Can you imagine a world without hunger, violence or unemployment? A world with healthy families, educated children and gender equality? Sounds far-fetched today, but hopefully someday It will be our reality.
When governments, businesses and nonprofits work together good things happen. Cambridge based non-profit Root Cause is helping good things happen by building relationships and fostering connections that enable people across sectors to work together towards a common social goal. These interactions are creating a new market called the social impact market, which ensures that money for social issues is awarded to the activities and people that deliver results.
The most recent results were celebrated last week at NERD during the winter reception. The event recognized the 2012 social innovators and introduced the 2013 participants. Each innovator joins The Social Innovation Forum, a 12 month intensive program that provides support and resources to help advance a social idea. The support comes in the form of consulting services, research assistance, business planning, presentation skills, network exposure and priceless mentoring from influential leaders in the community.
The 2012 participants made social impact in health, workforce development, senior care, STEM education and at-risk youths. TEMPO, a one-stop resource center for young adults, helps advocate and advise 17-24 year olds about employment, health care, housing and everything else that is a part of regular adult life. Cooking Matters instills people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to prepare healthy and affordable meals for their families. The LGBT Aging project ensures that lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender older adults have equal access to benefits and services so that they can age with dignity and respect they deserve. Work Express is a residential and employment program for homeless adults that are committed to getting back on their feet. During the 6-12 month long program, partakers receive transitional help and earn money doing landscaping, cleaning, graffiti removal and apartment rehab jobs. The Science Club for Girls exposes girls to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. By sharing hands-on learning experiences with these K-12 girls, they build confidence and curiosity about exploring career options that might otherwise be unfamiliar to them. Inner-city Weightlifting (ICW) is redefining strength among urban youth by getting them involved at the gym instead of the street. The organization harvests a positive community with academic and career support and influences youth to pursue opportunities outside of gangs.
The 2013 class of Social Innovators will target similar issues and aim to solve complex problems. They were also announced last week at NERD. AgeWell West Roxbury supports the wellbeing of elderly and disabled adults, supporting them and their care givers with social and educational programs that allow them to age in place. GRLZradio is the first of its kind in violence prevention and leadership development for girls. It gives girls a voice in their community, while building a positive identity and learning technical skills. Groundwork Lawrence is using environmental education, employment initiatives, youth education and community events to establish the building blocks for a healthy community and encourage the residents of Lawrence to improve their quality of life. Safe City Academy is a youth violence prevention organization. As part of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative, this team will make social impact via workforce development. Shelter Music Boston expands the access and exposure of classical music by bringing it into homeless shelters.
Congratulations to the 2012 and 2013 Social Innovators. We’re excited to follow your progress and excited to see YOUR impact.