SAN FRANCISCO – Code for America has been named the recipient of a $64 million investment through The Audacious Project to transform America’s social safety net and advance the equitable delivery of government services across the nation.
This investment supports Code for America’s social safety net initiative announced last November and complements an additional $36 million investment from Blue Meridian Partners. In total, Code for America has secured $100 million in commitments and funding over the next seven years.
To turn this vision into a reality, Code for America is establishing the Safety Net Innovation Lab to partner with government agencies and community organizations to reimagine the delivery of government services that are equitable, easy-to-use, and built for the digital age. The goal: partnering with 15 states to reach 13 million people and unlock $30 billion in benefits in the areas of food assistance, health care, and other basic needs.
Additionally, Code for America CEO Amanda Renteria is delivering a TED Talk at the April 10-14 TED Conference in Vancouver, which will be made public in the coming weeks, that lays out the organization’s vision for safety net transformation. Code for America is a leading tech nonprofit organization that works with community leaders and governments to deliver equitable, accessible digital tools and services.
“Change isn’t easy, but it is possible. Code for America has a bold vision for remaking America’s safety net so that it is accessible, equitable, and easy for people to use,” said Amanda Renteria, CEO of Code for America. “There are unseen heroes in government working directly with people every day, navigating old systems. We can and must equip them with the kind of tools and data they need to streamline their efforts and create a truly human-centered safety net that meets the needs of millions of people in America. We want to thank all of our generous supporters and partners who believe in this work and have joined with us in this important effort.”
“Our mission is to catalyze social impact on a grand scale by working with groups with big, bold ideas,” said Anna Verghese, Executive Director of The Audacious Project. “We’re pleased to support Code for America’s vision for modernizing the social safety net in America. This work is vital, and opens the door to fundamentally transforming the relationship between government and the people it serves.”
Moving from Crisis to Capacity
The upheaval that COVID-19 caused left tens of millions of people in need of assistance and pushed existing safety net systems to, and sometimes past, the brink of their capacity. The resulting chaos showed how essential accessible government services are to the health of all our communities. During the crisis, state leaders quickly implemented new policies and programs while trying new digital solutions to meet the real-time needs of residents. State leaders have now exhausted these “quick fixes.” The challenges of today’s social safety net require us to make long-term, systemic change. The $100 million investment announced today provides an opportunity to work in partnership with public servants to reimagine and rebuild. The Lab will deepen the impact of Code for America’s existing work to reimagine the social safety net which has helped 11.5 million people to date. This investment is seeding the first major nationwide plan by a civic tech organization to reimagine our safety net in partnership with governments across the country.
The Safety Net Innovation Lab: Advancing Human-Centered Benefits Delivery
The Safety Net Innovation Lab will be led by Code For America’s Vice President of Safety Net Tracey Patterson and Senior Director of Safety Net Alexis Fernández Garcia. The Lab will work with state agencies by matching their needs with the most promising opportunities to reduce barriers and design human-centered, modern solutions for access to the safety net.
“Our community and government partners inspire us daily,” said Patterson. “We look forward to working with them under the auspices of this new Lab to find new ways to meet their constituents’ needs as we rebuild our safety net.”This initiative will work in partnership with states and community-based organizations to:
- Improve federal nutrition assistance service delivery by closing the SNAP participation gap and addressing unnecessary barriers to getting and keeping benefits.
- Increase WIC participation by expanding the use of accessible, modular digital services that meet the needs of the families and the community agencies that directly serve them.
- Focus on developing single, integrated benefits applications—where families can access all the benefits they’re eligible for in one place—and save time.
Those interested in learning more are encouraged to attend Code for America’s Summit 2022, sign up to receive updates from the Safety Net team, and follow along on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for the latest developments.
About Code for America
Code for America, a nonprofit founded in 2009, believes that government can work for the people, and by the people, in the digital age. We work with government at all levels across the country to make the delivery of public services equitable with technology. Together with thousands of volunteers across over 80 Brigade chapters in the U.S., we work with community organizations and governments to build digital tools, change policies, and improve programs. Our goal: a resilient government that effectively and equitably serves everyone. Learn more at codeforamerica.org.
About The Audacious Project
Launched in April 2018, The Audacious Project is a collaborative funding initiative that’s catalyzing social impact on a grand scale. Housed at TED, the nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, and with support from leading social impact advisor The Bridgespan Group, The Audacious Project convenes funders and social entrepreneurs with the goal of supporting bold solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges. The funding collective is made up of respected organizations and individuals in philanthropy, including the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, The Valhalla Charitable Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies and more. The Audacious Project works with the Science Philanthropy Alliance to identify and vet high-quality basic science projects. Each year The Audacious Project supports a new cohort. The 2021-22 recipients are The Center for Tech and Civic Life, ClimateWorks: Drive Electric, Code for America, Glasswing International, The International Refugee Assistance Project, myAgro, Noora Health, The Tenure Facility, and Woodwell Climate Research Center.