Boston Collaborative Governance Initiative
About ︎Members︎Join

What would it take to transform governance on the local level, centering those most affected by the problems in the development of the solutions?

We are a network of civic innovators exploring this question together.

About the network

COVID-19 and racial uprisings of 2020 have revealed many inadequacies of government, from the federal level down to municipal. At the core of it all is the inadequacy of government to properly and fairly care for people. There is a critical need for new ways of governing that promote health and wellbeing of all, through a lens of justice and equity, whereby those who are most affected by the problems are central to the development and implementation of the solutions. This requires new tools, new patterns of consultation, new practices and policies, new methods of engagement, and a commitment to power-sharing. The Boston Collaborative Governance Initiative (BCGi) supports a multi-stakeholder network for learning and co-creating such mechanisms to promote collaborative governance in Boston. 

BCGi commits to being community-led, where residents set and guide the agenda, supported and amplified by government, academia, and other institutions. The project will result in a series of tools, created by and for civic innovators in Boston, to support a vibrant, connected, hybrid public sphere. Ultimately, the goal of the work is to use the development of tools as a means of reimagining how municipal government can more effectively partner with communities to create transformative policy and service provision.


The BCGi Network is made up of stakeholders from government, community, academia, tech, etc. The work of the Network is to 1) support projects that promote improved government-community collaboration, 2) foster relationships across previously disconnected sectors for the purpose of promoting collaboration, and 3) center community voices and experiences in civic innovation.

BCGi is inviting participation from a broad range of stakeholders to join this developing Network. Network Members will have the opportunity to:

  1. Get to know a wide range of civic innovators, from government, nonprofit, community, tech, and academia

  2. Present current and potential projects for robust review by diverse stakeholders and consideration for support from other Network Members

  3. Help identify emerging collaborative civic innovation projects

  4. Collaborate with other Network members and the broader community on relevant civic innovation projects, including the development of new tools, practices, technologies, etc.

  5. Adopt new tools, practices, technologies, etc. that emerge from the Network

  6. Participate in a learning community to build knowledge around collaborative governance

Network Meetings

The BCGi Network convenes twice monthly, every 2nd and 4th Thursday afternoons.

Network Learning Circle: The 2nd Thursday is open to the public for the purpose of learning and reflecting on various topics related to collaboration and governance.

Network Members Meetings: The 4th Thursday is limited to members and for furthering the work of the network, such as supporting member’s projects, identifying new collaborative projects, etc.

Membership Fees

The BCGi will eventually require paid membership from government and corporate partners, who will subsidize the participation of community partners. For the first six months, the network is subsidized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, so we can offer free membership for all through August.

Current members

Core Team
Maridena Rojas
Neenah Estrella-Luna
Cheryl Harding
Carl-Jean Louis
Jacob deBlecourt
Nigel Jacob
Sam Potrykus
Marilyn Forman
Jalina Suggs
Chris Worrell
Research Team
Eric Gordon
John Harlow
Rachele Gardner
Tomás Guarna
Clare Liu

Network members
Allentza Michel (Powerful Pathways)
Andrea Campbell (City Councilor)
Bianca Clark (Teen Empowerment)
Bill Snyder (Civic Stewardship)
Ceasar McDowell (MIT)
Cheryl Antoine  (Community Mentor)
Cheryl Harding  (Councilor Campbell Staff)
CJ Jean-Louis (Councilor Campbell Staff)
Corey Thompson    (Community Mentor)
Danya Cunningham    (MIT CoLab, MIT)
Erhardt Graeff (Olin College)
Eric Leslie (Union Captial Boston)
Gabriel Kaptchuk (BU)
Harlan Weber (Code for Boston)
Jacob deBlecourt  (Councilor Mejia Staff)
Jennifer Effron (Boston Society of Architects)
Jess Weaver (Local Voices Network)
John Gastil (Penn State University)
Julia Mejia (City Councilor, Councilor Mejia Staff)
Julie Zhu (UW)
Kat Wyly (UW)
Latoya Gayle   
Laura Cole (City of Boston)
Lori Lobenstine    (DS4SI)
Maita Navarro    (Wellesley)
Maridena Rojas    (Community Mentor)
Marilyn Forman    (Community Mentor)
Matt Zagaja (MAPC, Code for Boston)
Matteo Daffin (BU)
Melissa Henry (UW)
Michael Johnson    (UMB)
Mike Sugarman (MIT)
Monica Hall (RWJF)
Nancy Smith (BPHC, Community Mentor)
Neenah Estrella-Luna    (Community Mentor)
Nicole Kuhn (UW)
Nicole Liu (MassArt)
Nigel Jacob (MONUM, City of Boston)
Paul Mihailidis    (Emerson)
Peter Levine (Tufts University)
Sam Potrykus (Brain Arts, Dorchster Arts Project)
Sam Teixiera (URBAN Boston, BC School of Social Work)
Sara Kudra    (Community Mentor)
Scott Hersey (Olin College)
Toni Griffin (Harvard)
Uma Viswanathan  (RWJF)
Wandy Pascoal (Housing Innovation Design Fellow, City of Boston)