2011-2015 Miller Innovation Fund Grants

2011-2015 Grants Categorized by Purpose of Innovation


Help organizations conduct research, analyze problems, design new models or prototypes, generate ideas, test concepts, and refine theories of change.

Boston Preservation Alliance (2011)
Boston, MA
$24,080 to help a new coalition of historic preservation, walking, bicycling, accessibility, and community advocates identify technical solutions and policy changes that meet the goals of historic preservation and accessibility for residents.

Brazilian Immigrant Center (2012/2011)
Boston, MA
$50,000 per year to develop a domestic worker mediation panel, an alternative to litigation that brings parties together with the intent of resolving workplace and wage problems.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (2014)
Boston, MA
$49,839 for a pilot project that engages low-income parents in developing a program to support families in reducing screen time for young children, and encouraging hands-on creative play, interaction with adults, outdoor time and other activities known to be beneficial for social and intellectual development.

Community Labor United (2012)
Boston, MA
$40,000 to pilot an artists-in-residence program that helps community organizers integrate arts and cultural skills and practices into their advocacy campaigns.

MassCreative (2013)
Boston, MA
$50,000 for a pilot project to test how the creative skills and artistic capital of Massachusetts arts and cultural organizations can be used to advocate for public policy that supports arts in schools and communities.

Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (2012)
Boston, MA
$30,000 to pilot Comité Defensa del Barrio, a block-level organizing and leadership development strategy that reduces isolation of new immigrants affected by anti-immigration policies and supports organizing that addresses their concerns.

Real Food Challenge (2015)
Boston, MA
$50,000 to develop alliances among students, farmers and food producers, and foodservice workers to increase healthier, less processed, more locally sourced food at college campuses. The grant will assist the planning year of the project.


New Processes

Help organizations test new outreach, training and leadership development methods, explore new collaborations and partnerships, involve new allies, build organizational capacity, promote cross-sector collaboration, create new roles and relationships.

Boston Workers Alliance (2014)
Dorchester, MA
$50,000 to support a broad-based organizing coalition working to develop the bargaining power of low-income communities and advance policies linking development to better wages, jobs, training, and hiring practices.

Center for American Progress (2011)
Washington DC
$50,000 to expand the outreach and training of physician members of the Massachusetts chapter of a national association of doctors organized to build a just and equitable health care system.

Jericho Road Lawrence, Inc. (2014)
North Andover, MA
$20,000 to support a three-year program (entering its final year), that pilots an innovative model to recruit, train, place, and retain minority professionals on nonprofit boards in Lawrence, including in-depth board training.

JOIN for Justice (2014)
Boston, MA
$50,000 to launch the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to provide large-scale social justice organizing training through online learning offerings, supplemented by in-person interactions and partnership with activist organizations.

Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending (2012/2011)
Boston, MA
$45,000 per year to support the launch of a statewide publicity, education, and organizing, campaign designed to reach out to homeowners at risk of foreclosure, refer them to specialized legal clinics, and engage them in advocacy that challenges illegal foreclosure.

Massachusetts Community Action Network (2013)
Boston, MA
$40,000 to organize mainstream social service organizations and Latino and Brazilian evangelical churches in the minimum wage and paid sick leave advocacy campaigns as a means of developing their capacity to increase the participation of their constituents in in public policy advocacy.

Movement Mastery Institute (2015)
Boston, MA
$50,000 to develop an advanced training program, and community of practice, for experienced community organizers in Massachusetts that links the traditions of movement-based organizing with structure-based organizing.

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (2014)
Gloucester, MA
$50,000 to support the development of a younger generation of leaders and fishing community advocates through skills training, planning, and work on policy advocacy campaigns, and link the fishing industry to the larger food justice movement.


New Products or Services

Help organizations invent and build novel structures and systems that strengthen civic involvement in significantly different ways.

Boston Mobilization (2015)
Boston, MA
$50,000 to increase the number of 18-19 year-old voters by piloting a statewide training and early voter education campaign in Massachusetts high schools.  In collaboration with the Center for Information and Research and Civic Learning and Engagement.

