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Social Innovations


The Wond’ry’s Social Innovations Pillar and the associated Social Ventures Think Tank program provides teams of undergraduate, graduate and professional students with a collaborative environment where they leverage their academic knowledge to solve real-world social challenges affecting the greater Nashville community.

The Social Ventures Think Tank is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2019 cohort.

The tremendous growth Nashville is experiencing provides an apt environment for addressing and solving the issues affecting a rapidly changing city. Partnering with the both Nashville government and local non-profit organizations, the Social Ventures Think Tank works to develop innovative interventions that help solve urban issues like affordable housing, growing urban manufacturing and making opportunities, transportation, and health, among others.

Make A Difference

Each semester, students who are accepted into the Social Ventures Think Tank join interdisciplinary teams and work collaboratively on a particular issue affecting the Nashville community. Teams are supported by the Social Innovations Program Coordinator, Hanes Motsinger, as well as local partner organizations, Wond’ry mentors, and Vanderbilt faculty whose areas of expertise align with the project at hand.

In Fall 2019, the Social Ventures Think Tank will partner with a variety of local non-profit organizations, including Poverty and the Arts, a social enterprise nonprofit that strives to create artistic and economic opportunities for those who may have been denied them, and to advance new models of economic justice and community that are sustainable and replicable. The POVA Artist Collective, for example, provides artists impacted by homelessness with opportunities to create and sell their work by equipping them with a professional art studio setting, artist grade supplies, artistic and business workshops, and gallery exhibition and representation in the Nashville community.

By participating in programming housed under the Social Innovations Pillar, students gain real world experiences in project design and management, leadership, and collaboration with diverse individuals. They are challenged to use their critical thinking skills to envision and develop creative interventions for social change.  Students learn to work with diverse stakeholders and perspectives to achieve a common goal. Lastly, as a part of an SVTT team, students engage with subject matter experts, gaining a deep understanding of a pressing social issue while also forging invaluable professional networks.

At its core, the Social Innovations Pillar and the Social Ventures Think Tank are designed to build on Vanderbilt’s culture of service and exploration, ultimately championing student-led innovations that drive positive change in the local community and beyond.