Social Investing, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Profit


With over 20 years of entrepreneurship, a roller coaster of success and failure; Philip Berber learned to turn failure into success. Today, the foundation he and his wife started in 2000, A Glimmer of Hope, is changing the way international aid and development are implemented. Philip and Donna Berber were recently ranked the 6th most effective philanthropists in the world. He made his fortune cutting out the middleman for day traders and now is bypassing traditional aid inefficiencies to fund projects directly led and implemented by those most in need -- thus creating more immediate, relevant and sustainable solutions in Ethiopia.

Philip Berber is a new breed of social investor and social entrepreneur, seeking social profit. A Glimmer of Hope works closely with government, not through government, to help the rural poor lift themselves out of poverty. Social profit lies in the lives of men, women and children in rural communities across Ethiopia. Humanitarian aid alone is not enough. A Glimmer of Hope enables the rural poor of Ethiopia to borrow money and invest in their own future – this is a sustainable strategy. Glimmer invests in providing microloans of just a few hundred dollars to thousands of households, empowering farmers to irrigate their land and women to start businesses – offering a hand-up, not a hand-out. Since 2000, A Glimmer of Hope has completed more than 4,000 projects including health clinics, schools, wells, irrigation systems and veterinary clinics. It has provided more than 6,500 microfinance loans and improved the lives of 2.5 million people.

Philip Berber is a leading social entrepreneur and innovator from the world of international aid. He and his wife Donna formed and funded A Glimmer of Hope in 2000 and were recently recognized as being among The 25 Best Givers in the world by Barron’s Magazine placing sixth on the list based on their impact and effectiveness. A Glimmer of Hope is engaged in humanitarian aid and development in Ethiopia and has developed a groundbreaking and effective model of helping the rural poor lift themselves out of poverty. Originally from Ireland, Berber worked as an entrepreneur in financial market technology start-ups in London and Houston before moving to Austin in 1995 where he formed CyBerCorp, an online trading firm that sold in 2000 to Charles Schwab. A Glimmer of Hope has improved the lives of around two million people in Ethiopia with 100% of all donations being used to bring clean water, healthcare, education and microfinance to some of the poorest people on Earth.