Lauren Harper is a New York-born Miami girl, who spent most of her life in Florida. As a Miami leader Lauren is passionate about cultivating the ecosystem to advance collaborative social change, social innovation and social entrepreneurship in South Florida. She creates programs, events and convenings that ignite and support changemakers and changemaking locally.
Miami has amazing energy and potential. It’s a city with incredible diversity and an ethos to create. Unlike many older, world class cities, it’s core identity is still being formed, and it doesn’t have many of the entrenched institutions and players that dictate how things go. In Miami you can be still be a pioneer, while at the same time have the support to be successful and have the reach to make a true impact.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE TO SOLVE ON YOUR LIST? WHY?
Although Miami is a city with enormous potential, it also faces many serious social and environmental challenges that are not being addressed effectively by our current systems. Why this is the case is a complex issue, however, there are several causes at its core. Many of Miami’s cross-sector changemakers are disconnected and don’t have ample forums to share ideas, to innovate, to learn and collaborate together. Many lack the capacity and resources to incubate ideas, be sustainable, or grow and scale solutions. Most are unaware of the new social innovations that can help them build these sustainable, scalable and collaborative models. And there are still many Miamians who have yet to be engaged, have yet to find their role and potential in co-creating a better future for their community.
HOW CAN WE SOLVE IT?
We need to ignite, empower and support a community of cross-sector changemakers. This is the work we’re doing at the Center for Social Change (C4SC). C4SC is a hub for changemakers in South Florida, where we inspire and support individuals, organizations and communities to achieve their social change potential. We do this by providing:
-a physical space for them to work, learn and collaborate together;
-events, workshops and programs to expose them to new models and best practices and to help them launch or grow solutions; and
-access to other resources such as consultants, professional services and funding support.
In addition to being a community and ecosystem builder, C4SC is also a social change lab. We bring social innovations or solutions that work in other places to Miami and test them here. We also put efforts towards scaling or replicating our local solutions that work.
Catalyzing and supporting a movement of cross-sector changemakers and changemaking in South Florida is certainly not a solitary endeavor! I look forward to continuing to navigate this path with many others, always connecting with those diverse people and organizations that share the vision along the way.