Build Change Founder and CEO Named US Social Entrepreneur of the Year by Schwab Foundation

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September 6, 2011
For Immediate Release:

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Kathleen Jeanty

Director of Communications

Build Change

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Dr. Elizabeth Hausler Chosen by The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship for innovative work and social impact



Denver, CO. (September 1, 2011)-Build Change Founder and CEO Dr. Elizabeth Hausler has been recognized as one of three US Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2011 by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship-- for their organization's innovative work and social impact, joining a global network of leading social entrepreneurs from over 40 countries.


"These award-winning organizations based in the US have a truly global impact," said Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Switzerland. "From mobilizing low-income neighborhoods around safe play environments and empowering homeowners in the horrible aftermath of an earthquake to protecting many of the world's most vulnerable workers, these social enterprises are achieving transformative results."


Hilde Schwab will present the awards at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, People's Republic of China, from September 14-16, 2011. Nearly 50 members of the Schwab Foundation network will be present during the award ceremony.


"Despite working in very different sectors, these organizations share one thing in common," added Mirjam Schoning, Senior Director, Head of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. "They have developed strategic partnerships with the private and public sector to solve social problems. By developing innovative models that combine the strengths of government, business and civil society, they are able to accelerate their social impact, delivering better results for more people as cost-effectively as possible."


The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is proud to award the US Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2011 to:  



Elizabeth Hausler, Build Change (China, Indonesia, Haiti) 


Build Change is changing practices of home building in earthquake-prone regions to engage citizens and set in place new and lasting practices to ensure that earthquake-resistant construction becomes common. In China, where BuildChange has been active since the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the organization is influencing the adoption of improved building codes - and simple tools for its enforcement - by municipal governments across the country. The organization is also working on more efficient ways of generating and collating data, such as putting building codes, checklists and home designs on mobile devices, which in turn makes it more difficult for corrupt contractors to operate. BuildChange is creating hybrid value chain partnerships with the private sector to disseminate public awareness messages on safe building techniques placed on cement bags and posted at retail outlets.



Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! (USA and Mexico) 


Children today have fewer places to play and spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, facts that are having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels and overall well-being. To fight this play deficit, social entrepreneur and best-selling author Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! 15 years ago in Washington, DC with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 85,000 places to play, built more than 2,000 playgrounds in lower-income communities, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities and states across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online, do-it-yourself tools to organize and take action in support of play on both a local and national level. 


Dan Viederman, Verit� (Latin America, Southeast Asia, China)  


Verit�'s mission is to ensure that people around the world work under safe, fair, and legal conditions. Today's complex supply chains pose challenges for implementing international labour standards at manufacturing and farm sites that collectively employ hundreds of millions of people. Verit� works with consumer companies and their suppliers, which are mostly farms and factories in developing countries. The organization assists in the identification, analysis and resolution of labour rights problems, including child labour, forced labour, discrimination, sexual harassment, excessive working hours, poor safety conditions and wrongful termination. Verit� also helps corporations embed sustainable social responsibility standards into their business operations, improving conditions for millions of vulnerable workers worldwide                                                    



About the Schwab Foundation


The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was co-founded by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and his wife, Hilde. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has been identifying the world's leading social entrepreneurs in over 50 countries around the globe. Social entrepreneurs implement innovative and pragmatic solutions to social problems by tackling the root causes and creating social transformation. Selected social entrepreneurs of the Schwab Foundation network participate in World Economic Forum events, thus providing unique opportunities for them to connect with business, political and media leaders. Learn more about the Schwab Foundation at

About Build Change


Founded in 2004, Build Change is an international non-profit social enterprise that designs earthquake-resistant houses in developing countries and trains builders, homeowners, engineers, and government officials to build them. Since its founding, Build Change has improved the design of over 18,000 houses and trained over 7,500 people in the fundamentals of earthquake-resistant construction for single-family homes, including builders, technical high school students and teachers in Indonesia, China and Haiti. Today, over 70,000 people worldwide are living in safer houses because of Build Change's work. For more information, visit




About Build Change

Build Change is a 501(c)3 non-profit social enterprise incorporated in the State of California on September 2, 2004.  Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Watch Dr. Hausler in Action in Haiti
Social Entrepreneur and Build Change Founder Honored for Earthquake-Resistant Housing Innovation

Social Entrepreneur and Build Change Founder Honored for Earthquake-Resistant Housing Innovation

Dr. Hausler's Brief Bio
Elizabeth Hausler Headshot
As a child, Elizabeth Hausler loved playing with Lincoln Logs™, connecting each piece to create one solid structure. The daughter of a mason, Hausler's interest in building and engineering was reinforced throughout her adolescence when she would spend summers working for her father, learning the ins-and-outs of sturdy bricklaying.
As an adult, Hausler observed the devastating effects of homes not being built with the same diligence she had been taught - especially in natural disaster-prone regions of the developing world. She saw an opportunity to provide a man-made solution to this man-made problem.
For her ability to create sustainable, safe housing solutions in developing countries through an innovative implementation model, Hausler is the recipient of the 2011 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. 
Lemelson-MIT Program

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The Lemelson-MIT Program supports projects in the U.S. and developing countries that nurture innovators and unleash invention to advance economic, social and environmentally sustainable development. Click logo above to learn more.

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