Thursday, June 3, 2010

SIF Dis

"In some sense, the Social Innovation Fund is a diversion from the true, sometimes desperate needs of nonprofit organizations throughout the country...Another $50 million of private money to support a government effort that already limited in scope by its federal financing is neither smart or strategic."

Pablo Eisenberg, "A Wasted Opportunity for Foundations and Government," Op-Ed, Chronicle of Philanthropy, June 1, 2010.

We can argue smart and strategic all day. What puzzles me about this Op-Ed is that it misses the point of the Social Innovation Fund -- to enhance our capacity and track record for replicating a variety of tested programs and approaches. That is, it addresses a strategic challenge we have in the social policy world of spreading our best ideas.

Let's see what kinds of tested approaches and organizations and partnerships are chosen in the end. Will it be the same old, same old? Or will we have some unusual partnerships and alliances? I suspect a few surprises -- not world shattering perhaps but certainly different than the usual fare.

In other words, arguing about broader support for nonprofits and advocacy does not require dismissing the Social Innovation Fund. After all, it's a small amount of money for a specific purpose. Maybe that is smart and strategic.

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