We’re thrilled with the excitement and interest we’ve seen in the 2014 SIF Notice of Funding Availability, and can’t believe in less than two weeks, on April 22, the application will close. We hope your application is among those received from grantmaking institutions committed to funding innovative, evidence-based, change-making community solutions. If you are a grantmaker that prioritizes innovation, requires evidence of results, and are serious about finding lasting solutions to our nation’s challenges, you should be applying for a SIF grant. There is still plenty of time to get your application in before the deadline!
have put together many helpful resources, including a NOFA
Fact Sheet, FAQs, and additional
materials, to assist you during the application process. Around 100 participants
joined us during each of our technical assistance webinars during which we
presented an overview of the NOFA, discussed the evidence and evaluation
criteria, and answered thoughtful questions from participants.
We also hosted our first Veterans webinar
with Koby Langley, CNCS Senior Advisor for Wounded Warriors, Veterans and
Military Families, and Mark Brunner, Senior Adviser to U.S. Senator Mark
Warner. We are also grateful to our
colleagues at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Council on Foundations, and Independent Sector for hosting a webinar for the foundations and nonprofits
connected to their network.
you are in the process of completing your application or just would
like to learn more about the SIF, you can view a recording
of our past webinars, read our recent blog posts
and review successful
applications from previous competitions. Also, don’t take our word for it,
you can read why current grantees GreenLight
Fund and Edna
McConnell Clark Foundation think other grantmakers should apply as well.
excited to expand the SIF family and look forward to seeing your applications
Director, Social Innovation Fund
Corporation for National and Community Service
Minnesota Reading Corps is Closing the Achievement
A rigorous third-party evaluation found that AmeriCorps tutors
helped elementary students achieve significantly higher literacy levels than
students without tutors. For example, the average kindergarten student with an AmeriCorps tutor
performed twice as well as students without one. SIF Director Michael Smith recently joined CNCS
CEO Wendy Spencer and U.S. Department of Education Deputy
Secretary Jim Shelton on a visit to Harris Elementary School in Washington, D.C., to see this innovative program in action.
President Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper
February, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper – a new initiative and
national call to action to help advance life outcomes and opportunities for
boys and young men of color. We’re proud that President Obama asked CNCS and
our CEO Wendy Spencer to serve on the My Brother’s Keeper federal task force. SIF
Director Michael Smith is part of the team that designed and launched the
effort, and many of the youth standing on the stage behind the President during
the launch were from SIF/Venture Philanthropy Partner grantees Latin American
Youth Center, KIPP DC, and Communities in schools.
>VIDEO: As a student at KIPP DC, Greg Dendy talks about his experiences as a young student and leader in the classroom. This year, Gregory was selected to be a student leader in the prestigious Capital Partners for Education program. He also serves as the lead hospitality volunteer for a local homeless shelter.
U.S. Department of Education Announces
Start of 2014 Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Competition
fifth round of competition, the i3 program continues to develop and expand
practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare every student to
succeed in college and in their careers. The competition continues to use broad priorities in addition to
more detailed subparts that target specific needs. This structure allows the i3
program to build a portfolio of solutions and corresponding evidence for
different approaches to addressing key challenges in public education.
The President’s Budget Shows Significant
Support for Social Innovation and Service
budget requests $1.05 billion for CNCS and its programs, which is slightly
above the FY 2014 enacted level. The budget supports
the growth of innovative, evidence-based programs through the Social Innovation
Fund, which generates significant non-federal funds to support effective
programs that improve the lives and expand economic opportunity for low-income
individuals. The budget maintains the high level of funding enacted in
2014, $70 million, and continues to reserve up to 20 percent of funds for
innovative Pay for Success initiatives.
Presidential Innovation Fellows Round
3: Serve. Create. Innovate.
are now being accepted for the third round of the Presidential Innovation
Fellows program. This initiative pairs talented, diverse individuals from
outside government with top federal innovators to implement game-changing projects
that make the federal government work better for the American people.
Two Weeks Left to Apply for White House
The application period for the White House Internship
Program is now open. The President, First Lady, and staff are committed to
providing young leaders from all across the nation an opportunity to develop their
leadership skills and gain exposure to the public service sector through the
White House Internship Program, a public service leadership program developed
to provide hands-on experience and cultivate such skills. This is a wonderful
opportunity to serve in our nation’s executive branch.
to Impact: Obama’s Social Innovation Fund at Four
Nearly five years after President Obama announced
the launch of the Social Innovation Fund, more than $177 million in grants have
been awarded, more than $423 million in non-federal match commitments raised, 221
nonprofits funded, 86 interventions tested, and more than 270,000 people
reached. Beyond the statistics, the Social Innovation Fund is at the
intersection where innovation meets impact.
The SIF demonstrates that transformative changes are occurring in many areas
across the country, resulting in the widening of economic opportunities for
more people, increases in youth development, and greater access to healthy
In a Stanford Social
Innovation Review blog post, SIF Director Michael Smith discusses the fund’s progress,
pitfalls, and what lies ahead. Also, if you haven’t seen the new GEO SSIR
Supplement, be sure to read the Q&A
with Michael in which he explains
how the fund balances innovation and support for proven programs.
Keep Spreading the Word!
Social Innovation Fund thanks all of our outreach partners who have been doing
an outstanding job in promoting and getting the word out about the 2014 SIF
competition. Please continue to spread
the word about the SIF NOFA. Be sure to
utilize the NOFA
Outreach Toolkit to promote the SIF competition to your affiliates via your
organization’s newsletter or eblast and to encourage qualified members of your
network to apply. The toolkit includes
sample text for blog posts or newsletters, sample tweets, SIF fact sheets,
images, and videos, in addition to other outreach materials.
