WHO WE ARE
In a moment of tremendous opportunity in which the fastest growing religious group in America is “Nones”, there is a rising tide of emerging leaders building new models of faith, service, and meaning-making. They need training, funding, and coaching as they seek to reweave the social fabric of America and inspire individuals and communities to flourish.
Our Vision: We envision a just world in which pathways to meaning-making, purpose-finding, and communal well-being are paved by faith and accessible by all.
Our Mission: Investing in faithful leaders and new models of faith-in-action that work towards character formation, human flourishing, and communal wellbeing.
Providing an ecosystem of support to serve spiritual entrepreneurs of all backgrounds who are building organizations that foster:
The American religious landscape is churning.
At a moment in which roughly 4,000-7,000 churches and synagogues close each year, there has been a promising upswell of emergent models of spiritual connection that has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the headlines of institutional religion’s decline. While the success of these new models is promising, the lack of support - training, funding, coaching, and in-kind services - available to them is alarming. Should the faith-based philanthropic world continue to funnel funds primarily into sustaining legacy institutions, not only are these entrepreneurs and their ventures at risk, but so too is the ancient wisdom upon which they are founded.
Without new venues for that wisdom to re-emerge, manifest, and transform, it is at risk of ossifying inside of the declining institutions that once shared it in abundance. Without new contexts for gathering, meaning-making, and purpose-finding, the rising generation of 75 million American Millennials is at risk of experiencing the dangerous effects of social isolation at unprecedented rates. And without new practices of innovation and entrepreneurship within religion, the entire domain - the value systems, ethical underpinnings, frameworks for community, and guideposts for lives well-lived - is at risk of vanishing entirely.
So as these new models take shape and their leaders take courageous initiative, not only must we find ways to support their growth, but we must do so in ways that reflect the nature of today's changing landscape: unprecedented.
Glean is the world's first incubator and network for spiritual entrepreneurs. We not only provide the entrepreneurship education of a leading venture incubator, but we also incorporate an integrated layer of spiritual development for our multifaith cohort that is largely absent from this emerging field. And through a one-of-a-kind partnership with Columbia Business School, Glean equips its entrepreneurs with the highest-level training to seize the abundant opportunity in this time of great change in American religion, and build sustainable ventures that will flourish for years to come.
We believe that a field is emerging in which sacred, spiritual practices are in conversation with modern tools of business, and wisdom traditions are manifesting in new forms of enterprise. As such, we seek to nurture the growth of this field - and all those who stand to flourish in light of its emergence.
We believe that the emerging field of spiritual entrepreneurship requires a rigorous, scientific approach to understanding and measuring its impact. Gone are the days of determining success by measuring the “Two M’s” (money and members). We are called to invest in the research and development of a new set of metrics that will accurately tell the story of the profound transformation taking place on individual and communal levels inside these new spiritual ventures.
We believe that servant leadership is not only a set of practices that puts people before programs, and values curiosity over doctrine, but also a philosophy to be lived out in all facets of a leader’s life. We are here to serve you, and our intention is that you will in turn do the same for those you seek to serve.
We believe that this moment calls for engaged curiosity, radical empathy, and profound creativity applied diligently to the work at hand. By using the design process alongside a myriad of tools of innovation, we equip our entrepreneurs with the skills and confidence to constantly look for opportunities to ask: “How might we…?”
INNOVATION BY DESIGN
We believe that top-down hierarchies and coercive doctrine are relics of the past. The work of spiritual entrepreneurship is as much about listening for the still, small voice of divinity among us as it as about co-authoring a new set of scriptures to complement the existing canon. Not only does Glean practice this approach in working with entrepreneurs, but Glean itself is constantly in the process of being co-created by staff, faculty, participants, and a broad and diverse set of stakeholders.
We believe that the work of entrepreneurship is often extremely difficult, all-consuming, emotionally draining, and spiritually challenging. Therefore, as spiritual entrepreneurs who seek to inspire flourishing in individuals and communities and implement projects that will leave the world better than how they found it, they must simultaneously experience a thriving inner and outer life and push themselves to approach the version of themselves they seek to become. For every assignment that focuses on developing the venture, our participants simultaneously work to develop themselves.