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A Major Step Forward for Community Solutions

by Patrick A. Corvington

Every day, nonprofit organizations are banding together to strengthen their communities through innovative ideas – and they are producing remarkable results. We need to support and grow these efforts. Today, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is excited to announce its first-ever Social Innovation Fund (SIF) awards designed to support community-driven efforts to improve the economic, health and education prospects of low-income families.

The SIF identifies “what works” in communities and flows public and private resources to those promising community solutions, enabling them to expand their impact and reach more communities across the country. It is central to CNCS’ mission to invest in models that work, find new ways of doing business, and serve as a source of ideas for local communities.

The 11 grantees are the best in the business of growing community solutions. Their track records of success at identifying and growing high-performing nonprofit organizations are unmatched. They are all driven by the search for bold solutions and recognize that we must use evidence to target limited resources where they will have the greatest impact on national problems. In selecting this distinguished group, we used the same evidence-based rigor that we expect from them as they collaborate with results-driven nonprofits in their communities to solve problems.

As a result of their work:

  • More than 23,000 low income individuals in high-need cities across the country will receive job training and education through workforce partnerships with more than 1,000 employers.
  • Residents of Kentucky and Missouri will gain access to needed health services as well as improvements in nutrition and physical activity and reductions in smoking, obesity and preventable disease rates.
  • 20,000 low-income and vulnerable young people in Washington, DC will benefit from a new collaboration of nonprofit organizations working together to improve education and employment outcomes.
  • A host of successful anti-poverty programs that started in New York City will be replicated in eight new urban areas: Kansas City, Memphis, Newark, San Antonio, Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, and Tulsa.

These tough times demand that we do business differently. The SIF portfolio offers a collection of extraordinarily innovative ideas and compelling approaches that recognize this imperative and maximizes taxpayer dollars by generating a private match that will result in $123 million being targeted across more than 20 states.

CNCS is pleased to partner with the White House on the Administration's broader agenda – led by the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation – to redefine how evidence, innovation, service and public-private cooperation can be used to tackle urgent social challenges. It represents a new era of public-private partnerships that encourages innovation and rewards results in the social service sector by funding the expansion of successful programs more broadly.

This new initiative has the potential to transform millions of lives in hundreds of communities by identifying new ways to prepare youth for school and employment, connect job seekers to employers hungry for skilled labor, and improve access to critical health services.

For a full listing of the 11 grantees, click here and to watch the announcement, click here.

Patrick Corvington is the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service

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