The Obameter

Create a Social Investment Fund Network

"Will create a Social Investment Fund Network. This will be a government-supported nonprofit corporation, similar to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, that will use federal seed money to leverage private sector funding to improve local innovation, test the impact of new ideas and expand successful programs to scale. The fund will operate through a network of funds that will be rooted in the private sector at the community level, with local decision-making informed by a shared network of best practices. For example, a successful nonprofit organization could apply for funding to study ways to improve or expand the organization to other locations. Or an angel investor could work with the fund to identify high-quality nonprofits that should be expanded to other locations and invest in that expansion. The network of funds would bring experts skilled at analyzing data, picking winners, measuring results, and building capacity to work."


Program launched with $50 million

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to create the Social Investment Fund. Administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent government agency, the fund would expand partnerships between the federal government, social entrepreneurs, and philanthropy organizations by increasing the resources available for programs that seek to provide solutions for issues such as crime, child development, civic engagement and resource conservation.

The ball started rolling on April 21, 2009, when President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law. Among other provisions, the act authorized the creation of the Social Investment Fund.

Next came the question of funding. On May 6, 2009, the White House blog reported that President Obama asked Congress to allocate $50 million in initial funding, which would be used to "identify the most promising, results-oriented non-profit programs and expand their reach throughout the country." Finally, on December 16, 2009, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, which provides funding for several government departments during 2010. The Act includes a $65 million appropriation for innovative activities in community engagement, $50 million of which will go toward the Social Investment Fund.

The Social Investment Fund has been created and received $50 million in funding for the upcoming year. We rate this one a Promise Kept.


AmericaForward, Details on the Social Innovation Fund from the Serve America Act , May 8, 2009.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, News Updates: Congress Agrees to $50-Million for Social Innovation Fund , Cuts Volunteer Fund, Dec. 9, 2009.

Committees on Appropriation, Summary: FY2010 Labor, Health & Education Appropriations , Dec. 8, 2009.

The White House Blog, What Is the Social Innovation Fund? , May 6, 2009.