As Marga’s founder, David Maurrasse was leaving his positions as a Senior Program Advisor at the Rockefeller Foundation and as an Assistant Professor at Yale University, a new hybrid practitioner/scholar role was being developed in the summer of 2000. Marga was founded on merging theory and practice and maintaining simultaneous ties in academia and in the wider universe of direct and active engagement. As of July 1, 2000, Maurrasse’s new base became Columbia University, which included a faculty role at the School of International and Public Affairs and the development of the Center for Innovation in Social Responsibility (CISR). In practice, Maurrasse became an independent consultant with the Rockefeller Foundation as the first official client.
CISR was designed to promote research and dialogue on trends in social responsibility and the various ways in which different institutions and industries engage in communities and address social issues. On the academic side, CISR hosted conferences and produced a book. In the meantime, on the practitioner side, the sole proprietorship consulting operation became a company called, DJM & Associates. It was renamed Marga Incorporated in 2002.
Marga began to build a diverse client base, including mostly foundations. Eventually, this base broadened to include nonprofit organizations, government agencies, universities, and corporations. Ultimately, Marga’s work included direct interventions in localities, facilitating the development of strategic multi-institutional partnerships. We became known for our expertise around the role of institutions of higher education in communities, aided by the Routledge publication of Beyond the Campus: How Colleges and Universities Form Partnerships with their Communities (2001).