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Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR

Spring 2019

Volume 17, Number 2

For nearly a century public policy making has been informed more by theory than by practice: a group of experts propose prescriptions, and elected officials turn these into laws and programs. In “The New Practice of Public Problem Solving,” the cover story in the Spring 2019 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, two authors from a Washington, DC, think tank propose a new approach that is faster, more bottom-up, and more iterative.

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The Cost of Financial Precarity

By Carrie Leana 1

Anxiety about debt and financial stability can severely reduce the productivity and health of employees, which can hurt a company’s bottom line. Businesses, government, and philanthropic organizations should embrace the case for improving the financial well-being of workers.


Communities Need Neighborhood Trusts

By Joseph Margulies 1

The current approach to community revitalization has helped arrest and even reverse the degradation of American neighborhoods. But it cannot solve the problem without local ownership and control of assets and the decommodification of property.

What’s Next


Housecleaning With Benefits

By Corey Binns

Alia, the new online benefits tool from National Domestic Workers Alliance, helps house cleaners accrue contributions from their clients to purchase insurance and receive paid time off.


Forest Restoration for Fuel

By James Gaines

Supported by the nonprofit U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities, Restoration Fuels will turn wood scraps into a substitute for coal, potentially providing energy, jobs, and even environmental benefits.

Field Report

Case Study

Human Rights

The Fight to End Cash Bail

By Tana Ganeva

The Bail Project began as a simple idea by Bronx public defenders to set up a fund to protect their clients from the ravages of an unfair system. Now their advocacy is part of a vanguard to overhaul US criminal justice.




Editor’s Note

Last Look

Human Rights

No Exit

By Marcie Bianco

As the world’s climate scientists continue to warn us of the dire consequences of global warming, including a documented increase in wildfires, climate change is revealing new ways of how little we invest in and value humanity.


Business for Good in East Asia

Leading the Charge

By Jaff Shen & Fan Li

Businesses in East Asia cross boundaries and create alliances to solve complex social problems that the world has never experienced before.

Shifting to a Stakeholder Economy

By Jinglian Wu

As society looks to the business world to solve the most pressing social and environmental issues, corporations are changing the way they are structured to fulfill their duties and new responsibilities.

Seeking Common Ground

By Le Geng, Yulin Li & Yong Wang

Through cross-sector partnerships and identifying ways to meet the needs of the community, China-based Blued is a business success story that also proves to be an asset  for LGBTQ rights, ensuring that members’ voices are both heard and visible.

Managing for Ambiguity

By Nobuyoshi Ohmuro

Sustainable enterprise is increasingly relying on artful thinking and Eastern philosophy to innovate Western business models for global practice.


Unleashing Philanthropy’s Big Bets for Social Change

Big Gift, Big Impact

By Andrew Youn & Matthew Forti

The cofounder and executive director of One Acre Fund and the managing director of One Acre Fund USA write about the role a big bet played in helping their organization expand its impact.

Empowering Nonprofits

By Dan Cardinali

The president and CEO of Independent Sector elaborates on how big bets can help redistribute wealth and rebalance the power dynamic between donors and nonprofits.

Doing More With Big Bets

By Barbara Picower

The president and chair of the board of directors of the JPB Foundation describes what the organization learned from a “hub and network” approach to big-bet philanthropy.

Learning From Competition

By Rebecca Richards-Kortum

The director of the Rice 360° Institute for Global Health at Rice University explains how participating in the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition helped transform her organization.

Profiles of Big Bets

By The Bridgespan Group

These five examples of large investments demonstrate the enormous impact they can have on the world’s most pressing problems.

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