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Dear Reader,

As we continue sharing the tools and knowledge of social innovations across the globe, we are honored to present this edition titled: Social Innovation’s Ecosystem in Mexico. We’d like to thank and recognize the Center for High Impact Social Innovation (CISAI) for their partnership that made this edition possible. CISAI, as with many international organizations, is the result of academic and research institutions joining forces with public institutions. CISAI seeks to contribute to social justice through social innovation and consolidation of the social innovation ecosystem. CISAI defines innovation within the context provided by Phills and Deiglmeier1 of the Stanford Business School as a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.    

In this edition, the reader will find initiatives promoted by civil society organizations, social enterprises, start-ups, public agencies, and universities with a great diversity of topics. We encourage you to read the introduction article to this edition as it provides a macro context to the social innovations movement within Mexico. 

In every developing social innovations ecosystem we find social innovators, those individuals, groups, collectives, start-ups, civic communities, that generate, share, and promote new ideas and ways of doing and thinking. These social innovators, despite institutional, policy, or societal barriers, continue to press for change on behalf of the greater society. Yet, many of these social innovators experience limited success because fertile ground for their ideas to take root doesn’t yet exist. 

To facilitate greater progress, defined as more social innovation ideas taking root, regional leaders are investing in the development of ecosystems as they realize that working in isolation will not help social innovation take hold. The emerging theory, based upon our recent ecosystem publications, is that through investment in strong cross sector (government, private, not-for-profit) ecosystems, social innovation ideas find rich soil to grow. To accomplish cross sector ecosystem development regions are investing in the creation of communities where key players can network in person and utilize technology-connecting platforms. This trend recognizes the value of social innovators and is creating avenues for individuals to connect within all levels of public, private, and not-for-profit institutions. We witnessed this trend in the Asia edition and see it confirmed in the Mexico edition. 

At the Social Innovations Journal, we believe the potential of good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated. As we attempted to focus this edition on Mexico’s social innovations we learned that every obstacle we encountered lost its power in the face of the irrepressible force of shared knowledge and ideas, and resulted, organically, with good ideas finding their own way to the surface to accomplish social impact and inspire more good ideas.  

Yours in Innovation,

Nicholas Torres 

Tine Hansen-Turton


1 Phills Jr., Deiglmeier, Miller, Rediscovering Social Innovation, (Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2008) 

Estimado Lector, 

Continuando con nuestra misión de compartir instrumentos de innovación social y conocimiento a través del planeta, tenemos el honor de presentarles esta edición titulada: Ecosistema de Innovación Social en México. Nos gustaría agradecer y hacer un reconocimiento especial al CISAI (Centro de Innovación Social de Alto Impacto) por su colaboración para hacer que, con su alianza, esta edición fuera posible. El CISAI, al igual que otras organizaciones internacionales, es el resultado de la unión de fuerzas de instituciones académicas y de investigación con instituciones públicas. CISAI busca contribuir con el logro de una justicia social a través de innovaciones sociales y la consolidación de un ecosistema de innovación social. El CISAI define la innovación dentro del contexto proporcionado por Phills y Deiglmeier1 de Stanford Business School como una solución novedosa a un problema social que es más efectiva, eficiente, y sustentable en comparación con otras soluciones existentes y que generan primordialmente un valor público a favor de la sociedad en su conjunto más que a una instancia privada. 

En esta edición, el lector encontrará iniciativas promovidas por organizaciones de la sociedad civil, empresas sociales, start-ups, agencias públicas y universidades con una gran diversidad de temas. Los invitamos a leer el artículo de introducción a esta edición ya que proporciona un contexto macro del movimiento de innovaciones sociales en México.  

En cada ecosistema de innovación social en desarrollo encontramos innovadores sociales en cabeza de personas, grupos, entes colectivos, start-ups, comunidades civiles, que están generando, compartiendo y promoviendo sus ideas y nuevas formas de actuar y de pensar. Estos innovadores sociales, a pesar de las barreras institucionales, sociales y de políticas públicas, continúan presionando por un cambio en nombre de la Sociedad en general. Sin embargo, muchos de esos innovadores sociales experimentan un éxito limitado porque aún no existe un terreno fértil para que sus ideas tomen raíces. 

Con el fin de facilitar un mayor progreso, definido como más ideas de innovación social que toman raíces, líderes regionales están invirtiendo en el desarrollo de ecosistemas ya que se han dado cuenta de que trabajando de manera aislada no logra que las innovaciones sociales crezcan y se consoliden. La teoría emergente, basada en nuestras recientes publicaciones de ecosistemas, es que a través de una inversión en fuertes ecosistemas transversales (gobierno, sector privado, y organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro) las ideas de innovación social pueden encontrar terreno fértil y enraizarse. Para lograrlo, las regiones con ecosistemas transversales en desarrollo están invirtiendo en la creación de comunidades en donde los actores claves pueden formar redes personalmente y usando las plataformas tecnológicas de conexión. Esta tendencia reconoce el valor de los innovadores sociales y está creando caminos para que las personas se conecten en todos los niveles público, privado y entre las instituciones sin ánimo de lucro. Hemos sido testigos de esta tendencia en la edición sobre Asia y lo vemos confirmado en la edición de México.  

En el Social Innovations Journal, creemos que el potencial de buenas ideas para inspirar nuevas ideas no puede ser subestimado. Tal como ocurrió en la edición de Innovaciones Sociales de México, aprendimos que cada obstáculo encontrado en el camino pierde su poder frente a la incontenible fuerza que genera compartir conocimiento e ideas, dando como resultado que, orgánicamente, las buenas ideas encuentran su propio camino hacia la luz para cumplir su misión e inspirar más nuevas ideas.  


De ustedes en la innovación, 

Nicholas Torres 

Tine Hansen-Turton


1 Phills Jr., Deiglmeier, Miller, Rediscovering Social Innovation, (Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2008) 

"Private donors -- many of whom have gained unprecedented personal wealth in recent years -- dread the endless cycle of fundraising pitches. While they might aspire to do world-changing work through their philanthropy, there isn’t a ready market for breakthrough ideas that they can tap into. So, it’s no surprise that many with the means and the heart to give big end up doing less than they dream of doing. And it’s why some of the world’s best-positioned change-makers, both doers and funders, feel forced to give up on their biggest dreams, and the possibility of creating truly audacious change is left underexplored." 

The Audacious Project

Dear Reader,

Across the globe there has been a rapid rise in the number of social sector innovators and entrepreneurs who want to find innovative ways to solve, or move the needle on, society’s problems. They are increasingly deploying the methods of business and private capital, if that helps them to do so. However, “despite the growing interest and commitment by stakeholders, there exists a gap between funders and Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs)...the common feedback is a struggle by funders to identify the right SPOs.”1

In Asia, “while governments have a vital role to play, it is increasingly the private sector that is stepping up to tackle the challenges of inequality and poverty.” To address these challenges, AVPN is leading a regional strategy by convening a diverse group of social investors and providing them with a platform to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. The Deal Share Platform reinforces AVPN’s work to increase the flow of financial, intellectual, and human capital towards greater social impact in the sector. We find this strategy confirmed by other international markets that are creating spaces of encounter for academia, government, the private sector, and civil society dialogue to enable collaboration and the development of new cross organizational investment models. Internationally, we see the need for new spaces led by social enterprises that seek a community of practice with their peers to share sector-based knowledge concerning evaluation, finances, funding, and sponsors; hiring and diversity; and mentorship from those enterprises that have achieved scale and offer transparent spaces to share their models with interested investors. 

