The President’s Social Innovation Fund

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Obama announces a new fund to help expand non-profits.

In early May, President Obama announced that he would ask Congress in the fiscal year 2010 budget to provide $50 million in seed capital for a Social Innovation Fund, fulfilling a campaign pledge. The fund will identify the most promising, results-oriented non-profit programs and expand their reach throughout the country.

This is a dramatically different way for the government to do business—and it reflects the President’s new governing approach—finding and scaling the best social innovations; partnering with those who are leading change in their communities; and creating a policy environment for all these innovations to thrive.

Obama has said that this is an “all-hands-on-deck” approach and that government cannot solve our nation’s problems alone. He noted that it is critical to partner with citizens, nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, foundations and corporations to make progress on our nation’s challenges. The President has also talked about finding new solutions to old problems, and this is where the Social Innovation Fund can play a unique role.

First Lady Michelle Obama said in her remarks at the Time 100 Most Influential People Awards, “The idea is simple: to find the most effective programs out there and then provide the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country that are facing similar challenges. By focusing on high-impact, result-oriented non-profits, we will ensure that government dollars are spent in a way that is effective, accountable and worthy of the public trust.”

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