Social Innovation Initiative (SI2)

Supporting social innovation at MHC

The McCulloch Center provides support, mentorship, and seed funding to student innovators who are developing and implementing projects to address some of the world’s most vexing challenges. It advances this agenda in collaboration with multiple units across campus, most importantly Entrepreneurship, Organizations, and Society. Under the Social Innovation Initiative (SI2), students advance projects that are grounded in the community, informed by the curriculum, and build student capacity for “effective and purposeful engagement in the world” – chiefly in the fields of education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health. Students can secure seed funding for online projects that meet high standards.

Seed Funding Challenge in 2021

The SI2 Seed Funding Challenge will provide students an opportunity to advance an innovation project with catalytic funding for project development or planning activities. In summer 2021 students may compete for $1,000 Planning Grants for early stage projects or strongly conceived project concepts. Funds may be used for project activities and materials only (not for student compensation or personal expenses).

Important Note: SI2 adheres to prevailing Mount Holyoke policies regarding health and safety. Therefore, only activities that can be completely online will receive funding in summer 2021. Planning proposals may seek support for projects that will ultimately be implemented online, and/or project development activities (e.g. research, strategic/business planning, partnership development, grant writing, prototype development, etc.,) that can be accomplished online.

How to Apply

After attending an information session, you may submit a draft proposal (optional) on which the selection committee will provide feedback. All applicants must submit a final proposal with all required components (listed below) by the deadline to to

Required proposal components include:

  • project proposal
  • one page budget
  • statement of sustainability and partnership

Learn about some of Mount Holyoke’s inspiring social innovators

Our expanding work in social innovation

2016 Changemakers

In 2016, a record-breaking 18 Mount Holyoke students were invited to attend the CGI U convening at UC Berkeley. Consistent with past years, MHC students made an outsized impact -- with Danielle Harris ('16) a member of the winning Code-a-thon team and multiple students selected for The Exchange (Woyneab Habte '17, Yan Yan '17, and Jemimah Kamau FP) -- with support from 2016 mentor Dr. Tamara Stenn.

2015 Changemakers

The 2015 CGI U convening was held March 6-8 at the University of Miami. Twelve Mount Holyoke were invited to Florida, to turn their ideas into action. Many of these students developed their Commitments to Action in MHC's Social Innovation Lab, led by Elizabeth Long Lingo, who accompanied the students to the conference. They also found inspiration in the 2014 CGI U cohort, two of whom were invited to return to the global convening for a second year.

2014 Changemakers

In 2014, fourteen MHC students -- proposing innovative solutions from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe -- were selected to participate in the CGI U meeting March 21-23 at Arizona State University, where they networked with international experts and other student leaders. In Phoenix, Celine Mudahakana ('16) was invited to showcase her project, Weaving for Peace, at the prestigious CGI U "Expo" while Prarthana Bhattarai ('15) and Jazmin Locke ('14) were chosen as two of only 23 Resolution Project Fellows from among more than 1000 participating students.