How the Housing Development Fund led me to the field of Social Enterprise

Piyapat Sinsub_Cropped
Piyapat “Poupae” Sinsub ’17, Project 55 Fellow at the Housing Development Fund

Piyapat “Poupae” Sinsub’ 17 is from Bangkok, Thailand. At Princeton, she majored in Economics and minored in Chinese Language and Culture. Poupae has been particularly interested in economic development, the psychology of genders, Buddhism, and Chinese language. Poupae has served as a peer tutor in Economics at McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, a Peer Academic Advisor, and the President of Thai Students Association during her time at Princeton. Poupae hopes to apply her academic knowledge for the social good and is excited to work as a Fellow at the Housing Development Fund at Stamford, Connecticut in July 2017.

I started working as a Princeton Fellow/Development Assistant at the Housing Development Fund (HDF) in July 2017. HDF is a community development financial institution (CDFI) in the real estate industry. HDF provides free homebuyer education and counseling, down payment assistance to income-eligible homebuyers, and finances multifamily affordable housing throughout Connecticut and New York. I worked under the Development and Communications Department, where I helped with research, data analysis, marketing, and fundraising.

I didn’t have a passion for the housing industry per se, but my experience at HDF has helped me tremendously to see opportunities and challenges of tackling a social issue. There are a sheer number of organizations with a mission for social good like HDF in our communities – that’s the opportunities. At HDF, staff, and supporters truly believe that affordable homeownership is key to the community, and we leveraged public and private investments to make it possible for the population that needs it most. However, there are also challenges in the process. For example, what can we do to expand our impact when our funds are limited? How can we partner with other nonprofits with similar kind of work and learn from each other? And what can we do to make nonprofits operate as efficiently as corporates when there are not enough incentives? These are some of the questions that always came up during my Fellowship.

From discussing the above questions with my mentors and colleagues, I came to believe that social enterprise – a for-profit organization with a social mission – could actually be a great alternative to the traditional nonprofit model. With profit incentives, organizations will likely be more efficient and attract more talent while at the same time maintain their focus on social good. My experience as a Fellow at HDF this year has inspired my interest in the realm of social enterprise, and it’s now one of the fields that I’m interested to pursue at the Graduate level!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s