Continuing a long-standing partnership with Vanderbilt University, 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.
As a graduate student-led, interdisciplinary center, the TFC offers specific programs and experiences for students, designed to promote the alleviation of poverty through a business lens. One of these programs is Project Pyramid, an interdisciplinary graduate-level course launched in 2006, which brings Vanderbilt students together across disciplines to form consulting teams that partner with international organizations.
The TFC was created as a hub to provide resources, fellowship, collaboration, and partnership—across multiple graduate schools— for students, 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 Cal Turner Professor of Moral Leadership, served as the TFC Faculty Director from its founding in 2015 through Spring of 2021, in addition to teaching Project Pyramid for sixteen years.
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.
Today, Mario continues to run the TFC as Director along with Kathleen Fuchs Hritz, Assistant Director of the TFC and current Executive MBA student at Owen Graduate School of Management. Brian McCann, David K. Wilson Professor of Management at Owen, now serves as the the Turner Family Center Faculty Director and will carry on the legacy of teaching Project Pyramid in the Spring of 2021.