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Boston College School of Social Work
Center for Social Innovation


Center Hosts First Annual Social Innovation Symposium

Panel at 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. 


To bring these topics to life, the Center invited three  outstanding leaders to share their passion and expertise. These speakers included:

  • On access to assets: Jesus Gerena, Director at the Family Independence Initiative, Boston.
  • On the built environment: Steve Poftak, Executive Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard University.
  • On social capital: Talia Rivera, Member Relations Director at the Council on Foundations.


To tie the all the lessons from the workshops together, Fernande Raine, Director, Northeast at Ashoka, synthesized the activities from the day and facilitated a panel discussion with the leaders. As noted by one of the participants, one of the biggest takeaway messages from the day was the influence of innovative interventions in promoting economic justice by acting in various ecosystems such as personal networks and the built environment. 


The Center would like to give a special thank you to the Macro Student group for playing a key role in the organizing and execution of the symposium. As one participant noted, "Their collective efforts made for an eye-opening and compelling event."


See videos from the Social Innovation Symposium on the Innovate Blog