Skip to main content
Boston College School of Social Work
Center for Social Innovation


Questions for Yolanda Coentro



In partnership with the United Way, BCSSW’s Center for Social Innovation launched a Speaker Series held at a shared space in Boston’s Seaport. The Series’ second speaker was Yolanda Coentro, the president and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, whose mission is to “equip nonprofit executives and middle managers with the skills needed to strengthen their organizations.” We sat down with Yolanda after the series to ask her a few questions about Social Innovation. Check it out here!

Questions for a Social Innovator



This fall, in partnership with the United Way, BCSSW’s Center for Social Innovation launched a Speaker Series. The series has been designed to bring together BCSSW field supervisors with MSW students in a forum where they can hear from innovative nonprofit practitioners, and then share what they’ve learned with each other in real time. The Series’ first speaker was Ed Frechette, Chief Innovation Officer at UTEC, a Lowell-based organization whose mission is to “ignite and nurture the ambition of proven-risk youth to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success.”    Click Here for some of his thoughts on Social Innovation.

IF Challenge Winners Announced!



The IF Challenge to end homelessness announced its winners on September 22, 2016. Three organizations won a combined $55,000 to implement their innovative ideas: Children's Healthwatch, HomeStart, and the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership. Curious what they came up with? Come check out their solutions!

If Challenge in the News!



The partnership of the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College and the United Way for the IF Challenge to end homelessness was recently featured in Mass Nonprofit News. Check out the article here!

Forbes Under 30 "Change the World" Competition



The Center for Social Innovation at the Boston College School of Social Work and the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship at BC's Carroll School of Management have been chosen as the official academic partners for the Forbes $1 million Global Change the World pitch competition. Boston College students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in screening applications.

Collaborative Innovation: 5th Annual Social Innovation Day

APRIL 2016

Congratulations to all of our student groups who participated in our fifth Annual Social Innovation Day. Once again, teams of first-year social work students in the Macro: Social Innovation and Leadership (SIL) assumed the challenge of innovation and created new solutions to multiple complex issues. Over the course of the day, students participated in an idea fair, team scenario building, and rapid prototyping in order to determine the best solution for their team’s social problem. Students came equipped with a substantial amount of research and understanding of social issues, which included human trafficking, criminal justice, and immigration. 

Continued Innovation Collaborative with Pontifica Universidad Catόlica in Chile

APRIL 2016

CSI has continued its partnership with Pontifica Universidad Catόlica (PUC) in Chile. In 2015, the partnership brought eleven students to Chile for a Social Innovation Lab. The collaboration focused on student participation in the innovation process and leveraged the cross-cultural expertise of the two universities. To strengthen this cross-cultural partnership, the BCSSW and CSI hosted representatives from PUC. The representatives were Carolina Muñoz-Guzman, Director School of Social Work, Paula Miranda social work faculty member, and Constanza Ramirez Morales, social work student.

Innovation: The BCSSW Field Experience

APRIL 2016

The Center for Social Innovation and the Social Innovation and Leadership program (SIL) was developed to train social work students to enhance the growing field of social innovation by combining the practice of entrepreneurship with traditional empathy-building skills taught in social work. In order to better understand this experience, we would like to highlight some of the experiences outside the classroom and inside the social work field.

BCSSW to Collaborate with the White House on Research Initiative

MARCH 2016

Boston College School of Social Work professors Tiziana Dearing and David Takeuchi were at the White House on Monday for the launch of the Obama Administration’s new initiative, Expanding Opportunity with Open Data on Building Stronger Ladders of Opportunity: A White House Demo, a program for which BCSSW will serve as an initial academic research partner.

Three Questions for a Social Work Leader with Hartford HealthCare CEO Elliot Joseph

MARCH 2016

Elliot Joseph is president and CEO of Hartford HealthCare. According to his official bio, Joseph has “championed the transformation of healthcare delivery to create efficient, high-quality, regional health networks. Throughout his career, he has focused on reshaping healthcare organizations through the building of regional integrated delivery systems and creating and sustaining organizational cultures that reward innovation, accountability and engagement in service to patients and families.”


