The Social Innovation Fund (SIF), an initiative enacted under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, deploys millions of dollars in public-private funds to expand effective solutions in three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support. This work seeks to create a catalog of proven approaches that can be replicated in communities across the country. Administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the SIF generates a 3:1 private-public match, sets a high standard for evidence, empowers communities to identify and promote solutions, and creates an incentive for grant-making organizations to direct funding more effectively to promising programs. The SIF is part of the federal government’s broader agenda to redefine how evidence, innovation, service, and public-private cooperation can be used to tackle urgent social challenges.
Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) first SIF project, led by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and NYC Opportunity, was launched in collaboration with MDRC. This SIF project replicated and tested five antipoverty programs drawing on strategies that had shown evidence of effectiveness in New York City and elsewhere: Jobs-Plus, WorkAdvance, Family Rewards, Project Rise, and SaveUSA. MDRC also participated in a second SIF initiative with the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the Bridgespan Group.