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Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship
(504) 247-1963

Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT)
310 Richardson Building
6823 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University

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Get the Change to Be the Change.

Applications for spring 2016 will be available on this page in fall 2015.
In the mean time, join Tulane Fans of Changemaker Institute on Facebook.

What is Changemaker Institute?

The Changemaker Institute is a student-led venture accelerator, meaning that it supports students with ideas for social change that can evolve into sustainable ventures and potential careers. The Institute serves Tulane graduate AND undergraduate students both who have an idea for a new social venture and who want to join a venture's leadership team. The Institute pairs students with expert mentors and exposes them to new workshop facilitators each week; a process through which students develop, test, and launch their ideas through experiential learning.  Student ventures can expand an existing project or program or create a new organization, they can develop into non-profits or for-profits; the Institute supports any idea with a strong social mission that can scale and be sustainable.

Changemaker Institute offers students:

  • Growth in entrepreneurial skills
  • Peer learning and team building
  • Mentoring from the Tulane and New Orleans community
  • Support and networking with Changemaker Institute alumni
  • Preparation for developing applications for funding opportunities at Tulane and beyond

All participants who submit a venture and develop it through the Changemaker Institute have the opportunity to apply for the NewDay Social Innovation Challenge, a chance to win up to $30,000 to launch a student-led venture.  Participants are also eligible to apply for funding from the Alvarez Spark Innovation Fund.  The process of developing ideas around each workshop component in the Changemaker Institute provides students excellent preparation to be successful in these competitions.



Three-hour workshops are held on seven Saturdays, January 2015 through March 2015, and students complete deliverables and meet with mentors who guide them in developing their ideas throughout the Changemaker Institute.  The program ends with each participant making a pitch for their venture at the final celebration during CELT Week in April.  The Institute integrates with other social innovation and social entrepreneurship programming on campus and the NewDay and Alvarez Awards opportunities mentioned above.  Completing Changemaker Institute opens a host of long-term opportunities to students and their ventures, and connects them to a special community of successful social entrepreneurs and alumni. 

Workshops include:

  • Being a Social Entrepreneur, Part I: What's your innovative idea and who will you work with?
    • Defining Social Innovation 
    • Entering Communities
  • Operational Strategy: How will you do what you do?
    • Project Management
    • Legal Entities
    • Business Model Development
  • Marketing Strategy: What's your plan to reach customers or beneficiaries and how will you engage them?
    • Market Research
    • Branding
    • Messaging
  • Financial Strategy: How will you pay for what you do?
    • Budgeting & Finance
    • Funding Models
  • Being a Social Entrepreneur, Part II: How do you know what you do works, and how you can convince others?
    • Calculating Social Impact
    • Pitching and Presenting

Interested in Changemaker Institute?

Applications for the spring 2015 Changemaker Institute cohort are closed. 

We will be providing information sessions and office hours related to Changemaker Institute in the fall of 2015.  In the mean time, please feel free to connect on our Facebook pages, Fans of Changemaker Institute and the Social Innovation and Social Engagement at Tulane

Email Jennifer McNulty, Senior Program Coordinator, CELT-SI at with questions.

2014-2015 Changemaker Participants:

ImpACT will offer free ACT test preparation to underserved students in New Orleans.  It will start by establishing a pilot program at a local high school.
Co-Founders Jessica Tran and Rachel Budd are juniors in Tulane’s Honors Program.  They both have tutoring and teaching experience, though not in New Orleans’ public schools.  They currently work with Tulane’s Academic Success Center. With a special interest in STEM subjects, Tran and Budd seek to raise test scores for underserved populations, thus increasing college admissions, especially through Louisiana’s TOPS Program.

Girls' Digital Storytelling Project:
Digital Storytelling seeks to create a youth-led, small-scale, intensive digital storytelling (DST) program designed to train a group of New Orleans teens to become storytelling facilitators. Approximately a dozen middle/high school students will participate in a 6-week summer camp program to explore the methods, philosophy, and art of DST, and work towards projects that will continue community traditions, history, and solutions to problems.
Founder Jocelyn Horner is a third year student in Tulane’s City, Culture, & Community PhD Program. Horner has experience working with children at Kedila’s STEM camp, where she provided a DST course in the summer of 2014.

Family Law Facilitator’s Office:
New Orleans first Family Law Facilitators Office would offer free legal advice and brief services to individuals who do not have, and cannot afford, an attorney specifically focusing on family services.
Founder Josephine Vanderhorst is in her third year at Tulane Law School, and holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. Forensic Psychology. Vanderhorst has work experience in family law clinics in San Francisco and New Orleans, and seeks to bring programs similar to ones already developed in other states to Louisiana.

Fund 17:
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.  
Member Amanda Verdi is on Fund 17’s Financial Education Team and is a freshman at Tulane.  Fund 17 was founded by current senior, Haley Burns. 

Geaux to Market:
Geaux to Market will be a farmer’s market that will bring produce vendors to Tulane’s campus, ensuring student access to healthy and sustainable produce while also creating a new and desirable market for produce vendors.
Founder Evan Kollath is a senior finance major who has been working in Michigan at a farmer’s market founded by his mother for many years.  He currently helps to manage that market’s accounting.

