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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.


Lunch with an Entrepreneur featuring George Zaloom

DECEMBER 1, 2016


Cushing Hall, Room 208

Join the Shea Center for lunch with BC alum, Alex Moulle-Berteaux! Hear about his journey as an entrepreneur, engage in a lively discussion, and network with Alex & fellow students interested in entrepreneurship.

WIN Alumni Networking Dinner

NOVEMBER 29, 2016


Join Boston College's Women Innovators Network in their final networking event of the semester. Diane Hessan, Chairman of C Space and former CEO of Startup Institute, will be featured.

Please RSVP

Lunch with an Entrepreneur: Richard Gavegnano

NOVEMBER 16, 2016


Join the Shea Center for lunch with East Boston Savings Bank President and CEO, Richard Gavegnano! Hear about his journey as an entrepreneur, engage in a lively discussion, and network with Richard & fellow students interested in entrepreneurship.

Turning Power Ideas into Meaningful Change

NOVEMBER 11, 2016


Jolene Hernon (Communications Director, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice) and Jessica Shaw (Assistant Professor, Boston College School of Social Work) explore how to communicate complex ideas in simple ways. Attendees are invited to grapple with how to translate their own work so that it can be put to use. RSVP is required.

GIS Workshop

OCTOBER 20, 2016


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) workshop with Professor Samantha Texeira and the Social Work Library staff.

Forbes "Change the World" Competition

OCTOBER 16-19, 2016

Winners of the Change the World Competition will be announced at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

Nonprofit Leadership

OCTOBER 5, 2016

CSI welcomes Ed Frechette, the Chief Innovation Officer of UTEC, to our office at the United Way for the first in our Nonprofit Leadership Innovation series. 

Winners of IF Challenge Breakfast

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016


Winners of the IF Challenge, a competition created through a partnership with CSI and the United Way Mass Bay, will be announced. 


MAY 6, 2016


The Center for Social Innovation, CSI co-directors Professors Stephanie Berzin and Tiziana Dearing, and the BCSSW Macro Student Group are hosting its 2nd annual Boston College School of Social Work Innovation Symposium. The symposium will bring together four leading Boston-area innovators to share what they've learned in an interactive format.
The event is open to students, faculty, alumni, and field supervisors associated with BC Social Work, as well as members of the Boston nonprofit community.

Place, Practice, and Power

APRIL 21, 2016


MARK LINTON is the President of Linton Strategies, a strategy and policy consulting practice based in Washington, DC, and a Visiting Fellow of BCSSW's Research and Innovations in Social, Economic and Environmental Equity (RISE) and the Center for Social Innovation.  Linton will reflect on his experience working with some of America's most iconic cities as they charted their own paths for economic and community development.

Lunch with Leader: Doug Rauch

NOVEMBER 13, 2015

11:50 am–1:00 pm


Doug Rauch is the President and Founder of Daily Table, which aims to make delicious, wholesome and affordable food available to all communities. Through their non-profit retail store, Daily Table sells quality prepared meals at affordable prices along with produce and other grocery items to the Dorchester community. The event seating is limited to 10 seats, and sign-up will be on a first come, first-served basis until the 10 seats are filled. 



Thursday, November 12, 2015

1:00 – 2:00 pm S361 Stokes Hall


Student Presenters: Elyse Casey, Katherine Germak, Julia MacMahon, and Alissa Marchant

HOW CAN SUSTAINABLE CHANGE be implemented in an environment such as a prison entrenched with rigid procedures and hierarchical barriers? Four BCSSW students aimed to combat that challenge this summer as they worked at the largest women’s prison in Chile, with the goal of improving mother-child attachment. 



November 9th, 2015



Racial Formation and the Future of Racial Theory 

Michael Omi is a Sociologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.  He is also Associate Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society that brings together scholars, policy makers, and stakeholders to eliminate barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society.


Lunch with Leader: Rebecca Jackson-Garcia

OCTOBER 2, 2015

11:50 am–1:00 pm


Rebecca Jackson-Garcia is the Associate Director of Training at Trinity Boston Counseling Center. The Trinity Boston Counseling Center provides mental health services to individuals and families with an emphasis on issues of high-risk youth, poverty, violence, and social or economic injustice. The event seating is limited to 10 seats, and sign-up will be on a first come, first-served basis until the 10 seats are filled. 

