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Our Programs

How the SIF Works

The operating model of the SIF is designed to advance the objectives of identifying, validating, and growing promising approaches to challenges facing local communities and is distinguished by the following six key elements:

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The SIF is committed to investing in innovative solutions that displace ineffective programs. For the SIF, “social innovation” means “new ways to solve old problems that are faster, cost-effective, data-driven and lead to better results for the public good.” Although the practice of social innovation is commonly understood to be the invention and testing of new ideas, the SIF seeks to support innovations that have advanced beyond the beginning stages, are showing signs of effectiveness, and have the potential for greater scale.


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The SIF provides both technical assistance and funding for required evaluations of the Classic programs and the evaluation of the Pay for Success (PFS) model to provide robust information about which programs and models work most effectively, cost less, or lead to better results for our country’s communities. To learn more, visit the SIF’s Evidence and Evaluation page.

SIF Scale IconScale

To ensure the successful expansion of awarded programs, the SIF selects grantees that with expertise in assisting organizations in building their capacity to reach more people and change more lives, and provides training and technical assistance to support the process.


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Through the SIF's Classic program, awards are made to experienced grantmakers with strong skills and track records of success in competitively selecting, validating, and growing high-performing programs. Grantees then run their own open competitions to identify subgrantees, or innovative nonprofit organizations and state and local government entities. 

To view a list of the SIF's grantees and the organizations they selected, visit the Funded Organizations page.

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Across both SIF's Classic and PFS programs, grantees and subgrantees must match every federal dollar one-to-one, helping to triple the federal investment, augment working capital and spark new collaborations

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Knowledge Sharing

The SIF is committed to improving the effectiveness of nonprofits, funders, and government agencies by rigorously documenting and sharing best practices and lessons learned. To learn more, visit the Knowledge Initiative page.


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