In addition, actors in the Social Innovation and Enterprise industry are concluding that social innovation and social enterprise, while achieving better social impact goals, need to engage in the world of public policy and systems change. Although social innovation and enterprise are sparking change, large-scale change often can only be achieved through national, state, and local policy changes that embrace innovation and new social sector models. Social Enterprises need to be Social Capital Agents as they are motivated by social good and are there for the long-term. They foster, formulate, perform, and evaluate society’s policies that are in the furtherance of public good. 

The current status is evident, and though difficult, a path forward has been laid out. By creating spaces of encounter for academia, state, the private sector, and civil society the next steps towards more sustainable and innovative models and necessary policy change are crystal clear.

We hope you read the articles (highlighted below) in this publication to gain a sense of the promise and future of Asia’s evolving Social Sector.


Nicholas Torres 
Tine Hansen-Turton


Kevin Teo
Managing Director of Knowledge Center

1 Teo, Joy (2018). AVPN Deal Share, Bridging Social Investments.  Social Innovations Journal

Article SummariesThe Ecosystem of Asia in 2018


Deal Share -- Bridging Social Investments
By: Joy Teo, Senior Deal Share Associate, AVPN


Despite the growing interest in social investments in Asia, there exists a resource disconnect between funders and Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs). To this end, AVPN was established to foster multi-sector collaborations for social investments in Asia through convening engagements, including the Deal Share and our annual AVPN conference. Through these engagements, it is evident that there is immense potential for different types of resource providers and SPOs to work closely together to deliver social impact. While governments have a vital role to play, it is increasingly the private sector that is stepping up to tackle the challenges of income inequality and poverty. In this article, we explore how resource providers are building multi sector collaborations with SPOs, and the role that AVPN plays in fostering these partnerships.


The Tata Mumbai Marathon -- India’s Biggest Social Impact Fundraising Platform
By: George J Aikara, Chief Operating Officer, United Way Mumbai

The Mumbai Marathon (TMM) is India’s biggest philanthropy platform. Over the years, through a carefully managed charity structure, the event has been built as an enabler for hundreds of nonprofits to build relationships and raise funds for their causes. During its 15-year history, the TMM has raised above 230 Crores (USD 35.4 million) for 564 nonprofits. Annually, the event raises above Rs 34 Crores (USD 5.28 million) and with a 4.3 percent fundraising cost, it is the most effective and efficient fundraising platform for NGOs. As the event’s philanthropic partner, United Way Mumbai has three objectives for participating non-profits: 1.) Help the non-profits raise funds from the event in an impartial, fair, and cause neutral manner; 2.) Build the capacities of the non-profits through processes, training, sharing practices, and continuous support.; and 3.) Increase visibility of the causes and facilitate the building of relationships between donors and the non-profit. This article provides insight on how the TMM event has evolved into a win-win platform and a key enabler of relationships between non-profits and potential donors, fundraisers, and corporate supporters.


The OneSky Factory Model
By: Diana Chiu, Director of Development, Asia at OneSky

The OneSky Early Learning Center (ELC) in Da Nang, Vietnam is the first of its kind -- a demonstration center for best practices in early childhood care and education (ECCE) for the children of factory workers. Built in collaboration with Vietnam’s Department of Education and Training, the ELC serves as a hub for a multi-pronged model designed to provide early childhood care and education, as well as home-based daycare provider training, parenting classes, and online learning opportunities. ELC is helping care and educate more than 10,000 children under the age of seven whose parents labor in the Hoa Khanh Industrial Zone's factories. In this article, the key factors that have contributed to the successful launch of OneSky for all children's Factory Model are examined.


An Innovative Approach to an Ancient Problem
By: Samuel Glatman, Founder, Ko Shwe Ventures Pte. Ltd.

There are more than 600 million betel chewers across Asia. Most betel chewers are low-income and spend a significant proportion of their household income on betel quid (7.5-10 percent on average). Chewing betel causes a wide-range of serious oral health issues, from severe staining and sensitivity, to chronic inflammation, to a pre-malignant inflammatory disease called Oral Sub Mucous Fibrosis, and even oral cancer. Ko Shwe Ventures has developed the world’s first affordable oral health care products specifically targeted towards betel chewer health issues. In Myanmar there are more than 150,000 betel shops that rely almost entirely on the sale of betel, and Ko Shwe Ventures is using its products to improve the incomes of betel sellers, by supporting diversification away from total reliance on betel sales. To date. Ko Shwe has built a network of more than 6,000 retailers that reach more than one million betel chewers per day.


Diagnostic Testing for the Poor: The Story of Biosense
By: Bradley Kopsick, Myanmar Country Manager, Insitor Management

In India, rural populations face difficulties in obtaining accurate and affordable healthcare. Simple diagnostic testing can be difficult to obtain, with patients needing to travel long distances and spending significant resources to attain help. Biosense, a company founded in India, provides increased access, convenience, and affordable diagnostic solutions through low-cost and low-resource, point-of-care diagnostic tools. In order to more accurately diagnose and combat anemia, Biosense developed a pioneering product, the ToucHb. The ToucHb is a non-invasive test for anemia that measures hemoglobin levels in mothers and children living in low-resource areas without the use of a needle. Biosense has also developed several other core product offerings, including uChek, a routine urinalysis and microalbuminuria device; and SYNC, a diabetes-screening device that enables self-monitoring of blood glucose levels. Biosense uses these products, as well as key relationships with prominent health institutions, to have a large impact on the delivery of affordable healthcare screening for low-income patients.


Invest for Wellness (i4We) -- Unlocking Primary Healthcare Value
Shiv Kumar, Founder, Swasti Health Catalyst, Co-Founder, Catalyst Group.

Invest for Wellness (i4We), incubated by the Catalyst Group, is a self-funded, primary health care innovation, which combines health and wealth interventions, and focuses on wellness for the poor in an affordable, quality assured, and scalable way. The program ensures local primary care for members, navigates them through a range of existing secondary and tertiary providers (where required), and uses a blended financing model. This article explores the i4We model that combines medical, behavioral, and social science with an appropriate mix of technology and health financing. i4We is currently delivered in four settings including urban, rural, factories, and sex workers’ collectives. With five revenue streams, comprised of interest spread on inter-lending among members, the sale of health products, fees for citizenry services, and the sale of insurance and direct sponsorship of ultra-poor families’ health. These along with a start-up capital grant ramp of three to five years enables i4We to break even and be self-sufficient.


Impact Intervention: A New Approach for Victoria’s Support of Resource Recovery
By: Christopher Lane, Investment Lead, Sustainability Victoria

Government intervention is traditionally associated with grants funding to support plant equipment and other infrastructure upgrades. In the State of Victoria, the government's environmental program delivery agency, Sustainability Victoria, is implementing new models of intervention to support the development of the resource recovery sector and minimize diversion to landfills and maximize resource recovery. These new approaches involve both “soft” actions, facilitation and support services, and "hard" actions, financial support. Combined, these new efforts are working specifically to support the early-stage, feasibility component of the project pipeline, readying projects for the investment community to engage and apply skills to help realize needed investments in resource recovery. India’s First Funding Platform for Teachers
By: Sneha Menon: Director of Growth, Teach A Class Foundation

Teach A Class Foundation is India’s first funding platform for teachers, which aims to harness the enthusiasm of motivated teachers to improve learning outcomes in school. We created a platform where teachers from low-income schools across India can access high-quality tools and resources for their classrooms by applying for funding online. Teach A Class Foundation is currently on a mission to connect 50,000 teachers and 50 million students to donors, enabling teachers to inspire their students, keep them engaged during class, and help them stay in school.


