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The Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking cultivates a diverse network of Changemakers who are working and learning together to create a more just and equitable society.


“The goal is to move Tulane to the forefront of universities engaged in solving social problems, and to do so with humility, recognizing that the best ideas often arise from the collective wisdom of the community and not always from the theoretical musings of experts.” – Phyllis Taylor at the Ashoka U Exchange, February, 2015

Taylor, founded in 2014, helps students identify their changemaking path. Our programs are grounded in the teaching, research, and practices of design thinking, social entrepreneurship, and social innovation.

Our interdisciplinary undergraduate Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship minor creates collaborative experiences for students and faculty across disciplines and schools.

Co-curricular programs include a residential learning community, a social venture incubator for students with ideas for social change, and professional development for social impact.

Through human centered design classes and workshops, we teach students, faculty, staff, and community members how to address problems optimistically, creatively, and quickly while turning them into inspiring “challenges”.

As an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, we espouse the value of “everyone a changemaker” and engage  Tulane constituents, New Orleans residents, and our global community in the movement toward positive social and environmental change.



Taylor envisions a powerfully connected network of Changemakers who support and learn from each other as they work to create lasting positive social change in their communities.

RESPECT: We are committed to equity and recognize humility and empathy as cornerstones of effective and ethical engagement with others

CONNECTION: We see innovation as a social act that is grounded in the relationships between people across difference.

LEARNING: We practice persistent curiosity and recognize that everyone has knowledge to gain and share.

CREATIVITY: We are committed to being open and at times uncomfortable as we seek out the unexpected in imagining a better world.

Phi Kappa Phi Excellence in Innovation Award


Through Taylor, Tulane University is recognized as a pioneer in social innovation education. This was made possible through the generosity of our visionary donors:

  • Cari and Michael J. Sacks, The Sacks Family Foundation, and the Louisiana Board of Regents for supporting the academic agenda through the Sacks Endowed Distinguished Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship in 2009;
  • The NewDay Foundation, supporting the co-curricular programs through the NewDay Speaker Series and NewDay Challenge in 2009;
  • Support for the Endowed Professorships in Social Entrepreneurship, including:
    • Kylene and Bradley Beers
    • Carnegie Corporation of New York
    • Solon R. Cole, M.D.
    • Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer
    • Alyssa and Clifford Greenberg
    • Christopher M. James and The James Family Foundation in honor of Paul Tudor Jones II
    • Louisiana Board of Regents
    • The NewDay Foundation
    • Louise and Leonard Riggio and The Riggio Foundation
  • Phyllis M. Taylor and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, launching the Tulane Grand Challenges in 2011 and the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking in 2014
  • Victor C. Alvarez and the Alvarez Educational Foundation, supporting student social ventures through establishing the Alvarez Spark Innovation Endowed Fund in 2013

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