Tine Hansen-Turton 215.820.8451 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Nicholas Torres 215.718.4250 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Philadelphia, PA—The Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab announced two new cohorts for its 2014 Social Innovations Lab, to develop creative solutions to serious issues in health and health care. The program is supported by an $84,880 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The announcement was made at the December 17 Winter Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal launch event at Public Health Management Corporation, Pennsylvania's Public Health Institute. Eleven social sector leaders from the broader Philadelphia region will participate in the Spring 2014 Social Innovations Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government. Eleven fellows will participate in the Fall program. The fellows were nominated by regional foundations, University of Pennsylvania faculty and seasoned social and venture capital entrepreneurs.

Founded in 2012, the Social Innovations Lab provides instruction, mentoring, support and expert guidance to social entrepreneurs in developing viable cross-sector models, blending social impact and financial sustainability in addressing the most pressing problems in health, education and more.

The following 11 fellows were selected to further develop their ideas in the Spring of 2014:

Jamie Ware: The Medical-Legal Partnership Sustainability Project will equip healthcare providers to connect across the continuum of care and address social determinants of health through learning networks, to ensure aligned training and best practices.
Marian Marchese: New Leash on Life USA Project will create a specialized program to provide wounded warriors suffering from PTSD with service dogs trained by inmates.
Linda Samost: Sunday Suppers is an innovative food access program to improve the health and well-being of low income families.
Alex Peay: Rising Sons will support individuals 18 to 30 years old to become qualified for competitive jobs through social entrepreneurship.
Kristen Gavin: Gearing Up will explore the development of a "Beyond the Bars" program to retain a working partnership post-incarceration with women who are engaged in its program while incarcerated.
Ginger Zielinskie: Benefits Data Trust seeks to develop a new model to utilize healthcare and social service data to increase access to public benefits and services, leading to improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.
John Smith: Philadelphia Engineering and Math Challenge seeks to come up with a new model to enhance the teaching and learning of problem solving and communication in our city's public schools through a series of school-based collaborative practice sessions and university-based competitive events focused on math and engineering.
Charles Levesque: Immaculate Cleaning Services DePaul USA seeks to scale its year old, highly successful social enterprise both in Philadelphia and other cities in which it has programming.
Maggie Eisen: Medical Legal Partnership innovation project seeks to adapt the Medical-Legal Partnership model of service delivery by connecting, aligning priorities, and unite a diverse group of community stakeholders to streamline the systems that low-income and traditionally underserved Philadelphians must navigate to meet their basic human needs and become healthier.
Tinesha Banks: Public Health Worksite Wellness project through the Health Promotion Council will be developing a worksite wellness public health model by adapting its award winning patient navigation model for employees in the form of a Wellness Concierge service.
Alex Epstein: Urban Creators will engage food businesses as investors in the transformation of vacant land in inner-city communities into flourishing urban farms and incubators of integrative service-learning, social innovation, and grass-roots community development.

The following 11 fellows were selected to further develop their ideas in the Fall of 2014:

Raymond John: 12+ led seeks to cultivate a college-going culture beyond 12th grade in lower income schools by building PLUS Centers within the walls of a school to serve as hubs of college, career and academic support services and staffing them with a cost-effective, qualified workforce to provide individualized guidance for every student.
Sarah Rosenberg: Nursing Portal Project proposes to create two different online social/professional collaboration and networking forums for nurse practitioners (NPs) and registered nurses (RNs) to connect with their colleagues globally and have access to resources they utilize on a daily basis in their job which will improve patient outcomes and quality of care.
Natalie Cramer: Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians seeks to develop and promote an online platform to sell healthy and local food products while the growth supporting each individual vendor through the newly formed Philadelphia Healthy Food Association.
Jim MacMillan: Gun Crisis Reporting Project seeks to build a hub to help citizens understand the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in Philadelphia, to evaluate and illuminate effective interventions, and to create opportunities to participate in gun violence reduction.
Ryan Kuck: Greensgrow Philadelphia Project by the Fresh Food Hub will further develop and expand a mobile farmer's market and healthy corner store delivering fresh food items and community health resources to underserved neighborhoods.
Maureen and Larry Platt: The Philadelphia Citizen non-partisan media organization seeks to provide deeply reported journalism emphasizing solutions that can move our region forward -- summarized by the phrase -- what happened, what it means, and what you can do about it.
Barbara Doyne: 5 Star Women will further develop a program to improve the lives and secure the future for women veterans and their families, both while transitioning to civilian life and thereafter.
Tatiana Garcia-Granados: Common Market proposes to further scale its mission to making the local bounty accessible to communities in the region, connecting public and private schools, hospitals, universities, grocery stores and workplaces to good food grown by the region's sustainable farmers.
Neville Vakharia: Drexel University Community Arts plans to increase community arts and cultural engagement and participation in underserved neighborhoods through the development of hyperlocal communications tools.
Dawn Holden: Transition to Success by Turning Points for Children will test and implement the evidenced based Transition To Success (TTS) model which approaches treating poverty as a disease.

About Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal - PSIJ is the first regional publication in the U.S. dedicated to social innovators and innovations. The volunteer-leveraged Journal is published quarterly and is distributed free of charge. All content is available on the website at

About the Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab

The Lab nurtures social enterprise models from ideas to implementation. The Lab's goal is to increase the chances that the strongest ideas of Social Innovators will take root, attract capital, and ultimately have a significant social impact regionally, nationally, and internationally. Selected participants from a competitive screening process and diverse sector cohorts of private, government, and nonprofit organizations will refine and test proposals, research and tap into external resources, and build the necessary infrastructure to get their idea or organization up and running.

About the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government is the University of Pennsylvania's graduate program in public policy and public management. Its practical approach to public management education, its Ivy League pedigree and its relatively small size make it one of the nation's leading boutique programs in public affairs. The Institute was founded in 1937 by Samuel Simeon Fels of the Fels Naptha Soap Company. Fels prepares its students for public leadership positions in city, state, and Federal agencies, elective politics, nonprofit organizations, and private firms with close connections to the public sector. Its more than 2,000 living alumni work in leadership roles across the US and around the world. Tine Hansen-Turton and Nick Torres direct the Social Innovations Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute.

About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For more than 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at