The Taylor Center cultivates a diverse network of changemakers who are working and learning together to create a more just, sustainable and equitable society.

The Changemaker Institute (CI) incubates social ventures in the Tulane community by fostering learning and growth, community partnerships, mentorship, and the development of social entrepreneurial skills among upper-level students in the early idea phase of social venture development.

CI students embark on a journey of identifying and clarifying their own curiosities and interests while gaining a deeper understanding of social issues they wish to tackle in the world, thereby increasing their efficacy and impact as informed, connected changemakers.

CI graduates have a clear pathway for their unique role in advancing social change in their identified issue area. Your gift would support program costs such as speaker and mentor honoraria, experiential learning opportunities to help students “apprentice” with social issues they seek to further understand, and support advertising, printing and operating expenses.

The Changemaker Catalyst Award supports undergraduate and graduate student engagement in experiential learning opportunities that will help students identify and pursue their changemaking path. Awards can be used in various ways, including but not limited to:

  • “Apprenticing with a problem” through an internship or volunteer opportunity
  • Participating in an in-depth field immersion experience
  • Attending a conference, workshop or program

Student demand for this award far exceeds current funding. By expanding this award, we can support more students along their changemaking path.

The Spark Innovation Award supports undergraduate and graduate student engagement in moving their social innovation ideas forward, such as prototyping or testing a product, experience or idea. Funding can be used in various ways, including but not limited to:

  • Determining the appropriate legal structure for a venture
  • Printing and testing marketing materials
  • Buying supplies to prototype a product
  • Testing a service students or alumni aim to offer

Student demand for this award far exceeds current funding. By expanding this award, we can support more students in many different areas of prototyping and testing their ideas for social impact and more.

Taylor Your Life (TYL) is an innovative changemaking career development lab that teaches students how to approach their future with the mindset and toolkit of a designer. TYL launched in fall 2016 and, due to its success, was scaled up in fall 2017. Fifteen sections are currently being taught per year.

Funding would support additional instructors to allow us to reach even more students across campus.

Design thinking (DT) is a structured, creative problem-solving process grounded in human-centered design. It starts with learning about the people that we want to help, their context and needs. DT generates more relevant, viable and innovative solutions to social, environmental and workplace problems.

The opportunities below would support the Taylor team in teaching DT to students, as well as faculty, community partner organizations and staff:

DESIGN THINKING & DONUTS: This short introductory two-hour workshop is free, accessible and open to anyone to participate. Funding would support these public workshops throughout the year.

FAST 48 BOOT CAMP: This longer weekend boot camp provides a deeper immersion opportunity for learning and coaching geared for graduate students and professionals. Funding would cover costs associated with these weekend boot camps, honoraria for local talent to work as coaches and facilitators to build out design thinking community, and several scholarships for graduate students and community partners.

FUND FOR TAYLORED DESIGN INTENSIVES: “Taylored” Design Intensives provide deeper training followed by extended coaching to reinforce practical skills and mindsets and tackle complex challenges. Funding would allow the Taylor team to offer pro bono specialized advice and training to tackle pressing challenges on campus and within community organizations.

In 2014, Kenneth Schwartz was appointed as the founding director of the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking. Schwartz has worked collaboratively across all units of Tulane to launch and grow initiatives in social innovation, social entrepreneurship and design thinking at Tulane. During his years as dean of the School of Architecture, the school became the academic home for the interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.

To learn about the many other ways that your generosity can support the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking, please contact Emma Storm Herr, Director of Development, at 504.314.7376 or