Scalable Solutions for Clean Water Access in Cambodia
By: Karen Moik, Analyst, Insitor Management

In rural regions of Cambodia, the majority of households lack access to clean and safe water sources. The use of untreated water puts families at serious risk of contracting dangerous waterborne diseases. Khmer Water Supply Holding (KWSH) works to address this issue by providing clean drinking water directly to households in-need throughout rural and semi-rural regions of Cambodia in a scalable and efficient manner. The company operates a consolidated portfolio of small-scale piped water systems (PWS), which are micro-networks that cover the entire water value chain from source to consumer households. Each individual network consists of a filtration system, ground well and water tower for storage, and underground piping that connects to end user households. The service arrives at a lower cost to consumers than alternative water sources, with significant convenience and improved status. KWSH’s consolidated business model allows the company to implement high operational standards across its PWS, leverage commercial debt, and scale each PWS to reach more households.


Fight Against Malnutrition: The Need to Look Beyond Feeding Children
By: Anil Parmar, Director, Community Investment, United Way Mumbai

The burden of malnutrition in India is increasing and currently accounts for 39 percent of the world's 146 million malnourished children. United Way Mumbai’s (UWM) fight against malnutrition endeavors to empower family members and caregivers to stop the cycle of malnutrition through a community-centric approach. Leveraging existing community infrastructure and resources by partnering with government is a critical step in this direction. UWM’s program ensures that nutrition supplements are acceptable, accessible, and affordable for the community. Through home based interventions and counseling, parent capacity is built to provide an enabling environment for undernourished children. Cultural context and community platforms are used to provide key messages on nutrition, maternal and child care, health, and hygiene. Moreover, emphasis is placed on building community support to enable the practice of related behavioral changes that complement these messages. UWM works to ensure its impact is sustained by working with frontline health workers to continue service delivery. All of these interventions are undertaken in an integrated manner to create an enabling environment for the overall development of undernourished children, and not to simply feed these children which would only address one aspect of this complex issue.


Growing Prosperity of Smallholder Farmers in India
3Fold Model -- Wealthy, Resilient, and Responsible Farmers
By: N Raghunathan

When we talk of creating and sustaining millions of jobs in India, the potential of agriculture as a sector and smallholder farmers as a key constituency cannot be ignored. About 100 million smallholder farmers employ themselves in their farms, and provide employment to their own family members and other individuals. Yet, most are still poor. Smallholder agriculture in its current form is unviable; factors that limit them are nearly countless in number and variety. With marginal landholding combined with poor soil quality, depleting water tables, and limited access to many inputs and services, it is difficult for small farmers to climb out of poverty with their existing portfolio. Entry into new commodities is fraught with production risk, market risk, and challenges around accessibility/cost of capital. The solutions that exist are in silos, including many of the large-scale government programs. The fragmented ecosystem is limiting the scale and sustenance of the support to smallholders. 3Fold is working to change this dynamic by building wealthy, resilient, and responsible farmers -- by helping to make them successful entrepreneurs and sustained job creators thereby increasing their income threefold. 3Fold focuses on entrepreneurship orientation to enable the potential of these farmers, and to encourage impact. They address key gaps affecting farmers including the lack of integrated services (end-to-end), the need for diversified options (value add to farm and off-farm), augmentation of “integrators/activators at field level” and “technology,” and the establishment of a sustainable ecosystem at a cluster level that enables collaborative actions for collective impact.


Show Me the Money? Not Necessarily: Lessons Learned from Building an Innovation Practice at a Global Nonprofit
By: Michelle Risinger, Director of Innovation, Pact

When Pact, a global nonprofit founded in 1971 and based in Washington, D.C., first invested in innovation in the fall of 2013, they looked to determine whether they could institute a dedicated innovation team to source and win unrestricted funding for concepts from across Pact’s country and project staff. The nuanced and complex nonprofit system required a thoughtful, systems-level approach to achieve these efforts. With critical local staff already prioritized to projects and without local-level organic, enabling environments for testing and experimentation, success for innovation at Pact was a journey. This article explores how Pacts’ success went beyond dollars and awards, and was focused on targeting and transforming its culture and processes.


Why Lean Start-up Methodology May Not Apply to Social Enterprises
By: Oon Tian Sern, Queen Young Leader 2018, Founder of Acceset

This article will explore the experience of Acceset’s founder in building this social enterprise and examine the relevance of the lean start-up methodology in relation to the challenges of developing the company. Acceset aims to build bridges to help individuals suffering from mental health concerns accept care by empowering them with technology and support services to reset their own lives and assist others who have similar experiences. 


Selfies4School -- Building Youth Engagement on the Issue of Early Marriage in India
By: Yogita Verma

#Selfies4School is an innovative collaboration with Vodafone India, Breakthrough that launched a massive digital campaign, using the popular mobile phone trend of taking selfies, to engage people in a dialogue on early marriage and school dropout among Indian girls. People were invited to send in their own selfies to show solidarity with the campaign -- to keep girls in school. Vodafone promised to send 10 girls to school for every selfie received through a monetary contribution. The campaign was a resounding success, raising $542,555 USD that ensured 58,000 girls would remain in school and not drop out. The campaign received extensive media coverage, as well as live and online events, enabling #Selfies4School to meet its objective of bringing the issue of early marriage into mainstream public discourse.


A Different Approach for Maternal Health Through Telehealth & Ecosystem
By: Anda Waluyo, Sapardan from Sehati & TeleCTG

This initiative stemmed from a strong desire to participate in improving the quality of Indonesia’s human resources. High-quality human resources play an important role in ensuring a nation’s sovereignty. Currently, Indonesia’s Human Development Index (HDI) is low, we rank 113 out of 188 countries. Of a population of 262 million, about 140 million people live on an income of IDR 20.000 ($1.50 USD) per day, while 19.4 million people suffer from malnutrition (UNDP 2015: Human Development Report). With the knowledge and experience of more than 12 years in maternal and women’s healthcare, we contribute and participate in empowerment through the first 1,000 days of life. We map out the ecosystem to facilitate wider promotion of preventive healthcare service delivery through information, education, and empowering individuals with technology. We collaborate with regulators and doctors (specialists) for the command center and to develop the mothers and midwifery communities powered by the Ibu Sehati and Bidan Sehati Application. In addition, we utilize the telemedicine-based medical device, TeleCTG, to assist in diagnosing fetal wellbeing and distress, all under one database platform for better Antenatal Care and labor management tracking and monitoring.

