Ashoka (branded Ashoka: Innovators of the Public) is an international organization that promotes social entrepreneurship by affiliating individual social entrepreneurs into the Ashoka organization. Their stated mission is "to shape a global, entrepreneurial, competitive citizen sector: one that allows social entrepreneurs to thrive and enables the worlds citizens to think and act as changemakers". Growing up, Bill Drayton was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Drayton wanted to mitigate income inequality through social entrepreneurship. Drayton founded Ashoka in 1980. The organization was named after Emperor Ashoka, the ruler of the Maurya Empire during the 3rd century BC. Emperor Ashoka recognized the suffering that he had caused by unifying his empire, and he promoted religious and philosophical tolerance and the paramount importance of morality when working for the public.