Social Innovation Projects (SIP) is an on-campus internship program that allows students to work on projects for top-tier social innovation organizations.

Below, you can look over a list of our partners and read a description of their work. All of our partners are premiere organizations that have been vetted by organizations such as Ashoka, Skoll Foundation, and Peery Foundation. Translation: they are the best of the best.

We work with each partner on an “as-needed” basis. They don’t all participate each semester. We work with each partner to find meaningful projects that directly impact their core mission.  We anticipate having 20-40 projects to choose from by the beginning of the semester.


The Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization that teaches returned missionaries from around the world how to start and grow small businesses to provide for themselves and their families. They primarily operate in the Philippines, Mexico, and Peru. Their curriculum was used to help create the Church’s new self-reliance program.

Asante is a sustainable agro-forestry company, providing a business solution to rural farmers in Kenya. Agro-forestry, or forest farming, intentionally integrates trees together with agricultural crops in a system to create environmental, economic, and social impact. Our core products are tropical hardwood trees and agricultural crops grown primarily for their essential oils.

Ashoka is a global organization that identifies and supports more than 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs. When an organization has proven its ability to provide sustainable and impactful change in the world, the organization is accredited the prestigious title of Ashoka Fellow. Ashoka is always promoting the idea of becoming a “changemaker” in communities.


Thirty-five years ago, Ashoka changed the framework of the social sector by introducing the idea that there is nothing more powerful than a bold, new idea in the hands of an exceptional entrepreneur.

We have built a fellowship of leading social entrepreneurs–people who catalyze an irreversible social change through an innovative idea and encourage others to do the same. Our network of Fellows is now over three-thousand innovators strong and spans eighty-five countries. In addition, the field and profession of social entrepreneurship has grown into a global force.

Ashoka is aiming for its next paradigm shift: a world in which everyone can be a changemaker. We’re assembling a team of entrepreneurs and builders around the world to help us get there. If this sounds like the kind of institution you want to help create, consider joining us.

Ashoka hires people who have been starting and transforming things all their lives, whether that’s a school newspaper, a large company, or a local movement. We have a compelling opportunity for doers and changemakers who are passionate about spotting new ideas and building entrepreneurial teams..

Benetech is a different kind of tech company. We’re a nonprofit whose mission is to empower communities in need by creating scalable technology solutions. Our work has transformed how over 400,000 people with disabilities read; made it safer for human rights defenders in over 50 countries to document human rights violations; and equipped environmental conservationists to protect ecosystems and species all over the world. Our Benetech Labs is working on the next big impact.

Self-Reliance Services- Perpetual Education Fund provides products and services in over 130 countries as a resource for members of the LDS Church to become temporally and spiritually self-reliant. Services include self-reliance groups that help members find a job, start or grow a business, obtain an education, or improve their finances.

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteers to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams.

What if you were only known for the worst thing you’ve ever done? Unfortunately, for many of the millions of individuals with criminal records, this is a harsh reality. At Defy Ventures, we help these people redefine themselves. We harness the natural talents of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and redirect them toward the creation of profitable and legal business ventures. Defy offers a suite of services that includes intensive personal and leadership development, Shark Tank style business plan competitions, executive mentoring, financial investment, and startup incubation.

earth enable

Earth Enable builds healthy floors for the 80 percent of people who can only afford to live and sleep on a dirt floor in their home. They are located in Rwanda and other African countries.


Education for Sharing (E4S) is an international non-profit organization that forms better citizens from childhood by harnessing the power of play. Through the use of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we empower teachers to foster an understanding of global challenges in their classrooms and to instill civic values in their students and larger school community. To date we have impacted 80 teachers across 17 educational spaces in Washington DC. After completion of one of our programs, students reported a 1,234% increase in the practice of gender equality and a 59% increase in the practice of empathy. Teachers report that they continue teaching civic values to their students beyond the duration of the program using the E4S curriculum and training.

Elevate is a socially innovative, for-profit, business management and financial literacy training company. We provide personalized and holistic training to the borrowers of high-volume financial lending institutions in emerging markets. Our training provides small business owners with the tools needed to improve and grow sustainable businesses.

Fundacion Paraguaya is an award wining organization that has been working to help others out of poverty since 1985. They run one of the most successful microcredit programs and entrepreneurial and financial education programs in the world.

Most recently they have developed a “Poverty Stoplight” which is a methodology to create manageable ways to address the multidimensional issues of poverty in the lives of individuals.

The Google Community Leaders Program is an on-campus internship that focuses on using human-centered design principles to find innovative approaches to bridge the digital divide. This program is a partnership between the Ballard Center of Economic Self-Reliance and Google. The mission of the program is to empower individuals and families to use technology to improve their economic and social well-being. Through empowering individuals and families, everyone can contribute in building digitally inclusive communities that have more equitable access to internet, devices, and learning, especially for underserved populations such as seniors, low-income families, refugees, and rural residents. 

Interweave Solutions, a global non-profit organization is currently active in 18 countries. Interweave solutions has a mission to bring people from poverty to prosperity through neighborhood self-reliance groups. The program provides a participatory curriculum, online training and an operating model that empowers self- reliance groups and their members to achieve success in education, business, home and community. We partner with local organizations to ensure that each group remains active, self-reliant, and expanding.

Interweave highly participatory Success! In Business system – often referred to as an MBS (“Masters of Business in the Streets”) – succeeds where other more traditional and expensive business development programs have failed. This neighborhood-based model draws on energy, infrastructure and membership of local community organizations (schools, churches, women’s groups, government agencies, community organizations, etc.) to advance grassroots entrepreneurship, income and community participation.


Maharishi Institute (MI) is a South African non-profit organization founded in 2007 working towards making quality college education accessible to young people who could never afford to attend a public university in the country.

All students are given a no-interest loan to the value of $10,000, covering five years of studies. Students complete a degree programme via distance learning while MI offers support such as self-development programs, lunch daily, computer and internet access, skills development and career training and guidance and job placement. Students also gain work experience while studying ensuring that they are able to get jobs on graduation.

MicroBenefits builds mobile technologies to improve productivity and quality of life for workers in China and Southeast Asia.

Mission: Musana International is a social enterprise that cultivates strong women leaders in Lugazi, Uganda by providing opportunities for employment, education, health, and entrepreneurship.

Vision: Empowered women advocate for change in communities, improve the local economy, provide stability in families, and enable their children to dream.

The Religious Freedom and Business Foundation (RFBF) educates the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business. They recently started an initiative called Empowerment+.

They believe that empowering impoverished people to combine both their faith and self reliance principles can counteract radicalization that leads so many to becoming terrorists. RFBF licensed the Self Reliance Services materials created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a basis for the program that will teach people about self-employment, gaining an education, and how to gain better employment. They have worked to create versions of the material for other faiths such as: Muslim, Buddhist, nondenominational Christianity, and more.


Suyo is a public benefit corporation that unlocks the transformational impact of secure property rights by making it easier and more affordable for low-income families to formalize their property. Suyo currently operates in Cali and Medellin, Colombia.

Empowered with formal recognition of their property rights, low-income families have access to numerous benefits that help lift them out of poverty, such as credit, home ownership security, and the ability to transfer rights. Suyo combines modern technology with their expert team of lawyers, architects, and other property professionals to solve property formalization needs in a simple process for approximately half the price of other providers. Their services include land titling, building registration, successions, and property purchase studies, among many others.

Teens Act is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower underserved youth to graduate from high school and move onto higher education.

We empower struggling, underserved students to overcome obstacles to become college and career ready.