The Root Cause Blog
07 May

Social Innovator Q&A: Julie Leven, Shelter Music Boston

Written by Zeina Fayyaz, Accelerator Manager, Institute for Black Male Achievement

One of our 2013 Social Innovators, Julie Leven, Executive and Artistic Director of Shelter Music Boston, took the time to answer a few questions leading up to the 2013 Social Innovator Showcase!

Julie Leven is the Lead Innovator for Shelter Music Boston’s engagement with the Social Innovation Forum. Shelter Music Boston (SMB) presents high-quality classical chamber music concerts in homeless shelters. They believe that all people deserve access to the dignity, creativity, and passion of classical music, whether or not they have a home.

1) What aspect of your program/organization's work makes you most proud and why?

Each time Shelter Music Boston performs classical music in a homeless shelter, the musicians have an immediate positive impact on the shelter guests and staff. We bring the dignity, creativity, and the passion of the music into environments in desperate need of these humanizing elements. A shelter guest said, "The music was like water for my soul when it was thirsty." It is an honor to make this happen.

2) By the end of your Social Innovation Forum engagement, how do you expect your program/organization to have changed or developed?

Our work with the Social Innovation Forum is refining and distilling our goals and vision; we are making remarkable connections to so many different kinds of organizations in Boston and across the country, in fact, all of which want to see our work grow. In terms of basic logistics, we've acquired a logo, increased our social media presence exponentially, and have myriad new ideas and avenues for developing our work.

3) What aspect of the upcoming Social Innovator Showcase most excites you?

Introducing many people to an entirely new concept of the purpose of a classical music concert.

4) If you could share one thing that you've learned from your engagement with the Social Innovation Forum with other nonprofit leaders, what would it be?

The Social Innovation Forum model of resource sharing inspires generosity of ideas, networks, funding, and so much more. This model can be a compelling motivation for individual organizations in all interaction as the ultimate results are so much greater than the sum of the parts. Approaching nonprofit challenges with an attitude of generosity, rather than scarcity, creates positive outcome, and quite simply, gene