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National Service

The National Service Strategic Plan

Building off my last post on the Corporation for National and Community Service, I want to highlight the agency's current efforts to solicit input for its 2011-2015 Strategic Plan.

What will the national service moment look like?

"This is our moment – what we have worked for, over the years has brought us to this moment.”
 – Patrick Corvington, CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service (June 29, 2010)

 

The CEO transition between David Eisner and Corvington created a large outflow of key personnel and required a temporary management team composed primarily of long-standing Corporation employees in acting positions who ran the agency for 15 months (many more months than initially anticipated). That team, led by acting CEO Nicola Goren (now president at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation), pushed for the Corporation's reauthorization through the Serve America Act, received and allocated $200 million in Recovery Act funding, and expanded the agency's budget and scope.

A Communitiy Foundation Perspective on the Social Innovation Fund

Last month, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps, released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The Corporation is accepting comments until January 15.

In my most recent post about the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), I commented that the cash match requirement at the minimum grant award level might prevent most community foundations from participating in the program. Today’s guest post on the Tactical Philanthropy blog by Eileen Ellsworth, president of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, greatly expands on this issue and illustrates how the new minimum grant award level and one-to-one cash match requirement will prevent her community foundation from participating. Specifically, she writes, "the increase in the minimum grant level from $1 million to $5 million now constitutes an insurmountable barrier for our SIF application....raising the minimum grant level to $5 million will prevent all but a tiny handful of very large foundations from applying." This issue is further reinforced by the Council on Foundation in a short commentary published today.  The Council notes that some foundations “have expressed concerns about the match requirements for the minimum grant threshold of $5 million…and the difficulty that small communities may experience in trying to take advantage of this program.”

Could the Social Innovation Fund Generate More Foundation Transparency?

Happy New Year everyone! We are one step closer to the release of the official guidelines for the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). On December 18, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M SIF; the comment period is open until January 15. Several people who have carefully followed the developments related to the SIF will engage in a conversation on the subject on Sean Stannard-Stockton’s Tactical Philanthropy blog. I’ll post comments there as well on Twitter using the #SIF hashtag. To start my part of the conversation, I’ll use this space to follow-up on my original post on the SIF and outline both the issues I identified in my review of the NOFA and questions I’ll submit to the Corporation.

A few questions on the Social Innovation Fund

Yesterday, the Corporation for National and Community Service held a conference call on the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The conference call was revealing in the information it provided. However, many significant challenges and questions remained unaddressed and could potentially derail the effectiveness of the SIF. 

Patrick Corvington and the Corporation for National and Community Service

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced his nomination of Patrick Corvington to serve as the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages national service programs such as AmeriCorps, Learn & Serve America, and SeniorCorps.