Rootcause
Social Innovation Forum

2008 Social Innovators

CitySprouts

Year

2008

Social Issue Track

Improving Food Security and Nutrition for Children and Families

Social Issue Track Sponsor

Eos Foundation

About Social Innovator

Since 2000, CitySprouts has been developing, implementing, and maintaining beautiful, resource-rich school gardens in collaboration with Cambridge, Massachusetts, public school communities. Based on numerous requests, CitySprouts aims to share its innovative approach with other school districts and communities in Massachusetts and beyond.

Cradles to Crayons

Year

2008

Social Issue Track

Early Childhood: Laying the Foundation for School Success

Social Issue Track Sponsor

The Peter and Carolyn Lynch Foundation

About Social Innovator

Cradles to Crayons (C2C) provides children ages 10-12 living in poverty with the basic essentials they need to be safe, ready to learn, and feel valued. The C2C model serves as a bridge connecting those who have more with those who have less, breaking down some of the barriers within and between communities. C2C collects new and gently used children’s items through community drives; processes and packages donations at its Giving Factory with the help of thousands of volunteers; and, through partnerships with social service agencies that identify specific children and their individual needs, distributes donated toys, books, clothes, and other items to children throughout Massachusetts at no charge. Through grassroots civic engagement and meaningful volunteer opportunities, C2C reaches tens of thousands of needy children annually, enables social service agencies to work more effectively, and mobilizes thousands of youth and adults to learn about the problem of poverty and become part of the solution.

Girls’ LEAP

Year

2008

Social Issue Track

Women and Girls: Addressing Their Needs by Design

Social Issue Track Sponsor

Anna B. Stearns Charitable Foundation

About Social Innovator

Girls’ LEAP (Lifetime Empowerment and Awareness Program) has increased the safety and well-being of over 3,500 high-risk girls in underserved areas in Boston since 1997. By partnering with after-school agencies, Girls’ LEAP engages girls (ages 8-18) in unique programming that addresses the physical and emotional aspects of violence and focuses on building self-defense techniques, decision-making and conflict resolution skills, and personal courage.

ReVision Urban Farm

Year

2008

Social Issue Track

Nonprofit Business Ventures

Social Issue Track Sponsor

Fund for Philanthropy and Education

About Social Innovator

In 1993, ReVision Urban Farm was launched in the Franklin Field neighborhood of Dorchester. The one-acre farm functions both as a center for productive work and meaningful community engagement and a supplier of healthy, naturally grown produce. Homeless women who live at the ReVision House shelter gain job readiness skills by working side by side with volunteers from Dorchester and surrounding communities to grow produce and bring it to market. Produce from the farm is prepared for shelter meals, given to local residents in need, and sold to customers. Through a combination of revenue from grants, donations, and food sales, ReVision Urban Farm, a Victory Programs Social Enterprise, is able to sustain its job-readiness training, volunteer, and community benefit programs.

True Colors: Out Youth Theater

Year

2008

Social Issue Track

Empowering Youth through Arts

Social Issue Track Sponsor

Hunt Alternatives Fund & The Cloud Foundation

About Social Innovator

True Colors leverages the power of theater to eradicate isolation and fear caused by bigotry and discrimination. True Colors creates a safe haven where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are supported and challenged to engage fully in their own personal, social, and artistic development. As the only LGBT youth theater program in the region and one of only a handful of similar programs throughout the country, True Colors is uniquely positioned to positively impact the lives of all youth, regardless of identity.

United Teen Equality Center

Year

2008

Social Issue Track

Expanding Opportunities for Disadvantaged Youth

Social Issue Track Sponsor

Anonymous Foundation

About Social Innovator

The United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), founded in 1999, was the result of an organizing movement driven by young people to develop their own teen center in response to gang violence. Today UTEC is a youth-led agency that uniquely blends a drop-in, safe-haven center with more structured youth development and organizing work, serving Lowell teens. By directly linking prevention and intervention services with youth-led policymaking, UTEC provides a pathway from the street to the statehouse, from peacemaking to political action for older youth most often overlooked and considered disengaged. UTEC’s long-term vision is to serve as a model for other youth agencies across the Commonwealth and beyond.