At Singularity University (SU), we are committed to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.
In our first ever Impact Report, we are delighted to share with you how SU will drive positive impact for billions of people through three focus areas: Education, Innovation and Community. We do not achieve impact alone. Our distinct type of impact is powered by our community of over 200,000 individuals—entrepreneurs, executives, students, government officials, philanthropists, scientists, thought leaders—who bring a sense of wonder and enthusiasm about building a better future.
In addition, collaboration with over 75 public and private sector partners located across the globe is key to the success and impact of SU and our larger community. Our partners provide critical resources to strengthen existing programs and activities in our three core areas, as well as crucial input as we embark upon new initiatives.
Together—we can have impact. Join us in our mission to impact billions of people as we set out a course for future growth and impact.
Chief Impact Officer & Exec VP, Operations
2014 IMPACT REPORT
The 2014 Singularity University Impact Report is now available. Learn how SU drives positive impact for billions of people through three focus areas: Education, Innovation and Community.View Report | Download Report
OUR APPROACH TO IMPACT
Singularity University enables the creation of sustainable solutions to difficult challenges—education, energy, environment, food, global health, poverty, security, space and water—that face humanity. Our unique approach inspires entrepreneurial leaders to leverage exponential technologies to develop innovative solutions to these challenges at a large scale.
We measure our impact through the billions of people throughout the world that directly or indirectly benefit from our educational programs, innovation-enhancing activities, and community-building initiatives. At every stage of our work, we ask: are Singularity University’s strategic initiatives, approaches and programs achieving the maximum impact they can towards solving humanity’s grand challenges? We seek to connect a humanitarian community of forward-thinking people in a global movement towards an abundant future.
BENEFIT CORPORATION STATUS
After having operated as a nonprofit organization since 2008, Singularity University (SU) incorporated as a California benefit corporation, shortly after that legal form came into being in 2012. The information and video found here provide additional detail on our decision.
SU’s mission strives for impact at a massive scale. Our 1300+ alumni and their ability to convert forward-looking ideas into tangible projects, products and services are key components of achieving our mission. With this in mind, SU’s trustees, management, faculty, and associate and corporate founders, during 2011, focused on how SU could better support our alumni while also having more direct impact through our own programs and activities.
We realized by the summer of 2011, after assessing our financial health, that our nonprofit business model which included raising annual donations to cover the cost of our summer Graduate Studies Program had proven to be unsustainable as GSP continued to operate at a loss, and it would be infeasible to continue in this manner as we sought to strengthen GSP and expand other programs globally. We also learned from legal advisors that pursuing our envisioned, diversified set of programs at any real level of scale (a requirement to achieve our mission to impact billions of people), including our expanded vision for SU Labs, could jeopardize our nonprofit status due to opaque US tax restrictions applicable to nonprofits.
At the same time, California adopted legislation making it possible after January 1, 2012 to form a new kind of socially conscious entity called a benefit corporation, explained in detail in this TEDx video. After a series of strategy and vision sessions, we gained alignment that this new kind of corporation’s focus on creating positive social impact coupled with its flexibility to pursue sustainable business growth would best position us to achieve our expanded vision. As a result, we formed Singularity Education Group as a benefit corporation in January 2012, and since October 2012, it has carried on the name Singularity University.
Powered by the flexibility of this new corporate form, we have, since our October 2012 conversion to a benefit corporation, been better able to robustly pursue our three core activity areas: namely educational programs, innovation activities, and community building initiatives. Since our conversion, we have formally launched our SU Labs acceleration activities for emerging companies and entrepreneurs who chose to join the program as SU Companies, as well as the Corporate Innovation Exchange which attracts large, established corporations to our headquarters where they cross-pollinate and collaborate with alumni startups. In addition, we expanded our educational programs—to include our Exponential Conference Series, Global Summits, and the Innovation Partnership Program—and greatly expanded the number and reach of our Global Impact Competitions and Ambassador program. Our investment in an expanded set of services and complementary initiatives is paying off through greater impact as highlighted in the Impact Report.
Along with the Impact Report, we have posted here a Benefit Report in compliance with accountability and transparency requirements that are built into the benefit corporation law. In addition to the metrics gathered and reflected in the Impact Report, we assessed our overall social and environmental performance in the categories of governance, worker treatment, local community engagement and environmental practices. We used the B Impact Assessment tool developed by an independent nonprofit called B Lab. Our 2013 score on the assessment was 92 points, approximately 15% higher than the threshold requirement for “B Corporation” certification from B Lab.