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Social Innovation Forum



Social Innovation Forum


How can an organization establish connections between funders and non-profit leaders to increase non-profit capacity?

People Raising Hands at a Conference



In 2003, Root Cause created the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) to accelerate efforts to improve people’s lives in greater Boston. SIF connects supporters like funders, investors, and volunteers to practitioners such as non-profit and social business leaders so they can grow social impact together. In 2015, SIF spun off from Root Cause to become an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

SIF builds networks of donors and organizations through the Social Innovator Accelerator and the Impact Investing and Social Business Accelerator. Launched in 2004, the Social Innovator Accelerator selects nonprofits to receive consulting and advising services from SIF. Participating organizations benefit from increased visibility among a network of donors, build new relationships, and access the resources needed for growing promising programs. Each year, the Social Innovation Forum selects a cohort of Social Innovators through a six-month evaluation process that brings together a range of stakeholders including donors, practitioners, and leaders from business and academia. Once selected, Social Innovators receive 24 months of focused support from SIF and its partners, including consulting, executive coaching, and presentation advising. A five-month consulting engagement culminates with SIF’s annual Showcase event, where Social Innovators pitch to an audience of over 350 local leaders in business and philanthropy. 

In 2013, SIF began working in the field of impact investing with a Social Business Accelerator that focuses on connecting social impact businesses with growth capital. The goal of the Social Business Accelerator is to produce social benefits as well as financial returns for investors. The support provided to entrepreneurs in this accelerator emphasizes mentoring from experienced business leaders and connections to prospective investors. The Accelerator selects six to eight social impact businesses for a 12-week program that includes workshops, guest speakers, one-on-one advising, and a pitch event.

SIF also has a focus on investor and support engagement. SIF partners with donors, volunteers, and investors help to identify ways to create the most positive social impact by leveraging resources and skills efficiently.

Goals & Results

The Social Innovation Forum has successfully established a network of supporters and innovators working together to create positive social impact. As of 2018, SIF has worked with 106 nonprofits, connected with over 2,600 supporters, and directed $31 million of cash and in-kind services to its Innovators and Entrepreneurs. On average, non-profit innovators more than double their revenue four years after engaging with SIF.

In 2017 alone, programs operated by SIF Social Innovators such as Year Up, Roca, Inc., Cradles to Crayons, Playworks, and Generations Incorporated served over 400,000 people. Their portfolio represents a range of social issues including food insecurity, healthy aging, environmental sustainability, homelessness, youth development, and the arts.


Social Innovation Forum
Welcome to the Social Innovation Forum’s New Website

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Community Wealth
The Business of Social Change: Root Cause’s Social Innovation Forum Models a New Approach to Funding Nonprofits Locally

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Social Innovation Forum
SIF Announces 2019 Social Innovator Cohort

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The Boston Globe
Two Boston Nonprofits combined forces

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Social Innovation Forum
Social Innovation Forum Awarded $100,000

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Social Innovation Forum
SIF Launches 2019-2020 Social Innovator Accelerator

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