National Fund for Workforce Solutions recognized with inaugural award from Social Innovation Fund

New York, 22 July 2010 — The Ford Foundation is delighted by today's announcement that Jobs for the Future is the recipient of one of 11 inaugural Social Innovation Fund (SIF) awards from the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C. The award, $7.7 million over two years, will help expand the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS), a $50 million partnership of foundations, business and government that is working to advance opportunities for both employers and low-wage workers. More than 60 organizations applied for an SIF award; Jobs for the Future is one of four innovative Ford Foundation grantees to be selected.

Ford was a founding member of NFWS and has committed $5 million since the fund's inception. The fund pioneered a groundbreaking approach to workforce development, focusing on the "dual customers" of low-income workers and private employers and bringing together a diverse range of community organizations and businesses. To date the fund has helped develop programs in more than 20 high-need cities. This award, which recognizes the fund's impact and innovation, will enable NFWS to broaden its work and expand to communities in the Southern and Southwestern regions of the United States.

"This has been a unique and highly effective collaboration between business, community organizations, government and philanthropy working together at a local level," said Rick McGahey, a Ford Foundation director and member of NFWS funders steering committee. "Much of its success lies in placing equal emphasis on building careers for low-wage workers and on meeting the needs of employers for a skilled workforce."

Helen Neuborne, director of Quality Employment at the foundation added, "The NFWS has clearly demonstrated that well-crafted training programs and strategies which are geared to market and local business needs, play a critical role in creating ladders to quality jobs for low-skilled, low-wage workers."

These workforce efforts were also honored earlier this year. NFWS received the 2010 Distinguished Grantmaking Award for Collaboration from the Council on Foundations in April.

The Ford Foundation's support for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions furthers its decades-long track record of support for cutting-edge initiatives to reduce poverty and build quality employment for all.

In addition, the foundation congratulates grantees LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and the National AIDS Fund, which were also recipients of today's SIF awards. "That so many of the inaugural SIF awards went to our grantees is a testament to the foundation's history of innovation and organization building," said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation.

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The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.