Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change

What is the Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change?

Founded in 1991 through a donation from Simmons alumna Barbara Lee, the Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change (SILC) embodies Simmons's commitment to the community with a focus on women and girls, and Boston-area residents and organizations. SILC fosters relationships with individuals and organizations that mirror the vision and values of Simmons and is committed to maintaining Simmons's reputation as a vital, dynamic part of the community promoting women's issues and activism.

Through the sponsorship of various activities including workshops, conferences, and programs, SILC has helped to enrich our community and has contributed to the success of women leaders. During the past 20 years, SILC has hosted more than 450 events, providing approximately 40,000 people with opportunities to come to Simmons to learn, organize, and celebrate their work.


The mission of the Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change is to build relationships with community organizations that have a focused commitment on the development and advancement of women and girls from all cultural and economic backgrounds.

A Collaborative Model

All SILC activities are carried out with the community, not for the community. Our collaborative model of community-based organizing emphasizes activism and a genuine collaboration. Since its founding, SILC has developed supportive relationships with numerous organizations and community leaders. Simmons's urban setting makes possible the rich, heterogeneous relationships SILC has forged with local individuals and communities.

Community Partners

SILC works with a variety of community partners that reflect the mission and values of Simmons. SILC brings Simmons to the community and the community to Simmons by hosting, co-sponsoring, and supporting many cutting-edge organizations while also providing space and resources to support grassroots initiatives, community building, and positive change in Boston-area neighborhoods.

Below are a few of the organizations that we partner with:

  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts serves over 45,000 girls, has 17,000 volunteers and is one of the largest leadership development organizations for girls in New England.
  • Big Sister Association of Greater Boston is the largest mentoring organization in Greater Boston exclusively serving girls. Since 1951, it has been helping girls reach their full potential through positive mentoring relationships with women.
  • Girls LEAP empowers girls and young women to value and champion their own safety and well-being through self-defense and empowerment training for girls 8-18.

Additional partners and programs include:

Contact Information

For more information about upcoming events, or about organizing a program or event, contact:

Diane Hammer