United Way for Southeastern Michigan Receives $4 Million Social Innovation Fund Grant to Help 80% of Region's Kids Start Kindergarten Ready to Learn

Aug 04, 2011, 09:00 ET from United Way for Southeastern Michigan

DETROIT, Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Way for Southeastern Michigan today announced it has been awarded a $4 million grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service under its Social Innovation Fund (SIF) to accelerate and bolster its work in early childhood education. United Way is one of five 2011 Social Innovation Fund grant recipients.

The Social Innovation Fund grant will provide $4 million in federal funding over two years and will be used to advance United Way's work in early childhood education, aimed at ensuring 80% of children in the region start kindergarten ready to learn. Currently, fewer than 50% of children in the region are kindergarten-ready. United Way uses evidence-based and transformative approaches to providing young children with the building blocks for success in school and in the 21st Century workforce.

"United Way for Southeastern Michigan is honored to be named as a grantee of the distinguished Social Innovation Fund," said President and CEO Michael J. Brennan.  "This grant represents a tremendous opportunity to increase public and private investment in early childhood education in metro Detroit, supporting highly effective and promising nonprofit organizations to reach more children and improve outcomes."

Through a competitive bid process, United Way will select 20 or fewer partners to receive funding to support early childhood programming in 10 neighborhoods where United Way has established Early Learning Communities (ELCs). United Way ELCs are community hubs where parents and caregivers gain the skills and tools to create literacy-rich environments for the children in their lives.

United Way will match 100% of the $4 million Social Innovation Fund grant. Similarly, selected partners will be required to provide a 100% match to their funding. Altogether, these matches represent a nearly three-fold increase in total grant dollars going to the community.

Selected partner organizations will work in coordination with United Way's ELCs to improve outcomes for an estimated 6,000 children entering kindergarten each year in the region. In addition to program support, the SIF grant will fund evaluation, data collection and capacity building activities to strengthen the ability of nonprofit organizations to improve early childhood outcomes in measurable and lasting ways.

The Social Innovation Fund was created to assist the federal government in better-targeting investments toward solving social challenges and using public-private partnerships to address issues of national significance.

United Way will roll-out the competitive bid process later this year. For additional information, please contact socialinnovation@liveunitedsem.org.

About United Way for Southeastern Michigan:
United Way for Southeastern Michigan mobilizes the caring power of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways throughout the region. The organization is led by a diverse group of volunteers from business, labor, government, human services, education and the community. United Way provides opportunities to invest in the metropolitan Detroit community through its annual Campaign and is a leader in convening partners to impact local residents each year by increasing economic self-sufficiency, protecting children and youth at risk, strengthening families, empowering neighborhoods and communities, and promoting health and wellness. Additional information is available at www.LiveUnitedSEM.org.

About the Social Innovation Fund:
The Social Innovation Fund is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service that improves the lives of people in low-income U.S. communities.   Through an innovative public-private partnership, the Social Innovation Fund and selected local and national grantmakers co-invest in programs that increase the scale of community-based solutions that have evidence of real impact in the areas of youth development, economic opportunity or healthy futures.  Every Federal dollar invested is matched with private funds, and all programs are rigorously evaluated. As a result, the most effective approaches can be expanded to reach more people in need and key lessons can be captured and broadly shared.  To learn more visit www.NationalService.gov/Innovation.

About the Corporation for National and Community Service:
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

SOURCE United Way for Southeastern Michigan