Skip to main content

Social Venture Think Tank

Applications will reopen in late Spring 2021 for the Fall 2021 semester.

The Social Venture Think Tank (SVTT) is a rigorous 10-week program that empowers Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate students to use human-centered design to build new technological tools for Nashville-based non-profits. As a project consultant for a non-profit organization, students can gain valuable skills in project design and management, leadership, and collaboration. This program enables students to develop tools and capabilities that fulfill the needs of organizations working at the front lines of social, economic, and environmental change.

Beginning in the 2020 – 2021 Academic Year, the Social Venture Think Tank will partner with Change++, a Vanderbilt student organization skilled in software development, computer programming, and machine learning. The SVTT teams will be responsible for developing the prototype of the technological tool in collaboration with the non-profit partner, and Change++ will focus on building out the technology. Following the 10-week design program, SVTT teams will have the opportunity for continued collaboration throughout the year.

2020-21 SVTT Partners


Past SVTT Projects

The Family Center of Tennessee offers a range of programs that help break cycles of trauma in families. During the Spring 2020 semester, the Social Venture Think Tank partnered with The Family Center to build marketing and promotion strategies for a new program offering at the center.


The Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) ensures refugees across Middle Tennessee achieve their full potential now and for generations to come. The Social Venture Think Tank built a new website prototype, marketing suite, and promotional materials for New American Staffing, a new staffing agency founded by NICE that helps immigrants and refugees find meaningful employment opportunities.


In Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, two teams of students worked to develop a social business concept for Nashville Build Upcycle. This center will keep reusable construction and demolition waste out of landfills. It will also ensure that Nashvillians have access to low-cost, high-quality construction materials. Long-term, the center will provide training, building materials, and resources that support the construction of Living Buildings, an emerging innovation in sustainable architecture.


Poverty and the Arts (POVA) is a nonprofit social enterprise that is building new models of economic justice for individuals affected by homelessness. The organization provides resources for individuals to create art and then earn income from the sale of those items to the public. A team of students developed a new administrative process for the organization, helping staff to decrease the time it takes to track inventory and sales. The implementation of this project enables POVA to dedicate more time to organizational development and program implementation.


The OASIS Center is a youth advocacy organization that helps ensure Nashville youth experience a successful transition into adulthood. In Fall 2019, the Think Tank worked with the OASIS Center to develop a plan for achieving more robust data analysis capabilities. This project was carried forward by Change++, a student group dedicated to using computer programming skills to support Nashville-based non-profits. The creation of a new data management process for the organization will help ensure their ability to track their impact across programs and among the Nashville youth.