Congressional negotiators have agreed to allocate $50-million in the 2010 fiscal year for the new Social Innovation Fund, which will provide grants to help promising nonprofit groups expand effective programs — the full amount requested by President Obama.
However, in a deal yesterday on the Corporation for National and Community Service budget, a House-Senate conference committee decided to trim spending on two other programs designed to help nonprofit groups — the Volunteer Generation Fund and the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program.
Supporters of the Social Innovation Fund were worried Congress would cut its budget as the House had earlier voted to spend only $35-million on the program. But the conference committee agreed to follow the Senate’s lead by keeping it at $50-million.
The committee also agreed to match President Obama’s total budget request of almost $1.15-billion for the national-service agency — up from about $890-million in 2009. It noted that will allow the agency to increase the number of AmeriCorps members to 85,000 — up 10,000 over 2009.
The negotiators decided, however, to cut the Volunteer Generation Fund, which will provide grants to help charities recruit and manage volunteers, to $4-million — down from $10-million proposed by President Obama. The Senate had earlier voted to allocate $8-million, the House nothing.
They also agreed to spend only $1 million on the capacity-building program, which will provide grants to help small and medium-size charities get training and management help. The original legislation — an amendment to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act offered by Sens. Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa — proposed spending $5-million a year for five years.
However, President Obama did not include any money for the program in his budget. The Senate voted to spend $2-million on the grants, but the House allocated nothing.
The budget agreement, part of a broader 2010 spending bill, now goes to the full House and Senate for votes.