In the Marketplace is a new occasional blog series to introduce readers to the unique individuals whose hard work and commitment help SIF achieve its mission to accelerate positive social change in greater Boston.
Bernadette Hampton-Jones has an unusual perspective on the Social Innovation Forum (SIF). Bernie is the only person to have experienced our Social Innovator Accelerator program from the program participant, funder, and consultant roles. We recently sat down with Bernie to learn more about her SIF journey.
Bernie’s relationship with the Social Innovation Forum began in the most exciting way. She was the Program Director of GRLZRadio.org when the organization was anonymously nominated for the Social Innovator Accelerator. GRLZRadio.org, a program of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, focuses on youth leadership development and utilizes broadcast journalism, blogging, video production, and social media management as catalysts for personal growth and change. Following the anonymous nomination, Bernie and the SIF team went through a rigorous six-month selection process, before GRLZRadio.org was selected as a 2013 Social Innovator.
"My experience as a Social Innovator was great for me. The SIF team was supportive in helping me navigate the space and taking the necessary steps to complete the program. I’m thankful for Susan (Musinsky) for her relentless support."
Through the two-year Accelerator program, GRLZRadio.org had access to consulting, coaching, in-kind services, and a range of other supports to support its growth and development. She recalls that the Accelerator committed to its ‘promise’ of helping build organizational capacity. GRLZRadio.org began to service more teens and give paid work opportunities for them to work with younger girls. The organization was flourishing in and out--from empowering more young women to receiving media awards.
Three years later, Bernie was back, but this time as a funder. As a board member of the Anna B. Stearns Foundation, Bernie was part of the Women & Girls Funding Collaborative, a group of funders interested in women and girls empowerment. The collaborative participants (The Miriam Fund, the Story Exchange, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and Womenade Boston) brought diverse perspectives and worked collectively with each other and with the SIF team to select the nonprofit organization Budget Buddies as a 2016 Social Innovator.
“As part of the Women & Girls Funding Collaborative, it was nice to see so many familiar faces –people who I knew from being an Innovator,” said Bernie. “I, along with many others, were able to work together and be part of the growing network.”
Bernie felt she had a knack for helping organizations and enrolled in the TSNE Missionworks Emerging Consultants Training Program, which trains social justice leaders to become organizational development consultants. When SIF was recruiting new consultants to work with our 2019 Social Innovator organizations, we recruited two consultants from this program, Bernie being among them. Bernie cited her experience as both an Innovator and a funder as the reason she applied to SIF.
Bernie was paired with 2019 Social Innovator organization Boston Youth Wrestling and worked closely with Executive Director Bior Guigni to articulate the organization’s mission, vision, and a two-year plan for growth. Bernie helped Bior create a four-page prospectus for potential funders and develop a five-minute pitch, which Bior delivered to an audience of more than 350 philanthropists, business leaders, and community members at SIF’s annual Social Innovator Showcase in May 2019. Bernie acknowledges that there is something special about the SIF process, which pairs a cohort of consultants with a cohort of nonprofit leaders. She appreciates the structured and supportive nature of the consulting engagement. Bernie was one of eight consultants that year, and the role helped her to grow her own network within the nonprofit space.
“With SIF we have access to this large network with so many resources, while there are individuals out there consulting all on their own. This role provided me with a good introductory experience into the consulting world.”
Bernie returned this year as a Social Innovator consultant and is currently working with Executive Director Joe Walsh of Adaptive Sports New England. They are in the midst of the most in-depth phase of the Accelerator and are working intensively to prepare Joe’s prospectus and pitch for the May 18 Showcase.
Bernie, who has more than 25 years of experience in the field of nonprofit management and public administration, is also a Program Manager at New England Community Services, Inc. Her consulting practice includes board development, management, and youth and young adult programming. She describes her consulting work as “helping leaders do the good work they want to do.”
Bernie's engagements in the sector and participation in the Accelerator program demonstrates her dedication to helping drive social change in greater Boston.
About the Marketplace
SIF’s marketplace engages a broad community in the work of social change. The “market-goers” (volunteers, philanthropists, social impact investors, and leaders of mission-based organizations) exchange resources (time, money, expertise, and social capital) in order to collaborate on creating social impact.