Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Poverty

Andrea Silbert
Job Title
President, Eos Foundation
Harwich, MA, USA


When I first got to Harvard Business School, I joined the Social Enterprise Club, and quickly realized that these students were my compatriots. These were people who had similar interests, similar backgrounds—many of whom had actually been, like I had, on Wall Street, but really wanted to change careers or make social enterprise an integral part of their career.

And we accomplished a lot. We grew the summer fellowship so that more and more students tried social entrepreneurship as a summer job, and just being a part of that, and helping grow it, was foundational for me.

Driving Social Change

I think it's really important for anyone who has had the privilege and the opportunity to come to HBS to take it forward in their career, and ask themselves every day, what am I doing today that helps somebody else, somebody who didn't have the privilege, who didn't have the opportunity? What can I do, whether small or large, to make a difference?


For me, such a big piece of my work is the intellectual challenge of what I do. At Eos Foundation we collaborate with companies and people around the country to determine: how do we break the cycle of poverty in our urban areas? Not sustain people in poverty… but break the cycle.

This is a challenge that will probably be lifelong, something that I'll be thinking about and working on all of my life.

I hope to be able to demonstrate through my work in Boston, MA that most people are a bundle of strengths and assets. And if we help people, and give them the resources they need, and the social networks and the connections they need, the education they need, they can lead whatever life they want to lead – the most productive life, the life of opportunity.