CSI Hosts Social Enterprise Delegation from Thailand




The CSI will be hosting an exchange with a group of social entrepreneurs and business leaders from Thailand working to promote social enterprise and corporate social responsibility in their country. The annual exchange is part of a collaboration with WorldBoston, a local World Affairs Council working with the U.S. Department of State to coordinate public diplomacy and professional exchange programs for visiting leaders from around the world.

Social Innovation Symposium: Innovative Solutions for Economic Justice

MAY 1, 2015


Murray Room, Yawkey Center


The CSI is hosting its inaugural Boston College School of Social Work Innovation Symposium. The symposium will bring together three leading Boston-area innovators who are advancing practice in their fields to discuss their approaches in a dynamic, interactive workshop format. The focus of this year's symposium is to develop innovative solutions for economic justice - a key issue of our time. More info»


Click here to register

Co-director Tiziana Dearing speaks on WBZ “NightSide with Dan Rea”

APRIL 15, 2015


Listen to the CBS Boston radio program as Co-Director Tiziana Dearing speaks about the recent police shooting of Walter Scott. Listen to the full interview and caller Q&A HERE

4th Annual Social Innovation Day

APRIL 7, 2015

2:30-5:00PM, Barat House (Newton Campus)


Social Innovation Day 2015 will give Social Innovation and Leadership students an opportunity to engage in social innovation firsthand.Through interactive experiences and activities, students will develop their own innovative solutions to social issues. Join us as they present their prototypes to judges and audience.

Center Co-Director, Tiziana Dearing, Presents: Power in Philanthropy--Lessons of Failure and Success

Monday, March 30, 2015

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

130 Royall Street, Canton, MA


Center Co-Director, Tiziana Dearing will be presenting on the lessons she learned as the former CEO of Boston Rising. Her presentation will emphasize lessons in risk and philanthropy, explore concepts around power dynamics in giving, examine the role of "choice and control" in social change, and outline a vision for effective philanthropy rooted in trust and reciprocity. R.S.V.P to Talia Rivera at

Co-Director Dearing Discusses Income Inequality on Radio Boston

MARCH 23, 2015


In the wake of the US Conference of Mayors, listen to Center Co-Director, Tiziana Dearing, discuss ways in which the mayors of Boston, New York and Seattle can take action on addressing income inequality and grow the middle class. LISTEN HERE

WGBH Panel discussion on Participatory Budgeting

MARCH 19, 2015


Center Co-Director, Tiziana Dearing, joins Cambridge City Councilor, Nadeem Mazen and Founder of Conservative Women for a Better Future, Jennifer Nassour to discuss the benefits and challenges of participatory budgeting in Cambridge, MA. Watch the discussion here

Dr. Berzin as Keynote Speaker at the Root Cause Social Innovation Forum Speaker Series


8:30am – 10:00am


Center Co-Director, Dr. Stephanie Berzin will be the keynote speaker at the Root Cause Social Innovation Forum Speaker Series, which will be taking place at The Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation. The title of Dr. Berzin's presentation is Lifting Up Youth Living in Poverty. Learn more about Root Cause


BC at Ashoka U Exchange

FEBRUARY 26-28, 2015


Dr. Stephanie Berzin will represent BC at the annual Ashoka U Exchange at the University of Maryland, joining the other 29 Ashoka U Changemaker universities. Dr. Berzin will be joining academic and nonprofit leaders in a discussion on university partnerships. For more information, visit The Exchange website.

Lunch with Leader: Chrismaldi Vasques

JANUARY 23, 2015
11:50 am–1:00 pm


Chrismaldi Vasques is Associate Director of Family Independence Initiative, Boston, which leverages the power of information to support economic and social mobility. FII is proving that documenting and investing in the initiative and ingenuity of low-income families and communities is the most effective way forward. The event seating is limited to 10 seats, and sign-up will be on a first come, first-served basis until the 10 seats are filled. Please email to reserve a seat.


Berzin Presents on Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Society for Social Work and Research Conference

JANUARY 14-18, 2015


The annual SSWR conference will focus on 'The Social and Behavioral Importance of Increased Longevity,' and will feature over 500 symposia, workshop, roundtable, paper and poster presentations. Held in New Orleans, the conference will feature the latest in quantitative and qualitative research on issues including social innovation and entrepreneurship, child welfare, aging, mental health, welfare reform, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS.


For more information visit the SSWR Conference Webpage