Social Innovation Expansion | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

United Way Announces Expanded Social Innovation Program

New initiatives will drive even more lasting impact throughout North Texas.

Why is United Way focused on social innovation? As Susan Hoff, chief impact and strategy officer for United Way Dallas explains, it’s one of the best ways to creatively and effectively drive change.

“Today, big, bold solutions require new ways of thinking and fresh voices who can deliver a unique perspective,” she says. “For us, social innovation means identifying creative, never-before-seen ideas that address important needs in our community. That’s why we are always looking to support promising ventures that have the potential to improve education, income and health in North Texas.”

Based on the success of the Social Innovation Accelerator in collaboration with Accenture, our team has an incredible opportunity to expand the scope of its programs and drive progress toward our Aspire United 2030 Goals.

“Looking ahead, we have such a strong foundation for expanding our social innovation work, bringing more entrepreneurs with bold ideas into the fold, and driving even more change right here in our community,” said Ann Montgomery, vice president of innovation and design at United Way Dallas.

“Today, big, bold solutions require new ways of thinking and fresh voices who can deliver a unique perspective.”

Susan Hoff, Chief Impact & Strategy Officer of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

The Opportunity for Even Greater Impact

At United Way, we are so proud of each class of Social Innovation Accelerator fellows and the impact we have enabled together. As the program has become increasingly successful and well-known, we’ve seen a growing demand for us to expand our social innovation work.

The first part of our expansion efforts will include three new initiatives:

The Incubator: Launching this fall, the Incubator is designed for idea- and early-stage organizations. The program will build up ventures from entrepreneurs who are women and/or people of color, helping them develop and validate their business plans. The Incubator will be one of several pipelines that feed into the Social Innovation Accelerator, creating new opportunities to partner with younger organizations that have incredible promise.

SIA Alumni Program: Exclusively for graduates of the Incubator and Social Innovation Accelerator, the Alumni Program will provide ongoing support for these organizations as they continue to grow. Our goal with this program, which is currently in development, is to help graduates scale their ventures and create an ever-greater collective impact over time.

Model Replication Workshop: Although still in the idea phase, the goal of this program will be to replicate proven social innovation ventures throughout Dallas to exponentially amplify their impact. The Model Replication Workshop has a target launch of 2022.

Our Social Innovation Accelerator will remain focused on scaling existing ventures that are around one to two years old (or established organizations that are looking to start a new program).

“This is how we create lasting change in North Texas: by working together, united, toward innovative solutions to long-lasting, systemic challenges.”

Jamey Applegate, senior director of innovation at United Way Dallas

Driving Innovation Through Collaboration

We’re also working to expand our social innovation impact by creating new opportunities to partner with and support more established organizations that are driving positive change in North Texas. This includes two initiatives:

Impact Investing Fund: The Impact Investing Fund will allow United Way Dallas to serve as both a partner and a stakeholder in bringing new solutions to critical social issues. The fund will enable us to work with both large and small organizations, at every stage of development, and allow us to help for-profit ventures drive social impact through their business. It’s a natural evolution of our first impact investments, which include a partnership with Cherry, announced in 2020.

Innovation Challenges: Later this year we’ll be kicking off a series of annual social innovation challenges that will enable us to identify, elevate and activate transformative solutions in the areas of education, income and health. The first of these competitions, the Health Innovation Tech Challenge, will highlight organizations with game-changing, technology-fueled approaches to pediatric and mental health, with $1 million in prize funding. Innovation Challenges are a brand-new approach for non-profits to broaden their impact and engage more of the community, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of this exciting evolution.

“Our expanded social innovation program will allow us to partner with and support social impact organizations of every size and in all phases, from the earliest idea in development to large, fully-operational organizations,” said Jamey Applegate, senior director of innovation at United Way Dallas. “This is how we create lasting change in North Texas: by working together, united, toward innovative solutions to long-lasting, systemic challenges.”


Be a Part of the Future of Social Innovation

At United Way, we believe in the power of unity to create lasting change. There are several opportunities on the horizon to be part of the future of Social Innovation with United Way. We hope you’ll plan to join us for the Health Innovation Tech Challenge, held this fall at the newly opened Pegasus Park in Dallas. Full details will be announced soon.

In the meantime, you can be part of our social innovation work by investing in United Way. The money raised here stays here to create lasting change in our community. Learn more about ways you can give.

This article was published on: Apr 22, 2021