Social Purpose Innovators Program


Social Purpose Innovators is a virtual cohort-based, program that includes a mix of expert and peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and hands-on work – both in and between sessions. Participants work together to prepare for each session, present results of their learnings, and work with other like-minded organizations to brainstorm approaches to help them define and refine their unique Social Purpose.

Throughout the program, participants receive one-on-one support from SPI staff, access to ‘Office Hours’, and hear from industry leaders and Guest Speakers during the lab sessions.

Lab 1 – Introduction

  • A focus on defining the social purpose business landscape, and providing the foundational knowledge and key concepts of social purpose in business to support the learnings throughout the program.

Lab 2 – Research

  • Participants are guided on how to analyze their organization’s competencies and assets, and prepare to conduct their own research and stakeholder consultations as a core element in crafting an authentic social purpose statement.

Lab 3 – Ideate

  • A deep dive into what makes an authentic purpose statement. Participants review and analyze real world examples and begin drafting their social purpose statement in preparation for the Purpose Pitch.

Lab 4 – Test and Refine

  • Purpose Pitch – an informal presentation of each participating business’s draft social purpose statement to industry professionals and peers, providing invaluable insights and feedback for refinement of participants drafted statements.

Lab 5 – Unveil

  • Businesses present their revised social purpose statement and review next steps including the social purpose implementation process. Participants are encouraged to continue into the Implementers Program to developing their Implementation Plan.

What Participants are Saying

“As a multi-generational family business, we have experience driving change throughout our organization to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing business environment. The United Way Social Purpose Institute’s Innovators program provided the roadmap we were looking for to define our social purpose and invaluable peer feedback and support to kick start us on our social purpose journey.”

 – Liz McBeth, President, Armour Valve Ltd.

“The SPI innovators program provided a valuable road map and process for us to translate our founding principles into a personalized Purpose statement that articulates our unique value proposition and facilitates key business strategy alignment across the company. The program also provided a network of likeminded business leaders, champions and Social Purpose experts who provided invaluable feedback as we explored how we can best contribute to the global purpose economy.”

– Karen Craggs-Milne, Founder & CEO, Conscious Equality, and Former VP of ESG, ThoughtExchange

“After a serendipitous meeting with the UW Social Purpose program team, we discovered what we didn’t know was missing.  Cool Air Rentals has experienced significant growth over the past few years and we came to realize we needed to articulate our “why” to stakeholders. Until now, our business has been existing with an unspoken, undefined culture in the most beautiful of ways. The Social Purpose journey allowed us to encapsulate our core to share with all, creating deeper connections and articulating our value within our industry and beyond.”

Kimberlee Alexander, Director, Marketing, Cool Air Rentals