Building Community Connections for Sustainable Economic Impact

Forbes 30 Under 30 and MSSE alumna Brit Moore Gilmore shows us how to connect ideas and funding to societal progress.

By Alex Zarchy

Brit Moore GilmoreBrit Moore Gilmore is an alumna of the USC Marshall School of Business Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship program at USC Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab and the former president of the Giving Keys. Currently an ESG impact investment advisor and social impact consultant, Gilmore has been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30. These days, she’s generating impact with a new start up connecting low income families and individuals with social services and living wage careers.

Below is a Q&A with Gilmore.

How has the MSSE helped you in your social impact career?

We got to workshop a lot of ideas in our MSSE classes. There are a lot of opportunities to work on group projects, and people who currently have ideas that they are working on have the opportunity to pitch those ideas to their groups and get the support from their classmates. There are lots of opportunities to compete at USC with your business ideas to get real money that can get you launched. I ended up taking advantage of the Social Venture Coaching Competition and the Minh Family Challenge to raise $70,000, which was money that we needed to build the MVP version of the social benefit calculator, which is a calculator for case managers and families/individuals who are navigating lives with low incomes and who are navigating benefits. This calculator allows them to transparently see how changes to their income will lead to changes in their government benefits. This new technology is what I have been working on for the past year/year and a half, and these competitions that were provided to me through the MSSE program were fundamental in developing this technology. That was our seed money, and we have gone on to raise $200,000 (1 million deal in the works–I have to confirm this with her). 

The second thing that came to my mind was my class on impact investing with Professor Maltzer. This class encouraged me to pursue impact investing, and I got an internship following that class at an impact investing firm focused on ESG called Aneuvia. Everything that I am doing now with my time is born from my experience with the MSSE program.

What is your favorite aspect of your career?

The acute thing I feel every day right now is that I’ve been able to figure out a way to do meaningful impactful work remotely, so that I can work from home during this first year of my son’s life. I get to do all these things that I want to do; I get to be a mom and work full-time. I think that my bigger picture answer would be that I was able to be involved in what was happening in impact-driven spaces as people were really getting clear about how this stuff works. I got to talk about what real impact means, and how to create and scale it.

What was your favorite part of the MSSE program?

I really enjoyed Professor Maltzer’s class on impact investing. You can just feel his passion for impact investing and ESG, and how that space has evolved over time. He just has a really amazing way of communicating the material. Additionally, I loved Abby’s Designing for Social Innovation class because it was so engaging, and every week we were doing deep work in a group. I looked forward to it because I knew that I was participating in a really deep and meaningful way. I also think that it’s really unique to be in a business school and to be having the types of conversations that we are having. A big reason why I wanted to do the program was that coming out of my Giving Keys experience, I didn’t have lots of finance training from my previous college degrees, but I really wanted to take a ton of finance electives. I threw myself in with a bunch of MBAs, and that ability to cross into some of those other communities of students in the business school was really cool too. I loved the interdisciplinary aspect of it.

Advice for MSSEs:

I would encourage MSSE students to really take advantage of the competition opportunities and if you’ve got an idea that you want to explore, don’t be afraid to put it forward for these group projects.