Presented by: Rahim Islam, Universal Companies
1st Place: Markita Morris-Louis, Clarifi. Markita Morris-Louis has led the efforts to expand Clarifi's Financial Empowerment Centers, which take a case-management approach to financial literacy as a means of poverty alleviation. She works with community stakeholders throughout the Delaware Valley to understand how to prioritize financial literacy and support innovations in how low-income individuals engage with their personal finances. In her role as Senior Vice-President of Community Affairs at Clarifi, Markita has been instrumental in helping promote financial literacy as a means of long-term poverty alleviation.
Ms. Morris-Louis says, “On behalf of Clarifi, we are honored to have our work acknowledged and we are particularly humbled to have that acknowledgement flow from our community. To be included among incredible thought-leaders and service providers who work tirelessly to spur innovations that serve vulnerable and underserved communities is a terrific measure of our impact.”
2nd Place: Dawn Holden, Turning Points for Children. Dawn’s focus in the innovation lab centered on creating the Pivot Program, a scalable, yet individualized approach to support young adults who leave the DHS system when they turn 18, but still need support to successfully transition into adulthood. After being introduced by a mentor to another organization with the same passion for youth who have aged out of DHS, Dawn decided to pursue implementing and scaling these critical services statewide by partnering with a peer organization that has an evidence-informed model (YVLifeSet) with plans to begin a Philadelphia-based pilot during the spring of 2017.
Dawn expresses that “The Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Awards is a critical platform as it highlights the cross-sector efforts aimed at enhancing the quality of life for some of Philadelphia's most vulnerable citizens. I am grateful to work for an organization that encourages me to lead initiatives that align with my values and consider it a great honor to be named alongside this year's cohort of award recipients.”
3rd Place: Nate Davis Olds, Benefits Data Trust. Nate Davis Olds led the development of Community PRISM, a CRM tool designed to integrate across all Philadelphia community-based organizations enrolling poor seniors and families into benefit programs that enable them to achieve economic stability. The only system of its kind, it screens and applies individuals for multiple benefits at once, guides service providers by automatically determining documents required, and submits applications to multiple agencies at the same time, reducing the time burden on clients and agencies alike. Nate’s expertise in software development and user experience design, coupled with a unique ability to strategize solutions across organizational capacities, enabled him to integrate the critically important work of serving Philadelphia’s neediest into a technological platform that works efficiently and effectively for all service providers.
Says Nate about his work and this recognition, “It is easy to get lost in the everyday details of designing and building software to making benefits access simple, comprehensive, and cost-effective. The Social Innovations Awards shift the focus from the grind to the big picture allowing me to take a step back and realize ‘Wow, this really is cool.’”