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The Changemaker Institute (CI) supports budding social entrepreneurs who are interested in building a business or program with social or environmental impact.

Applications for the 2025 CI Cohort will open and be posted here in October, 2024.

Changemakers (n) – People who use their skills, expertise, gifts, and power in a way that creates positive social change and affirms the humanity of all people.

About the Changemaker Institute (CI)

What?

The Changemaker Institute (CI) is a semester-long program that supports graduate students and exceptional undergraduate students in building a business with social or environmental impact. Over the Spring ’25 semester, CI Fellows meet weekly, in person, on Wednesdays from 1-3 PM. Our alums describe the program as a “laid back accelerator” and “a family to nurture your ideas.” At the close of the program, Fellows share their ventures and their learnings in a public community showcase and receive actionable resources and feedback.

Why? 

Starting a business is hard and can be very isolating. Our program unites students across Tulane who are working on a social impact business idea and provides a curriculum, framework and community to nurture ideas and provide and receive feedback and support.

Who?

CI Fellows are either founders of their own social impact venture (such as a non-profit, program, student-run organization, or business) OR are innovators building new capacity within an existing organization.

Most CI Fellows are Graduate and Professional Students across Tulane. We occasionally accept exceptional undergraduate students who have a strong understanding of the social issue they are seeking to address.

We strongly encourage team ventures, but solo participants are accepted.

Where?

We meet weekly on Wednesdays from 1-3 PM in the Spring semester at Propeller (4035 Washington Avenue), a nonprofit organization in New Orleans that grows and supports entrepreneurs to tackle social and environmental disparities. We see CI as a “mini Propeller” and many CI alums have gone on to become Fellows at Propeller.  CI Fellows are responsible for their own transportation and arrive via car, carpool, bike, public transportation, or a Tulane shuttle for transportation (it is about an eight minute drive from both Tulane’s uptown and downtown campuses). Lunch is provided each week.

How?

We lead CI Fellows through a process that supports them to develop, research, test, and refine their idea for a business or program with social or environmental impact. See draft schedule below

During our weekly meetings, CI Fellows gain:

  • A warm, supportive, inclusive and adaptive environment to nurture your idea
  • Business development skills via design thinking and lean canvas methodology
  • Mentorship from Tulane and New Orleans’ social entrepreneurial communities
  • A framework and process to deepen their understanding of social issues skills
  • Preparation for applying to funding opportunities at Tulane and beyond
  • Introductions to guest experts, field mentors and access to a network of changemakers within and beyond New Orleans
  • A community of “like-hearted” student changemakers striving to create positive change

Changemaker Institute Reflections

CI Alums on the Changemaker Institute Experience

Whether you want to develop a novel idea or seek to partner with assets in existing organizations, the Changemaker Institute is the program for you. Prepare to be challenged, develop professionally, mentally, and spiritually, and most importantly, gain a family in the process. CI provides a unique blend of innovators and people willing to stand for a purpose they would defend with their lives. CI is truly a prominent, life-changing experience.  –Tyler Jackson (MPH in Community Health Science), Spring 2022

CI was a phenomenal experience for me. It opened my entrepreneurship horizon for a wealth of knowledge, and skillsets, and expanded my network to help my venture thrive and grow. I highly recommend other students to dive into the CI experience as the gains and benefits are priceless.”  – Renad  JadKarim (MD, MPH&TM, Ph.D), Spring 2022

CI was extremely helpful in moving my venture forward by letting me know what I needed to prioritize and improve.CI enabled me to create a plan to achieve all my goals, and beyond, for my venture.“- Ashlee Walker (DrPH​, Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences), Spring 2022

I am so grateful for this experience! Thanks to everyone in CI for the support and brainstorming prompts to get my ideas off the ground!- Kristina Woodworth (MPH,Community Health Science), Spring 2022

2023/2024 Schedule

The draft schedule is below. If you are considering applying to CI, please review this schedule to see if these topics would be useful to you prior to submitting your application.

Please note each workshop is two hours long and workshop topics and dates are subject to change.