BCSSW Welcomes Former Obama Administration Official Mark Linton as Spring 2016 Visiting Fellow

January 2016

Mark Linton has built an impressive career as a leader in advocating for social change. During nine years on the staff of Senator and then President Barack Obama, he has served in various leadership roles, including as Acting Chief of Staff for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and asExecutive Director of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities.


Why Social Work?


The end of a calendar year can be a good time to reflect on where we are in our lives, and where we would like to go. Recently, members of the BCSSW Macro Social Work Student Group gathered to do just this, in a new workshop convened by Professors Tiziana Dearing and Margaret Lombe entitled “Remembering Your Why.”


3 Questions for a Leader


The former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch, made newswhen he started his own, novel variety of market called Daily Table, his solution to better serve the poor and to reduce food waste.

A not-for-profit retail store, Daily Table’s mission is to “help communities make great choices around food by making it easy for them to choose tasty, healthy, convenient, and truly affordable meals and groceries” in a “respectful manner that honors our customer, engendering dignity.” Daily Table is able to do this in its first location, in the Dorchester section of Boston, by providing both ready-to-eat meals priced to compete with fast food shops, and grocery items at prices well below average.

This November, Rauch visited BC Social Work to share his expertise with students as the latest featured guest in the school’s Leadership Speakers Luncheon Series

Social Enterprise in Action


This fall, Professor Seymour Friedland is engaging students in real life consulting opportunities with three pioneering social enterprises. Instead of using fictional programs and creating fictional business plans, the class was divided into three groups to support current organization. With these organizations, each group is creating an applied business plans. The goal is to give students a chance to see the interworking of a social enterprise while helping it to move forward a social and business savvy way.

City Awake Collaboration


The Center for Social Innovation and City Awake collaborated on bringing Professor Michael Omi to BCSSW on November 9th. City Awake works to "unite and empower the Boston community" through its second annual City Awake Festival for Social Impact. Through collaborations with organizations and institutions City Awake provides over 50 programs for social impact over 10 days. CSI was excited to be part of this collaboration and invite the community in for a conversation on Racial Formation and the Future of Racial Theory with Michael Omi. 

Michael Omi Visit to BC


On November 9, from 5-6:30 p.m. in McGuinn Auditorium, the prominent sociologist Michael Omi will speak at BCSSW on the third edition of his groundbreaking and classic book Racial Formation in the United States. First published in 1986, but substantially revised and re-released this year, the book provides a transformative venue for discussing the social construction and politics of race. During this event, Omi will discuss what’s “new” in the new edition, consider contemporary events through the lens of racial formation theory, and reflect on future trends in racial theory. All within the Boston College community are encouraged to attend.


Center for Social Innovation Symposium 2017: Innovative Solutions In Changemaking

CSI Symposium

May 5, 2017
8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Walsh Hall, Function Room

See maps and directions

See parking rates and information

Register for the Symposium

The Symposium Objective was to engage participants in learning about Innovative Solutions in Changemaking. This year's focus was on social enterprise as a driver of industry change, the pursuit of change within government, and the role of collaborative financing in driving systems-level change. 

Event participants included students, faculty, alumni, and field supervisors associated with BC Social Work, as well as members of the Boston nonprofit community.


8:30 – 9:00
Arrival & Breakfast

Welcome, Stephanie Berzin

Opening Remarks, Kelly Nowlin, Mistress of Ceremonies

Innovative Solutions in Changemaking through Social Enterprise

Speaker, Jon Feinman, Executive Director and Founder, InnerCity Weightlifting


Innovative Solutions in Changemaking within Government

Speaker, Nigel Jacob, Co-Founder of the Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston



Innovative Solutions in Changemaking through Collaborative Financing

Speaker, Michael Durkin, President and CEO, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimac Valley

11:20 5        

Panel Discussion, moderated by Kelly Nowlin

11:55 – 12:00       
Closing Remarks, Tiziana Dearing