Edición Española

Dear Reader,

As we continue sharing social innovations tools and knowledge across the globe, we are honored to present this edition titled: Social Innovation’s Ecosystem in Argentina and Chile. This edition was made possible through the personal and professional introductions and connections of the Eisenhower Fellows, and Social Innovations Journal’s Director of Latin America, Alejandra Navas-Martinez, who cultivated each relationship and curated the contributing articles that reflect organizations across Argentina and Chile sharing their social innovations respectively. Alejandra Navas-Martinez best expressed the impact of this edition when she stated, "There are no words to describe how my life became richer after talking with all the authors of this edition and learning about their amazing work."

We encourage you to read the introduction article to this edition as it provides a macro context to the social innovations movement within the respective countries of Chile and Argentina. In brief, the edition concludes, as summarized in the introduction article, that social innovations in Latin America emerge from the intersection between different processes -- where theory meets practice, where innovators share experiences, sponsors finance and take risks, public and private organizations cooperate, scientific information is sound, and where knowledge comes from the experiences and the practical needs being met. The key is synergy.1 By creating spaces of encounter for academia, state, the private sector, and civil society the path forward towards sustainable and inclusive development becomes clearer.  

Within the context of Chile and Argentina, the local government provides public services that were transferred from the central government, mostly without the required resources to manage them properly. Which leads us to the imminent need for innovation. Innovation comes together as a result of the cooperation between entities including local and national governments. At the local level, it is essential to strengthen local governments to enable them to lead the process of social and economic development; and at the national level, the government must create necessary infrastructure and regulatory framework to achieve development. Finally, as innovations are often driven by passionate individuals, this edition concludes that we need passionate leaders who inspire and channel the energy of the community to focus their skills to guide and transform ideas into action, while also demonstrating the need for the community to commit to sustainable solutions to ensure the dignity and pride of its people.   

At the Social Innovations Journal, we believe the potential of good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated. As we attempted to focus this edition on Chile and Argentina’s social innovations we learned that every obstacle we encountered lost its power in the face of the irrepressible force of sharing knowledge and ideas, and resulted, organically, with good ideas finding their own way to the light to accomplish their mission and inspire more good ideas.  

From each one of these articles we can highlight common elements -- leadership, commitment to service and helping others, and the awareness that only by working together and searching for integral and sustainable solutions can we make the impossible become possible. We hope that the inspiring power of every one of these articles leaves an impact on each of you and inspires you to have the audacity to drive innovative efforts based on new ideas and change.

Yours in Innovation,

Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder
Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-Founder 



1Claves de la innovación social en América Latina. CEPAL. 2008

Dear Social Innovations Journal Reader,

The recently published book by Sondra Myers titled, “The People's Choice: Public Education and American Democracy,” makes it very clear that “public schools will educate nine out of 10 American students so there is no choice but to invest in them if we are to prepare informed and engaged citizens to shape the destiny of our nation.” As a journal focused on innovation, we urge all education stakeholders to work in partnership with parents to ensure that all of our children have their educational needs met.

This edition provides schools and educational institutions with a repository of ideas, models, and knowledge to both engage and partner with students’ parents and families. Hopefully, this edition inspires leaders of schools and educational institutions to engage parents as partners and educated consumers, as many consider family engagement the most critical component to a students' academic success.

Readers of this edition will better understand how students, parents, and educators can become partners in co-constructing the educational experience; the importance of community oversight in the delivery of services to students with special needs; the perspective of immigrant students in public education; the need for grief education in our schools to support our students and their families; how to effectively engage parents of students who are deaf or hearing impaired; how to cultivate social and intellectual capital; and how unwavering determination, perseverance, and courage are essential to overcoming odds and achieving success. Finally, this edition provides a snapshot of parent engagement innovations occurring internationally and nationally.

We hope as you read the articles (summaries below) you gain a sense of the promise and future of our evolving Educational Sector and the critical role parents fulfill in supporting the success of their children academically, socially, emotionally, and eventually, as contributors to society.


Nicholas Torres 


Article Summaries


Feature Articles

A Social Innovation to Rethinking Parent Engagement
Harris Sokoloff, Ph.D.

This article focuses on rethinking what we mean by “engagement,” to lead us to evaluating the roles of “producer” and “consumer” in education. Through the author’s guidance we focus on how “reciprocal engagement” can in turn, lead us to think of education as a “platform” in which the role of “consumer” and “producer” can shift among students, parents, and educators. This ultimately will enable us to not think of “buy-in” and instead begin to think about the ways in which students, parents, and educators can become partners in co-constructing the educational experience of each, respectively.


The Need for Community Participation and Oversight in the Special Needs Service Delivery System
Michael Owens

As in the era of institutionalization, the current service system providing community-based supports for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) has become increasingly self-serving and financially top heavy. Currently, the bulk of the funding, despite the current needs-based approach to services, ends up supporting and perpetuating the service delivery system. The support for individuals at a direct needs level appears to have been minimized with the growth of the provider structure. The corporate culture associated with the needs-based community support structure appears to have maintained the control and choices originally meant to go to the individuals and their families. In addition, the services that are provided are unequally distributed based on eligibility standards, level of needs, yearly legislative budgets, and government priority lists. This article is proposing the need for the development of a knowledgeable, informed citizenry to act as a conflict free and socially inclusive systemic watchdog group. The primary mission of this group would be the redirection and equalization of community supports and services to better service and empower all individuals with ID directly, and/or through natural/family and community supports. 


Engagement Model Articles

The Slippery Slope of the Summer Slide 
Alejandro Gibes de Gac and Amanda Hamilton Roos

Alejandro Gibes de Gac is the CEO and Founder of Springboard Collaborative. As the son of immigrants who sacrificed everything to give him educational opportunities, Alejandro learned firsthand the potential in parent engagement. Amanda Hamilton Roos is an education consultant specializing in family engagement and literacy. As an experienced teacher and parent of three, she knows the power of parental love from both sides of the classroom door.

To help all elementary aged students read on grade-level, Springboard Collaborative builds on an underutilized and undervalued natural resource in education – namely, the parents and families of our students -- with promising results. Springboard Collaborative creates successful partnerships with families by: acknowledging and valuing the unique position that families hold in the life of a child; explicitly teaching literacy skills to all families; providing resources; and training teachers and leaders to work with families. By maintaining high standards, Springboard Collaborative leverages strong family partnerships in three different offerings: Springboard Summer, Springboard Afterschool, and Springboard Schoolyear. The success of these initiatives is not confined to their participants. They have seen firsthand how school communities begin to transform as families share resources and knowledge with one another.


English is Not Friendly
Mary M. Schuler M.A.

Parent Reading Coach™ offers an evidence-informed, virtual training, and early literacy platform for students. The program is both accessible and affordable, and is targeted directly towards parents and caregivers. Research shows that this type of learning system offers promising, new ways of learning that could transform those currently labeled as “non-academics” into flourishing, confident self-learners. Ultimately, Parent Reading Coach™ envisions a world in which all children are literate. This model also pushes for motivated teachers to acquire early literacy training, which is often excluded from their higher education degrees. Parent Reading Coach™ might not ensure literacy for everyone, but it does provide the essential knowledge and tools necessary to eliminate the hopelessness that many parents experience when their child does not fit into the traditional educational system.


