US Social Innovation Fund Boost
2 June 2010 at 2:30 pm
The Skoll Foundation has announced it is committing $10 million over two years to support the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a new competitive grant program housed at the US Corporation for National and Community Service.
The announcement was made at a White House ceremony with First Lady Michelle Obama to mark the initial phase of philanthropic commitments in support of the SIF and other investments in innovative community solutions.
The Skoll Foundation is one of five private foundations committing a total of $45 million to the SIF. The funding is meant to encourage social innovation and enable demonstrated solutions, with evidence of impact, to scale. The resources will be distributed by intermediaries and may be used as matching funds for organisations receiving SIF grants or by other innovative organisations that address three areas of priority: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support.
The other funders include:
- 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)
With $50 million appropriated by Congress and other philanthropic commitments, the Fund plans to have $100 million to begin awarding to innovative social initiatives with proven effectiveness, that show promise that further investment can help them scale up to meet greater needs.
President Obama announced the Fund in 2009 declaring that despite good efforts in the voluntary sector, progress on social issues was being made too slowly and was not bringing about lasting change. The SIF would seek to encourage innovative programs and enable them to be scaled up, leveraging taxpayer dollars with support from foundations and philanthropists. The aim was a 3:1 match of philanthropic investments to federal funds.
Ben Binswanger, Skoll Foundation Vice President for Programs & Impact says the creation of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and the deployment of the Social Innovation Fund mark a watershed moment for social entrepreneurs everywhere.
He says the Foundation has long understood that social entrepreneurs can catalyze impact on critical issues and now that notion is being embraced by Not for Profits, business and government.
The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by eBay’s first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world.
Information on the Social Innovation Fund can be found at: http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/serveamerica/innovation.asp