The Rational Voter Project:
For citizens that have trouble researching or finding time to obtain voting information, The Rational Voter Project is a non-partisan and convenient web-based political quiz that matches voters to candidates based on issue preference and importance. Unlike other resources, the Rational Voter Project focuses on local elections and local issues.
Co-founders Pedro Benitez, Peter Kovach, Allen Moret, Michael Olie, and Luke Zivaudais, are undergraduate students at Loyola University in New Orleans.  Several members of their team previously founded Holomua Life Learning.

TIPS for Health:
TIPS seeks to promote and encourage health education, disease prevention, and access to basic healthcare through the establishment, operation, and support of current healthcare organizations targeting low-income communities and through the circulation of a newsletter that will increase awareness for community health projects.
Co-founders Vironka Davis and Pegah Kannar are graduate students in Tulane’s Biomedical Science program, while fellow co-founder Emma Lisec is an undergraduate student studying public health.

The creation of an intercultural language tool would facilitate webcam conversations between Chinese students seeking to practice English and elderly American Citizens, bridging cultural gaps while also giving Chinese students opportunities to increase English fluency.
Founder Mingming Huang is a visiting scholar studying international law, and plans to use her own experience as an English language learner to identify potential problems and effective strategies in creating this program.

Textbooks Change:
Textbooks Change aims to reduce student debt associated with purchasing college textbooks by creating a Tulane-exclusive website that encourages safe and fairly-priced textbook transactions between students.
Co-founders Lauren Astrachan and Ryan Winemiller are undergraduates at Tulane studying Marketing.

Micro PAD Solutions:
This venture aims to create and mass-produce an affordable virus diagnostic tool that can perform rapid tests for common viruses in resource-limited settings. This would empower the local community by increasing awareness of medical issues, providing early and legitimate diagnoses, and reducing the dependency on limited medical personnel by ensuring that the virus detection tool can be read by people without a medical background.
Co-founders Jason Ryans and Ashwin Sivakumar are third year PhD students in Tulane’s Biomedical Engineering program and are interested in using their knowledge to further resources for low-income communities.

2013-2014 Changemaker Alumni:

Becca Andrasko, Bee Mindful: Bee Mindful aims to increase bee populations for environmental reasons, benefit New Orleans’ communities (by working with urban farms, blighted properties, small-scale job creation and local food deserts) and serve buyers’ needs.

Preston Mills, The Destiny Project: The Destiny Project is a student-founded, student-led organization that bridges the disconnect between high school students of the New Orleans metro area by providing spaces that are critically transformational, communal, academic, and most of all, culturally relevant.

Sebastian Molina, Conscious Condom Brand: This venture is a socially conscious condom brand that will help fund sexual education in New Orleans. It will do so by utilizing its profits to help community partners currently involved in teaching reproductive health.

Eli Oppenheimer, Change for Change NOLA: Change for Change NOLA is a fundraising mechanism for non profit organizations operating in Greater New Orleans. CFC NOLA seeks to create a bridge between the for-profit and non-profit sectors, by allowing the customers of local businesses to round their purchases up to the next dollar with all proceeds going to a local non-profit.

Samantha Dietz, 360 Degree Specialty Schools: My idea is to create a youth development program for low-income schools that will develop a new generation of global leaders through training workshops, mentorship programs, and ambassador peer leadership focused on diversity, conflict resolution/peace, and sustainability. The vision of this program is to create a generation of “do-ers,” and to provide these youths with the tools to do. Additionally, the vision is to allow students to see that their futures can be bright.

Daniel St. Louis, Project Unnamed:
Charitable giving has been stuck in the US at 2% of GDP for the last four decades. By using the online marketing, sales, and fulfillment strategies pioneered by Kickstarter, Charity Water, and Amazon, we can create an online platform that will empower charities to wrestle away market share and gain new revenue streams.

Amy Fottrell, Lilith Winkler-Schor, and Jess Roberts, Roots of Renewal: Roots of Renewal is a holistic community development group in Central City, New Orleans. We employ juvenile offenders to flip blighted properties, employ adult offenders in a full service hair salon and auto body shop and reinvest our earned income in providing community services.

Margot Habets, Anne Bevis, and Tracy Godbe, Trash to Treasure: We seek to create a revolving sustainable fund for outreach project in New Orleans. We deliver this by collecting and selling dorm room necessities thrown away by Tulane students during move out. Our profits will fund subsequent sales as well as further sustainable ventures.

Brittany Ebeling and Roxanne Heston, Head and Heart: Our Effective Altruism initiative is intended to analyze and interpret why individuals give to charity in an effort to redirect inefficient donations to organizations that maximize cost effectiveness and impact through saving lives.

Sara Gottesman, Pallas Athene Boxing: Pallas Athene Boxing aims to create an all-women’s boxing gym and amateur fighting team to help women develop agency, confidence, and strength.

