Corporation for National & Community Service Social Innovation Fund

250 E Street, SW Suite 300
Washington DC 20525
(202) 606-6755

Quick Facts

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Organization Type

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, CNCS engages five million Americans of all ages and backgrounds through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, the Volunteer Generation Fund, and other programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. The Social innovation Fund (SIF), a program of CNCS, combines public and private resources to grow the impact of innovative, community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. The SIF invests in three priority areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development.

We are the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. Working hand in hand with local partners, we tap the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.

We invest in thousands of nonprofit and faith-based groups that are making a difference across the country. We are AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, the Volunteer Generation Fund, and more. We serve, we build, and we make an impact that changes lives and communities.

CNCS Mission:

The mission of CNCS is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

Guiding Principles:

As we pursue our goals, we are guided by the following principles:

  • Put the needs of local communities first.
  • Strengthen the public-private partnerships that underpin all of our programs.
  • Use our programs to build stronger, more efficient, and more sustainable community networks capable of mobilizing volunteers to address local needs, including disaster preparedness and response.
  • Measure and continually improve our programs' benefits to service beneficiaries, participants, community organizations, and our national culture of service.
  • Build collaborations wherever possible across our programs and with other federal programs.
  • Help rural and economically distressed communities obtain access to public and private resources.
  • Support diverse organizations, including faith-based and other community organizations, minority colleges, and disability organizations.
  • Use service-learning principles to put volunteer and service activities into an appropriate context that stimulates life-long civic engagement.
  • Support continued civic engagement, leadership, and public service careers for our programs' participants and community volunteers.
  • Exhibit excellence in management and customer service.
Social Innovation Fund:

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is a powerful approach to transforming lives and communities that positions the federal government to be a catalyst for impact—mobilizing private resources to find and grow community solutions with evidence of results.

Authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in April of 2009, the Social Innovation Fund is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that empowers organizations to identify and support sustainable solutions that are already making a significant impact in transforming communities.  

With the simple but vital goal of finding what works, and making it work for more people, the Social Innovation Fund and its' grantees create a learning network of organizations working to implement innovative and effective evidence-based solutions to local and national challenges in three priority areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development.

SIF Pay for Success

Pay for Success (PFS) has emerged as a new approach for government to partner with the private sector to fund proven community-based solutions. PFS is an innovative contracting and financing model that leverages philanthropic and private dollars to fund services up front, with the government, or other entity, paying after they generate results. This strategy has gained strong bi-partisan support in Congress, as a strategy for increasing return on taxpayer dollars while improving the quality of services provided in our communities.

 At its core, the Social Innovation Fund is about finding what works and making it work for more people. PFS is another critical tool with the same mission – supporting innovation, ensuring solutions have the dollars needed to scale, and paying for results. As part of both the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Congressional appropriations, the SIF was given authority to use up to 20% of grant funds to implement a competition to test PFS approaches.

 The SIF Pay for Success program aims to:

  • Strengthen and diversify the pipeline of governments and nonprofit organizations that are prepared to engage in PFS projects
  • Assess the potential of PFS to address a variety of social issues relating to diverse populations in diverse geographic contexts 
  • Attract capital to high-performing institutions seeking to strengthen, grow, and sustain effective solutions for challenges facing low-income communities

The SIF will share lessons learned every step of the way, on how this approach works, and how it doesn’t, in order to enhance knowledge in the field and begin to test and address questions around the applicability and efficacy of Pay for Success.