“It is about using business models in service of social and environmental challenges,” Mahoney said. “The idea is, ‘How do we develop financially sustainable approaches to solve the biggest challenges of our time?’”
Mahoney said she became concerned about environmental devastation by the fifth grade and was first introduced to intense poverty at age 19 as a college student taking part in the ship-based Semester at Sea program.
“I had seen poverty in Philadelphia where I grew up, but the deep poverty I witnessed in Brazil, Kenya, South Africa and India was on a different level,” Mahoney said. “The need was so great and it seemed then to my young eyes that even small resources could go a long way and that each of us should do something to help contribute to alleviating that suffering.”
Her first book, “Brussels vs. the Beltway,” explored how public interest advocacy groups worked to shape more just public policy in two of the most powerful political systems on the planet: the U.S. and the European Union.
Once that book was completed, she spent time advocating for the victims of the Darfur genocide, and learned of the plight of refugees. She then wrote “Failure and Hope: Fighting for the Rights of the Forcibly Displaced.” Mahoney focused her work on refugee crises in conflict zones in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
“There are currently 70 million people displaced from their homes due to violent conflict,” Mahoney said. “This is the highest number in the history of the world, and by all estimates it is going to continue to increase. Charity and government responses have been insufficient for 60 years.”