PRESS RELEASE: America Forward Releases New Presidential Policy Agenda on Social Innovation

America Forward, a network of over 70 of America’s most innovative and results-oriented organizations, today released Moving America Forward: Innovators Lead the Way to Unlocking America’s Potential, a new Presidential briefing book. Moving America Forward contains fresh and disruptive ideas for policymakers and the current slate of presidential candidates who aspire to unlock the potential of all Americans.

The announcement of Moving America Forward was made at an event in Washington, DC, hosted by America Forward and S&R Foundation. The event featured speakers, including leaders of YouthBuild USA, New Classrooms Innovation Partners, Year Up, Roca, Beyond 12, and uAspire. These organizations and others in the America Forward Coalition are working in communities across the country to scale results and have actively shaped the ideas in the policy briefing book.

“When government, non-profits, and the private sector join hands and share expertise, we make the most progress,” said Molly Baldwin, founder and chief executive officer of Roca Inc. “America Forward’s policy agenda highlights proven, innovative solutions, including Roca’s approach to helping high-risk young people get the support and resources they need to stay out of jail, get jobs, and build better lives.”

Moving America Forward lays out the moment for real opportunity to solve the urgent challenges of our time. The platform focuses on five areas in which they urge policymakers and candidates to take action:

  • We need government that works to catalyze community-led problem solving by investing in innovation, data, technology and cross-sector collaboration.
  • We need an education system oriented to the future, rather than one rooted in the past.
  • We need more pathways to a marketable postsecondary credential, so that our students can compete in today’s global economy.
  • We need to focus on connecting every young adult to a “first job” that can completely change their lives.
  • We need to do better providing second chances to people who are incarcerated, homeless, or suffering from substance abuse and mental health problems.

“Solutions to our biggest national challenges are waiting to be tapped,” says Lexi Barrett, Policy Director at America Forward. “Government must embrace innovation and scale the results we are seeing in local communities into national impact for millions of struggling Americans.”

The policy platform proposes more than 35 actions that policymakers, including the next President, can take to achieve these goals. It urges the government move fully into the 21st century by investing in innovation, making data accessible, measuring outcomes, breaking down silos, investing in technology, and leveraging private action. Specific examples include:

  • Develop a Cross-Agency R&D Innovation Lab: Jumpstart innovation in the social sector by creating an investment engine to identify promising solutions and rapidly test new approaches to determine effectiveness.
  • Tie Payments to Providers for Results Achieved: Scale successful Pay for Success programs, expand the approach to new focus areas, and remove government barriers and create incentives to spur outcomes-based policy.
  • Reimagine Learning for Academic and Life Success: Support innovative community pilots that redefine student success to include skills beyond academic achievement and harness technology to personalize learning to meet the needs of all students.
  • Reform Federal College Access and Success Funding to Improve Competition: Update federal college access programs currently designed to support legacy providers and bring a new focus on competition and outcomes to help more students to and through college.
  • Reward Private Sector Employers for Hiring Unemployed Youth: Support tax policies that promote meaningful work experience for unemployed youth, including through employment pathways tax credits as well as through incentives for apprenticeship.
  • Put Correction Back in the Corrections System: Refocus our criminal justice system from one that only punishes to one that rehabilitates using restorative justice models that involve cooperation and collaboration between the offender and the victim to support restitution, meaningful accountability, and rehabilitation.

Moving America Forward builds on America Forward’s first Presidential briefing book, launched eight years ago for the 2008 Presidential election, which led to a series of bipartisan policy innovations that are getting better results and saving taxpayer resources. Since 2008, America Forward’s efforts to advance innovation and evidence-based policy in Washington, DC have supported growth of national service programs, expansion of the Pay for Success movement, progress on data and evidence-based policy, the creation of the White House Office of Social Innovation and the Social Innovation Fund, passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and new energy to reshape the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The presidential briefing book Moving America Forward provides a wealth of ideas and opportunities for policymakers and candidates to turn the page from an era of unprecedented gridlock to one of unprecedented problem solving. This is a chance to make America once again the land of opportunity and move all of America forward.

View the full Presidential briefing book, Moving America Forward: Innovators Lead the Way to Unlocking America’s Potential, online here.

About America Forward
America Forward is a nonpartisan policy initiative of New Profit, a national venture philanthropy fund that seeks to break down the barriers between all people and opportunity in America. America Forward unites social innovators with policymakers to advance a public policy agenda that champions innovative and effective solutions to our country’s most pressing problems. America Forward leads a Coalition of more than 70 social innovators who foster innovation, identify more efficient and effective solutions, reward results, and catalyze cross-sector partnerships. America Forward Coalition members are achieving measurable outcomes in more than 14,500 communities across the country every day, touching the lives of nearly 8 million Americans each year.

About New Profit
New Profit is a national nonprofit venture philanthropy fund. The organization’s mission is to break down the barriers standing between people and opportunity in America. To do so, New Profit is working to transform the way America educates its children, propels people towards social and financial stability, and creates healthy communities. Since being founded in 1998, New Profit has collaborated with philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, foundations, businesses, policy advocates and other entities to help drive more than $1 billion towards innovative, disruptive approaches to social problem solving. New Profit’s unique, integrated approach brings together the following activities: investing through the New Profit Innovation Fund and Focus Funds; changing public policy through America Forward; and building communities of learning and action around innovative new approaches to change through the Gathering of Leaders and other activities.

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