“Young people get their degrees and head to Los Angeles or Orange County,” says Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate dean of the UC Riverside School of Public Policy. “Riverside and San Bernardino counties have 4.5 million residents, but they live in the shadows of LA. As a result, we don’t get much attention or investment from corporations or the nonprofit sector.”
When civic and corporate leaders do hear about the region, it’s often in the context of problems and deficits rather than civic entrepreneurs and innovative solutions. Indeed, Karthick notes that this narrative is apparent even among many local nonprofit leaders, and that the region is only beginning to “change the dynamic from a deficit mindset to an asset orientation.”
To that end, he officially announced the UCR Center for Social Innovation on Friday, February 9. With working groups focused on immigration, civic engagement, economic mobility, and leadership/entrepreneurship, Karthick believes the Center can play a pivotal role in nurturing social change by empowering home-grown changemakers to address the needs they understand best.