Center for Transformative Action

Educational programs that further the practice & understanding of social entrepreneurship & transformative action.

CTA offers educational programs for its projects, community members and Cornell students. We teach undergraduate courses in social entrepreneurship at Cornell, organize the Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute, a 3-day program that takes place on campus and in our community, and regularly offer workshops in compassionate communication, nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, and transformative action. CTA’s executive director, Anke Wessels, also leads Cornell’s relationship with Ashoka U, an international network of universities that provide leadership in the field of social innovation education and research. In 2016, CTA’s model as a nonprofit incubator of social entrepreneurs affiliated with a major university was recognized by the Ashoka U Cordes Innovation Award as a high impact and highly replicable innovation in social entrepreneurship education.

Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute

We are currently planning the 2017 Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute that will take place Nov 10-12. Please check back for more information. The institute features tools that are essential to the success of a social venture, keynote talks, presentations by inspiring and innovative social entrepreneurs, one-on-one coaching, and field trips to local social ventures. The institute supports new and experienced social entrepreneurs with valuable knowledge, training, and a community of like-minded individuals who are committed to creating economies that are ecologically sound and socially just.

The theme of last year’s institute was “Creating Healthy and Vibrant Communities through our Social Ventures.” Many thanks to Allison Usavage for her brilliant work in capturing the energy and enthusiasm of the 2016 institute through these fabulous stories.

In 2013, we organized a TEDx as part of the institute. Watch the videos here.

Social Entrepreneurship at Cornell

Since 2008, we have been teaching courses in social entrepreneurship in Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and leading Cornell’s involvement in the Ashoka U network of changemaker campuses. In 2011, our course “Social Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Problem Solvers” was recognized as one of the top ten most rigorous and innovative in its field by Ashoka U, a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.

To view a network map of the social entrepreneurship and social innovation space at Cornell, follow this link.

Compassionate Communication

Compassionate Communication strengthens our ability to listen and speak in ways that increase understanding, trust, and connection. It shows us how to translate criticism, judgment, and blame into life serving messages. It gives us concrete skills for resolving conflicts and healing relationships. While fostering empathy and respect, Compassionate Communication creates a desire to have everyone’s needs matter, moving us away from patterns of domination to partnership.

We offer classes, workshops, and coaching in which you learn to:

  • Speak authentically and in a way that can be easily heard and understood by others
  • Increase your understanding and compassion for yourself and others
  • Use practical skills to communicate without criticism, blame, or painful misunderstandings while sharing what matters to you
  • Experience the power of empathy to liberate natural compassion
  • Defuse heated situations before they lead to conversations that may be regretted
  • Prevent and resolve conflicts by increasing understanding, trust, and mutual respect
  • Promote both inner and world peace

About Judy Burrill:

Compassionate Communication trainer and coach, Judy Burrill, has completed the Center for Nonviolent Communication’s Parent Peer Leadership Program, a part of the Peaceful Families, Peaceful World Project. She has also completed hundreds of hours of NVC trainings, has led numerous classes, workshops, and practice groups, and has been a mediator since 2006. You can read more at the website Compassionate Communication in Ithaca.

Contact Judy for more information at 607-255-5027.

CTA and Cornell University

The Center for Transformative Action is an independent 501(c)3 affiliated with Cornell University. As an affiliate, our center plays a unique role by offering courses and programs to Cornell University and serving as an incubator for innovative nonprofit social ventures on campus, in our community and across New York State.

Since 2008, we have been teaching courses in social entrepreneurship at the university and leading Cornell’s involvement in the Ashoka U network of changemaker campuses.

CTA began as the Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy in 1971 to house the social justice efforts that emerged from Cornell United Religious Work in the 1960’s. In 2006, we re-focused our vision to deal with a polarized global society and brought transformative action to the forefront of our efforts, changing our name to reflect our new vision. In 2011, we expanded our fiscal sponsorship offerings to include projects from across New York State.

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CTA Success Stories

Featured CTA case studies to help explain what we do so well.
Volunteer opportunities at CTA will change your life.

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