Social Innovation Lab

Social Innovation Lab

Launched in the Fall of 2016 the Social Innovation Lab (“The Lab”) is an incubator for members of the New Haven community (Yale and Non-Yale) dedicated to leveraging their talents to create positive social impact. The Lab provides mentorship, funding, workshops, and access to corporate services to help movements, non-profits, and socially driven organizations build vibrant, connected communities. 
 
Ideal candidates are curious, resilient, and empathetic individuals, with a proven ability to develop imaginative solutions to complex problems. Successful applicants will spend the semester stress testing their ideas, building their movement, establishing relationships, and developing the infrastructure for their idea to thrive.
 
If you have any questions please email Marquita Taylor at marquita.taylor@yale.edu
 

2018 Social Innovation Lab Participants

Affiliation: Yale

Applicant Name: Lauren Kim

Applicant Email: Lauren.kim@yale.edu

Project Name: Greenish

Project Description: Greenish is an organization that amplifies the voices of people of color and other underrepresented groups in environmentalism. We live in a society where we associate sustainable living with only certain actions and certain groups of privileged people. By sharing oral histories of people working in environmental justice, connecting young activists with mentors and opportunities, and providing resources/examples of what culturally inclusive, conscious living looks like, Greenish will change this narrative. We are going to interview activists and share these oral histories and other resources on a website. We want to collaborate with local high school students and have the students also help conduct these interviews with activists (and have the opportunity to share their own experiences). We hope to lift up the voices of impactful community organizers, starting in New Haven, and eventually create resources so that youth & students all over the world can share these stories of diversity, resilience, and empathy.


Affiliation: Yale

Applicant Name: Rachel Sterneck

Applicant Email: rachel.sterneck@yale.edu

Project Name: FunkyFresh

Project Description: FunkyFresh is a company that uses technology to minimize food waste and to connect small businesses. Over 20% of perfectly edible produce is wasted in the United States because it is not aesthetically pleasing enough to be sold in supermarkets. Through an app that allows local food establishments to order locally from farms, I hope to create an alternative market for farm fresh produce that connects farmers and restaurant owners. In order to do so, I want to spend time with as many farmers and restaurant owners as possible so I can learn about the intricacies of their industries an cd design FunkyFresh around their desires.


Affiliation: Yale

Applicant Name: Arka Gupta

Applicant Email: arka.gupta@yale.edu

Project Name: Dose of Justice

Project Description: Dose of Justice is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding justice at the intersection of health and human rights. We seek to inform the public through a collection of resources and advocacy materials in an effort to reduce stigma around addiction and mental health issues. Our project would include developing an educational curriculum regarding the Opioid Epidemic in an effort to inform students through peer advocacy about the harmful consequences of stigma and opioid addiction. Through this educational curriculum, we hope to encourage students to keep an open-mind when approaching situations, and teach them skills to overcome stigma.


Affiliation: Yale

Applicant Name: Brandon Lu

Applicant Email: brandon.lu@yale.edu

Project Name: Asian American Initiative for Youth Mobilization

Project Description: With the increasingly volatile political environment, voices of the Asian American and Pacific Island communities become ever more important and relevant. Especially with problems of representation in every level of our government, may it be at the municipal, state, and national scale. We aim to develop AIYM, the Asian American Initiative for Youth Mobilization to address this issue–starting with the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander communities) youth populations that are growing more politically and socially minded. We hope to engender change within our youth, motivating them to become civically minded and engaged with the AAPI political environment. We plan to do this first by targeting AAPI majority populations at Yale and in New York (a pilot test) that we hope to eventually scale. We believe college students play an integral role in motivating high school students, who are only years away from possessing the ability to vote and advocate for themselves.


Affiliation: Yale

Applicant Name: Brian Fink

Applicant Email: brian.fink@yale.edu

Project Name: Legal Food Hub

Project Description: In an attempt to alleviate pressure on small-scale producers in the food system, the Legal Food Hub matches income-eligible farmers and food entrepreneurs, as well as related nonprofits, with volunteer, pro bono attorneys. It currently operates in three New England states—Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island—and it’s about to launch in Connecticut. I am working with Conservation Law Foundation to grow and strengthen this program. We hope to create a model that can be adapted nationwide.


Affiliation: Non Yale

Applicant Name: Deborah Conyers

Applicant Email: dawc258@yahoo.com

Project Name: Total Man (Man, Woman and Child) Ministry

Project Description: Grace Chapel’s Total Man Ministry is intended to meet the total needs of mankind. Our goal is to feed the hungry. Provide housing, education, ongoing counseling, job preparedness training and job coaching for the homeless, and those reentering society from prison.


Affiliation: Non Yale

Applicant Name: Catherine Cazes-Wiley and John Wiley

Applicant Email: cathcazes@gmail.com

Project Name: Threads and Needles  

Project Description: This project proposes a low-cost membership based (with sponsorship available), series of sewing workshops, available to all genders but mainly aiming at low income undeserved women, who already know how to sew. After conducting surveys on Grand Avenue, Fair Haven, and working with The Family Resources Center (Fair Haven school), Tinaliah’s founder, Catherine found that many Latina knew how to sew. The course’s goal is to improve on the skills women already have in order to create micro-enterprises, transferable skills and employment. We are focusing on renting space within the limit of that neighborhood, where our second generation, Co-op members, locals, refugee and immigrant will become paid to teach.


Affiliation: Non Yale

Applicant Name: Elizabeth Nearing

Applicant Email: elizabeth.nearing@gmail.com

Project Name: nowhere.  

Project Description: I am applying to support the creation of [nowhere], a participatory theatre company based in New Haven, CT. The goal of [nowhere] is to build community resiliency through collaborating on theatrical experiences in public spaces. I aim to build out a scalable and equitable artistic producing model rooted in neighborhood input and community need. In the next year I will work to pilot this model in collaboration with local artists and the West River Neighborhood with a long term plan in mind to expand to other neighborhoods annually. I envision a theater that connects people and their neighborhoods; celebrates place and the people that occupy it; lives in, around and beyond institutions; that defies and destructs white supremacy culture; empowers its performers and audiences, and is rooted in radical joy.


The Lab’s Structure:

  1. Creates an open space where communities can exchange ideas and be inspired.
  2. Supports the creativity and ingenuity of individuals who have conceived an innovative idea. 
  3. Provides a network of support, including potential partners and mentors, to develop the idea.
  4. Teaches practical skills to students to understand and implement their idea.
  5. Gives resources, including prize money, to individuals who demonstrate the passion to execute their idea. 
 

Specific Benefits:

  • Project design & planning structure assistance
  • Regular consultation from an advisor as well as 
  • Small grants
  • Workshops in special skills
  • Work Space
  • Access to a network of mentors and experts
  • Showcase to present their achievements and attract investors or supports, in case they want to launch or scale their project
 
Applications close Friday, February 2nd at 11:59PM EST
 
 
The Social Innovation Lab is made possible by the generous support of The Elizabethan Club of Yale University.