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Press Release

Social Innovation Fund Awards Grants for Innovative Community Solutions

$42 Million in Grants to Leverage $105 Million in Private Funds to Grow High-Impact Nonprofits

Washington, DC – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced the results of its third Social Innovation Fund competition, selecting four experienced grantmakers with strong track records of success in expanding the impact of high-performing organizations in improving the lives of people in low-income communities.

The new grantees presented compelling, innovative proposals designed to tackle persistent community challenges in the areas of youth development, economic opportunity and healthy futures. The four new awards total $8 million and will fund the initial two years of each grant. An additional $33.9 million was provided to seven existing grantees to continue their work based on consistent and compelling results.

Under the Social Innovation Fund’s unique public-private partnership model, each federal dollar granted must be matched 1-to-1 by the grantees and again by their subgrantees with money from private and other non-federal sources, thereby increasing the return on taxpayer dollars and strengthening local support. The grants announced today will leverage more than $100 million in additional non-federal funds, resulting in a total of nearly $150 million to support the growth of innovative nonprofits.

“The Social Innovation Fund invests in proven programs that are helping young people succeed in school, improving the health of underserved populations, and helping people find jobs and increase economic security,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “This is a smart approach that leverages private investment to expand programs that work, and I congratulate these grantees for rising to the top in a tough competition.”

The Social Innovation Fund, now in its third year, is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service intended to transform lives and communities by mobilizing public and private resources. In its first two years, the Social Innovations Fund awarded $95 million to 16 grant-makers that have in turn invested in nearly 200 nonprofit organizations in 34 states and Washington D.C. More than $250 million in additional private and non-federal funds are being leveraged through the program.

The 2012 Social Innovation Fund grant cycle was highly competitive and sought the best proposals that would drive impact and transform lives. Only organizations with a track record of success implementing programs with evidence of effectiveness were eligible. All applicants also needed to have strong plans for growing program capacities and rigorously evaluating program results. More information about the applications and grant review process can be found here.

“As our new grantees engage a whole new group of nonprofits and our continuing grantees continue pushing the envelope with the nonprofits they are working with, we look forward to seeing hundreds of thousands more lives transformed,” said Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund.

The new Social Innovation Fund grantees will each receive grants of $2 million over two years. The grantees are:

  • GreenLight Fund works with the local communities to proactively attract and support relevant national programs to close the achievement and opportunity gap for youth. In Boston, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay area, they will impact the lives of 20,000 low-income children by improving school persistence and academic achievement, increasing high school graduation and GED attainment, and increasing college access, credit accumulation and degree completion.
  • Twin Cities Strive in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way will support a strong portfolio of replicable, evidence-based youth programs serving kids from kindergarten through college in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota. They’ll support programs designed to improve kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency, ninth grade readiness for upper-level math, four-year graduation rates, and college enrollment rates for between 1,500 and 2,000 low-income youth each year.
  • The John A. Hartford Foundation has 80 years of experience supporting nonprofit organizations across the country. With their Social Innovation Fund grant they will expand an evidence-based program for treating depression in rural communities in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Effective treatment using their model improves depression symptoms, social and work- related functioning, and economic outcomes.
  • Capital Area United Way (CAUW) will build community impact initiatives leading to success in early childhood in the Greater Baton Rouge area. CAUW will strive to improve children’s school readiness by ensuring positive birth outcomes, strong parental engagement, support, and education (including financial education), and access to quality child care and preschool. They will also work to ensure that children's physical health, safety, and social-emotional needs are met.

In addition, seven high-performing Social Innovation Fund grantees are receiving a total of $33.9 million in grants to continue their work to expand the impact of powerful nonprofits. They include:

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and other programs; improves communities through the Social Innovation Fund; and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov

Media Contact

Sandy Scott at pressoffice@cns.gov, 202-606-6724