Innovation Model Articles

Lanzando Líderes: Realizing the Potential of Latino Youth Through Family Engagement in Afterschool Programming 
Yaneli Arizmendi1, RN, BSN, Alexa Salas2, BA, Camilo Toro2, BA

Lanzando Líderes (Launching Leaders) is an afterschool program for high school students in South Philadelphia’s Latino immigrant community that aims to advance the educational attainment of youth through leadership development, personalized academic support, college mentoring, and parent engagement. Working in partnership with Puentes de Salud (Bridges to Health), a community-based health and wellness center, they have developed a culturally grounded program model that has made parent engagement and empowerment a priority. Their work in the community acknowledges and seeks to address the various issues that limit the engagement of immigrant parents in their children's education. In the past year, Lanzando Lideres has listened, sought feedback, and consciously reflected on their abilities as practitioners to foster deeper, more meaningful involvement of parents in their children’s educational success. In sharing their journey as practitioners, their model, and reflections, they hope to inform community members, social entrepreneurs, and policymakers interested in promoting immigrant parent engagement in various settings.


Education is Liberation
Quibila A. Divine, M. Ed; EE, ECE/President of The Educational Advocates Reaching Today's Hardworking Students, Inc. (EARTHS) and Advisor to PARENT POWER (What Will You Do With Yours?)

This article provides a list of ten things that administrators, educators, education advocates, and policymakers should focus on to ensure that all children are provided with equal access to education by ensuring that their families are welcomed and actively engaged in their children's learning. It questions the effective use of trillions of Title I dollars that have been distributed to school districts and schools for the purpose of eliminating academic achievement gaps for low-income, low performing students, while highlighting the discriminatory practices of some education advocates and policymakers, and makes the point that all children can learn when caring adults work together to teach them.


Planning for Loved Ones with Special Needs: Familial and Societal Considerations
Lori M. Leathers, M.S.

Parenthood is a challenging and rewarding experience. Becoming a parent of a child with special needs both enhances these experiences and presents unique circumstances. A common thread among parents is the desire to adequately provide for their children so they can achieve their maximum potential, possess self-esteem, and enjoy meaningful accomplishments throughout their lives. For parents of loved ones with special needs, obstacles to achieving such goals exist at both the family level and that of the greater community and society. Acknowledging, understanding, and adequately preparing to manage these challenges empowers parents as caregivers, while allowing their loved ones the best chance possible to obtain and maintain the quality of life envisioned.


A Grieving Family’s Route to Resilience
Joe Primo, CEO, Good Grief, Inc.

One hundred percent of students will grieve and face adversity. Very few students, though likely none, receive education on this complex and contradictory emotional response that permeates life. Grief is a response to adversity and therefore the catalyst of many risk factors. However, supportive and responsive environments mitigate the majority of risks, thereby requiring grief education will promote prevention and emotional agility in students. Schools are chief among the critical places that influence a child’s outcomes and ability to adapt. In order to promote more resilient environments, Good Grief, Inc. is mobilizing its greatest ambassadors -- grieving parents -- to change a dysfunctional culture and promote its resilience curriculum.


Listening to Learn: Family Engagement When Children are Deaf or Hearing Impaired
Marguerite Vascconcellos, Ed.D, LSLS Cert. AVT Related Services Program Director, Bucks County Intermediate Unit 22; adjunct professor at Drexel University and The College of New Jersey

There is a growing body of research that shows correlation between family engagement and enhanced student outcomes. Federal legislation regulating special education (notably IDEA, 2004 and ESSA, 2015) has placed an increasing emphasis on family engagement with each iteration. Furthermore, it is commonly understood that family engagement is crucial when a child has a hearing impairment. Recognizing that connection, this study explores the practices that parents of children who are deaf or hearing impaired perceive as facilitative of, or obstacles to, engagement in the special education process. The intent of this research was to spotlight strategies to enhance their deployment among stakeholders in special education. Findings of this study represent a call to action to promote transformational leadership; necessitating the investment of time, resources, and energy that focus on family engagement as the foundational component of all educational endeavors.


Parents: Consumers, Not Just Case Numbers 
Mary L. Wilson

This article brings awareness to the necessity of treating parents as consumers and investors in the educational and human services realms, the services/resources which are provided for quality of life, while giving suggestions for moving from the traditional structure of both systems to a more parent/family-centered approach to produce better outcomes. Data from research journals is utilized to provide different perspectives on the needed support to treat parents (specifically those who are low-literate/at-risk) as consumers, and not just as assigned cases, by collaborating with them in decision-making to gain a full understanding of the families being served. This article also seeks to bring a fresh perspective to how both education and human services can establish a unified purpose through cooperative efforts to address all aspects of the needs and wants of their consumers (parents) and to establish solid and productive relationships with families.


The Power of Advocacy
Carolyn Purcell Reichenbach, Esq.

In 2010, shortly after being sworn in as the Governor of the State of New Jersey, Chris Christie decided he would aggressively pursue a program that would affect close to 1,000 of New Jersey’s developmentally disabled residents. While some families perhaps welcomed the relocation news, most did not; and the majority of families who would be affected opposed it immediately. They realized that the resulting disruption to their loved ones’ lives caused by relocation would be profound. Organizing hundreds of families across New Jersey (and, in a handful of cases, other states, due to family relocations over the years) to oppose the program was not easily accomplished. Yet, in attaining a long-sought after victory, the families learned an invaluable lesson: advocacy works but unwavering determination, perseverance, and courage are essential to its success.


Engaging Families: The Power of a Whole School, Multi-Strategy Approach 
Maria S. Quezada, PhD

This article outlines the transformative power of having everyone at a school understand and endorse family engagement as a core strategy. The content is designed to motivate school and school district leaders to consider implementing research-based family engagement practices that create inclusive and diversity-responsive relationships and collaborations within, among, and between families, teachers, school/district administrators, and other school personnel. This type of family engagement program builds effective communication bridges with families by cultivating their social and intellectual capital bringing family engagement to a higher level. Through a well-designed family engagement program, schools ensure families gain access to the human and cultural capital they need to fully participate in the school’s educational program with their children. Families learn of their role in reinforcing their children’s learning and of the importance of becoming partners in the schools’ reform efforts to ensure their children’s academic success.


Lessons Learned Nationally and Internationally Articles

Groundbreaking Program Achieves Educational Success through Stabilizing Housing for Homeless Students
Erin B. Ryan, MSW, MPH, Senior Vice President, The Night Ministry

Homelessness and housing instability greatly impact a student’s ability to stay in school and achieve educational goals. The urgency of this problem motivated The Night Ministry to partner with three other local organizations -- Empower to Succeed (an independent nonprofit of Old St. Patrick’s Church), North Lawndale College Preparatory High School, and Youth Outreach Services -- to launch Phoenix Hall last year. Phoenix Hall is an innovative new residence for high school students experiencing housing instability in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. It is one of the first housing programs in the country, and the first in Chicago, designed to improve educational outcomes by providing housing for homeless students in a particular high school. This project has already raised awareness of housing instability faced by high school students, as well as understanding of its complex causes. Partnership with families as well as the school is integral to the success of Phoenix Hall. Providing safe, structured housing to the student, while working with the entire family toward stabilization and reunification, if possible, gives the student the best chance for successful educational outcomes, including graduation. The program’s impact is measured at the student and family levels, as well as school and community levels. It is the intention of Phoenix Hall to serve as a model for student housing in the community and beyond. 

