Paul Tonna Executive Director, Energeia Partnership

"I believe that social change is 'centrifugally-oriented,' that it starts with one individual who wants to give back at its center and spreads out from there. Molloy College is harnessing that power by bringing hundreds of such individuals together in the Energeia Partnership.

"Molloy started Energeia in 2005 because the College not only recognized the complexity and magnitude of our region's challenges, but was also impatient with the pace of change in resolving these issues. So they mobilized local leaders to help tackle Long Island's biggest, most complex challenges, from the high cost of housing and the resulting exodus of young talent, to issues related to land use and sustainability, healthcare and the working poor.

"Energeia brings together a diverse group of leaders from this area's public, private and not-for-profit sectors in a dynamic learning environment that focuses on complex issues such as education, institutional racism, poverty and the working poor, land use, energy, transportation, healthcare and media/social networking.

"Our goal each year is to gather a 'class' of ethical, proven leaders and provide them with the information, personal contacts, context and experience they need to begin to create innovative, viable solutions to the most pressing challenges facing Long Island. Each class has about 50 leaders and participates in a dynamic, two-year academy that features a one-day program, held every two months, that focuses on a particular issue. This approach gets these leaders out of their individual 'silos' so they better understand the 'big picture' - and do something about it.

"The idea behind Energeia is to make change 'viral' on Long Island by bringing together leaders who share Molloy's ethical commitment and provide them with the critical information and connections they need to affect positive social change in our region."