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Continuing a long-standing partnership with Vanderbilt, The Cal Turner Family Foundation committed $1.2M over a 5-year period to establish the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC) and to help it grow as a leading, student-led organization that uses market-based solutions to alleviate poverty.

The TFC is a sister organization to Project Pyramid (another graduate student-focused program under Owen) which offers specific classes and projects designed to promote the alleviation of poverty through a business lens. Our center was created to align efforts toward a similar mission, with a focus on serving as a hub for graduate student resources, fellowship, collaboration, and partnership—across multiple graduate schools—further promoting responsible business practices and shaping future leaders of our domestic and international communities.

“I’m gratified this gift will help students build upon these efforts to harness the power of business visionaries in helping promote a greater good, both at home and abroad.” – Cal Turner Jr., chairman of the Cal Turner Family Foundation

Cal Turner, Jr., the former CEO, chairman and president of Dollar General Corporation, spearheaded the gift, and actively supports many Vanderbilt University programs, including the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions—Dr. Bart Victor, Owen Graduate School of Management faculty and TFC Advisory Board member, is currently the Cal Turner Professor for Moral Leadership.

Shortly after the center was established, Mario Avila, an Owen Graduate School of Management alumnus, Cal Turner fellow, and former Project Pyramid participant—whose own socially-responsible corporation was developed and funded by Owen startup competition funding—was hired as the Director. His passion for promoting social impact and helping students identify their own potential as leaders for change is palpable, and has already propelled the TFC into global recognition.