Noa Gafni: A +SocialGood Advisor Reflects on Her Career Advancing the SDGs

Written by: Noa Gafni, +SocialGood Advisor

Noa Gafni, +SocialGood Advisor

From setting up an adult education program for women in Sierra Leone, highlighting the efforts of grassroots activists in El Salvador, or working with social entrepreneurs in Jordan to spread the word about social innovation, my nearly 20-year career has had a strong focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Connecting these unconventional stakeholders with global leaders has been a true privilege.

I am currently the Executive Director of the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation (RICSI). The Institute was launched to empower current and future business leaders with the tools to make a positive impact on society and their bottom line. In my role, I work to drive leading research, engage students through teaching and outreach, and bridge academia and practice by bringing industry leaders into the fold.

At the RICSI, we have a four-pillar model featuring the many ways that companies can integrate Corporate Social Innovation into their business strategies — this isn’t just good for society; it also positively impacts the company’s financial performance and overall reputation. Our four pillars are: giving back to society, aligning profit and purpose, advocating for social issues, and engaging in responsible business practices.

We have launched a number of initiatives, including hosting an SDG event during UN General Assembly Week in partnership with the Brookings Institute and Rockefeller Foundation, an executive roundtable series on health equity in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a symposium on the future of work after COVID-19. As Rutgers is one of the country’s most diverse institutions, a commitment to social justice and racial equity underpins all of our activities.

I see this work as part of my strong commitment to SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) as well as SDG 17 (partnership for the goals) since we engage all sectors in our work. This work closely ties to my role as a +SocialGood Advisor, since future change-makers from all walks of life need to work with the private sector in order to create meaningful impact.

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