Nov 29                CI Orientation Meeting 

Jan 17                 Design Research Analysis & Synthesis; Value Proposition

Jan 24                Building your Lean Canvas & Testing Assumptions            

Jan 31                 Building a Prototype & Cohort Feedback

Feb 7                  Mission & Vision  

Feb 14                 Mardi Gras Break

Feb 21                  Funding Your Venture

Feb 28                 Prototype Debrief @ Salon22

March 6             Selecting Your Business Entity Classification/Q&A with an Attorney

March 13            Branding & Marketing

March 20            Building a Board

March 27            Spring Break

April 3                 Crafting your pitch  

April 10               Showcase Dress Rehearsal             

April 17                CI Showcase

April 24               Debrief/Synthesis & Resources moving forward

Changemaker Institute News

Meet the 2024 Changemaker Institute (CI) Fellows

Each year, a select group of undergraduate and graduate students in Taylor’s social venture accelerator, the Changemaker Institute, work tirelessly to propel their idea for social change into a viable and sustainable social enterprise. Participants in the 6-month program deepen…

Changemaker Institute Alum Highlight: William Bai

William Bai, an alumnus of the Changemaker Institute and recipient of the Alvarez Spark Innovation Award, founded a non-profit organization called RoboRecovery in the Spring of 2021. The aim of RoboRecovery was to provide an after-school robotics program to students…

Changemaker Institute Q+A Instagram live sessions 10/17 + 10/23

If you have an idea for a business or program with social or environmental impact, join our Instagram Live sessions on October 17th at 12 PM and/or October 23rd at 1 PM to learn more about this dynamic program, meet…

Changemaker Institute Application Opens

Applications are now open for the Changemaker Institute, a semester-long program that supports graduate students and exceptional undergraduate students in building a business or program with social or environmental impact. Download the 2023/2024 CI Application (Due Nov 1) Instructions to…

Access our Curriculum

Check out our 2020 Changemaker Institute Curriculum for a comprehensive view of a curriculum designed to supports graduate students interested in developing ethical, sustainable, and viable social enterprises. We wrote this for:

  1. A budding social entrepreneur interested in building out your idea but unsure about where to start.
  2. An educator interested in running a social venture accelerator and interested in comparing curriculums.
  3. A social entrepreneur interested in becoming a paid speaker or volunteer mentor with our program.
View the 2020 Changemaker Institute Curriculum

Get Funded

  • The Changemaker Institute programming offers access to funding for impact-related activities through Tulane-based grants as well as other advanced opportunities in social impact beyond campus.
  • All participants of the Taylor Changemaker Institute are eligible and coached to apply for the following funding opportunities:

The Alvarez Spark Innovation Award offers up to $2,500 to pursue a social venture idea by prototyping or testing a component of an idea.

Learn About the Victor Alvarez Spark Innovation Award

The Changemaker Catalylst Award offers up to $1500 to participate in an engaged learning experience.

Learn About the Changemaker Catalylst Award

Changemaker Institute Alumni

  • Trash to Treasure seeks to create a revolving sustainable fund for outreach project in New Orleans. T2T deliver this by collecting and selling dorm room necessities thrown away by Tulane students during move out. Their profits fund subsequent sales as well as further sustainable ventures.
  • SHRI (formerly Humanure Power) works to eradicate outdoor defecation as a normal practice for hundreds of millions of villagers in rural India by building community toilet blocks. These toilets leverage proven and existing technology that convert human waste in to energy that can be sold, generating a revenue stream that helps further their mission of building more toilets.
  • Radical Grandma Collective is a nonprofit online store that creates a platform for women to support other women in environmental justice work.
  • STEM Library Lab is a science equipment lending library that fosters academic success by providing teachers and students with access to equipment and support for high-quality active learning.
  • Fund 17 is a Louisiana registered non-profit that works to empower micro-entrepreneurs in the New Orleans community.  Fund 17 does this by providing financial education and micro-loans.
  • Network Volunteers (formerly Crescent City Connections or “CCC”) promotes and facilitates customized volunteer and cultural activities for visitors and residents in New Orleans to better connect people with community organizations in the city.
  • Top Box Foods Makes high-quality nutritious food (lean meats, fish and fresh produce) available at extremely affordable prices. The non-profit uses volunteers to deliver food, focusing on areas identified as food deserts.

Graduate Assistants

The Changemaker Institute (CI) graduate assistant works with staff to develop, organize, promote, and execute Taylor’s social venture accelerator program.

Changemaker Institute Team Members

Woman smiling wearing earrings in front of trees.

Julia Lang, M.S.

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