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Tori Callahan
4 min

Announcing the Host Committee: Boston’s Social Innovation Leaders Join the Collaborative

A few weeks ago we announced three exciting updates about the 2016 Collaborative + Classy Awards. In case you missed it, we’re expanding the experience to be a three-day event in order to provide more opportunities for networking and collaboration. We’re also focusing on showcasing social innovation in ways that create an even greater environment of discovery and learning. And finally, we announced that we’re relocating to Boston, a city renowned for its innovation ecosystem and an emerging hub for social innovation in particular.

Today, we’re excited to announce the board of influential Boston leaders who will serve on our Host Committee and welcome those who will be joining us for the Collaborative + Classy Awards in June 2016.

Relocating the Collaborative + Classy Awards from San Diego to Boston means we’re moving into a new neighborhood, and like any traditional move, the first step was to meet our new neighbors. As it turns out, those neighbors include some of the most forward thinking innovators in the country, and the ecosystem they’ve built to encourage and support innovation within their community is unprecedented. This type of environment is precisely what we seek for the Collaborative—one in which collaboration and social innovation isn’t just a vision, it’s the standard operating procedure.

Recently, we’ve had the honor of meeting a running list of Boston’s most impressive social sector leaders. These include entrepreneurs, politicians, civic leaders, and corporate executives, and their respective organizations, which are truly on the forefront of tackling persistent social problems on a local and international scale.

Take for example Nigel Jacob, who as the co-founder of New Urban Mechanics, a civic innovation incubator and R&D Lab within the Mayor’s Office at Boston’s City Hall, is developing new models of innovation for Boston and other major cities.

Boston has always been a hub of innovation. As a city at the forefront of life sciences, the financial industry, healthcare, and education, Boston is used to breaking the mold.” – Tracy Palandjian, Social Finance

In 2009, New Urban Mechanics launched an app for residents called Citizen’s Connect. Residents are encouraged to report public issues by taking a picture on their phone and uploading it to the app. It’s then sent directly from their phones into the City’s work order management system. Within 24 to 48 hours a worker is sent to fix that issue. In 2010, reports from the Citizens Connect app comprised 6 percent of all service requests tracked within the city’s CRM. By 2014, Citizens Connect (and its companion apps) accounted for roughly 28 percent of all service requests.

And then there’s Tracy Palandjian, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Social Finance, a nonprofit leading the development of Pay for Success projects. The Pay for Success model, also referred to as Social Impact Bonds, is an innovative funding model that drives government resources toward effective, results-based social programs. Essentially, nonprofits are given access to flexible, reliable, and up-front resources by tapping private funding to cover the up-front costs their programs. The model was pioneered by Social Finance’s sister organization in the UK in 2010, and then launched in the US one year later. At the time, the concept was completely obscure.

Today, the model is fundamentally changing the way high-impact nonprofit programs can scale by structuring and managing impact investments that unlock capital and drive an outcomes-focused social sector. There are now eight deals in the U.S. channeling almost $100 million of private capital to solve social problems that span criminal justice, foster care, early childhood education, and homelessness. More than 20 states have proposed or passed legislation around Pay for Success. In just five years, the concept has grown from an idea to a movement.

Nigel and Tracy, and the work they are doing, are just two examples of the incredible individuals represented on this year’s Host Committee. Members, who come from a diverse array of industries and expertise, serve as the face of Boston and welcome those who will be joining us for the Collaborative in June 2016. We’re honored to have these individuals representing us in our new host city.

The 2016 Host Committee

  • Mo Cowan, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at ML Strategies, Of Counsel to Mintz Levin, United States Senator (Ret.) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Michael Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
  • Jeff Fagnan, Founder of TUGG and Partner at Accomplice VC
  • Tim Ferguson, Founder and Managing Partner of Next Street
  • Wendy Foster, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay
  • Jesús Gerena, Managing Partner of Family Independence Initiative
  • Margaret Hall, National Director & Co-Founder of GreenLight Fund
  • Kerry Healey, President of Babson College
  • Nigel Jacob, Co-Founder of New Urban Mechanics
  • John Kania, Managing Director of FSG
  • Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
  • George Overholser, CEO and Co-Founder of Third Sector Capital Partners
  • Tracy Palandjian, CEO and Co-Founder of Social Finance
  • Ayanna Pressley, City Councilor for the City of Boston
  • Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs
  • Eric Schwarz, CEO and Co-Founder of College for Social Innovation, Co-Founder and former CEO of Citizen Schools
  • Ayele Shakur, Regional Executive Director of BUILD
  • David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR
  • C.A. Webb, Partner and Co-Founder at Assemble VC and former head of the New England Venture Capital Association

See the full list here.


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