Rebecca Riccio


Director of Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University in Boston, MA

Rebecca Riccio is the founding Director of the Social Impact Lab (SIL) at Northeastern University, an experiential learning hub that prepares students for lives of citizen-leadership and social change through systems thinking, complex problem solving,  and ethical community engagement.  Throughout her career, Rebecca has developed and managed cutting edge projects around the world, including the the first federally funded teacher training program in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall; satellite-based email networks connecting health facilities in Africa and Asia before commercial options became viable; and the world's first massive open on-line course or MOOC on experiential philanthropy, which engaged thousands of students around the world in awarding grants from the Buffett family's Learning by Giving Foundation.  She continues to break new ground by researching and developing experiential learning methods that challenge students to  grapple with the complexity and ethical implications of engaging in social change using techniques such as network and systems visualization, real-dollar grant making, and community-based service-learning. Rebecca is a leader in the growing use of experiential philanthropy education to illuminate the study of the nonprofit sector, civil society, and social justice by having students confront the power and privilege of managing scarce resources in the face of abundant need. The model she developed at Northeastern, Northeastern Students4Giving, is now being adapted in countries around the world through SIL’s Global Philanthropy Initiative. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and social change at Northeastern University and has lectured on philanthropy, social justice, and policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.