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More than a quarter of Colorado's third-graders are not reading at grade level, a concerning statistic as early childhood literacy is one of the most important predictors of school success and high school graduation. Stakeholders across diverse sectors including federal, state, and local governments, educators, nonprofits, business leaders, and foundations have teamed up to improving childhood literacy as a top priority for the state.

The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a New York City-based Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant recipient, recently won Harvard University's noteworthy Kennedy School of Government Innovations in American Government Award for its powerful approach to fighting poverty in New York and across the country.

The Social Innovation Fund is excited to announce the applicants to the 2012 grant competition. We received 31 applications by the due date of March 27, of which 25 were compliant and moved on to the full competition.

This week, I had the pleasure of attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago, IL. This annual gathering of the nonprofit sector brings together activists and organizers, government officials and nonprofit leaders from around the country.

Alison's daily struggles while raising two young children made her dream of a college degree seem unobtainable. But things began to turn around when the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, DC connected her with a Promotor.

Josh, 45, was one of the millions of Americans suffering from a mental illness, but he was not receiving treatment. He was unemployed and living in a halfway house, and he could hardly find the motivation to do the dishes or leave his room.

Arriving in the United States is just the start of the journey for refugees like Alaa, an engineer from Iraq. Unable to find a job, his first few months in America were a struggle, as he tried to cover his most basic needs. Alaa was eager for a job – any job – to become self-sufficient while he studied to resume work as an engineer in a new country.

I am thrilled to announce that the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) has selected four outstanding new grantees. These grantees will expand the impact of nonprofit programs with evidence of strong results by implementing exciting programs that will transform lives and communities.

Sarah had been living with HIV for 10 years when she discontinued her treatment. After witnessing a murder in her neighborhood, she was afraid to leave her house for care. She was isolated, suffering from post-traumatic stress, and had to cope without HIV treatment for more than three years.

Travis is a single father of two from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since 2008, Travis had bounced between part-time and temporary jobs. His wages had peaked at around $10 per hour, though he needed at least $12-$14 an hour to support his family. With limited interviewing and workforce experience, he didn't think he would ever find full-time work – let alone have a career.

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