Edna McConnell Clark Foundation Releases Status Report on Social Innovation Fund Project

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) has just released A Midpoint Report on the True North Fund, which describes the progress of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) project that EMCF launched in 2011 in collaboration with MDRC and The Bridgespan Group. The True North Fund aggregates private growth capital with federal funding from the SIF to expand the pool of organizations with proven programs that can help low-income young people make the transition to productive adulthood. The True North Fund is particularly focused on those young people who are at greatest risk of failing or dropping out of school or of not finding work, are involved or likely to become involved in the foster care or juvenile justice system, and/or are engaging in risky behavior, such as criminal activity or teenage pregnancy.

The new report describes what the fund's nine initial grantees have accomplished in the first two years of the initiative (including serving more than 83,000 new youth), the challenges they have faced, and the lessons they — and EMCF, its partners, and its co-investors — have learned. The report answers the following questions:

  • What progress did the first nine True North Fund (TNF) grantees make during the first two years?
  • What has been the TNF co-investors’ experience to date?
  • What insights can the TNF grantees, EMCF, and co-investors share with funders and policymakers at midpoint?

The report concludes: "At midpoint, the story of the True North Fund is encouraging but not yet conclusive or complete. [It] has the potential to be a philanthropic breakthrough, a model for significantly increasing the numbers of at-risk youth served by effective programs. But the TNF will influence and encourage others to change how public and private capital is deployed to scale what works only if EMCF and it co-investor partners and grantees share the lessons they learn along the way. This paper is an attempt to capture the progress, challenges and lessons to date."