Social Innovation  

@ Innovate Springfield

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so·cial  in·no·va·tion

/sōSHel/  /ineˈvāSH(e)n/

Collecting high-quality data and research evidence and applying it in ways that increase the positive impact of social programs and services.


(In short: Better service through research & evaluation.)

For innovators addressing social issues, the need is great, the work is hard, and the stakes are high.


That's why Innovate Springfield's Social Innovation Program works to advance the healthy development of Springfield-area community members by identifying, investing in, and spreading knowledge of high-impact social programs and services.  We aim to be a catalyst in building our community’s capacity to serve its most vulnerable residents as effectively as possible through the use of evidence-based programs. We believe that healthy communities support innovation and growth, and enacting our vision for a more innovative region requires us to think critically and creatively about how we can mobilize our best resources in support of our neighbors who are most in need. 


The Social Innovation Program's first road-map is the Sangamon Success report, a community-wide strategy for increasing evidence-based supports for low-income children and families from cradle to career in Sangamon County. This means that we convene decision-makers, funders, program administrators, non-profit staff, government agencies, educators, parents, volunteers, and anyone else who will listen, to discuss how our community can use research and evaluation to maximize our positive impact on low-income youth and families.


We're just getting started-- stay tuned for more progress on implementing Sangamon Success, plus new programming for social innovators (hackathons and challenges and workshops, oh my!).


(Still confused about what the heck all of this means?  First, breathe.  Then, grab your nearest phone and call us at 217-670-1770 to ask your burning social innovation questions.)

check out below for a few of the cool things we've done so far

What is Preview Day?

The Sangamon Success report consists of 25 recommendations to help local non-profits and service providers maximize their positive impact on the less-advantaged residents of our community by leveraging data and research.  Sangamon Success serves as the initial framework for Innovate Springfield's Social Innovation Program. >> Read the "Sangamon Success" report

The Sangamon County Continuum of Learning is an educational collaborative consisting of: The Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, the United Way of Central Illinois, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the University of Illinois - Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership, Innovate Springfield, Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, and Springfield Public Schools.  >> Learn more

Innovate Springfield and its Social Innovation partners used the Brain Architecture Game to address the Sangamon Success recommendations related to educating adults in our community about child brain development and executive functions.  The developers of the game shared our initial December 2016 pilot of the game as a case study. >> Learn more

Innovate Springfield Social Innovation Program Coordinator Nadia Gronkowski updates State Journal-Register readers on the presentations, activities, and discussions that took place at the 2017 Sangamon County Youth Mentoring Summit.  >> Learn more

Check out SIU School of Medicine's May 2017 press release announcing the launch of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program.  Implementation of NFP is the first recommendation in the Sangamon Success report.  The program matches first-time, low-income mothers with trained nurses who complete a series of home visits with the mothers that span from the 28th week of pregnancy to the child's second birthday.  NFP is considered one of the most effective evidence-based home-visiting programs, and studies indicate that it provides a 6 to 1 return on investment for communities. >>  Read the press release

Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth introduced the Mentoring to Succeed Act, which provides support for evidence-based youth mentoring.  Innovate Springfield's Social Innovation Program was excited to endorse it. >>  Read the press release

Supporting evidence-based social programs is kind of our thing here at iSPI, and that means that we're not afraid to get a little wonky when we need to. Get the 411 on how you can voice your support for evidence-based home-visiting funding for communities across the U.S., and learn how Illinois's very own U.S. Senators are working to support evidence-based youth mentoring.  >> Learn more

Learn about the upcoming Sangamon County Youth Mentoring Summit, a day-long event for youth mentoring service providers from across Sangamon County to explore evidence-based best practices. >> Learn more

Learn how you can help the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce make Sangamon County the first certified Work Ready Community in Illinois. >> Learn more

What is 'social innovation' and how will it benefit the Springfield community? >> Learn more

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