Social Innovation Fund Released Additional Details

The Social Innovation Fund announced on Friday that they are releasing additional details in response to the debate that broke out in late August on this blog and around the web.

The Fund’s press release said:

“The grant announcement also generated a healthy debate about openness and transparency during the Social Innovation Fund process. We value and have learned from this dialogue…

We have taken several steps to make the Social Innovation Fund more transparent in ways that both honor our commitments to applicants and reviewers and go far beyond our past practices. Here’s what we have done:

  • We posted on our website the full applications for each of the 11 successful applicants including answers to clarification questions, budgets, and three sets of reviewer comments
  • We provided a detailed description of the grantee selection process, including the ratings of the 11 awardees at each stage of the process, and the recusal of Corporation officials from that process to avoid potential conflicts of interest
  • We released the names of 43 applicant organizations, all of whom consented, who were considered in at least one phase of the review process by external expert reviewers and were not awarded a Social Innovation Fund grant.
  • We released the names of the 63 expert reviewers, all of whom consented, and information about the reviewer selection process

As a start, for the 2011 Social Innovation Fund competition, we plan to take the following steps to build even greater openness into next year’s competition:

  • When we release our grant availability notice, we will also publish the details of the review process we will use to select grantees
  • We will post the full applications and review comments for all successful applicants (except for any information clearly protected by law)
  • We will identify all applicants and provide a summary of their applications
  • We will release the names of all outside grant reviewers upon completion of the competition

As the nation’s largest grantmaker for service and volunteering, we recognize that our actions affect thousands of organizations across the country and have a ripple effect on the larger philanthropic community. We want to get this right – and want your input on how to do that. We hope you will participate in these discussions.”

As far as I can tell, the Fund has now released all information that anyone has asked for and committed to continue to do so next year. The one exception is that the Fund will only be releasing summaries of non-finalist applications next year instead of full applications. That being said, all applicants will be free to release their own full applications as the New York Times noted on Friday that Social Venture Partners has already done via the Tactical Philanthropy/Chronicle of Philanthropy Repository.