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Idea of the Day: Social Sector Innovation Funds Can Help Young People and Their Families

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Over the next decade America will face enormous social and economic shifts, driven by budget constraints at all levels of government, significant demographic changes, and an increasingly globally competitive, changing workforce. Our nation will have less money for services at the same time there will be greater demand from a larger, older, and more diverse population than ever before. Young people and their families will be especially vulnerable in the face of these challenges, just at a point in their lives when they need to be gaining the critical education and other skills needed for life-long success.

To significantly improve outcomes for young people and their families in the context of this constrained fiscal environment and these other mounting demands, we must focus on improving the ways in which taxpayer dollars are spent. The federal government must identify and invest in “what works” to be a catalyst for and investor in effective and innovative solutions that produce greater social impact in the key arenas that will determine our country’s future competitiveness—education, economic opportunity, workforce development, and youth development. While the current public debate largely has been about more or less resources, it also is critical to focus on how to get better results with existing resources.

Social sector innovation funds—those funds that focus on developing and scaling promising and potentially transformative community-based approaches that solve critical social problems—are one example of how the federal government is increasingly driving public dollars toward investing in what works.

For more on this topic, please see:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here