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Boston College School of Social Work
Center for Social Innovation


Center for Social Innovation Symposium 2017: Innovative Solutions in Changemaking

May 5, 2017
8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Walsh Hall

This year's symposium engaged participants in learning about Innovative Solutions in Changemaking. Speakers talked about 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. For more information click: here

Social Innovation Day 2017

APRIL 3, 2017
9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Corcoran Commons, Heights Room

Teams of first-year social work students in the Macro track will gather for a daylong series of presentations and collaborative exercises to apply the concepts they have learned this semester in a hands-on lab. Team members will conceptualize creative and sustainable solutions to societal issues and then present their solutions to a panel of experts for feedback.

CSI Leadership Series: Rich Greif

March 8, 2017

MSW students and their field supervisors came together to learn from Rich Greif, Vice President of Marketing, Communications, and Community Relations at Big Brothers Big Sisters. The focus was on how employees at all levels can help with an organization's external communications and social media presence--and why this is important for advancing an organization's mission. 

Leading for Social Impact Symposium

FEBRUARY 28, 2017


Fulton Hall Honors Library

The symposium will mark the first year of Boston College's new interdisciplinary minor in Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good. We will also celebrate the release of the book Managing for Social Impact: Innovations in Responsible Enterprise, co-edited by Professor Mary Cronin of the Carroll School of Management and Professor Tiziana Dearing, co-director of the Center for Social Innovation. Register here and view event program here

Leadership Lunch with Vetto Casado

JANUARY 20, 2017


The Executive Director of Small Can Be Big, Vetto Casado, sits down to speak with BC social work students. Small Can Be Big provides an online platform for people to do what they always do best in a crisis: help one another. By harnessing the power of small, direct donations, and its online community of donors can make a big difference for families currently living on the edge.

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.

Documentary screening on Social Impact

APRIL 14, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Cushing 208
Documentary screening on Social Impact being led by BC's React to Film and featuring a Skype session with Cara Jones, filmmaker and co-founder of

Leadership Panel With Shea center

APRIL 13, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Murray Room, Yawkey Center

Join students and alumni for a Leadership Panel to celebrate and reflect on the impact that can be achieved from social innovation, and to inspire work and careers in solving complex social issues. Panelist: Daphne Psacharopoulos, SVP, Patients Like Me, Josh Anderson, Executive Director, Recruitment, Teach for America, and Rochelle Webb, President and CMO, Skate Shoe Inc., Member, Pipeline Angels


Social Innovation Day 2016

APRIL 11, 2016

The Social Innovation course has been preparing the students all semester for SID—and on Monday, April 11th, nine student teams will be onsite for a full day of innovation activities. The students’ goal is to develop an innovative solution to the social opportunity/problem they have identified.

Lunch with a Leader: Cindi Bigelow

APRIL 7th, 2016

Before assuming her role as the third generation president and CEO of family-owned Bigelow Tea in 2005, Cindi Bigelow spent 20 years in virtually all areas of the company that her grandmother founded. Cindi is instrumental in expanding Bigelow Tea into new channels while building awareness and brand engagement across social media—all to ensure Bigelow Tea is accessible everywhere, 24/7.

Lunch with a Leader: Elliot Joseph

MARCH 4, 2016

Mr. Joseph, as president and CEO of Hartford HealthCare, has championed the transformation of healthcare delivery to create efficient, high-quality, regional health networks. 

Lunch with Leader: Mark Linton

FEBRUARY 5, 2016

12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Mark is the President of Linton Strategies, LLC, a strategy and policy consulting practice based in Washington, D.C. Before founding Linton Strategies, LLC, Mark served President Barack Obama in a variety of capacities for over nine years, beginning in then-Senator Obama's Washington office.

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.



Leadership Series: Social Media Guidance

APRIL 2017

The most recent session in the BC Center for Social Innovation's Leadership Series, run in partnership with the United Way, featured a new paradigm for the series by which attendees were able to learn from a leading nonprofit practitioner, apply what they learned in practice, report back, and revisit those learnings with the leader in a follow-up forum. Read the blog post here.


Professor Tiziana Dearing, co-director of the Center for Social Innovation, has released a new book Managing for Social Impact: Innovations in Responsible Enterprise, co-edited by Professor Mary Cronin of the BC Carroll School of Management. The book is an Amazon #1 new release in business ethics.

Yolanda Coentro and Tiziana Dearing

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

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!

Change the World Competition

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.

