It Was a DC Kind of Day...

SIF is a White House initiative and program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Social Innovation Fund has the simple, but vital goal of finding solutions that work, and making them work for more people.

We unite public and private resources to evaluate and grow innovative community-based solutions that have evidence of results in low-income communities in any of three priority areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development.

 

I'm here in Washington DC for the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) annual convening. When I moved to Kentucky, I kept my ears and eyes out for local and state work to become more familiar with my new state. So much of my work takes me all over the country on a regular basis, but doing good in my backyard is incredibly important to me. 

A very part-time position with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky was posted and I applied. Since March, I have been a project officer for the Foundation's 6 sub grantees of the SIF. Their projects have been steadily wrapping up, coming to completion at the end of September. I will finish my work with the Foundation at the end of December after all the final reporting is in. 

Upon arrival in DC, I randomly texted the VP of Marketing at Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA), Kevin McCartney, a friend and colleague I've met through the Clinton Health Matters Initiative since I saw BGCA Atlanta Charter will be in attendance at the SIF convening. It turns out Kevin was in town for the Youth of Year (YOY) Gala for BGCA. He asked if I had any interest in attending the Congressional Breakfast for YOY the next morning. I was in! My day started with a last minute invite… and one that, as a female was incredibly empowering. It turns out that all 6 nominees were girls/women. Great to see many Senators and Representatives from all over the US in attendance supporting out of school time!

In the afternoon, the SIF convening started with a welcome, panel of women (YAH!) whose lives have been impacted by this work, announcement of new grantees and keynote by Jim Shelton, Deputy Secretary at the US Department of Education. Jim's keynote was more focused on this audience (and rightfully so) than what I might have wanted to hear from the US Department of Education. From my perspective, he contradicted himself, by saying, "It's not just the evidence, but the stories that are important…" But, I wonder, why does Department of Education focus on test scores versus authentic student growth, skills development and learning? That's my educator lens coming out….

Jonathan Greenblatt, White House Special Assistant to the President welcoming us.

Jonathan Greenblatt, White House Special Assistant to the President welcoming us.

I scooted out for a 5 mile run after the days events, but before the evening reception. One of my favorite ways to create balance for myself while on the road is getting out for a run and see the sites. Especially after a long day of meetings without much movement.

We were invited to a reception at the National Geographic Museum, literally in an exhibit called Spinosaurus. Wine, egg rolls, crab cakes and dinosaurs… pretty awesome.

Fred Dust, a Partner at IDEO was the reception speaker and shared innovative ideas including practicing bravery, professional plagiarism (stealing ideas and making them your own), listening and observing with intention. He was engaging, funny and spot on with the intended audience, something I appreciate.

Great beginning to the SIF Convening! Feeling fortunate that I was able to participate and meet so many wonderful people representing fabulous organizations!

Jean O'Brien, VP at Home of the Innocents in Kentucky. We are here together and I was very impressed with her reporting out on their Open Arms Dental Clinic.

Jean O'Brien, VP at Home of the Innocents in Kentucky. We are here together and I was very impressed with her reporting out on their Open Arms Dental Clinic.