Jordan Stewart, Community and Corner Store: Reinventing the Corner Store project uses savings from energy efficiency retrofits to return social value to the community. With an integrated design process, operators and their customers work together to develop community-specific ways for the corner store to return value to the community by utilizing the capital saved through energy efficient retrofits to the store.

2012-2013 Changemaker Alumni:

Liz Keenan, CoupNOLA: CoupNOLA’s mission is to discover creative and effective ways to utilize the untapped material resources and social capital within New Orleans to break the cycles of violence and crime. 

Teddy Nathan, Net Work Voluntours (formerly Crescent City Connections or "CCC"): Net Work Voluntours 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. Net Work Voluntours in the news.

Jack Tiebout, Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm!: Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm! will make fresh fruits and vegetables available to as many New Orleanians as possible by creating a low-cost network of vertical hydroponic hoophouses and greenhouses.

Haley Burns, Fund 17: Fund 17 is a microfinance institution run by volunteer Tulane students that will combat income inequality in New Orleans by providing financial tools for self-empowerment.

Ethan Levy, Launchange (now ComeFail): ComeFail seeks to build an online network that connects Tulane students, administrators, and faculty who want to get their socially-conscious ideas off the ground with others who are excited and able to help.  

Sam Turner, Student Supported Agriculture (SSA):
Mushroom aims to build a business growing gourmet mushrooms with young adults in low-income neighborhoods and cultivate a community of action to empower disadvantaged youth. SSA in the news.

Melissa Herman, TUNA Neuroscience Teaching: TUNA Neuroscience Teaching aims to teach basic neuroscience to under-served New Orleans high school students, making an advanced science accessible, fun, and realistic while translating these notions even further to the idea of attending college.

Connor Casas, Top Box Foods: 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.


2011-2012 Changemaker Alumni:

Melanie Barlow, Sudz Soap: Sudz Soap is a student-owned company that sells organic soap on campus that smells good, looks good, and does good! For every bar of Sudz Soap purchased, the proceeds go towards helping people in areas where they don’t have access to basic sanitation, and thus are dying of entirely preventable diseases. Can you smell the good? Sudz Soap in the news.

Anushka Das & Aleena Ashary, NOLA Eye Care: NOLA Eye Care is a social venture created for the purpose of addressing the healthcare needs of elementary school children in the New Orleans area.  We hope to conduct biannual healthcare camps to provide free eye screenings and prescription glasses to uninsured and insured elementary school students attending RSD schools affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Anoop Jain, Humanure Power: 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 us further our mission of building more toilets. Humanure Power in the news.

Ariane Wiltse, Prepare and Repair Team (PART): The Prepare & Repair Team (PART) aims to provide opportunities for youth development, leadership and civic engagement within existing summer camps and after-school programs. PART’s program will encourage student discussions, critical thinking, problem solving, peer-to-peer mentoring and life-long learning. PART supports youth development and leadership, civic engagement and hurricane preparedness.


2010-2011 Changemaker Alumni:

Doug Jacobs, VertiFarms (formerly AMPS): VertiFarms' goal is to develop affordable mobile aquaponic food production systems that meet several situational needs. The pods of food, therefore, can be used for long-term disaster relief, as teaching units at schools and universities, or a source of food for a remote village, local grocery store, or restaurant. VertiFarms will also support a non-profit affiliate that will operate systems and provide education in developing countries. VertiFarms in the news.

Zachary Shraberg, Threw Dat Disc Golf Club: The goal of Threw Dat Disc Golf Club is to promote a healthy mental and physically active lifestyle for elementary, middle, and high school students. The organization is structured to function during and after school. Disc golf can be easily integrated into a physical education program or function as an extracurricular activity. Disc golf can be enjoyed at any skill and fitness level. Threw Dat Disc Golf Club's mission is to improve children’s lives  by introducing them to the life long sport of disc golf. Threw Dat Disc Golf Club in the news.

Tanvi Shah & Meghan Stanger, Swim 4 Success:
Swim 4 Success seeks to unite volunteerism and community resources to provide free swim lessons for low-income youth. With swim instructors serving as both coaches and role models, youth not only learn how to swim but also invaluable life skills. Graduates of the program will become lifeguards, swim instructors, and role models for their communities. Swim 4 Success in the news.

Richard Tang, The Idea Factory: Great ideas come from all types of ordinary people from various walks of life. The Idea Factory sets out to serve as a website for idea sharing, tweaking, and searching for best possible solutions to individual’s ‘headline’ issues. The website will also serve as a jump-off point for organizations with the necessary resources to take action on the best solutions.

Stephen Ternois, Second Line Rebrass: By tackling three prominent issues at once, Second Line Rebrass seeks to provide inner-city youth with recycled brass instruments through private auctions between the collaboration of recycling companies, welders, and private organizations.

Larry Spegele, Refresh Environmental: This venture seeks to create a biofuels company that reliably collects waste cooking oil from restaurants and reacts the oil into biodiesel. The revenues derived from biodiesel sales will be used to further alternative energy technologies while promoting healthy eating habits. Refresh Environmental in the news.

Here is one example of a Changemaker Institute Alumni's Venture:

Video Credit: Paul Yorio and Andrew Ryan.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000