Author: Kate Barrett
Program Manager, SIF Initiative
As the GreenLight Fund (GreenLight) embarks on the third year of our Social Innovation Fund (SIF) Initiative, we wanted to share an update on how the work has unfolded on the ground in Boston, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area – and the incredible progress our grantees have made to date. We are inspired and encouraged by the work they are doing each and every day to change and improve the life trajectories of children and youth in each of our three communities.
With its SIF Initiative, GreenLight selected six nonprofit organizations to launch new sites in one of the three GreenLight communities. We selected these organizations based on evidence that their programs were working to close the achievement and opportunity gap for the low-income youth they serve. In Boston, that’s CollegeAdvising Corps and Blueprint Schools Network. In Philadelphia, that’s Year Up and Single Stop USA. In the Bay Area, that’s Genesys Works and uAspire. These grantees are targeting outcomes that include: college enrollment, persistence and completion; school turnaround; occupational skills; and career-track employment.
GreenLight has supported these six organizations with funding, external evaluation expertise as they implement rigorous evaluation, on-the-ground assistance to help them connect with local partners and supporters, technical assistance on federal grant compliance, and access to a learning community of peers.
Since their selection in the spring of 2013, our grantees have made significant progress. In just one year they have launched their programs in these new communities, hired exceptional local leadership, fostered deep and meaningful partnerships with schools, higher education institutions, corporations and other nonprofit service providers, launched rigorous evaluations with external evaluators, and raised significant match funds.
GreenLight SIF Portfolio by the Numbers: (as of 6/30/14)
Number of grantees: 6
Number of People Served, including projections:
For GreenLight, the SIF has proven to be an effective way to scale our work to reach more people living in high poverty areas with transformational interventions. As GreenLight’s National Executive Director, Margaret Hall mentioned in her March blog post, “the SIF has been a booster rocket for expanding our reach and impact, improving our evaluation knowledge and skills and introducing us to an incredible community of peers, who collectively are making a powerful difference across the country.” GreenLight is looking forward to the next three years of our SIF Initiative to build on what we’ve learned and continue learning. We are already implementing these learnings to improve our work to identify and support innovative, evidence-based organizations to launch in our communities when they have the potential to make a significant impact.
GreenLight’s SIF Initiative is made possible through a 2012 grant from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The SIF is a key White House initiative and program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that combines public and private resources to grow the impact of innovative, community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. Five years into the program, the SIF now includes 27 intermediaries investing in 217 effective community solutions in 37 states and Washington, DC with more than $700 million invested by non-federal partners.