August 04, 2009

White House Begins Search for Nonprofit 'Hidden Gems'

When President Obama announced in June that he was going to send aides around the country to locate promising nonprofit groups, many charities wondered where they would go and how to invite them to visit.

Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, has given some clues in a blog item that describes her visit to the Iowa affiliate of Everybody Wins!, a group offering literacy and mentor programs for elementary schoolchildren from low-income families.

“Everybody Wins! is one of the countless ‘hidden gems’ across the country that is successfully bringing together people from all sectors to address community challenges with solutions proven to work,” she writes. “Stay tuned as we search the country over the coming months for other innovative and successful community solutions.”

Ms. Barnes invites people to tell the White House about other effective organizations by writing to

The White House, meanwhile, seems to have settled on the term “community solutions” as a way to describe its efforts to promote innovative nonprofit groups. Ms. Barnes also refers in her post to the “community innovation fund,” instead of the Social Innovation Fund — the program that President Obama has advocated to funnel money to successful nonprofit groups (now awaiting budget approval from Congress).

But a White House spokesman says Social Innovation Fund remains the official name.