Congress Allocates $50 Million for Social Innovation Fund, Cuts Funding for Other Nonprofit Programs

Congressional negotiators have agreed to allocate the $50 million requested by the White House for the new Social Innovation Fund but will trim spending on two other programs designed to help nonprofits, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

Earlier this year, the White House created the Social Innovation Fund to help specific nonprofits scale promising social projects. Despite an earlier vote by the House to limit the fund to only $35 million, a House-Senate conference committee approved the administration's requested allocation while negotiating the budget for the Corporation for National and Community Service. The committee also agreed to match the president's $1.15 billion budget request for the national service agency — up from about $890 million in 2009. The additional funding will enable the agency to increase the number of AmeriCorps members from about 75,000 to 85,000.

At the same time, the conference committee allocated $4 million rather than the $10 million requested to the Volunteer Generation Fund, which supports efforts to help nonprofits recruit and manage volunteers, and agreed to spend only $1 million on the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program, which will fund training and management support for small and medium-sized organizations. The original legislation, an amendment to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, proposed spending $5 million a year for five years on the program.

The budget agreement, part of a much larger spending bill, must be voted on by the full House and Senate.

Suzanne Perry. "Congress Agrees to $50-Million for Social Innovation Fund, Cuts Volunteer Fund." Chronicle of Philanthropy 12/09/2009.