That’s right. Rhode Island. We could begin counting the reasons with Roger Williams and Slater Mill, but let’s jump ahead. SVPRI’s Change Accelerator, a social venture incubator, works with local social entrepreneurs to help them develop and implement their ideas. The state is home to more than 100 social ventures. The mayor of our capital city, Angel Taveras, is an Echoing Green Fellow. Some of our social entrepreneurs are MacArthur Genius Award grantees, Ashoka fellows, and recipients of support from the Clinton Global Initiative. They are artists, foodies, gardeners and students. Some are just tired of waiting for other people to take care of it.
The smallest state in the nation is not immune to the same social challenges found elsewhere. Failing schools, gang violence, environmental destruction, bankrupt towns, a lack of creative outlets for youth, and obesity are just a few of the causes that have inspired the state’s citizens to take action. RI’s social entrepreneurs have taken up the challenge of social and economic change throughout the state. Through internships and educational programs, they have inspired students from RI’s high schools and universities to engage with the community and follow similar paths.
This ecosystem is the perfect platform from which to learn about social innovation. We don’t know how to solve your problems. We’re pretty busy working on how to solve ours. But we all gain a lot from connecting and exchanging ideas and inspiration with individuals and communities that are confronted with similar issues. Come experience the state that convenes some of the world’s most innovative thinkers through conferences such as A Better World by Design, the Business Innovation Factory Summit and the SEEED Summit.
The Field School in Rhode Island creates programs for high school, university and adult learners interested in exploring social innovation through multiple field observation methods. These practitioner-taught programs have a layered focus on the field of social innovation, the practice of observation, and the cultural context of Rhode Island. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us for information.