The new federal infrastructure package could be one of the nation's most consequential investments in equitable wellbeing — but only if we make it so. Read more in our latest article.


The seed for the Full Frame Initiative was planted nearly three decades ago. In 1995, Katya Fels Smyth founded On The Rise, Inc., an organization that worked to help women who were unhoused or living in crisis reclaim control of their lives. While the mission of On the Rise was extremely effective, its approach was often misunderstood. So Smyth set out to find a framework that would describe how On the Rise actually operated and achieved success.

In 2004, Smyth began working with Dr. Lisa Goodman of Boston College. Together, they set out to identify what made On the Rise, and a few other organizations, successful where others had failed. The result was identifying a set of principles and practices they came to call “the Full Frame Approach,” which was initially published in 2006.

Over the next two years, Smyth and Goodman’s work elicited a groundswell of interest from community practitioners interested in learning from others in their field and making a collective case for a Full Frame way of working.

In 2007, after leaving On the Rise, Smyth launched the Full Frame Initiative under the fiscal sponsorship of the Cambridge Community Foundation. The Full Frame Initiative, Inc. became an independent organization in 2009 with its own federal 501(c)(3) status.

Today, the Full Frame Initiative is a social change organization growing a robust alliance of groundbreaking government, community and nonprofit changemakers. Together we are challenging the assumptions and remaking the structures and systems that are currently harming people so that everyone has a fair shot at wellbeing.


The system is rigged, and the solution isn’t just to create more programs for people harmed by these unfair systems. The solution is to reimagine these systems to make our country fairer and more equitable for everyone — which means ensuring that the places where we work, live, play and pray tap into people’s drive for wellbeing, instead of undermining wellbeing for some and enabling it for others.

That’s what we do.