‘Intrapreneurship’ in Social Innovation


Most of the current literature on social innovation is focused on an entrepreneurial path to effecting change – in short, building new organizations to solve social problems. But schools of social work focus much of their work on assisting existing organizations. For this reason, many in the field have either dismissed, or ignored, opportunities to participate in projects related to social innovation.

Professor Tiziana Dearing In Demand as Pope Francis Expert


As the former president of the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston, Associate Professor Tiziana Dearing has a profound knowledge of the inner workings and missions of the Church. This role, in addition to other executive positions such as founder and CEO of the anti-poverty start-up Boston Rising, has also helped to shape her exceptional understanding of poverty in America.

It’s no surprise, then, that Dearing was a much sought after voice in the media during Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States. Over the course of about a week’s time, Dearing appeared on national television news and radio, the nation’s major newspapers, and across various online outlets. Dearing offered her unique perspective as a female Catholic leader speaking expertly on the Pope’s messages and work, particularly with regards to poverty, inequality, and Catholic Social Teaching. Here’s a recap of a few of those many appearances.

Power of Place


Innovation flourishes in spaces where the mind is encouraged to run and jump and play, where collaborators become catalysts, and where serious research breaks new ground. At BC Social Work all that is happening, and more—in three stimulating environments.

Throughout the course of this magazine, you’ve heard from innovators who inhabit new arenas in social work, finding novel ways, as Dean Godenzi wrote, “to effect change at tables and in spaces across the globe.” At BC Social Work, our points of entry may differ—we are social workers, neuroscientists, public health scholars, social entrepreneurs, sociologists, managers, clinicians and executives, practitioners and researchers—but our motivation is the same: to build a more just world.

Chile Innovation Team

How Do You Innovate at a Prison?


This student-authored blog chronicles a BCSSW course, where, in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catόlica de Chile (PUC), students assessed mother-child attachment in Chile’s largest women’s prison.

Stephanie Berzin

Summer Travels with the Boston College Social Work Faculty


Stephanie Berzin led a unique course in conjunction with the Pontificia Universidad Catolica designed to get students engaged in a collaborative innovation project focused on a women’s prison in the capital city of Santiago. Follow the experience of four BCSSW MSW students on their blog The Chilean Context: Exploring and Analyzing Visitation and Mother-Child Attachment in a Santiago Female Prison.

The Social Innovation Collaborative in Santiago, Chile

JULY 2015

In partnership with 3 human service agencies in Santiago and Pontifica Universidad Católica of Chile, the CSI facilitated a two-week Social Innovation Collaborative. Throughout the collaborative, student teams from both universities partnered with the agencies to address specific issues previously identified by the agencies.

Photo of BC and PUC Universities

Chile Innovation Collaborative: Expanding Opportunities for Students

MAY 6, 2015

Last fall, the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College began a partnership with Pontifica Universidad Catόlica in Chile to engage in a collaborative innovation project involving faculty, students, and Chilean NGOs. This July, the collaboration will enter its final stage as a group of 12 BC students travel to Santiago, Chile. Continue Reading»

Panel at Innovation Symposium

Center Hosts First Annual Social Innovation Symposium

MAY 1, 2015

The Center for Social Innovation held its first annual Social Innovation Symposium, focusing on innovative strategies to address economic injustice. Through a combination of panel discussions, workshops, and bump & spark activities, the symposium highlighted the influence of the built environment, access to assets, and social capital on fostering economic justice. Continue Reading»

A Day to Innovate: 4th Annual Social Innovation Day

APRIL 10, 2015

During our Fourth Annual Social Innovation Day, students from the School of Social Work once again assumed the challenge of engineering new solutions to complex issues. To prepare, students came equipped with a substantial amount of research and understanding of social issues, which included human trafficking, food justice, and sexual assault. What resulted from the day is nothing short of solutions with potential for high impact and innovation. Continue Reading»

Also read about SI Day in The Chronicle»

BCSSW Students Innovate their Way into Finals of Clinton Global Initiative Competition

MARCH 26, 2015

This Spring, a trio of current BCSSW MSW students showed that they’re already innovating in unique ways, and flexing enough collective muscle to be recognized by two of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to social innovation: the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Hult Prize Foundation. Dana Loatman, Greg Cassoli and Stephanie Brueck, along with colleagues from the Lynch School of Education and the Carroll School of Management, were named regional finalists in the annual Hult Prize Foundation $1 Million Social Enterprise Competition. This was a prestigious commendation; out of 20,000 entrants worldwide, only 300 made the regionals. Continue Reading on the Innovate Blog»