Center for Social Policy

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

About Us

Reshaping Poverty Policy
for and with Families and Communities

Read our fact sheet

The Center for Social Policy is a creator of knowledge, an incubator of ideas and action.

The Center for Social Policy is the research and evaluation partner of choice for policy makers and  philanthropists concerned with the structural causes of poverty.

We focus on improving the lives of those outside the circles of power. True to our vow "to build knowledge from the ground up," we believe that constituent engagement in research illuminates — in a language and format that policy makers and practitioners can understand —  the realities faced by families living in poverty.

The Center for Social Policy creates avenues of understanding for social issues, building organizational capacity to improve planning, processes, and partnerships. Through our Reshaping Poverty Policy agenda, our work produces solid evidence and advances viable policy options that address poverty, homelessness, and workforce development.

Our History

The center was established in 1992 as a university research center at the John W. McCormack Institute for Public Affairs (now the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies). Since then, close to one hundred research studies and evaluations have been conducted with approximately 70 partner agencies.  The center’s work has targeted root causes and highlighted effective interventions that address economic hardship and social exclusion.

Since 1998, Donna Haig Friedman, PhD, has led the center, engaging a network of more than 50 scholars, practitioners, philanthropists, and constituents whose interactions cross traditional boundaries and consistently produce new information and enlightened perspectives.

The CSP team brings to its work state-wide and national leadership in policy agencies and the legislature; membership on presidential advisory committees; leadership in higher education and private consulting; a solid publication record of social policy books, reports, and  journal articles; and a wealth of grass roots, community development experience.

CSP’s partnerships extend to research and action networks across the globe.  Our center has had a significant impact at the local, state, and national levels. More recently, through our international partnerships and knowledge-sharing efforts, our expertise and influence have been put to use by organizations the world over.

Our 20th anniversary celebration, sponsored by UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, PhD, was held on October 17, 2012. Congressman Barney Frank was the featured honoree and received the Chancellor’s Medal for Exemplary Leadership. Chuck Collins, John Connors III, Julia Tripp, and Elaine Werby were also be honored as leaders for economic and social justice.

Read the news stories on the event and honoring Julia Tripp.

Sponsors and Partners in Research and Evaluation

View our impressive list of philanthropists, community, and university partners
Read More 

Constituent Advisory Group

Julia Tripp on the transformative power of inclusion Read More 

Giving to UMass Boston

Support innovative research and scholarship by making a gift to the Center for Social Policy.

Give Now