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The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship provides platforms at the country, regional and global levels to promote social entrepreneurship. The Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1998. Its purpose is to "advance social entrepreneurship and to foster social entrepreneurs as an important catalyst for societal innovation and progress." The Foundation is under the legal supervision of the Swiss Federal Government. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Each year the Foundation selects 20-25 Social Entrepreneurs through a global " Social Entrepreneur of the Year" competition.
In 1998, Klaus and Hilde Schwab decided to create the independent not-for-profit Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 1998. Its mission was to promote social innovation. It was a complementary foundation to the World Economic Forum which Klaus Schwab had founded in 1971.
Pamela Hartigan, who joined in October 2000, was its first managing director. The Foundation is financed from the initial endowment provided by Klaus and Hilde Schwab plus grants and fees for services provided to individuals, foundations or companies.
The Foundation encourages community building between the activists it identifies. (260 people in 2013). It tries to encourage the spread of ideas and providing backing from corporations and political, academic and communication leaders. The chosen social entrepreneurs are included in the Forum's initiatives and they serve on the Forum's Global Agenda Councils.
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The Foundation works with selected companies to advance activities of social entrepreneurs and initiatives that support social entrepreneurship. The Foundation identifies rising social entrepreneurs under the age of 40 through its Forum of Young Global Leaders. Scholarship opportunities for executive education opportunities are offered to selected social entrepreneurs in conjunction with Harvard and Stanford Universities and INSEAD. Case studies on specific social entrepreneurs are provided to leading academic institutions to incorporate into undergraduate and graduate level courses.
As of January 2015, the Foundation Board consisted of:
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