SIF Winner Awards Funds

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December 16, 2010; Source: PR Newswire | The NPQ Newswire doesn’t typically report on press releases, but in this instance we would like to make an exception. Yesterday, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) revealed the names of the 47 organizations it will fund through its grant from the Social Innovation Fund.

According to some of our sources, the LISC proposal to the Social Innovation Fund was among the very best, especially considering that some of the other winning SIF proposals may not have received comparably widespread plaudits from the external reviewers recruited by the Corporation for National and Community Service (LISC got $4.2 million which it is matching with private funds). To see LISC moving quickly with its plans for expanding “financial opportunity centers” in 10 metropolitan areas is noteworthy, especially since LISC conducted a full RFP process to select its community-based partners. The LISC grants, averaging $144,000, will help the recipients hire additional financial counselors to help people find jobs, reduce inappropriate debt, and gain financial literacy.

The 47 LISC subgrantees are a diverse range of organizations. Some have iconic historic identities such as Chicago’s Jane Addams Hull House, some are located in relatively large organizations with long and distinguished track records such as Focus: HOPE in Detroit, and Commonbond Communities and Project for Pride in Living, both in Minneapolis.

By type of group, the LISC list includes a community action agency in Duluth, a public housing authority in Providence, a community college in San Francisco, community centers, community development corporations, and a United Way agency in Houston. By choosing so many different kinds of organizations with which to test its financial opportunity center model, LISC’s Social Innovation Fund program might have the potential of learning something about how to seed and how to grow innovations in different kinds of cities and different types of nonprofits.—Rick Cohen