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SIF Classic National Assessment

The National Assessment of the SIF Classic Program was commissioned by the Corporation for National and Community Service and conducted by ICF International.  It focused on SIF Classic grantees’ adoption of evidence-based grantmaking strategies, ability, and willingness to build the evidence base for the service models they support, to scale the service models, and to use collaborative approaches to address local community needs. It sought to answer the question, “Is SIF a transformative program?” And the answer is ‘yes.’
 

The study found promising evidence of improved organizational capacities among the SIF Classic grantees in almost all of these areas. These partner organizations changed more and faster compared to other grantmakers and programs while SIF grantees reported that the SIF program was instrumental in bringing about these changes.


The National Assessment Fact Sheet

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Issue Brief #8: Sustaining Evidence-Based Work after the SIF

Release Date: August 2017

This issue brief shares best practices and lessons about ways that SIF Classic grantees and their subgrantees approached sustaining evidence-based programs. The brief focuses exclusively on SIF Classic, so all references to SIF structure and its operations concern SIF Classic. The brief first discusses how grantees and subgrantees defined what it means for work to be sustainable. It then presents an overview of approaches they used to sustain key elements of the work financially, programmatically, and organizationally. The brief also includes examples of the support that grantees provided to help subgrantees sustain their programs. It presents action-oriented recommendations for grantees, private and nonprofit organizations, and policy makers.

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Meta-Analysis of Evaluations across the Social Innovation Fund Program: Final Report

Release Date: September 2016

A meta-analysis of 38 final evaluation reports completed by evaluators for the SIF grantees and subgrantees and submitted to CNCS in order to assess the state of SIF evaluation findings as of May 2016. The findings from this report are mostly from the 2010 cohort, as these groups of grantees or subgrantees had completed their evaluations. The evaluation findings show that most of the SIF-funded interventions (87%) for which evaluation reports are available were implemented with fidelity. The same percentage of the programs were found to have had a positive impact on all or some target outcomes.

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Issue Brief #7: Scaling Programs and Growing Impact with the Social Innovation Fund

Release Date: September 2016

Scaling was one of the SIF’s pillars and addressed its goal of “finding what works, and making it work for more people,”—growing the impact of the work. Specifically, the Congressional authorization required grantees to use funds received through the SIF to "make subgrants to community organizations that will use the funds to replicate or expand proven initiatives, or support new initiatives, in low-income communities.” Results from the SIF National Assessment’s grantee survey showed that SIF grantees increased their reliance on rigorous evaluation as a basis for selecting programs to scale up. This issue brief shares best practices and lessons about ways that SIF grantees and their subgrantees used evidence of effectiveness to deepen or broaden their impact.

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Issue Brief #6: Funder Participation in the Social Innovation Fund

Release Date: September 2016

This issue brief explores the relationships between SIF Classic grantees and subgrantees and their match funders. It also provides action-oriented recommendations for current SIF grantees, subgrantees, and match funders; other grantmakers and grantee partners considering a SIF-type model; nonprofit organizations; and policy makers. This brief is informed by interviews with three SIF grantee organizations (also referred to as intermediaries), three subgrantees, and five match funders.

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Issue Brief #5: Designing and Implementing Rigorous Evaluation for the Social Innovation Fund

Release Date: September 2016

This issue brief shares best practices and lessons about how SIF grantees and subgrantees strive to conduct rigorous third-party evaluations. It provides action-oriented recommendations for current SIF grantees, nonprofit organizations, and policy makers. This brief is informed by interviews with four SIF grantees (also known as intermediaries), two subgrantees, and four evaluators, as well as insights gleaned from other SIF-related sources, including document reviews and interviews conducted for other briefs.

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Issue Brief #4: Evidence of Organizational Change among SIF Grantees

Release Date: September 2015

Shares lessons about changes in SIF grantees’ organizational capacity – infrastructure, skills, attitudes, and behaviors – to carry out their work as grantmaking organizations. Organizational change occurred to conduct and use evaluations, scale promising programs, and select and support subgrantees in ways that build the evidence base for promising community interventions.

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Issue Brief #3: Using Data to Improve SIF Programs: Lessons from Practitioners

Release Date: September 2015

Shares lessons about how SIF grantees and subgrantees use data to improve their programs. It provides action-oriented recommendations for current, incoming, and prospective SIF grantees, private and nonprofit organizations that might implement a SIF model, and policy makers. 

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Issue Brief #2: Building SIF Subgrantee Capacity for Scale, Evidence, and Impact

Release Date: September 2015

Shares lessons about how the SIF builds capacity within its stakeholder organizations in order to strengthen them and enhance their impact. It provides action-oriented recommendations for current, incoming, and prospective SIF grantees, private and nonprofit organizations that might implement a SIF model, and policy makers.

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Issue Brief #1: Partnering for Success in the Social Innovation Fund

Release Date: November 2014

Shares lessons about how the SIF intermediary grantees collaborate with a host of partners at multiple levels to implement their programs. It provides action-oriented recommendations for current, incoming, and prospective SIF grantees, private and nonprofit organizations that might implement a SIF model, and policy makers.

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Meta-Synthesis of Evaluations Across the SIF

A meta-synthesis of 26 final evaluation reports completed by evaluators for SIF grantees and subgrantees. These evaluations focus on 2010 grantees and findings show that most SIF-funded programs were implemented with fidelity and had a positive impact on target outcomes. The SIF pipeline of ongoing evaluations will continue to generate more results in the coming years. 

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Executive Summary: The SIF's Impact on Strengthening Organizational Capacity

The purpose of the SIF national assessment is to facilitate program evaluation and management by CNCS, support the greater goal of learning from the federal government’s “tiered-evidence” initiatives, and conduct an independent evaluation of the SIF program.

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Technical Report: The SIF’s Impact on Strengthening Organizational Capacity

The national assessment employs a quasi-experimental design (QED) to evaluate the impact of the SIF on organizational change. The findings presented in this report primarily draw on data from surveys, as well as follow-up interviews with the SIF grantees. The national assessment found promising evidence of improved organizational capacities among the SIF grantees.

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