The Social Innovation Fund has become the focus of a lot of attention recently. This $50 Million initiative, approved as part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, has created an opportunity for organizations to access significant government funding and publicity if they have innovative and effective programs. It just so happens that Bottom Line does have innovative and effective programs, and so for the first time, we find ourselves pursuing public funding.

In the past, we have been happy to entirely fund our programs from private sources. We stayed away from public funding because the opportunities were almost always either too focused or too broad, and they came with strings attached that would have forced us to change our programs. But now, this fund isn’t looking to restrict what programs are doing. Instead, they are looking to take good ideas and allow them to grow. It’s a whole new ballgame for public funding, and for the first time we feel like we have a chance. We have strong evidence supporting the fact that our programs make a significant difference in the lives of our students. We are focused on an issue that is gaining attention, but has far too few solutions being discussed. This is the right time for Bottom Line to gain a voice in the discussion about how to help students succeed at the national level.

The Social Innovation Fund would provide this opportunity. The funds are being distributed by intermediary organizations who are matching the government funding. We are in the process of applying to two of these organizations, New Profit and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. If we are chosen to receive either award, it would mean millions of dollars and invaluable publicity for our organization and our program model. This will be an incredibly rigorous and competitive process, and it feels like a long-shot because there are so many applicants and so few will be chosen. But, we are confident in our programs, their proven effectiveness, their ability to solve a national crisis, and so Bottom Line really does fit with the spirit and the mission of this fund. Hopefully we’re not the only ones who think so.

Mike Wasserman

Director of Development

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