BOSTON, MA -- The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) has received a $175,000 grant from the Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative to convene a national cohort of place-based, “marketplace making” organizations. Focused on supporting peer-learning through a national cohort, this two-year grant will allow a group of like-minded organizations to explore best practices that combine funder education and engagement with capacity building for social impact organizations to create a community, centered around place-based, equitable philanthropy and capacity building in the social sector. The cohort will help participating organizations deepen and expand the social structures inside local communities focused on racial equity as well as strengthen the local social fabric in a range of communities. In addition, the peer-led, eighteen-month cohort will give SIF the chance to convene and collaborate with organizations leading similar marketplace work in communities around the country.
Currently, in the outreach phase of the project, SIF has identified over 50 potential organizations and reached out to over 20 that are doing place-based work. Potential participants have shared enthusiasm for the project and energy for doing locally focused work and sharing voices, vision, and experiences with each other. SIF finds meaning in creating a national conversation with organizational leaders that focuses on racial equity, shifting power dynamics, and putting grassroots leaders at the center of the change movement. Eight organizations from across the US will be a part of the cohort, and meetings will be jointly planned and facilitated by participants to assure a range of styles and input into the program, with SIF playing a convening and connecting role.
For almost 20 years, SIF has pioneered a “marketplace model” that brings together organizations, funders, and volunteers to exchange resources and expertise in an intentional social impact community in order to accelerate change and build social capital. Susan Musinsky, SIF’s Executive Director states, “By bringing people from different walks of life together who all care about social change and have different lived experiences and contributions, the chance to spark connections and build something unique really exists. In our local SIF marketplace, funders and nonprofits stand side-by-side bringing skills, ideas, money, and vision. Together they are able to go much further and get work done.” By connecting with other place-based organizations that use similar models, SIF hopes to help create a broader social change conversation and movement within the larger philanthropic sector.
During the quarterly convenings, SIF hopes to pose big questions about social change, contemplate a variety of successful approaches and reflect on the ways that leaders in different geographies can continue to grow and evolve. SIF has set aside funds to jointly attend and present at two national conferences, as well as share the cohort’s collective insights in a white paper.
About Social Innovation Forum
The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) creates positive social change in Greater Boston by engaging leaders, strengthening organizations, and building networks. The Social Innovation Forum offers a path for philanthropy that catalyzes Greater Boston’s change community by connecting local nonprofits with funders and skilled volunteers to create more equitable relationships and more equitable allocation of resources across the local nonprofit sector. Throughout the years, SIF has directed more than $46 million in cash and in-kind services to more than 106 social impact organizations. Currently, SIF supports 204 local nonprofits in our Nonprofit Network.
Read Maggie Cohen, SIF's SIF's Special Project Summer Fellow reflections on planning SIF's first-ever national learning cohort.