Part 2: 20 Years of Shared Memories and Experiences

Celebrating SIF’s 20th Anniversary!


This is the second part of a two part blog series. In this section, we hear from some SIF staff and Board members who were able to share their favorite SIF memories at a lovely board gathering. Read along to reminisce with us on these wonderful memories from across our 20 years. 

1. Susan remembers coming together before the pandemic

A great memory I have is of our last big SIF event before the pandemic. We moved our Warm Winter Welcome to a Friday night to accommodate a range of schedules and weren't sure what the turnout would be. We were again being hosted by Microsoft (a long-time and wonderful partner) and with catering by our favorite chef, Chris Douglass, owner of Tavolo. The crowds showed up, kept coming, and stayed quite late into the night. Our 2020 Innovator group was energetic, fun, creative, and excited, and we welcomed that cohort in with a full embrace. It was a good thing, as they moved with us through those challenging times in 2020. - Susan Musinsky, Executive Director

2. Tanya remembers a full day of Innovator visits 

My favorite memory takes me back to the summer of 2015 - my first summer at SIF, right after we spun off from Root Cause and became an independent nonprofit. The team spent the whole day visiting our Innovators, learning more about their work, connecting with their teams, and just having a great time. We started the day with breakfast at City Feed in Jamaica Plains, followed by a workout at InnerCity Weightlifting. Then we headed over to Future Chefs where we cooked and ate a 3 course meal alongside the Future Chefs team and students. Next, we went on a boat ride along the Mystic River guided by the Mystic River Watershed Association's Executive Director. Lastly, we stopped by More than Words and bought some books that we read to the little ones at Smart from the Start. We ended the day with a delicious team dinner in Somerville. It was an amazing day full of interesting conversations, new memories, and fun activities. - Tanya Inwald, Director of Programs

* This is also one of Susan’s favorite SIF memories 

3. Tony & Kath appointing Ryan Dings as Board Chair

When SIF was still a part of Root Cause, the Board was meeting frequently to try to figure out the logistics of separating SIF into its own organization. Ryan (Dings), Kath (Gross), and I were a part of the conversations, and at a meeting in which Ryan had to step out for a moment, Kath and I decided to make Ryan the Board Chair for SIF. Ryan walked out of the meeting as a Root Cause Board member, and back in as the SIF Board Chair. This was a great decision and I commend Ryan for being the backbone of SIF as we spun off from Root Cause, helping us navigate the legal roadblocks of becoming our own organization, and building out the Board. While the decision for Ryan to be in his position was made based on Kath and I simply not having the time to be the chair, it turned out to be the best decision that SIF could have made at the time. - Weston (Tony) Howland III, Chair of the SIF Board of Directors

4. Ryan getting appointed Board Chair 

“If you step out for coffee, you get appointed” is my quote about how to become Chair. It was the day we organized the Board, and I stepped out for coffee for just a few minutes, and I came back as the Chair of the new SIF Board of Directors. I think this speaks to how much trust we all had and still have in each other, to appoint each other to different positions and bring each other up and know that we will all have each other’s backs. It has been great to work with so many wonderful people over the years. Not only has it been fun to make a contribution to the community through SIF’s work, but SIF has also made me better, as a person and as a leader. - Ryan Dings, SIF Board of Directors

5. Kath’s time at a Funder Education event

There was once a Funder Education event about criminal justice reform that I went to that sticks with me. There were so many incredible presenters from so many different organizations. Over the 3 hour event I felt like I had learned a whole semester’s worth of information about criminal justice reform, as each presenter was amazing and so informative. It’s events like those that have really stuck with me and carried SIF’s energy. - Katherine Gross, SIF Board of Directors

6. Colby on becoming an SIF Social Innovator 

So many to choose from but I would have to say it was the moment I got the call from SIF letting me know I was an Innovator. Silver Lining Mentoring had not been chosen for the Accelerator the year before and I was so excited to have gotten the news that we had been selected. It was a moment when I knew something big was happening for Silver Lining and we were about to grow. It was like the moment I got the golden ticket, I had seen so many organizations go through the Accelerator and I saw how far they ran with it and I was so excited to do that with my own organization as an Innovator. I will never forget that phone call and the series of doors that have opened ever since, so that would be my stand-out SIF memory. - Colby Swettberg, SIF Board of Directors; Silver Lining Mentoring (2014 Social Innovator) 

7. Delphene’s path to the Board

About six years ago, I had a chance to do a learning community with Melissa (Duggan), where I learned a little bit more about SIF. I was very intrigued, it was before returning here to Boston about a year and half ago. I did some executive coaching with Jacqui Lindsay and every week when I saw her she would tell me about this amazing Board she worked with who did awesome work, and every single week when I saw her she would bring it up again. The Board was SIF’s Board of Directors, and she went on about how they were committed to learning and how great they were, and how they care deeply and work intentionally. I couldn't not learn more after that, and I ended up a part of the Board. - Delphene Mooney, SIF Board of Directors

8. Vikram and his first Pitch Panel

I first got to know SIF through Susan and soon after that she invited me to one of the pitch panels where Innovators prepare for their upcoming Showcase. I wasn’t quite ready to be on the Board at the time, but I went to the pitch panel to learn more about SIF. I sat in the back of the room to watch and a few things struck me during the pitches. The energy was so different and so special. I have volunteered with so many organizations and I knew from the pitch panel that SIF was really special in what they did for the organizations they worked with. It made me wish I had known about SIF 10 years earlier to tell all the organizations I was a part of about it and get them all involved, because it would have been so amazing for so many of them. It has been really special to be a part of this, and I’m so glad I’ve had that opportunity. - Vikram Punwani, SIF Board of Directors

9. Nageeb’s path to SIF

I got exposed to SIF five years ago after moving to the Boston area from DC after I went to my first Showcase in 2018 at MIT. I had worked in philanthropy before but had never seen the secret sauce that is Showcase, and I was so enthralled and inspired by it. I heard the first pitch, and I thought to myself, “Nailed it. They couldn’t do that again,” but then as each presenter came on, they all did equally as well. I was so amazed, I approached Susan after the presentations and started the conversation that led to me becoming a member of the Board. Nageeb Sumar, SIF Board of Directors

10. Jordan’s time at an SIF breakfast event

There was a breakfast event we held at 1 Congress street one year that really sticks with me. The thing from that memory that really sticks out the most is the energy that SIF has. It’s the best thing about SIF, the energy, and that breakfast event just had so much power and energy in the room that I'll never forget it. - Jordan Krasnow, SIF Board of Directors

Final Reflections

Looking back on our 20 years has reminded us of many fun and inspiring moments, and has excited us for the many great memories yet to be made. Thank you to all of the people who have been a part of our amazing journey so far, and we look forward to meeting all the people who we will make memories with in many more years to come.

ICYMI: Part 1: 20 Years of Shared Memories and Experiences