Vol. 12 (2022): Innovative and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits and Service Models
Imagine a world where social responsibility standards, transparency, and accountability were the norm. Imagine, if the places we lived in responded to the needs of residents, and the values of equity and justice drove our policies and systems.
The success of the social sector depends on us embracing both tried-and-true traditional practices while simultaneously stepping out of the box to grow new ideas into innovative practices. To achieve a more just society, we need to shift our recognition processes and structures from traditional small societal circles to the public to nominate, acknowledge, and promote organic changemaker leadership who stands to re-envision social sector solutions. These community changemakers serve as catalysts to reshape communities through their innovative ideas, programs, and policies with the potential to disrupt the political landscape and revolutionize our realities; bringing us forward to a more equitable and inclusive tomorrow, today.
Through a public process to nominate, recognize, and promote our most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers, whose work and social impact too often goes unacknowledged, we start the process of shifting our strategies and investments into the efforts that encourage regions of innovation to thrive and create equitable opportunities for all people.
The primary challenge regions face is the process of finding those social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers because they are too busy promoting their work. The simple solution to the challenge is to open up the nomination, recognition, and promotion process to the public. The Social Innovations Journal has tested and piloted this idea since 2013, resulting in the discovery of 60-75% ecosystem changemakers who were previously unknown to a region’s social sector investors. These previously unrecognized changemakers have introduced innovative solutions with a concrete impact on a region’s people. The process has also resulted in the identification of the primary social sector categories to drive change and inspire vibrant ecosystems. The public nominations, recognition, and promotion of key social sector categories are Innovations in Social Sector Investing, Innovations in Equity and Justice (i.e., community innovations, innovative partnerships, workforce innovations leading to earning a living wage and economic freedom, and education entrepreneurship), and Innovations in Integrated Healthcare Systems with the Social Determinants of Health (i.e., behavioral health, housing, healthy food access).
This issue titled Innovative and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits and Service Models highlights samples of our most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. The articles within the edition paint a picture of how a city’s ecosystem can be transformed simply by putting processes in place to find, recognize, and celebrate an ecosystem’s most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. By putting the decision in the public’s power through nominations and voting, we amplify the voice of the community, educating government, philanthropic investors, and private social impact investors who are spending more time creating social impact and less time trying to meet the perceived interests of funders.
We hope that this edition serves as a catalyst for cities across the globe to adopt a public nomination, recognition, and promotion process that incentivizes and embraces innovating from the bottom-up by embracing and adopting community solutions. This edition was inspired by a joint effort with NOTLEY and PHILANTHROPITCH, organizations that share a vision to expand the bottom-up model as a new approach to solve our ecosystem's continual challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Their work impacts education, the workforce, economic development, and the social determinants of health.
Notley’s strategy is to team up with a diverse range of passionate people and partners within a city’s ecosystem to combat issues across multiple cause areas with the most effective model possible. Notley’s for-profit/nonprofit approach helps them identify solutions quicker and make the most impact possible. They are on a mission to redefine how these sectors intersect and collaborate with the communities they serve to transform with new models never before thought possible. Philanthropitch was founded as a way to support innovative & entrepreneurial nonprofits and operates in four cities annually: Austin, San Antonio, Columbus, and Philadelphia.
The Social Innovations Journal’s strategy is to host a publicly nominated and voted ecosystem awards process and ceremony that identifies an ecosystem’s most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers whose work and the social impact often go unacknowledged. This is typically the case while their efforts are what makes their communities the thriving regions of innovation and opportunity they are. The strategy promotes a culture of bold thinking and problem-solving, increasing awareness and building a culture for social innovation, and increasing Social Impact investments by Social Sector Funders and Investors to an ecosystems changemakers.
We would like to congratulate all the authors who wrote for this edition, who are not only making a tremendous impact on their communities but are putting in the extra time to share their impact and models with other social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers across the globe.
Nicholas Torres Georgia Thompson Katie Hall
Co-Founder/CEO Chief Programs Officer Executive Director
SIJ Notley Philanthropitch