Issue 46: Groundbreaking Program Achieves Educational Success Through Stabilizing Housing for Homeless Students


Recognition and Inclusion of the Native Communities of Argentina
Dr. Germán Pollitzer

In Argentina today, multiple cultures and social realities coexist in a complex context in which urban majorities ignore the existence of ancestral minorities. These ancestral minorities find themselves excluded from most basic rights. The reality of the haves vs. the have nots is also reflected in the differences between the large cities and the remote areas, all further exacerbating the experience of the Native people. 

The Native communities who inhabited these territories before Argentina´s birth as a nation, especially on the northern region and in Patagonia, are still not fully integrated into the Republic. With some individuals who have obtained title deeds for their land and are no longer besieged by neighboring landowners, and others who are still harassed and denied basic rights. Yet, it remains a fact that Argentinian society, and the nation itself, still owes a huge debt to these communities. This article advocates for policies that will facilitate and promote full-integration of the Native communities by tapping into the nation’s identity as both multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. 

Issue 45: Recognition and Inclusion of the Native Communities of Argentin


Your Child’s Love of Reading Begins with You
Jenny Bogoni, Executive Director, Read by 4th, Free Library of Philadelphia

Right now, two out of three Philadelphia school children enter the 4th grade unable to read at grade level, a critical milestone in the development of any child. Those failing to meet it are more likely to stay and even fall further behind in future grades, as classroom instruction shifts quickly from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn. Low achievement. School dropout. Joblessness. Research shows clear correlations between these and failing to read by 4th. We as a city must do better. And now there are clear signs we are doing just that. 

With Philadelphia’s youngest readers posting standardized reading scores that outpace state gains for the first time, we’re showing what’s possible when we come together and embrace our collective responsibility to give children their best shot at success. This article explores the success of the citywide Read by 4th coalition, convened and managed by the Free Library of Philadelphia, founded on the principle of shared responsibility. 

Issue 42: Your Child's Love of Reading Begins with You


Building the Network: The Impact of Sparking Civic Engagement in Low-Income Communities
Eric Leslie, founder and lead organizer of Union Capital Boston

We know social capital and civic engagement are powerful drivers of opportunity and upward mobility. This article explores how we can build these networks in low-income communities using tools in our world today.

Issue 41: Building the Network: The Impact of Sparking Civic Engagement in Low Income Communities


Elevating Parents’ Voices to Tackle the Challenge of Retention
Susan Covitz MSW and Jill Brevik, MS

As a long-standing parenting education organization, Families First is always looking to innovate in order to improve its service delivery. Thus, it recently transformed its program model to provide three times more hours of support for each participating parent. While necessary to accomplish the intended outcomes of stronger parent-child relationships and increased parental access to social supports, this shift to longer-term programming requires a greater commitment from parents who are facing poverty and related stressors. This creates additional pressures on parent recruitment and retention strategies. In collaboration with Social Venture Partners, Boston’s expert consultants, Families First’s staff has addressed the undeniable challenge of retention head-on by incorporating the unique voices and leadership of parent participants. The comprehensive five-tiered strategy described in this article is already showing promising recruitment and retention results as parental needs and experiences are assessed throughout the program.

Issue 41: Elevating Parents Voices to Tackle the Challenge of Retention

"Private donors -- many of whom have gained unprecedented personal wealth in recent years -- dread the endless cycle of fundraising pitches. While they might aspire to do world-changing work through their philanthropy, there isn’t a ready market for breakthrough ideas that they can tap into. So, it’s no surprise that many with the means and the heart to give big end up doing less than they dream of doing. And it’s why some of the world’s best-positioned change-makers, both doers and funders, feel forced to give up on their biggest dreams, and the possibility of creating truly audacious change is left underexplored."  

The Audacious Project

Dear Reader,

Across the globe and in the Greater Chicago Region, there has been a rapid rise in the number of social sector innovators and entrepreneurs who want to find innovative ways to solve or move the needle on society’s problems, and increasingly they are deploying the methods of business and private capital to help them do so.

This edition, titled: Chicago’s Social Innovations, Social Enterprises, and Public Private Partnerships, demonstrates how Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, is leading the international social impact and social policy movement. The Greater Chicago Social Sector Region has learned that creating social impact is not bound by tax status. New vehicles for social enterprise and social investing are spurring innovation and bringing new resources to the sector. 

Forefront, Illinois' statewide association of nonprofits, grantmaking foundations, advisors, public agencies, and social impact sector allies, is leading this movement by convening leaders in this field to grow investments and build the sector's capacity to work in new and innovative ways. Forefront is focused on achieving the goal of a thriving and innovative social enterprise sector in Illinois which utilizes the power of the marketplace to fund social change. Since 2015, Forefront convenes a Social Enterprise Roundtable comprised of funders, social entrepreneurs, universities, incubators, businesses, and others to discuss the current state of social enterprise in Illinois and how to better align organizations with the funding and resources they need to succeed. The Social Enterprise Roundtable evolved into a research study, funded by Dunham Fund and Delta Institute, that concluded with three key findings:

  1. Social enterprises seek a community of practice with their peers to share sector-based knowledge concerning evaluation, finances, funding and sponsors, hiring and diversity, and mentorship from enterprises that have already achieved scale.
  2. Social enterprises seek reliable, multi-year sources of funding, matching grants, and/or low-interest loans.
  3. Social enterprises seek funds for securing consulting sources, such as strategic planning assistance, market research, feasibility studies, critical strategy decisions, accounting, financial planning, branding and marketing, and administrative structure.

More recently, actors in the social innovation and enterprise industry have concluded that although social innovation organizations and social enterprises are achieving better social impact goals, there continues to be a need for them to engage more directly in the world of public policy and systems change. Although social innovation and enterprise are sparking change, large-scale change can only be achieved through national, state, and local policy changes that embrace innovation and new social sector models. Nonprofits and social enterprises are Social Capital Agents, as such they are motivated by social good and are focused on long-term change. They foster, formulate, perform, and evaluate society’s policies to advance public good. 

The current status is evident, and though difficult, a path forward has been laid out. By creating spaces of encounter for academia, state, the private sector, and civil society the next steps towards more sustainable and innovative models and necessary policy change are crystal clear.

We hope you read the articles (summarized below) of this publication to gain a sense of the promise that innovation holds for the future of Greater Chicago’s Social Sector.  


Nicholas Torres
Tine Hansen-Turton


Eric Weinheimer
Kim Casey


Article Summaries

The Talent Imperative: A Grounded Theory Study on Accelerating the Impact and Sustainability of Social Enterprise Organizations
Lauri Alpern, Ph.D.

This article is a summary of a dissertation research study to investigate the state of talent management within the context of social enterprise organizations, through the lived experiences of organizational leaders and teams in 15 diverse organizations across North America. The study used a qualitative grounded theory approach to address the research question: to what extent are nonprofit social enterprises using talent management philosophies, principles, mindsets, and practices? Semi-structured interviews, conducted with 26 participants from 15 organizations, were the primary source of data for the study. Additional data was collected from a demographic background survey, as well as through a review of organizational documents. Data analysis through multiple phases of coding and theoretical sampling revealed five themes explored in this article.

