Corporation for National and Community Service: Social Innovation Fund
The mission of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Through the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), CNCS has augmented its traditional activities with an enhanced focus on identifying and growing innovative, evidence-based approaches to the nation’s challenges. The Social Innovation Fund awards grants to and works with existing grantmaking institutions, referred to as “intermediaries.” These intermediaries are funded to support high-performing community-based nonprofit organizations that validate and grow promising outcomes-focused approaches to challenges facing local communities. Funding will target grantmaking in three Focus Areas: 1) Youth Development; 2) Economic Opportunity; and 3) Healthy Futures.
The SIF is driven by three core principles: (1) many of the most compelling solutions to persistent social problems in low-income communities are being developed in those communities and not in federal offices in Washington, DC; (2) significant impact can be generated for society by proactively identifying the best community-based solutions, strengthening their evidence base, and supporting the growth of their impact; and (3) the federal government can help drive social innovation by stimulating, focusing and enhancing public-private partnerships and cross-sector collaborations to grow the impact of the best community solutions. The Social Innovation Fund seeks to support innovations that have advanced beyond the nascent stages, are showing signs of effectiveness, and have the potential for greater scale.
In addition to targeting one of the three focus areas above, applicants are encouraged to address one or more of the following priorities: 1) A Collective Impact Approach; 2) Targeting of at least one of the following types of beneficiaries: Opportunity Youth or Traditionally Underserved and Underrepresented Geographic Areas and Populations; or 3) Presidential Initiatives to Expand Access to Opportunity (see the RFP for a full definition of each).
Eligibility: Existing grantmaking institutions or eligible partnerships. A grantmaking institution is an organization in existence at the time of the application that invests in nonprofit community organizations or programs through grants as an essential rather than a collateral means of fulfilling its mission and vision. Note: Units of local government and universities are not considered grantmaking institutions but are able to serve as part of a partnership with an eligible grantmaking institution.
Social Innovation Fund intermediary grantees must make subgrants and otherwise support programs that serve “low income” communities. “Low-income community” is defined as either:
- A population of individuals or households being served by a subgrantee on the basis of having a household income that is 200 percent or less of the applicable federal poverty guideline, or
- Either a population of individuals or households, or a specific local geographic area, with specific measurable indicators that correlate to low-income status, such as, but not exclusive to, K-12 students qualifying for free or reduced-lunch, long-term unemployment, risk of homelessness, low school achievement, persistent hunger, or serious mental illness. An application that proposes to rely on measurable indicators should fully describe the basis for relying upon those indicators and describe and cite the source of data supporting the conclusion that the targeted community meets the indicator.
Amount: Approximately $65.8 million will be available. CNCS will make annual awards in the range of $1 million to $10 million per year. Social Innovation Fund intermediaries are required to match the entire amount of federal funds expended on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The match must be in non-federal cash; in-kind match is not allowable.
Subgrants are to be made in annual amounts over $100,000 in sufficient size and scope to enable the subgrantee to build its capacity to manage initiatives and sustain replication or expansion for the initiatives.
Intermediaries must run an open competition for subgrantee funds that is available to eligible nonprofit organizations beyond their own existing grant portfolio or network.
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