Center for Social Innovation and Impact (CSII)

About CSII

The Center extends Rady’s unique combination of rigorous business thinking and entrepreneurial spirit to address the big issues and big challenges our society is facing.

The Center for Social Innovation and Impact was established with assistance from Carol Lazier and Family, whose $1 Million endowment has supported the launch of the center. This endowment will continue to assist in integrating social innovation into Rady’s course offerings, research and community engagement.

Our Impact

Good intentions are not enough: good ideas and good intentions may translate into programs that create significant positive social impact – or may not. As we look at the shifting social sphere, with the increased emphasis on understanding and measuring value and impact, ideas and intentions are not enough. In this environment, the ability to apply the entrepreneurial thinking and the principles of business decision-making becomes increasingly important for social enterprises.

In addition to working with students and faculty at Rady and across the UC San Diego, the CSII collaborates with community partners both locally and globally. The Center promotes the development and adoption of tools and practices that have been traditionally considered unsuitable to the domain of social change. In doing so, we consider the entire scope of stakeholders—the communities being helped, social entrepreneurs, investors, funding agencies, research institutes and more. Student engagement, faculty research and cross-discipline collaborations across campus and beyond facilitate our goal—having a meaningful impact on individuals and society.

How We Succeed

To best reach its objectives, the CSII works closely with schools, divisions and student organizations across the UC San Diego campus. We strongly believe that a true, interdisciplinary collaboration would enhance the impact we can have on pressing social issues. We promote and support a large variety of various social venturing initiatives, with a focus on education, health, and sustainability.

Our approach to social impact builds on the following principles:

  • Understanding of the Problem: The most impactful non-profits and social ventures behave like successful businesses — investing in infrastructure, developing sustainable models not solely dependent on philanthropy. The tools and practices used by successful businesses are applicable to – and important for - the social arena.
  • Data-Driven Solutions: Data and evidence matter in social endeavors as in business; good intentions are not sufficient.
  • Unified Impact Assessment: Today’s social impact landscape features a plethora of criteria and tools to measure impact for a given problem. In San Diego, 30 different non-profits are working on hunger, each looking at different ways of measuring value and impact. In order to assess impact and relative impact at the societal level, we need to move towards unified approaches for measuring success.

For further information please contact the Center for Social Innovation and Impact at