A New Tool to Enhance the Efficiency of Buildings Throughout Chicagoland
Geraldine Sanchez Aglipay

Buildings are responsible for a third of harmful greenhouse gas pollution from U.S. electricity use. Many of the nation’s buildings use more energy than they need, especially those with limited resources for energy management. Fortunately, energy efficiency initiatives like the BIT Building Program (BIT) help building owners and operators cut energy use and pollution, while saving money. BIT is especially applicable for existing buildings whose age, resources, and operations put other industry standards -- like LEED and Energy Star -- out of reach. One of the most important aspects of the BIT program will be its focus on underserved communities that have not been able to take advantage of sustainability opportunities in the built environment.

Grant Acquisition: Closing the Gap Between the Doers and the Writers
Andrea Dakin, PhD, MA, Senior Director of Program Development, AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Most non-profits assign grants management activities, including application development/submission and reporting, for private and public funding sources to fund development (or fundraising) departments. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) operates an innovative alternative model to grants management. AFC’s Program Development (PD) team includes grants management personnel with programmatic content expertise. The PD department is located within the programs division of the agency and each member is assigned a program portfolio for which they perform grants management activities. Overall, this innovative and unique structural change to embed grants management staff within the programs department has resulted in a more efficient use of programmatic and fundraising staff resources to identify and secure private and public funding for the agency.

How Focusing on People and Outcomes Help Us Transform Public Schools
Hemali Desai, Associate Director of Innovation at the Academy for Urban School Leadership

Over the last several decades, Chicago, and our country at large, has wrestled with the challenge of providing access to a high-quality and equitable public education for all children, with reform efforts having varied impact. A key avenue that has emerged and persisted in better serving all students is leading reform using student and school outcomes data. Many organizations, when thinking about using data as a lever to deliver on the promise of high-quality and equitable public education have developed little by way of clear and replicable strategies to capture the full potential of the opportunity. As an innovation zone working in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) is focused on leveraging data across our efforts to train new teachers, develop teacher and school leaders, and transform the school environment to enable high-quality teaching and learning to occur – and they have successfully done so for nearly two decades.

A Path to Investment in Black Women and Girls on Chicago's South Side
Jessyca Dudley, Founding Member, South Side Giving Circle

For many women seeking impact through collective action, giving circles provide an opportunity for leadership and civic engagement. Much like the mutual aid societies that shaped the development of African American giving, giving circles are a growing movement that have attracted more than 150,000 people across the United States. Giving circles are of value to communities for the monetary investment that they provide but equally important is their value as a catalyst for building capacity and increasing the visibility of the community organizations that they are driven to support. The South Side Giving Circle of Chicago Foundation for Women (SSGC) recently launched as an effort to mobilize the philanthropic resources of women to invest in the economic, social, and political power of black women and girls in metropolitan Chicago. Focused on embracing the experience of service and the opportunity for leadership SSGC is providing a newly formed space for authentic, people-centered giving strategies that are responsive to the needs of the community.

Disrupting Justice
Bob Glaves, Executive Director, The Chicago Bar Foundation

Thousands of Illinoisans every week encounter legal problems that can have a huge impact on their health, stability, and economic wellbeing. Many can afford to pay something for legal assistance but too often are not getting the necessary legal help from lawyers due to a failure in the market for legal services for middle-income individuals and small businesses. In 2011, The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) recognized this broken market and developed an innovative solution to address it by tapping into a growing number of talented and entrepreneurial lawyers interested in socially conscious law careers: the Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP). A small business incubator that fosters innovation in an inherently conservative field, the JEP brings principles of entrepreneurship and experimentation common in the tech startup community to the problem of access to legal services. In 2017 alone, JEP attorneys helped more than 4,000 low to middle-income clients and they brought in more than $4 million in revenue in the process.

Elevating Frontline Jobs in the Workforce Development Field 
Ellen Johnson, MSW, MPA; Director of the Frontline Focus

For individuals who are unemployed, workforce development programs serve as an important second-chance system, providing relevant career readiness training, connections to necessary social service supports, and access to employment opportunities. Often overlooked, however, are the staff -- case managers, job developers, and trainers -- who serve as the first point of contact for job seekers. Given the difficult nature of preparing job seekers for career path employment and catering to the hiring needs of businesses, frontline staff must possess a complete tool box of knowledge, skills, and strategies. This is where the Chicago Jobs Council’s Frontline Focus Training Institute (FFTI) serves as an essential resource, ensuring frontline workers access to tools, resources, and conditions necessary to succeed and thrive. Since inception, FFTI’s work has been informed by and responsive to the changing workforce development field, and laser focused on ensuring best practice research, curriculum, and resources get into the hands of frontline providers to enhance and standardize the delivery of services nationally.

P3 Models Deliver More, Better, for All
Rose Jordan, Marketing Director, Fresh Coast Capital

Climate change-driven urban flooding impacts everyone, but hits low income communities hardest. Unable to invest in climate resilience and rarely included in the funded solutions, these communities are reliant on the public sector, which currently faces an estimated $105 billion gap in funding for water infrastructure. Chicago-based Fresh Coast Capital, a women-owned B Corp, has assembled a team of experts from community engagement, utility, and cleantech spaces to adapt their proven playbooks for the stormwater industry. The result is a public private partnership (P3) model designed to accelerate cities toward comprehensive green infrastructure, which is a cost-effective solution with a cadre of documented co-benefits (e.g., improved public health, crime reduction, and social cohesion). The Chicago-based Yagan Family Foundation and Midwest-based Kresge Foundation are among the early investors funding the growth of Fresh Coast’s impact-driven, community-first P3 model that is currently being pressure tested in cities like Peoria and Youngstown.

Better Together with Integrated Care
Gordon Mayer, Owner Gordon Mayer Communications and Molly Bougearel, Vice President for Strategy & Development at Heartland Health Centers

People with Serious Mental Illness, SMI, live on average 25 years less than others, often due to chronic medical conditions. Heartland Health Centers provides primary care to people with SMI in the facilities of partners Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare, Thresholds, and Community Counseling Centers Chicago. From check-ups to psychiatry to shared medical records, there is intense collaboration across the organizations. These partnerships have shown patients do better on weight loss, smoking cessation, blood pressure, and other indicators, while patients’ satisfaction with care increased. Yet, care integration for people with serious mental illness remains rare in Illinois and beyond. This article will document key components to successful partnerships and provide recommendations on how to strengthen and expand integrated care.

SimpleGrowth is a Lifeline for Chicago Entrepreneurs Struggling to Get Loans
Lindsey Mueller

Although the number of minority-owned businesses in Cook County grew by 30 percent from 2007 to 2012, Chicago's entrepreneurs, particularly, women and minorities, struggle to access the capital they need to grow their businesses. Small Business Majority is working to boost entrepreneurship and close the lending gap in underserved communities in two ways. First, Small Business Majority directs entrepreneurs to local technical assistance organizations that can provide free advice and tools like business planning, marketing, licensing, and more. Second, with the support of Chicago City Treasurer Kurt A. Summers, Small Business Majority, Fundera, and Accion launched a free, online tool called SimpleGrowth that helps match Chicago's underserved small businesses with mission-driven lenders committed to helping small businesses succeed. SimpleGrowth is easy to use, offers unbiased comparisons of lending options, and for those who are not yet loan ready, helps match small businesses with the educational resources they need to eventually obtain a loan.

