chapter  23
Playing the Chords of Social Entrepreneurship
ByElena Gabor
Pages 6

As Emily was buzzed through the door of the elementary school in her Midwestern home town, she pondered everything that had happened during the last two years. After finishing college with a dual degree in violin performance and organizational communication, she traveled to Venezuela to learn how the teaching artists in the El Sistema (ES) program managed their music centers (called núcleos). After the trip two years ago, she grew determined to start an El Sistema-inspired program in her hometown. “There are so many children that live in poverty here!” she often thought. It was the kind of social enterprise that would put all her skills in music, entrepreneurship, communication, and leadership to use. Still, the question often on her mind was, “Can a nonprofit model and organizational mission developed in another country work in the American Midwest?” Her own teacher was somewhat pessimistic. He believed that “geography is destiny,” that El Sistema (ES) will not last outside of Venezuela.