Social Innovation Fund Announcement: Remarks by Patrick Corvington

May 27, 2010

Social Innovation Fund Announcement

The White House

May 27, 2010


Remarks as prepared for Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service

Good afternoon, and thank you all for coming. Thank you, Melody, for those kind words. Working with you, Melody, is a distinct pleasure and a real honor. Thank you for all the work you do to weave service more deeply into the fabric of our nation.

And thank you to all of you. You who understand that the success of what we are creating here will be built in part on enduring partnerships among community stakeholders; the non-profits, the businesses, the foundations and individual philanthropists like you. I am so grateful for your support, and I very much look forward to a long, productive future together.

Of course, we owe the greatest gratitude to the President and the First Lady for making community solutions and service such a meaningful part of their agenda.

You know, this garden is the perfect place for our event today. When the First Lady replanted this garden earlier this spring, she said, “There's nothing like watching tiny seeds grow into something amazing,” and I couldn't agree more. We too have come to this spot to plant seeds – the seeds of service. And I know we are all looking forward to seeing the seeds we sow here today take root and flourish throughout our great nation.

One of the defining characteristics of this country is innovation – that relentless search for better ways to solve problems and striving to make life better for one another. And every day, in communities across America, promising non-profit organizations direct heroic efforts to implement innovative, effective solutions to our nation's most daunting social challenges.

Tackling a wide variety of issues, from poverty to failing schools, non-profits are at the forefront of what I call the “solutions business.” The impact of their good work is only hampered by a lack of resources and insufficient capacity to gauge their programs' impact, improve on them, and grow them to serve more people in more communities.

Our challenge is to take what works and replicate it on a national scale. And that kind of transformational change comes from encouraging new ways of thinking and new ways of doing. And the Social Innovation Fund is the mechanism by which we can make that change.

Through the Social Innovation Fund, government will become a supportive partner in solving big social problems focused in the areas of economic opportunity, healthy futures and youth development and school support. The SIF will drive the best solutions and reward results. The SIF will promote increased investment in innovative approaches that work at a local level, and then it will elevate those solutions to the national level.

Mrs. Obama has brought an extraordinary personal commitment to national service and innovation to the White House. As many of you already know, it was the First Lady who first announced the Social Innovation Fund last spring at the Time 100 event in New York. Her commitment to service and to solutions extends far beyond her own family and far beyond this garden. She is an inspiration to us all, and she is a model for how to live and how to serve. And so, ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to introduce the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.

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