Benjamin Foundation, The

Contact Information

273 N East Capitol St
Salt Lake City, UT 84103 - 4623
(801) 456-2434
Social Innovation Fund 2014

Executive Summary

The Benjamin Foundation (TBF) is applying to be an issue-based Social Innovation Fund (SIF) intermediary for a collective impact approach to change, beginning with implementation of an innovative, community-based, self-sustaining, activity-focused program called Play Unplugged. For over a decade, TBF has selected and supported organizations that create, prove and scale impact. With a focus on measurable outcomes and potential to scale, TBF has been able to recruit partners across sectors to bring breakthrough solutions from proof-of-concept to scale, serving tens of thousands of youth from low-income households in the process. The issue on which TBF SIF will focus is helping children and adolescents ("youth") develop self-regulation abilities that are at risk of being hijacked by excessive media use, which is reaching epidemic proportions.

Excessive media use among children is reaching epidemic proportions. And with an ever-expanding array of innovative technologies continually entering the marketplace, the range of reasons children and adolescents (hereafter called "youth") could want, "screen time" seems to also only be increasing. Measures that track technology device ownership among youth would seem to indicate that this is the case.

A growing body of convincing research continues to show that the potential downsides of excessive screen time, data strongly indicate that whatever efforts being made to keep media use among youth at a reasonable level are all but completely ineffective.

Play Unplugged's innovative, evidence-informed model involves the entire community around helping youth find balance between play and technology. The compelling model of the program involves youth, their parents, community leaders, business leaders, and the community. Youth are motivated to collect Brag Badges in connection with activities sponsored businesses.

TBF SIF intends to fund 6-8 eight subgrantees in amounts ranging from $100,000 - $150,000, SIF grants will be to involve cities, school districts, counties, or partnerships/combinations of organizations in the implementation, measurement, improvement, and scaling of the Play Unplugged program.

Subgrantees will devote significant energy to involving the low-income communities in finding ways to make the program more viable for their particular needs.

At least three elements of the TBF SIF fund will help Play Unplugged scale. 1) The intent is to help create an "out-of-the-box" solution that is robust and implementable without top-down support. 2) Collaboration driven through collective impact processes 3) volunteer and internship support to help manage program needs.

TBF SIF, in collaboration with partners, will be able to support subgrantees through activities such as the following: finding funders to help match their grants; providing the opportunity to involve volunteers; connecting subgrantees with education and training programs; providing training on collective impact and on online communication tools (including an asynchronous video space), building social media plans.

The three main elements to TBF's theory of change are positive youth empowerment, collective impact, and hard plus soft data or harnessing community energy. Positive youth empowerment employs a "say yes" lifestyle and mindset which focuses on positive outcomes rather than focusing on reduction of negative outcomes.

TBF SIF will fund subgrantees in amounts ranging from $100,000 - $150,000.

The Benjamin Foundation (TBF) is a grantmaking institution applying as the lead intermediary. TBF has a focus on choosing grantees based on the need in a community and the grantees' position to substantially contribute to meeting that need or working with other organizations in a collaborative effort to find solutions to solve problems and increase the overall well being in their realm of influence.

Key Collaborators and other organizations involved include the following: Evaluati

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