Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Philanthropic Foundations Pledge $50 million for the Social Innovation Fund

On March 27, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that philanthropic foundations and individuals have pledged $50 million over the next two years to provide matching funds for the recipients of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grants. The SIF is designed to promote promising innovative practices in non-profits to help them muster evidence of what works and build their scale and capacity to address challenges facing low-income families. The SIF focuses on one of three areas: 1) increasing economic security; 2) preparing youth for success in school, active citizenship, productive work, and healthy and safe lives; and 3) promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing risk factors that can lead to illness. The following philanthropic foundations have pledged their support for the SIF:
  • The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation ($10 million over 2 years) 
  • John and Ann Doerr’s Family Foundation ($5 million over 2 years) 
  • Omidyar Network ($10 million over 2 years)
  • The Open Society Foundations’ Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation ($10 million over 1 year)
  • The Skoll Foundation ($10 million over 2 years) 
In addition, the First Lady announced that 20 of the nation’s leading funders have created the “Scaling What Works” initiative, a $5 million dollar project led by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) which plans to “extend the reach and impact of the Social Innovation Fund and similar efforts to help high-impact nonprofits succeed.” Support for the Social Innovation goes beyond just financial contributions. The Council on Foundations released a letter signed by more than 130 heads of community foundations from across the country supporting the Social Innovation Fund and commending President Obama’s “recognition of the key role community foundations play in creating innovation and impact for a better tomorrow...” With this level of enthusiasm surrounding the SIF, the Obama administration hopes that the collaboration between government and philanthropic foundations will help to sustain the fund in years to come.

View the First Lady’s full announcement here.

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