Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
What are Social Change Organizations (SCOs)?

Through their projects, programs and other activities, SCOs address issues of critical importance to society by fostering positive, sustainable changes in human behavior that are linked to specific development outcomes. These changes may be socio-economic (e.g., reducing poverty through micro-enterprise development), socio-cultural (e.g., protecting human rights for traditionally excluded groups), socio-environmental (e.g., reducing the carbon footprint through recycling), or socio-political (e.g., increasing civic participation in local governance or achieving gender equity).

SCOs represent many different types of entities including units of local or national government; international organizations (e.g., Unicef and UNDP); international NGOs; grassroots community action groups; for-profit social enterprises; and alliances of for- and not-for-profit institutions. Local and national NGOs as well as social movements also fall under the SCO rubric as do enterprises created by social entrepreneurs. While SCOs take many forms, what they have in common is a commitment to generating and supporting the conditions necessary to achieve greater social wellbeing.