10th Anniversary Social Innovation Summit & Fireside Chat with Sec. Julián Castro

10th Anniversary Social Innovation Summit & Fireside Chat with Sec. Julián Castro

On April 27th, 2022, the USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation hosted its 10th Anniversary Social Innovation Summit and fireside chat. This event served as the culminating event in the USC Price Center for Social Innovation’s 10th Anniversary Social Innovation Summit Series, which examined how social innovation can advance equity across multiple systems and institutions, including: education, housing, and the criminal legal system.

This fireside chat featured a dynamic conversation between Price Center Director Gary Painter and Julián Castro, former Democratic candidate for President, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and former mayor of San Antonio. Dr. Painter and Sec. Castro discussed how social innovation can help tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our day, including housing and homelessness, criminal justice, education, and inequality broadly. Sec. Castro discussed his insights and experiences catalyzing multiple social innovation approaches through his tenure as Mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including the development of the federal Promise Zone program, which aimed to tackle poverty through collective impact.

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Sec. Julián Castro,  Former Democratic candidate for President, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Former mayor of San Antonio

Sec. Julián Castro has distinguished himself as a strong leader and successful public servant for nearly two decades. A former Democratic candidate for President, Castro served as the 16th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017, and as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014. At HUD, Castro managed 8,000 employees and a budget of more than $46 billion, and he led progress at the Department that earned it recognition as one of the most improved federal agencies. Castro also co-chaired the United States delegation to the United Nations Habitat III conference, spearheaded efforts to reduce homelessness, and created Connect Home, a public-private partnership to deliver broadband to public housing residents.

Previously, as mayor of America’s seventh largest city, Castro brought a strong focus to expanding educational achievement and making San Antonio a leader in the 21st century global economy. Under Castro’s leadership, San Antonio implemented Pre-K4SA, a high quality early childhood learning initiative that has earned praise as one of America’s strongest public pre-kindergarten programs. During his tenure, San Antonio ranked first on the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities List, received an A+ grade for doing business by Forbes, and was the only Top 10 city at the time to achieve a Triple A bond rating with each of the three major ratings agencies.

A native Texan, Castro began his public service career in 2001, becoming, at the age of 26, San Antonio’s youngest city councilman in history at the time. Castro made history again in 2012, when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, the first Latino to do so.

Following his service in the Obama administration, Castro served as the Dean’s Distinguished Fellow and Fellow of the Davila Chair in International Trade Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Castro’s memoir, An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up From My American Dream was published by Little Brown in 2018.

Today, Castro serves on the board of directors of the LBJ Foundation and is a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Castro received a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Erica, have a daughter, Carina, and a son, Cristián. Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, represents the 20th Congressional District of Texas.

Dr. Gary Painter, Director, USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, Homelessness Policy Research Institute

Gary Painter is a Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. He also serves as the Director of the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation and the Homelessness Policy Research Institute. He recently published a co-authored book entitled, “Payment by Results and Social Impact Bonds: Outcome-based Payment Systems in the UK and US.” He has published numerous articles in top journals such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Urban Economics, Urban Studies, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Real Estate Economics, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and Regional Science and Urban Economics.

Professor Painter is a leading figure in the field of social innovation. In addition to his recent book, he works extensively with a variety of social innovation organizations and collective impact networks to address some of the grand challenges that society faces. His current research focuses on how to activate the social innovation process. Professor Painter also has extensive expertise in housing, urban economics, and education policy, which shapes his research on how the social innovation process can identify new models of social change within these complex policy areas.

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