National Service Blog

  • Posted on Aug 20, 2015

    How well or poorly a child reads in the third grade is a good predictor of his or her future success. Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grantee Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is helping catalyze action and investment in pre-K-3 education to better prepare San Mateo County third-graders for reading and continued achievement.

    The eight-year-old, Mountain View, CA-based SVCF is the largest community foundation in the United States, with more than $6 billion in assets under management. It serves San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, focusing on solving the most challenging problems, improving quality of life, and inspiring greater civic participation.

    Although it’s home to the prosperous high-tech hub of Silicon Valley, the region faces stark income inequality and the socioeconomic challenges that result from it. Forty-three percent of San Mateo County’s third-grade students are not reading at grade level, rising to over 60 percent for Latino, African-American, and Pacific Islander third-graders.

    Recognizing the importance of reading proficiency to closing the achievement gap, in 2012 SVCF helped convene a group of county leaders and community-...

  • Posted on Jun 6, 2014
    The Obama administration is now in the fifth year of a program, known as the Social Innovation Fund, to use the private sector to identify successful local organizations that attack social problems such as teen pregnancy, delinquency, school dropout, and low school achievement, and, combining federal resources with local and foundation matching funds, to expand these successful local programs.
    Tags: SIFund
  • Posted on Jun 6, 2014
    Last night’s “60 Minutes” profiled Year Up--a subgrantee of the Social Innovation Fund. The report includes inspiring examples of how Year Up prepares youth for the workforce.
    Tags: SIFund
  • Posted on Jun 6, 2014
    Our plan attracted a major federal grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service [and the] Social Innovation Fund and forward-looking investment from our partners. Together, we were able to work on both the population and program levels to leverage the success of pioneers to create a platform for accountability and social innovation.
    Tags: SIF
  • Posted on May 30, 2014
    By CNCS Staff | National Service News Week in Review | From generation to generation, service is a common theme that makes a difference in the lives of Americans. Whether it’s a science fair winner thinking of unique solutions to old challenges, adults stepping up to volunteer as mentors, or seniors whose lives are testaments to the benefits of service, our national service family leads by example.
  • Posted on Mar 28, 2014
    By Samantha Vernon


    I am an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving in Montana with the Global Health Equity Foundation on their social media based project titled "Let's Talk." This project allows me to work toward enabling Healthy Futures in a different way. In fact, I'm the only member working on a mental health project in the state.
  • Posted on Mar 28, 2014
    By Emily Kelley


    Brighter Bites is a new program meant to create behavioral changes through education and access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Its founder Lisa Helfman, a mom of two young boys, found that having more fresh produce at home led her kids to make healthier choices. She has built a team to apply that same principle to Houston’s underserved populations.
  • Posted on Mar 28, 2014
    By Wendy Spencer and Jonathan Greenblatt


    The idea of combining service and leadership is one that defined the life of Cesar Chavez. He dedicated his life to bringing attention to the poverty of migrant farmworkers and other segments of the population that were marginalized or overlooked. Chavez also showed us that, no matter how humble our beginnings, we can all accomplish great things.
  • Posted on Mar 25, 2014
    By Tom Vilsack


    As Secretary of Agriculture, I take USDA’s nickname of the “People’s Department”—first coined by President Abraham Lincoln—to heart. Over the past five years, we have worked hard to build upon our tradition of service to the American people, supporting both the farmers and ranchers who grow our food and giving American families confidence that the food they buy at the grocery store is safe, healthy and affordable.
    Tags: FoodCorps
  • Posted on Mar 24, 2014
    By Dana Forde


    As an outreach and communications coordinator with Student Veterans of America, Wright connects nearly 1,000 veterans-focused student organizations across the country to grant and funding sources. This effort ultimately helps strengthen these organizations so they can serve more former service members.
  • Posted on Mar 21, 2014
    By Herbert E. Jackson Jr.


    I was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and had just been assigned to Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado when the tragic events of Sept 11th unfolded. Rumor was that President Bush would fly onboard Air Force One to Colorado Springs and command from inside the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Although that did not occur, I felt honored to serve America then and continue to be honored to this day. Today, I proudly serve the citizens of Birmingham, Alabama, as a “Building Communities, Bettering Lives” AmeriCorps member assigned to a nonprofit called Workshops, Inc.


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