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What if products and strategies for the developing world were designed just for the people who would use them? It’s a free-market concept infrequently applied to nonprofit causes, but it has been the foundation of PATH’s approach to global health for 30 years. And it’s one of several reasons why Fast Company magazine consistently selects us as one of the world’s top social entrepreneurs.

For the fifth year in a row, Fast Company, in partnership with the global consulting firm Monitor Group, has named PATH one of the top “social capitalists” that are changing the world. Social capitalists are organizations that, like PATH, not only address social problems, but also seek to identify and change the systems or ideas that create the problem, often by applying business practices.

Only nine other organizations have received the designation five times (every year since the award’s inception).

Fast Company selected this year’s 45 top social capitalists from an original pool of nonprofits nominated by funders, academics, and other experts. The organizations were then evaluated on five critical components: social impact, entrepreneurship, innovation, aspiration and growth, and sustainability.

PATH was recognized in part because of unique partnerships with the private sector. We enlist businesses in our cause whenever and however we can, in line with a set of guiding principles addressing the ethical issues associated with such collaborations.

In the December/January issueFast Company describes our work in stopping Japanese encephalitis, the viral disease that causes more disability among Asia's children than any other. Among many other activities, we collaborated with a Chinese vaccine manufacturer and the government of India to distribute an inexpensive vaccine to 30 million children. Read more about this exciting win for the children of Asia!

The issue also notes a few of PATH’s other innovative technologies that have been developed over the last 30 years: high-nutrient rice, clean-delivery birth kits, and needle-free injections. Read more about our work that advances health technologies that are workable and affordable in low-resource settings.

With today’s advances in medical and social sciences, the solutions to global health problems are at hand. PATH takes full advantage of resources available in both the public and private sectors to make sure today’s solutions benefit people the world over, no matter where they live. We’re thrilled to be honored as a social capitalist for this work.

Posted December 4, 2007.