A Celebration of Social Innovation Tonight in Boston

May 5, 2011

10:09 am

Social Innovation – the concept of creating new strategies and ideas to strengthen society – will be showcased and celebrated tonight in Boston at the Eighth Annual Social Innovation Forum. Described as ‘a venture fair for nonprofits’, five organizations will pitch their ideas that encourage innovation and contribution for the greater good to a network of funders and others that can foster their growth and development. Audience members include foundations, business leaders, government representatives and action-oriented philanthropists.

These five groups were selected from an applicant pool of 135 interested organizations after a process which included a series of individual and panel interviews.

Boston’s 2011 Social Innovators include:

Fiscal Health Vital Signs, a program of DotWell that enables economic development;
Future Chefs, a program that provides educational and employment opportunities for vulnerable 14-21 year olds;
Massachusetts Senior Action Council, for their focus on healthy aging;
MathPower, a group enabling youth academic success;
Smart from the Start, an early childhood development program

Root Cause, a research and consulting firm founded by Andrew Wolk, who also is a senior lecturer on the topic of social entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, is this year’s host at the Forum.  Root Cause is driven by a passion for shaping the future of social problem solving by helping to bridge the gap between donors and government agencies, those with resources, and the entities working for social change that are demonstrating results. A crowd of roughly 250 social impact investors interested in supporting the showcased organizations with grants and in-kind donations, volunteer time, and personal referrals or connections is expected.

Scott Griffith, CEO of Zipcar and Business Innovator Award Recipient

Additionally, Root Cause will present Scott Griffith, CEO of Zipcar, with the first annual Business Innovator Award for his work in implementing car-sharing. Griffith is one of the Boston region’s leading innovators, and under his leadership, Zipcar has made the idea of car-sharing a reality in more than 60 cities and on more than 225 university campuses in the United States.  Zipcar will be noted as an inspiring example of social innovation and impact in the private sector.

Benefits from the Social Innovation Forum extend beyond those in the Boston community. Root Cause notes that 43% of Social Innovators replicated their programs in Boston and beyond after the Forum.

Read more about these five socially-conscious organization’s pitching tonight.

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Marla Shaivitz is a writer, developer and digital marketer. She's interested in innovations & innovators in technology and those working toward social good. Follow Marla on Twitter at @marlashaivitz.

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