneurship” refers to a distinct approach to catalyzing social transformation that is independent of sector or discipline. Whether they focus on health, enterprise development, education, environment, labor conditions or human rights, social entrepreneurs are people who seize the problems created by change as opportunities to transform societies.