Sector Leadership Fellows Announced
We are excited to see Social Innovation Fund
Program Officer Kirsten Breckenridge in the inaugural class of Presidio
Institute’s Cross Sector Leadership Fellows. Kirsten, the SIF’s first Program
Officer, will be among leaders from various sectors across government,
nonprofits, and business that will enhance their skill set, expand their
network, and alter their perceptions on how to best solve community challenges.
Marching Toward a Healthy Future
Our colleagues in AmeriCorps designated March as Healthy
Futures Month as part of their 20th Anniversary celebration. We
share their appreciation for healthy futures, as helping families’ live
healthier lives remains a top priority of the Social
Innovation Fund. Through our grantees and partners, we are engaging
individuals and groups by collaborating with community organizations,
nonprofits, and other stakeholders to broaden the conversation, replicate
successes, and bring to scale programs that are working to end health
SIF funding is enabling the Corporation
for Supportive Housing (CSH) – and other organizations that help
individuals and families live healthier lives – reach more people, especially
the most marginalized and vulnerable. To
learn more about CSH’s innovative approach of utilizing housing to tackle
health disparities, check
out this recent blog post. Also
learn more about our other dynamic Healthy Futures grantees: AIDS
for a Healthy Kentucky, Missouri
Foundation for Health, The
John A. Hartford Foundation, and the U.S.
Soccer Federation Foundation. Also
be sure to take a look at AmeriCorps’
Healthy Futures Toolkit to get access to social media tips and great online
Since the SIF 2014 NOFA was announced last month, the SIF team has been busy travelling across the country meeting with our partners and allies, sharing the SIF opportunity with grantmaking organizations and spreading the excitement of this new funding opportunity.
We are especially thankful to the partner organizations that have graciously hosted us. Below are a few highlights and photos from recent travels:
February 24 (Philadelphia, PA): Michael visited Year Up Philadelphia at Peirce College – Thank you Executive Director Diana Campbell and Philadelphia GreenLight Fund ED Matt Joyce and the Peirce College Year Up team! Michael also participated in a SIF Potential Applicants Briefing as part of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and Grantmaker’s for Effective Organizations forum on local and national donor collaboratives. Michael discussed the SIF’s focus on scaling impact through local and national collaboration, as well as the promising practices of sharing information and learnings with the field. Other speakers included GreenLight Fund’s Matt Joyce and Jennie Sparandara of the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN).
March 6 (Washington, DC): Washington Grantmakers CEOs SIF Potential Applicants Briefing– Thank you President Tamara Copeland!
March 10 (Los Angeles, CA): 2014 GEO Conference Potential Applicants Briefing - Thanks to GEO’s Director of Programs, Meghan Duffy, and all of the participants!
Michael with SIF partners (United
Way Denver, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, GreenLight Fund, Venture
Philanthropy Partners, and REDF) at 2014 GEO Conference.
March 12 (Los Angeles, CA): SIF Potential Applicants Briefing – Thank you:
- Sylia Obagi (Annenberg Foundation),
- Claire Peeps (Durfee Foundation),
- Tara Roth (Goldhirsh Foundation),
- Beatriz Solis (California Endowment)!
March 13 (Seattle, WA): SIF Program Officer Keisha Kersey conducted a SIF Potential Applicants Briefing to grantmakers in the Northwest. Attendees participated both in person and via phone, and included grantmakers from Seattle, rural areas of Washington and Oregon, and as far away as Bethel, Alaska. This event was hosted by Philanthropy Northwest – Thank you!
March 19 (New York, NY): Michael and Jonathan Greenblatt participated in a site visit to Henry Street Settlement, a NYC Mayor’s Fund/CEO subgrantee; Thanks for hosting us Mayors Fund/CEO!
Michael and Jonathan also participated in a packed NYC SIF Potential Applicants Briefing and met with leadership from our NYC Grantees: CSH, LISC, Mayor’s Fund, CEO, the Hartford Foundation, and Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. Remarks were also given by Sinead Keegan (CEO’s SIF Program Coordinator), Kate Dempsey (CEO’s Director of Budget and Operations), and Kathleen Carey who is with CNCS’ New York State Office.
Visit to Henry Street
Settlement with Jonathan Greenblatt and NYC Mayor's Fund and Center for
March 21 & 24 (Southwest Tour): SIF Program Officer Kirsten Breckinridge presented three SIF Potential Applicants Briefings – two hosted by the Conference of Southwest Foundations (CSF) and one hosted by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Thanks to Lucille DiDomenico at CSF and Trey Bowles at Startup Texas for organizing, and to the foundations across Texas and Oklahoma that came!
March 28 (Boston, MA): 2014 SIF Potential Applicants Briefing presented by SIF Director Michael Smith and hosted by GreenLight Fund, New Profit, Inc., and Associated Grantmakers. Thanks to Margaret Hall (GreenLight Fund), Tulaine Montgomery (New Profit) and Bob Giannino-Racine (uAspire) for presenting as well.
April 1 (Minneapolis, MN): 2014 SIF Potential Applicants Briefing presented by SIF Program Officer Keisha Kersey and hosted by the Minnesota Council on Foundations.
The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the Social Innovation Fund. Read the entire story here.
5 Reasons to Consider Applying to the Social Innovation Fund. Read the entire story here.