Introducing the Social Innovators of 2010 – and how you can help

Posted by Kiki Mills on Wed, Apr 21, 2010

Social Innovation ForumIn partnership with MITX, the Social Innovation Forum will be holding its annual Showcase on May 4 from 5:30-9:00pm at Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. Through a rigorous six-month evaluation process, six Social Innovators were selected to present at the Showcase.

As a reward for their selection, the Innovators (below) receive several in-kind services, including executive coaching, graphic design assistance, and presentation coaching. This is where you come in! Lending your expertise in web design, marketing strategy, social media, or tech support is an exciting opportunity to give back to the community, team build, and promote your organization's reputation.

Check out the Social Innovators and the social issues they are working to solve. If you are at all interested, please contact me at

Playworks vision is that one day, every child in America will have access to safe, healthy play, recognizing that play creates valuable opportunities for children to grow physically, emotionally and socially. Playworks places full-time, well-trained adult "coaches" in low-income, urban elementary schools to teach and organize games and physical activities before, during, and after school. Its five-component play and physical activity curriculum is guaranteed to physically engage children so they return to the classroom more focused and ready to learn. This year Playworks will place coaches in 22 schools in Boston, Cambridge and Revere impacting 5,000 children daily.

The mission of The My Life My Choice Project (MLMC) is to decrease the incidence and severity of girls being victimized within the commercial sex industry, with a focus on the Greater Boston area. To this end, MLMC provides a continuum of prevention, victim identification, and intervention services. MLMC offers provider training, prevention groups, case coordination, and survivor mentoring to victims of exploitation. Since 2002, MLMC has reached over 300 girls and over 1500 providers, in Massachusetts and nationally, in a variety of locations including group homes, juvenile detention facilities, child protective services offices, schools, and other community based settings.

Generations Incorporated engages active older adults in results-driven intergenerational programs that inspire students and improve schools. Our programs generate strong relationships between older adults and students that get results and make a difference in both of their lives. As an affiliate of Experience Corps, we deliver nationally recognized, sustainable programs to Greater Boston public schools. Each year, we engage over 300 older adults as mentors and literacy tutors to elementary school children. Our volunteers serve weekly in one of our 12 partner schools or afterschool programs, achieving strong mentoring relationships, tangible improvements in student literacy, and benefits to their mental and physical health.

Project Hope's Employer Partnerships & Workforce Development program prepares low-income residents of Boston, particularly the impoverished Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods, for mid- and entry-level employment in the health care field through partnerships with the area's largest hospitals. Employer Partnerships serves 175 people each year, primarily single mothers who support their families while earning just over $10,000 each year. These residents need a pathway out of poverty, and Employer Partnerships' job training fills this critical community need. Through classroom instruction, job placement services, and case management, Employer Partnerships ensures participants have the skills and supports necessary to obtain and retain employment and achieve self-sufficiency.

Home & Healthy for Good (HHG) translates the goal of ending homelessness into strategic action. As the Commonwealth's only statewide Housing First initiative, HHG has provided housing with supportive services to more than 380 individuals since 2006. HHG has proven that it is possible to find permanent homes - not just emergency shelter beds - for the poorest and most disabled segment of the homeless population, chronically homeless individuals. Since its inception, Home & Healthy for Good has led the housing revolution in Massachusetts, moving the Commonwealth closer to a humane, efficient and cost-effective solution to homelessness.

Medicine Wheel Productions (MWP) is an arts organization dedicated to the production of site-specific public art installations, both intimate and large-scaled, that invite people to use art as threshold, gaining awareness of self, community and the human condition. As part of the organizations commitment to true inclusion, young adults with court involvement, addiction issues and other risks are involved in all aspects of the art as performers, managers, in production and as public emissaries. MWP public art projects range from the local to international: No Man's Land has transformed blighted land in South Boston into a public art park; The Tonnes, is a post peace project in Ireland inviting communities along the border into dialogue through art.

We look forward to learning even more about these great organizations at the Social Innovation Forum. If you already know them well - tell us about them! Comment below with your stories, impressions and/or thoughts.