Strengthening Organizational Capacity and Practices for High-Performing Nonprofit Organizations: Evidence from the National Assessment of the Social Innovation Fund—A Public-Private Partnership

Implementing Organization: 
The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is a federal initiative that leverages funds through public-private collaborations to support and build the evidence base for community programs. The fundamental purpose of the SIF is to strengthen the capacity and practices of nonprofit organizations to select and support grantees that operate evidence-based programs, implement rigorous evaluations, and collaborate with other programs. The SIF awards grants to grant-making nonprofit organizations which, in turn, select, fund, and support local nonprofit organizations to implement community-based projects in one of three core areas: youth development, economic opportunity, and healthy futures. The federal funds are matched by grantees and subgrantees leveraging $3 of funding for each $1 of federal funds.

Employing a quasi-experimental design, the national assessment found improved organizational capacity among SIF grantees. Between 2009 and 2014, funded SIF grantees reported improvement in 13 out of 14 measures of organizational capacity. Compared to applicants who were not awarded SIF funding and to a national sample of grant-making nonprofits (Cohen, 1988), SIF had a large impact on the evaluation capacity of SIF grantees, a medium impact on their support for subgrantees and scaling, and a small impact on subgrantee selection and collaboration.
CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Capacity Building
Study Type(s): 
ICF International
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
September 13, 2017
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