Race, Poverty & Trust

The Race, Poverty and Trust convening featureed guest speaker Tiziana Dearing, Professor of Macro Practice at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Tiziana is the former CEO of Boston Rising, a place-based, anti-poverty, public foundation that aimed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by replicating the Robin Hood Foundation and Harlem Children Zone’s models in Grove Hall, a Boston neighborhood inundated with poverty and crime. Over three years, Bosotn Rising invested $4 Million in residents, promising entrepreneurs and under performing schools, then -- it dissolved.

Tiziana used lessons learned from work as a grant recipient, a funder, a mentor to non-profit CEOs, and research to explore how today's philanthropy can evolve to better support change at the scale of the problems it seeks to address.

  • What are the dynamics of power, choice and control in giving?
  • How and when do those dynamics affect successful relationships, the dignity of those closest to our intractable problems, and whether our approaches work?
  • What can we do differently?

We also explored emerging best practices in the realm of social impact, including innovations in philanthropy and in service or program delivery. Lastly, we discussed the concepts of risk and results:

  • Who defines them?
  • How does that affect what we measure, and what we consider success to be?
  • How can we be better allies in taking risks with our philanthropy, and recognizing non-traditional results?

Tiziana Dearing is Professor for Macro Practice and Co-Director of the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College. She is a Co-Founding Director, with Ruth McRoy and David Takeuchi, of the Research and Innovations in Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity (RISE3) at Boston College. Her current teaching focuses on social innovation and leadership. Additional research and teaching interests include race, poverty and inequity, especially in urban environments, nonprofits and philanthropy, and social justice in public policy.

Professor Dearing comes to the School of Social Work from the world of practice, where she led a number of anti-poverty organizations, including Boston Rising, a start-up anti-poverty fund, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston, where she was the first woman president. Professor Dearing also served as the Executive Director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University and spent nearly a decade as a management consultant both to Fortune 500 companies and to mission-driven nonprofit organizations.

Professor Dearing regularly provides media expertise for local and national outlets such as The Hill, CNN.com, MSNBC, BBC and NECN.  She is a news analyst for WBUR’s Radio Boston and blogs for The Huffington Post and WBUR’s Cognoscenti. In 2017, she joined forces with Boston College Carroll School of Management Professor Mary Cronin to edit Managing for Social Impact: Innovations in Responsible Enterprise.