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Social Innovation Forum Presents Six Special Nonprofits

Ranjani Saigal

Social Innovation Forum whose mission is to foster greater social and economic impact by promoting, connecting and supporting social entrepreneurs and social investors presented the work of six early stage organizations at an event held at MIT on Tuesday, November 30.  The leaders of these organizations are social entrepreneurs working relentlessly to provide innovative, results-oriented solutions to some of Boston’s most pressing needs.

The forum selected six organizations and paired them up with strategy consultants from ROOT Cause, Volunteer coaches from the private sector, and MBA students to develop a prospectus for potential donors to review. These leaders worked with their coaches to learn a practical set of tools and techniques for building relationships with people who are new to their network so they can continue to access human and financial capital.

Boston Children’s Chorus which brings together children from Boston’s urban neighborhoods and surrounding towns and trains them to sing was one of the recipients. “We are a multi-racial, multi-cultural arts organization that uses music as a powerful tool for social change by bringing together a diverse group of children to sing” said Muriel Heiberger who presented the organization at the forum. Studies have shown that people who participate in choral groups tend to end up as leaders who help build strong communities and work to bridge social gaps.

Low-wage workers in today’s economy face significant challenges. Because they lack the education and training to secure skilled employment, workers are often working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet with no opportunity for advancement. They are left with little time to further their education and training – the very strategy that can pull them out of poverty. The Boston Health Care and Research Training Institute is a collaborative, groundbreaking model that is increasing educational opportunities for low-wage adults in the health care and research industry while simultaneously improving the ability of health care institutions to deliver high quality care to their patients.

Between one fourth and one half of all women experience at least one type of abuse or violence in their lifetime.  There are never enough resources to handle the problem at an early stage.  Close to Home works founded by Aimee Thompson aims to prevent domestic violence and get help for those affected by: mobilizing community residents to take appropriate action; positioning domestic violence as a public, high priority community issue; and advocating for domestic violence policy and practice that prioritizes community engagements. “Working with this organization has been very satisfying. I think the work done here is really innovative and is becoming a model that can be used by others around the world” says Lakshmi Balachandar, a graduate from the Sloan school of management who works closely with the organization.

Harbinger Partners hopes to provide creative solutions that can help non-profit organizations with information technology which is a major challenge for many non-profits.  Arden O’ Connor who founded Rediscovery House hopes to provide stable living environments, vocational and educational training, clinical supports and aftercare services to young men transitioning out of state custody. Viet-AID founded by Nhan Paul TonThat provides support for Vietnamese immigrants and refugees.

To learn more about the social innovation  forum, please visit their website at http://www.socialinnovationforum.org

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