The Social Innovation Fund

Every child deserves the best chance at success. We fund, evaluate and expand innovative approaches to childhood development alongside community partners to ensure children 5 and younger are developmentally on-track and ready to learn.

Giving kids the right start

Child points at book while teacher looks on

Children who are developmentally ready to learn have a better chance of reaching their full potential. Yet fewer than half of the children in our region are developmentally ready for kindergarten. Effective early childhood programming provides children with long-term, substantial positive effects on social behavior, academic achievement and job performance.

In order to reach these goals, United Way competed for a highly competitive federal grant by the White House’s Corporation for National and Community Service and was awarded $6 million in 2011. Through this work, will reach more than 20,000 children and families in Greater Detroit during the initiative’s 5-year implementation phase, which ends Aug. 31, 2016. This federal grant was awarded to only 20 other organizations during the initial launch period.

The Social Innovation Fund provides the means to create sustainable change by focusing on three key outcomes:

  • Children are developmentally ready to learn
  • Parents and caregivers nurture children’s development
  • Communities promote children’s well-being

SIF evaluation opportunities

The two RFQs below will assist in the final evaluation and scaling of United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s 2011 Social Innovation Fund grant. Please email with any questions.

Southwest Solutions data analysis

Help Me Grow data analysis


Expanding our reach

We don’t do this work alone. We partnered with local community organizations to design, implement and evaluate early childhood development programs. The most successful of these will be replicated regionally and nationwide. To support both the implementation and replication of SIF programs, UWSEM and each of our community partners match every dollar of our original federal grant with local and state funding, resulting in a tripled community investment.