Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change

Supporting the Advancement of Women and Girls

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 the leadership and success of women and girls. 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 24 years, SILC has hosted more than 530 events, providing approximately 47,000 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 to the development and advancement of women and girls from all cultural and economic backgrounds.

A Collaborative Model

All SILC activities are carried out in collaboration with the community and focus on supporting the advancement of women and girls. 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 hosts and co-sponsors 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.
  • Science Club for Girls fosters excitement, confidence and literacy in STEM for girls.

Additional partners and programs include:

  • Moms as Mentors provides moms with the tools and opportunities they need to be mentors in their daughters’ daily lives.
  • 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.
  • Strong Women, Strong Girls supports positive mentoring relationships between college women and pre-adolescent girls
  • International Women's Day Boston Planning Group
  • The OpEd Project strives to increase the number of women thought leaders in key commentary forums to a tipping point.

Contact Information

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

Diane Hammer, Director of Community Engagement