The Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action (CIVA) was set up in 1995 by Michael Norton with the idea that:
- New ideas and new approaches can make a real impact in addressing social and community problems.
- Socially and economically excluded peoples (which includes women and young people, whose views are not always listened to) should be involved much more in developing solutions for themselves and their communities.
- Sharing of ideas and working methods globally can be extremely productive. The countries of the South and the North have a great deal to learn from each other, but the flow of ideas and expertise should not be one way.
- Information is an important factor in creating change but such information needs to be effectively produced and disseminated.
Stephen was the founding Chair of CIVA, in 1995, and remained the chair until his death in 2014.