Panel Paper: How the Federal Government Is Increasing Effectiveness Through Innovation Funds

Thursday, November 8, 2012 : 1:35 PM
International D (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Michelle Jolin, America Achieves

The Obama Administration has introduced six new innovation funds to support emergent and evidence-based interventions in education, employment, health, and antipoverty efforts.   At a time of constrained public resources, these funds have enabled the administration to test new ideas while building momentum for results-driven programs.
It is the ambition of these funds to further test promising programs and then to show the way for more effective public spending.  So for example, Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) awarded grants to evidence-based programs that could improve outcomes for pre-school children, help students qualify for or succeed in college, help students with disabilities or with limited-English proficiency, or serve schools in rural areas.  The i3 pre-school grants were among the steps leading to recently announced efforts to improve the quality of Head Start programs.  Another fund is the Social Innovation Fund, a $50 million annual fund administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service supporting evidence-based work across the domains of economic opportunity, young adults, and health. 
This paper will describe several of the funds, early impacts, how the funds are influencing public policy, and the challenges of measuring results rigorously with resource and time constraints.