Anticipated $200 million in public-private funding will support transformative solutions to major social challenges and improve nation's challenge-solving infrastructure
WASHINGTON, DC – The Corporation for National and Community Service released a draft Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for its 2010 Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant competition today. The Corporation is soliciting public feedback on the funding notification through January 15, 2010.
“The bottom line is clear: Solutions to America's challenges are being developed every day at the grass roots – and government shouldn't be supplanting those efforts, it should be supporting those efforts,” remarked President Barack Obama at a June 2009 gathering of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. “Instead of wasting taxpayer money on programs that are obsolete or ineffective, government should be seeking out creative, results-oriented programs like the ones here today and helping them replicate their efforts across America.”
The SIF, a new public-private partnership authorized by the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, is designed to create new knowledge about how to solve social challenges in the areas of economic opportunity, youth development and school support, and healthy futures, and, improve our nation's challenge-solving infrastructure in low-income communities.
“These are challenging times, and marginal progress is far short from being enough today,” said Stephen Goldsmith, the Chair of the Corporation's Board of Directors. “We have to do business differently to ensure that Federal resources are touching the lives of those that need it most, and that is what these funds will do. The SIF will identify creative, effective programs to meet critical needs and provide public-private capital to broaden the reach of programs to more communities.”
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, the Corporation expects to award an estimated $50 million in Federal funding to five to seven intermediary organizations. Annual awards, which will run for five years, are expected to be in the range of $5 million to $10 million. Intermediary organizations – grantmaking institutions – will apply for SIF funding and then make sub-grants to a portfolio of promising nonprofit organizations.
The network of SIF grantees and sub-grantees will leverage Federal investments through partnerships with the public, private and philanthropic sectors to ensure greater impact. The funding mechanism calls for every $1 in Federal funding to be leveraged by $3 in private funding, for a total public-private investment of $200 million. Critically, intermediaries will also be expected to provide a range of strategic supports to their portfolio organizations, including in the areas of management, fundraising, and especially, evaluation.
The draft funding notice reflects months of outreach to stakeholders in the nonprofit, private and public sectors. These conversations particularly influenced three key decisions.
- The SIF will require funded intermediaries to focus resources on promising nonprofit organizations with “rigorous evidence of impact.” By establishing a clear evidence and impact standard, the SIF will drive greater resources to those organizations with strong potential to make dramatic progress on some of our nation's most critical social challenges.
- To ensure that intermediary and nonprofit organizations from across the country have an opportunity to benefit from the SIF, applicants may apply and propose to host an open awards competition. While a preference may be given to applicants with a ready portfolio of promising nonprofit organizations, this open awards provision recognizes the benefits of building new intermediaries committed to searching for transformative solutions.
- The SIF prizes geographic diversity among intermediary and nonprofit organizations, acknowledging that solutions to critical social challenges adversely affecting all Americans must be given the opportunity to thrive anywhere in America. Applicants with a rural focus are encouraged to apply. To further contribute to the spread of innovative approaches across the country, funded intermediaries will be required to collaborate and share their knowledge broadly through a learning community.
Click here for more information about the SIF and click here to listen to a conference call held on December 18, 2009. Feedback can be emailed to SIFinput@cns.gov. The deadline for feedback is January 15, 2010. The final SIF funding notice is expected to be released in February 2010.