Venture Philanthropist Has Innovative Plan To Move ‘America Forward’
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Social innovator Lexi Barrett is helping to lead a non-partisan effort at New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund, called America Forward focused on supporting results-oriented organizations working in education, workforce development and poverty alleviation.
Barrett, who has spent most of her career in government service, says, “Although the impact of our sector, and our New Profit Portfolio and America Forward Coalition Members in particular, is impressive—millions of communities and individuals go unserved each year and the problems we seek to solve are even greater. And while the federal government ought to be learning from and expanding these efforts, in too many cases government is getting in the way by creating unnecessary barriers, stifling innovation, and investing in programs that do not work.”
Barrett hopes to change that. She says, “America Forward is turning the page from an era of unprecedented gridlock to one of unprecedented problem solving.”
She adds, “The organizations that America Forward works with recognize that policy change is an essential part of scaling the solutions that they are advancing on the ground, and have come together as a Coalition to advance a policy agenda that champions social innovation.”
Barrett reports that the formal launch of the effort last month included the release of a briefing book called Moving America Forward: Innovators Lead the Way to Unlocking America’s Potential. She explains, “This book offers transformational policy ideas shaped by the experience of social innovators who are solving problems in their communities every day. These policy ideas are framed around five challenges for the next President, including government that works, education for the future, ‘market-able’ America, first jobs, and second chances.”
America Forward is hoping to get the attention of presidential candidates and policymakers. Barrett says the solutions to America’s biggest problems are apparent. “To scale the results we are seeing everyday on the ground in communities across the country, it is imperative that we activate America’s problem solvers. We envision a government that identifies innovative solutions, invests in what works, and engages everyone to solve our nation’s problems. By doing these things, we believe that together we can move America forward,” she concludes.
On Thursday, November 5, 2015 at noon Eastern, Barrett will join me for a live discussion about America Forward and the solutions that she sees to some of America’s biggest challenges. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More 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 social problems. We lead a Coalition of more than 70 social innovators who foster innovation, identify more efficient and effective solutions, reward results, and catalyze cross-sector partnerships. Our 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. Since 2007, America Forward’s community of innovators has played a leading role in driving the national dialogue on social innovation and advocating for lasting policy change. America Forward played a critical role in the creation of a federal tiered-evidence fund aimed at scaling high-impact organizations and significantly leveraging federal dollars; our community influenced the creation of the White House Office of Social Innovation; and we continue to advocate for the inclusion of provisions focused on outcomes in key pieces of federal legislation. Together, we have leveraged $1.5 billion for social innovation and have driven millions of federal resources toward programs that are achieving measurable results for those who need them most. America Forward believes that our nation’s social innovators can lead the way to unlocking America’s potential — and help move all of America forward.
Lexi Barrett, courtesy of New Profit
As Policy Director for America Forward, Lexi focuses on developing and implementing federal policy initiatives that accelerate social innovation, leading policy communications strategies, and supporting the education policy work of the America Forward Coalition. Before joining America Forward at New Profit, Lexi spent nine years in federal service. She served for six years on Capitol Hill as legislative assistant to Senator Richard Durbin, working on a variety of education, national service, and early childhood policy issues. Lexi also worked as a policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Most recently, Lexi served as a Senior Policy Advisor on Education at the White House on the Domestic Policy Council, helping to shape and advance President Obama’s early education and K-12 education agenda.
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