Dukes County Healthy Aging Task Force (2014)
Dukes County, Edgartown, MA
$40,000 to organize and train a group of activists who can be mobilized as an advocacy force at town and county levels, and with private organizations, to expand and improve services to Martha’s Vineyard’s rapidly growing, and often low-income, over-65 population.

The Food Project (2015)
Boston, MA
$50,000 to support Dudley Grows Community Food Enterprise as it implements its plan for a resident-controlled, community initiative leading to a sustainable healthy food system.

Haley House, Inc. (2014)
Roxbury, MA
$25,000 to develop a management and ownership structure for the Haley House Bakery and Café in Roxbury, Massachusetts that is more worker-centered and democratic and will expand career pathways, generate community wealth, and promote community development in ways that traditional businesses have not achieved.

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (2013)
New York, NY
$50,000 to launch a new restaurant worker center in Boston modeled on the process and structure successfully used to establish similar centers in ten cities throughout the country.

Right Question Institute (2013/2012)
Cambridge, MA
$50,000 per year to develop a training program that helps low-income people acquire and use self-advocacy skills in encounters with health care systems.

Right to the City Alliance f/b/o Right to the City-Boston (2011)
New York, NY
$35,000 to create a unified narrative and communication strategy in partnership with SmartMeme that supports grassroots, coalition-based, community organizing efforts that protect communities of color.


New Platforms

Help organizations build and formalize new contexts for public deliberation, create new policy, legal, or regulatory frameworks and networks.

Community Servings (2014/2013)
Boston, MA
$50,000 per year to support the launch of the Food as Medicine Policy Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to advocate for the role of home-based medical nutrition therapy by developing a coalition that promotes research, demonstration projects, and policy advocacy.

Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (2014)
Jamaica Plain, MA
$25,000 to launch a technical assistance, training, and economic development center serving Jamaica Plain and the surrounding neighborhoods that will develop a “new-economy” model for the region.

Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending (2012/2011)
Boston, MA
$45,000 per year to support the launch of a statewide publicity, education, and organizing, campaign designed to reach out to homeowners at risk of foreclosure, refer them to specialized legal clinics, and engage them in advocacy that challenges illegal foreclosure.

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (2015)
Boston, MA
$50,000 to test the use of popular education methods with grassroots social justice organizations that support public debate about state tax and budget policies.  In collaboration with United for a Fair Economy, Neighbor to Neighbor and the Coalition for Social Justice.

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (2012)
Boston, MA
$35,000 to develop media and communication framework and strategy that educates the public about the transgender community and transgender rights.


Refine and Sustain New Organizational Forms

Help organizations replicate, redesign, scale-up, disseminate and refine promising new organizational structures that increase civic participation.

Boston Center for Independent Living (2012/2011)
Boston, MA
$40,000 per year to support the work of the Disability Advocates Advancing Our Healthcare Rights coalition to involve “dual eligibles,” or individuals with chronic medical conditions in addition to a disability, in the implementation of national and state health care reform initiatives in Massachusetts.

Essex County Community Organization (2012)
Lynn, MA
$40,000 to scale-up faith-based organizing in North Shore communities by training clergy to be lead organizers in a regional organizing campaign focused on jobs and economic development.

Studio REV (2015)
$50,000 to develop a set of creative arts and media-based outreach strategies and tools as part of a campaign to educate caregivers in Massachusetts about their rights and involve them in organizing and advocacy.  In collaboration with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Brazilian Worker Center, Caring Across Generations and the NULawLab at Northeastern University.


Typology adapted from: The Young Foundation (2012) ‘Social Innovation Overview’. A deliverable of the project: “The theoretical, empirical and policy foundations for building social innovation in Europe” (TEPSIE), European Commission – 7th Framework Programme, Brussels: European Commission, DG Research.


The Miller Innovation Fund shifted its grantmaking to two focus areas beginning in 2016. To view grants made under the current guidelines, please see Miller Innovation Fund Past Grants.