Social Good Doesn’t Have a Price Tag
Eve Pytel, Director of Programs at Delta Institute

This article outlines the critical factors in determining what makes a viable social enterprise. Nonprofit led social enterprises work to maximize mission impact by selling a product or service that enhance social, economic, and/or environmental benefit. The hype around social enterprises has resulted in attempts to receive funding through services typically funded by local and state governments or through private philanthropy. Many social enterprises face challenges, such as complicated labor groups, hard-to-work in locations, or hard-to-garner materials. By addressing these challenges, social enterprises can better achieve their mission goals.

Directing Energy Savings Back to Vital Community Organizations
Dara Reiff, Elevate Energy

Elevate Energy is a nonprofit organization with the mission of delivering smarter energy use for all. They accomplish this by developing and implementing programs that reduce costs, protect the environment, and ensure the benefits of clean and efficient energy use reach to those who need it most. Elevate Energy’s Nonprofit Program is designed to make it easy and affordable for other nonprofit organizations to undertake energy efficiency improvements, with the long-term goal of ensuring that they can sustainably serve their communities. By focusing on improving a nonprofit’s facility, they are able to help organizations provide a myriad of services such as affordable childcare, stable housing, accessible healthcare, and quality education long into the future. This article shares success stories and best practices for saving money on energy costs and redirecting vital resources back towards the missions of the nonprofits they serve.

Groundbreaking Program Achieves Educational Success through Stabilizing Housing for Homeless Students
Erin B. Ryan, MSW, MPH, Senior Vice President, The Night Ministry

Homelessness and housing instability greatly impact a student’s ability to stay in school and achieve educational goals. The urgency of this problem motivated The Night Ministry to partner with three other local organizations -- Empower to Succeed (an independent nonprofit of Old St. Patrick’s Church), North Lawndale College Preparatory High School, and Youth Outreach Services -- to launch Phoenix Hall last year. Phoenix Hall is an innovative new residence for high school students experiencing housing instability in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. It is one of the first housing programs in the country, and the first in Chicago, designed to improve educational outcomes by providing housing for homeless students of a particular high school. The program’s impact is measured at the student and family levels, as well as school and community levels. The intention is for Phoenix Hall to serve as a model for student housing in the community and beyond. 

The Triple Bottom Line: Raising Money, Providing Individuals Support Services, and Impacting the Socio-Economic Environment
Neli Vazquez Rowland, Co-Founder and President of A Safe Haven Foundation

At A Safe Haven Foundation (ASHF) we apply social innovation in a profound and comprehensive manner to help end the cycle of poverty and homelessness. We challenge the current health care delivery system, plagued by high price tags -- both financial and human, low outcomes, and high rates of recidivism -- by replacing it with a sustainable and scalable cost-effective social business enterprise model. The ASHF model brings in impressive funds from private and public sources while fostering mental health services, sustained housing and employment, education, and other wrap-around services to impact people’s lives for the immediate present and long-term to change the trajectory of poverty and homelessness for future generations. For more than two decades, ASHF has served men and women, children, veterans, the reentry population, homeless and addicted individuals, transforming formerly disenfranchised people living in dire crisis into productive and healthy citizens living life to their full potential.

Making Child Care Subsidies Easier Makes Our Society Better
Chelsea Sprayregen, Co-founder and CEO; Hannah Meyer, Co-founder and COO; Sophie Mann, Business Operations

Pie for Providers uses technology to help child care providers build stronger businesses. We offer a digital assistant that helps providers navigate government programs so they can increase their revenue and spend less time on administrative work. Through simple tools like a case management dashboard and interactive checklists, we are creating the conditions for a better child care economy. We envision a future in which providers have stable careers and low-income families have better access to care. Pie for Providers is bringing business software into a new environment where it is not often used and where it will have big impact. The Pie for Providers platform is mobile first and uses text messaging to communicate with customers. They serve providers through three verticals: subsidies, licensing & accreditation, and expense tracking. Key features include a case management dashboard, automated form filling, daily checklists, policy updates, and expense reports.

Querido lector, 

A medida que continuamos compartiendo herramientas y conocimientos de innovaciones sociales en todo el mundo, tenemos el honor de presentar esta edición titulada: Ecosistema de Innovación Social en Argentina y Chile. Esta edición fue posible gracias a las presentaciones y conexiones realizadas por Eisenhower Fellows (enlace a Eisenhower Fellowship Homepage) y Alejandra Navas-Martinez quienes cultivaron cada relación y sus respectivas innovaciones sociales. Alejandra Navas-Martinez expresó mejor el impacto de esta edición cuando afirmó que "no hay palabras para describir cómo mi vida se hizo más rica después de hablar con todos los autores de esta edición y aprender sobre su asombroso trabajo". 

Lo invitamos a leer el artículo introductorio a esta edición, ya que proporciona un macrocontexto al movimiento de las innovaciones sociales en los respectivos países de Chile y Argentina. En resumen, la edición concluye, como se resume en el artículo de introducción, que la innovación de innovaciones sociales en América Latina surge de la intersección entre diferentes procesos, donde la teoría se encuentra con la práctica, donde los innovadores comparten experiencias, patrocinan finanzas y toman riesgos, cooperan organizaciones públicas y privadas , la información científica es sólida y el conocimiento proviene de las experiencias y las necesidades prácticas que se satisfacen. La clave es la sinergia. Al crear espacios de encuentro para la academia, el estado, el sector privado y la sociedad civil, el camino hacia el desarrollo sostenible e inclusivo se vuelve más claro. Particularmente en el contexto de Chile y Argentina, el gobierno local proporciona servicios públicos que fueron transferidos del gobierno central, en su mayoría sin los recursos necesarios para gestionarlos adecuadamente. La innovación se conjuga cuando los gobiernos locales y nacionales se unen.  A nivel local, es esencial fortalecer a los gobiernos locales para que puedan liderar el proceso de desarrollo social y económico; y a nivel nacional, el gobierno debe crear la infraestructura requerida y el marco regulatorio para lograr este desarrollo. Finalmente, como las innovaciones a menudo son impulsadas por personas apasionadas, esta edición concluye que necesitamos líderes apasionados que inspiren y canalicen la energía de la comunidad y enfoquen sus habilidades para orientar y transformar las ideas en hechos, al mismo tiempo que demuestren la necesidad de una comunidad comprometida a la búsqueda de soluciones sostenibles para garantizar la dignidad y el orgullo. 

En The Social Innovations Journal creemos que no se puede subestimar el potencial de las buenas ideas para inspirar más buenas ideas. Mientras intentamos enfocar esta edición en Chile y las Innovaciones Sociales de Argentina, aprendimos que cada obstáculo que encontramos pierde su poder frente a la fuerza irreprimible de compartir conocimiento e ideas y resulta, orgánicamente, con buenas ideas encontrando su propio camino a la luz para cumplir su misión e inspirar más ideas.  De cada uno de estos artículos podemos destacar elementos comunes: liderazgo, compromiso con el servicio y ayuda a los demás, y la audacia y conciencia de que solo trabajando juntos y buscando soluciones integrales y sostenibles podemos hacer que lo imposible sea posible. Esperamos que el poder inspirador de cada uno de estos artículos deje un impacto en cada uno de ustedes y lo inspire a tener la audacia de liderar esfuerzos basados en nuevas ideas y cambios.

Atentamente en Innovación, 

Nicholas Torres, cofundador 
Tine Hansen-Turton, cofundador

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