Microvolunteering: Young social entrepreneur makes spare minutes matter

Amy Lunday in the Johns Hopkins University Gazette:

ScreenHunter_20 Nov. 13 11.03 Jacob Colker, a graduate student in the Communications in Contemporary Society program in the Krieger School’s Advanced Academic Programs, is among the first group of young social entrepreneurs to be honored by the Rolex Awards for Enterprise: Young Laureates Programme.

On Thursday, Nov. 11, Colker and four other winners will be feted for their dedication to overcoming challenges in the fields of public health, applied technology, the environment and cultural preservation at an award ceremony at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Colker is the only laureate from the United States; the others are from the Philippines, Nigeria, India and Ethiopia.

Colker, who is 26, is being recognized for changing the way people get involved in community service as co-founder of the Extraordinaries, an Internet-based program allowing “microvolunteers” to use their skills and expertise online. Their flagship product is free and available to the public at www.sparked.com.

The Young Laureates Programme seeks to foster a spirit of enterprise in the next generation by giving young people the financial support and recognition they need to innovatively tackle the challenges facing humanity. The laureates, all aged between 18 and 30, will each receive $50,000 over two years, giving them time to focus on their pioneering projects and move forward in implementing them.

Colker said he will use his Rolex Award to expand microvolunteering to more Internet users and gain publicity to “encourage millions of people to volunteer.”

More here.