Rick Little is a “serial social entrepreneur.” He is the founder of a dozen organizations that now operate in more than 100 countries impacting millions of young people each year. His life’s work has focused on building practical and sustainable solutions to big challenges by promoting economic opportunity, job creation and positive youth development.
Little is founder and president of ImagineNations Group. ImagineNations inspires and develops strategies that change the odds for people where they work, live and learn. Through ImagineNations’ global platform of partners, he is leading innovations in youth employment and job creation in the Middle East, food security in east Africa, improving the quality of primary education in southern Africa, and developing better systems for supporting youth refugees in Europe.
In 2008 Rick Little was the founding CEO and creator of Silatech – now one of the largest youth employment and entrepreneurship initiative working across the Middle East and North Africa. Silatech is on target to create and connect one million young people to jobs and employment by 2020. He is currently chairman of Silatech’s Executive Committee. (www.silatech.com).
Rick Little is also founder of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and was its founding CEO for the organization’s first dozen years. Based in Baltimore, with operations and programs now in nearly 100 countries, its global network of partners invest in hundreds of projects in entrepreneurship, education, health, leadership and youth employment. (www.iyfnet.org).
Little led the design and creation of a pioneering new approach to improving the workplace experience and life opportunities of young adult workers in the global manufacturing supply chains of Nike and Gap. Called the Global Alliance for Workers and Communities, the effort spread across more than 60 factories in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, reaching over 125,000 workers with direct health services, education, skills training and financial services.
Rick Little was chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Empowering Youth. He was also chairman of the Second Annual Middle East Summit on Corporate Social Responsibility, convened in Dubai. Little was a member of the National Task Force on African-American Men and Boys chaired by Ambassador Andrew Young, which produced a seminal report detailing over 60 recommendations and a 20- year plan to reclaim America’s streets and rebuild its communities called Repairing the Breach.
He was named one of the world’s 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and was awarded the Robert W. Scrivner Award from the Council on Foundations, an award recognizing innovative leadership in philanthropy. Little received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Anderson University and was named an international fellow in Applied Developmental Science at Tufts University.
On a personal note, Little and his family live on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. He has traveled to 140 countries, flies airplanes, plays the piano and enjoys skiing.