“When people think of poverty, a lot of times they immediately think income is the solution,” he says. “But poverty is multidimensional and much more complicated than a dollar figure.”
As the director of Fundacion Paraguaya, a nongovernmental organization that advances microfinance and entrepreneurship in the South American country, Burt has devoted his life’s work to eliminating poverty around the world — most notably through creation of an interactive, ground-level family assessment and analysis tool called Poverty Stoplight. And as a new UC Irvine visiting distinguished scholar, he’s spending the next five years sharing his knowledge and applied approaches with UC Irvine students, faculty and communities.
“I think of myself more as a social entrepreneur in residence — more of a practitioner,” he says. “I love showing students the real challenges and opportunities of improving people’s lives.”
The academic appointment at UC Irvine is with both the School of Social Ecology and the School of Social Sciences. Burt will help expose students to international issues and the possibilities in social innovation, while strengthening UC Irvine’s presence in the world and increasing opportunities for Anteaters overseas.
“Social entrepreneurship allows you to see social and environmental problems as opportunities for ingenuity and for combining existing resources to create value,” he says.
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