Social Innovation Fellowship

The Social Innovation Fellowship provides meaningful community engagement and social innovation experiences for students, focused on local action, partnership, and social impact through the lens of innovation. The Fellowship offers students the opportunity to explore modes of social innovation and the tools required for successful ventures as well as change within existing organizations. Simultaneously, students in the Fellowship enhance the ability of nonprofit community organizations to use student talent effectively to build organizational capacity, explore innovative ideas, have a positive impact on program participants.

The Fellowship builds a learning community of students, faculty and community partners who are engaged in thinking about the nature of social innovation, the dynamics of sustained community change, connections and overlaps between academic and community work, and active citizenship.

The Social Innovation Fellowship is possible thanks to the generous support of Kenneth Cole through the Kenneth Cole Foundation.

Applications for the Social Innovation Fellowships are available on UFunds.

In 2019/20 and 2020/1 only, in addition to the comprehensive three-year Social Innovation Fellowship, the Swearer Center is offering six one-year fellowships for rising seniors looking to launch or scale up a social venture. More information on this one-year fellowship can be found here. Applications are found on UFunds under Senior Social Innovation Fellowship.

meet the Social Innovation Fellowship Cohorts

The Social Innovation Fellowship is a three-year, developmental program, led by an award-winning local organization, that provides intensive skills training, hands-on experience in innovation alongside community partners, and a broad network of social innovators offering mentorship.  Fellows are provided with a stipend of $1,000 per semester for each semester of participation (with possibility of a summer extension). They have access to a Swearer Faculty Fellow for advising, training, connections to other faculty, and co-learning. In Spring 2019, the faculty fellow is Lisa DiCarlo from Sociology.

The Fellowship places the community at the center of all engagement through the Swearer Center’s partner, Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG). SEG staff provide Fellows with training while partners in the SEG network offer students coaching and hands-on social innovation experience through community organizations that are developing social ventures. Fellows benefit from Inclusion in the Swearer Center ecosystem of faculty, advisors, and students who are engaging with communities.

In year one, Fellows participate in regular workshops led by SEG and they partner with an existing community organization. In year two, Fellows participate in the SEG Community CoGenerator Lab (provisional name). In year three, Fellows have the option to (1) continue participating in the Community CoGenerator, (2) complete a substantial project with an SEG-supported social venture, or (3) develop and launch a venture, writing a sustainability plan, and securing funding as needed. Fellows participate in the Swearer Center Community Corps cohort, attending trainings and community engagement opportunities.


The Social Innovation Fellowship is open to first year undergraduate students.


We are currently not accepting applications to the Social Innovation Fellowship. Please check back for updates on the next application cycle.


Betsy Shimberg, Assistant Dean of the College and Director, Student Development: [email protected].

Steve Pokorny, Program Manager, Student Development: [email protected].

Lisa DiCarlo, Social Innovation Faculty Fellow: [email protected].