Ripple Effects is a San Francisco-based, woman owned social enterprise, founded in 1997. The Company is dedicated to using emerging technologies to prevent social injury and promote school and life success for children, youth and the adults who work with them. Ripple Effects provides social-emotional skill training and personal guidance software, assessment tools, web resources and live training, technical support and consultation to develop social-emotional competencies and remediate social emotional deficits that impact school and life success. The company has taken complex, disjointed social learning research and turned it into the technology-enabled, Whole Spectrum Intervention System an integrated suite of software, web, print and live training elements that enables schools ot deal with the whole spectrum of non-academic factors that impact school success. The Whole Spectrum Intervention System integrates decades of research into a media-rich, expert system, that for the first time, makes behavior training effective, engaging, scaleable, and individualizeable. Products driven by this system have garnered 30 national awards.
Ripple Effects is the acknowledged leader in the use of emerging technologies to promote social-emotional learning in schools. Ripple Effects software had been recognized with 29 major awards from the education, software, health and communications industries and is listed as a model program by theNational Dropout Prevention Center, with model program status pending for Children’s Mental Health, Delinquency Prevention, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). CEO Alice Ray, has been recognized with leadership awards from organizations as disparate as the National Association of Women Business Owners, the University of Washington Business School, the Association of Federal Investigators, and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (8 Emmys). The Company has been recognized by business schools and in financial publications for leadership as a double bottom line, social enterprise.
Research shows Ripple Effects software programs improve behavior, boost academic outcomes, and build social-emotional skills. Ripple Effects is the only program of its kind to guarantee objective outcomes when used as directed. It can make this commitment because eleven scientific studies over the past decade have shown that students’ self directed use of Ripple Effects results in significantly higher grades, fewer discipline referrals, higher scores on resiliency assets, lower depression scores than control and comparison group students. In addition, more than 90% of students exposed to Ripple Effects for any reason, also use it to voluntarily access private guidance about personal concerns.
Making prevention a better financial investment than punishment
Ripple Effects intends to provide a higher return on investment than that offered by investments in the most profitable prisons, mental hospitals, or treatment centers, thereby proving that prevention of social injury and lost productivity can be more lucrative than their punishment or cure. This “double bottom line” has earned the Company recognition in The Wall Street Journal and a second place award in a national Social Venture Business Plan competition for businesses that provide both social and economic value, sponsored by the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. In Spring of 2002, it earned CEO Alice Ray recognition by the National Association of Women Business Owners, who honored her with their 2002 “Rising Star” award.
Who we are
Ripple Effects is a lean, woman-owned company with a commitment to diversity. Historically, 35% of staff have been minority youth coming out of opportunity programs. Ripple Effects’ commitment to diversity in hiring has led to a long-term partnership with OpNet, an organization whose mission is to create significant economic opportunities in the new media industry for low-income young adults. In its eleven years, Ripple Effects has accomplished more than companies with 10 to 30 times its funding. In doing this, Ripple Effects has shown that an emphasis on a prosocial, diverse, caring work environment is more than just a good thing to do-when coupled with high expectations, it actually results in extremely high productivity levels.
Accomplishments To Date
Ripple Effects released its flagship product, Ripple Effects for Teens, in fall of 1998. It has since translated its learning system into a line of products for students ages 7 to 17, and educators. Ripple Effects’ education products have won a bevy of awards from the education, health, software and communications industries, as well as rave reviews from both users and experts. Ripple Effects has been featured in print and electronic media, and 10 years of research indicates its programs work. Today, they are used in 600+ school districts and communities, in all 50 states and five countries.
Over its ten year history, the Company has received grants from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health & Human Services, and has partnered with national nonprofits such as the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, and the Tuskegee Airmen Foundation, research groups including WestEd, and researchers at Columbia and NYU.
Where we come from
Ripple Effects cofounder and CEO Alice Ray is a nationally recognized expert in social learning and media design. The genesis of Ripple Effects social learning model is a series of studies begun by Ray in 1985.
At that time she was Executive Director of a leading child abuse prevention organization, Committee for Children. Her organization’s abuse prevention materials were being used in more than 25% of the country’s school districts, but it bothered her that prevention efforts rested so heavily on the shoulders of victims and potential victims.
A simple question
So she asked a simple question: What would it take for the next generation of young people not to be perpetrators of violence?
In the process of answering that question, not only did she identify core abilities that separate people who injure others from those who don’t, she found mounting evidence that the same core abilities – often called emotional intelligence – were major success factors in school and on the job. And they were learnable.
Using this model, she conceived and oversaw the development by her staff of a print curriculum now used in more than 100,000 US classrooms. Over a period of several years, research by outside experts showed her hypothesis and solution were both correct. Her approach to social learning worked and worked dramatically, but a print curriculum to be delivered by teachers during classroom hours was not a scaleable solution.
Meanwhile, research in both business and education showed that the same core abilities that were major factors in social failure and injury- when they were missing- were huge factors in academic and professional success, as well as personal happiness, when they were present.
What had long been common sense was being scientifically validated: people who are socially and emotionally literate – who know how to handle conflict, manage feelings, solve problems, stand up for themselves, communicate clearly and empathize with others – do better in school, in work, and in life.
How technology fits in
Meanwhile, emerging technologies offered new opportunities for learning, including learning social behavior. Making the connection between them would be the contribution of Ripple Effects cofounder, Sarah Berg.
Ray first worked with technology innovator Sarah Berg in 1994, when Berg produced a highly acclaimed technology exhibit, the Electric Carnival, which toured as part of the Lollapalooza music festival, and gained national media attention in such outlets as Nightline, Dateline, NBC, CNN, MTV, Newsweek, andThe New York Times. Between 1994 and 1997, Berg successfully produced complex, large scale web and multimedia projects, for corporate, public, and nonprofit clients. She developed an unmatched track record of producing innovative, engaging, technology applications and exhibits, often exposing emerging technologies to new audiences, and always producing projects on time and within budget.
The partnership clicked and Ray and Berg formed Ripple Effects with a shared a vision of the potential of emerging technology to create major social change, the potential of a technology-based solutions to social behavior problems to make a lot of money, and the value of building a new kind of company, one that focused on creating social and economic value at the same time.
Founders, Management, Advisors, and Staff
Meet the talented, diverse team that contributes to Ripple Effects’ success. More