September 15, 2015Partner Material

The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Congress Shouldn’t Kill the Social Innovation Fund

by Paul Carttar

Federal/ 2015/

In recent weeks, two key Congressional committees have voted to kill all spending on the Social Innovation Fund, a signature Obama administration program that seeks to mobilize government and philanthropic money to expand local programs that get proven results.

These actions on Capitol Hill were a striking contrast to two other developments involving the fund.

An independent analysis was released that offers a positive assessment of the fund’s first five years. What’s more, the Obama administration appointed a high-caliber leader to become head of the agency: Damian Thorman, who worked as a program director at the Knight Foundation before becoming an adviser to donors and foundations.

It’s hard for outsiders to know how to interpret these conflicting signs: the strong doubts of Congress, the cautious optimism of an objective external party, and the resolute affirmation of the administration.