Highlights from the Social Innovation Forum’s 13th Annual Winter Reception

More than 275 people gathered for a festive celebration of new and alumni organizations
  • By Diana Vasquez
  • Published on December 12, 2016
Presentation of the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Award
Brian Potts, Trustee of Margaret Stewart Lindsay Foundation (right), presents 2014 Social Innovator David S. Cohen, CEO of Doc Wayne Youth Services, with the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Inspiration Award

On Wednesday, December 7 more than 275 philanthropists, business leaders, nonprofit professionals, and others gathered at the Microsoft NERD Center for the Social Innovation Forum's 13th annual Winter Reception at which the seven Social Innovators for 2017 were formally announced, the Margaret Stewart Lindsay “Inspiration” Award was presented, and many of Social Innovation Forum’s portfolio organizations were celebrated. The event was sponsored by Eastern Bank, John Hancock, and Delta Dental Plan of Massachusetts.

Aimee Sprung, Civic Engagement Manager at Microsoft, opened the night with welcoming statements followed by SIF Executive Director Susan Musinsky. Susan expressed appreciation for the unique and vibrant social impact community that SIF has cultivated over the past 13 years. She also touched on the need for this community to continue to “lean in,” particularly as the future of many traditionally marginalized communities may seem unclear.

Right now, these issues and these leaders really need our support.

“This December is not like the ones in the recent past; we know that we are headed into a challenging time, especially for those who have been struggling and need assistance,” said Susan. “The Social Innovation Forum and the organizations we support have always been at the forefront of supporting communities in need. We know it’s time to lean in, and do more, and we are happy that you are here and part of the collective work that we are doing in this community. Right now, these issues and these leaders really need our support.”

Brian Potts, Trustee of the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Foundation, an SIF Lead Sponsor, then took the stage to present the annual Margaret Stewart Lindsay “Inspiration” Award. This award, which is given in memory of Margaret Lindsay, recognizes organizations and leaders who inspire us with their leadership and perseverance. This year Brian presented the award to David Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of Doc Wayne Youth Services, a 2014 Social Innovator.

The event also celebrated the accomplishments of many of SIF’s portfolio organizations, including the 2016 Social Innovators who are midway through the two-year nonprofit accelerator, the 2015 Social Innovators who have completed the program and transitioned into the SIF “forever portfolio,” and the 2016 Impact Entrepreneurs who went through the Social Business Accelerator this year.

Reggie Williams and Cara Berg Powers from Transformative Culture Project (formerly Press Pass TV) spoke on behalf of the “graduating” 2015 cohort, sharing the story of their time with SIF and how it has helped their organization grow. Since 2015, Transformative Culture Project has increased total youth served by 30 and undertaken an exciting strategic planning and re-branding process.

After recognizing and appreciating how far these portfolio organizations have come, SIF announced the 2017 cohort of Social Innovators*, who are just beginning their two-year journey through the SIF Social Innovator Accelerator:

Boston CASA
Supporting Foster Children in Their Transitions to Adulthood 
Track Partner: Jon Shevell Children's Fund

Citizens for Juvenile Justice
Advancing Social Change through Advocacy and Activism
Track Partner: Bess Foundation

Community Economic Development Center
Revitalizing Southeastern Massachusetts
Track Partner: Schrafft Charitable Trust

Institute for Nonprofit Practice
Building Leaders for the Social Sector: Expanding Opportunities for Leadership Development 
Track Partner: Highland Street Foundation

Julie's Family Learning Program
Addressing the Disadvantages of Poverty and Adversity in Early Childhood
Track Partner: Gisela B. Hogan Foundation

Project Citizenship
Anything Goes: Innovative, Effective, and Sustainable Approaches to Our Region’s Toughest Social Issues 
Track Partners: Boston Open Impact**

Room to Grow
Promoting the Whole Health of Mothers and Children: Innovative Approaches to Maternal/Child Health and Healing
Track Partner: Building Blocks Charitable Fund


The program closed with remarks by Ryan Dings, Chair of SIF Board of Directors, who congratulated the newly named Social Innovators, thanked everyone for their support of SIF, and encouraged the audience to continue their support in the coming year. The night ended with networking, food and refreshments, and merriment. To view photos of the event, check out our Facebook page.

* Updated January 18: Due to an unexpected change in circumstances, MotherWoman will not be able to participate in the Social Innovator Accelerator as previously announced.

*Boston Open Impact: Daniel and Elizabeth Jick, Jeffrey and Kim Kushner, Andrew and Suzanne Offit, Robert and Amy Rands, Steven and Ellen Segal

About the Author

Diana served as Social Innovation Forum’s Development & Events Coordinator from 2016 to 2017, working in database administration, fundraising, event management, and strategic communication. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology.