The Social Innovation Forum believes that social innovation is critical to ensuring that our public and private resources are leveraged in the most effective ways to address social problems. Yet, it is often difficult for emerging innovations to receive the recognition and support they need to develop and spread their impact. The Social Innovation Forum provides a unique opportunity for innovative nonprofits to gain visibility, expand their networks, and build capacity.
For our 2017-2018 Social Innovator Accelerator, we will select one nonprofit Social Innovator for each of our eight “social issue tracks.”
2017-2018 Social Issue Tracks and Sponsoring Partners
Addressing Homelessness in Massachusetts
Track Partner: Highland Street Foundation
Advancing Education in New Bedford
Track Partner: Schrafft Charitable Trust
Anything Goes: Innovative, Effective, and Sustainable Approaches to Our Region’s Toughest Issues
Track Partner: Boston Open Impact
Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration
Track Partner: Stifler Family Foundation
Establishing Financial Education as a Building Block for Success
Track Partner: MassMutual Foundation
Improving Access to Healthy Living
Track Partner: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Promoting Successful Advancement and Integration for Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylum-Seekers*
Track Partner: Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative
Supporting Accessibility and Opportunities for Young People with Disabilities
Track Partner: Liberty Mutual Insurance
* Please note that this year in addition to selecting one Innovator for the “Promoting Successful Advancement and Integration for Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylum-Seekers” track, the Social Innovation Forum will invite 6-8 nonprofit organizations from the applicant pool to participate in the Capacity Camp, a condensed version of the Accelerator, which will take place between February and April 2018. Participation in this program will not disqualify any nonprofit from applying to the SIF Accelerator in the future. Please see the “About the Capacity Camp” section in the Applicant Guide for more information.
Benefits to Social Innovators
- Five months of consulting services focused on enhancing the organization’s ability to articulate the social problem it is addressing, its innovative approach, and its social impact. The consulting engagement culminates in the development of the following materials designed for funder/investor audiences:
- Written investment prospectus
- Five-minute pitch (with PowerPoint slides)
- Five months of executive coaching
- $10,000 cash upon completion of the consulting engagement
- Showcasing via numerous events, including a spring Showcase (May 14, 2018) that annually attracts more than 350 business leaders, institutional funders, and individual philanthropists
- Networking and relationship-building support
- Graphic design services
- Presentation coaching
- Additional support from SIF’s in-kind partners (e.g., legal, graphic design, PR, technology)
- $2,500 capacity building grant in 2019
The Social Innovation Forum’s nonprofit tracks are open to programs and organizations that:
- Are a registered 501(c)(3) or use a fiscal agent that is a 501(c)(3) unless otherwise noted in the track description
- Address a specific social need as described in at least one of our social issue tracks
- Are working in the greater Boston area, unless otherwise noted in the track description
- Have been operating for at least one cycle (usually a year) and have a proven concept
- Have a minimum of 1.5 FTEs (full-time equivalents — counting full and part-time staff, not volunteers)
- Have an annual operating budget of $100,000–$2 million*
- Are at an inflection point in their growth and development
*Note: Organizations with budgets greater than $2 million are welcome to submit an application for a specific program/initiative that has a total budget of less than that amount. In these cases, the entire application must refer to the program/initiative, not the parent organization. Please note that the “Anything Goes” track is only open to standalone organizations. Please see the “Anything Goes” track description for more information.
How to Apply
To submit an application, follow these three steps:
- Read through this Applicant Guide to determine whether or not your organization is a good “fit” for the Social Innovator Accelerator and for at least one of our social issue tracks. The “Anything Goes” track is open to organizations that do not fit any of this year’s other 7 tracks.
- Self-nominate or be nominated via our online nomination form. After nomination, the program or organization leader will receive an email with a link to the application and further instructions within one business day.
- Complete the online application. First round applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until Wednesday, July 12, at 5:00 pm. Early submissions are strongly encouraged.
Starting on August 4, we will invite a select number of organizations to submit second round application materials. These second round materials will be due on Monday, August 28, 2017.
To learn more about our application process and what it means to be a "Social Innovator," we encourage potential applicants to attend one of our information sessions.
- Wednesday, June 21, 8:30 -10:00 am | Social Innovation Forum, Boston
- Thursday, June 22, 8:30 - 10:00 am | Social Innovation Forum, Boston
Dowload the slides from the Information Sessions.
If you are applying for the “Advancing Education in New Bedford” track, we invite you to attend the local info session in New Bedford.
- Tuesday, June 27, 12:00 - 1:30 pm | Coalition for Buzzards Bay, New Beford
To rsvp for one of the sessions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the date you wish to attend.