POSTPONED: Promoting Policy Entrepreneurship: Engineering Innovative Systems for Social Change


Location: 34 Chambers Street, 115

Speaker: Marty Johnson '81 & Katherine Ash *19

Marty Johnson and Kate Ash portraits

This event has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances and will be rescheduled for Fall 2019. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

How does government inspire social innovation? Under what circumstances can traditional public-private partnerships be leveraged to scale strategies for social change? Professor Marty Johnson and Katherine Ash will preview their research on the challenges and best practices of policy efforts which aim to spur innovation in the United States social profit sector. Together they will provide a brief history on the rise of social enterprise and discuss the efficacy of pay-for-performance and other investment-oriented initiatives in addressing societies most complex problems. 

This seminar is open to the public and dinner will be served. Registration is required.


Speaker Bios

Marty Johnson '81 is Founder and CEO of Isles, Inc., an urban sustainable development organization that fosters self-reliance and healthy neighborhoods. Founded in 1981, Isles arose from a student-initiated seminar and thesis at Princeton University. Isles has received awards from the U.S. EPA, the White House, the United Nations, and numerous other organizations. Isles work includes community planning and green real estate development, wealth creation, environmental health, urban agriculture, education for under-served high school drop-outs and job-training. Increasingly, Isles provides technical and organizing assistance to policymakers and groups across the state and beyond. Mr. Johnson co-founded other development organizations and projects, including: New Jersey Community Capital, Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, Building One New Jersey and the Success Measures Project, a national effort to develop impact measures for community-building work. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Marty is a 1981 graduate and former trustee of Princeton University, where he played football and baseball. In 1996, he taught “Rethinking Poverty: Community Development Research and Policy” at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. From 2015 - 2017, Marty was the James Wei Visiting Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Keller Center of Princeton University's Engineering School, where he developed a course titled, "Rethinking Social Profit Organizations” (EGR 498). Last year, Marty began teaching a second course titled "So, You Want to Change the World?” (FR158). This year, he continues to teach at Princeton University half-time.

Katherine Ash *19 is a Woodrow Wilson School Master of Public Policy Candidate and a 2019 John L. Weinberg Fellow. Katherine has served for the last decade as a faithful advocate for sustainable, rural development with an emphasis on anti-poverty and affordable housing initiatives. Most recently, she served as an advisor to United States Senator Patrick Leahy where she specialized in developing strategies to promote economic equity, cross-sector collaboration, and social innovation through federal appropriations. Her accomplishments include the creation of national pilots in support of historic preservation, shared equity housing programs and strengthening working families.