Categories: Blog

Works Wonders® Named WINNER of Ash Center Innovations in American Government Award

This past summer, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, announced the finalists for the 2018 Innovations in American Government Award. Seven programs competed for a $50,000 grand prize.

Today, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo hosted Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Innovations Program at the Ash Center and special guests, Foster Forward staff and youth to announce Works Wonders® as the 2018 recipient of this prestigious award!

For over thirty years, the Innovations Award has recognized public-sector programs that make American government, at all levels, more efficient, creative, and effective at addressing social problems and providing services to the public. The Award recently restructured its broad-based policy outlook to focus an annual award cycle on a single, intractable problem in American society. This year, the Award looked for initiatives that had success increasing the prosperity of communities, particularly programs that expanded opportunities to groups that had been historically excluded from access.

Works Wonders® has been a multi-level government innovation with partners including the federal Children’s Bureau, Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families and Department of Labor and Training, Foster Forward, our state’s Youth Leadership Board, The WorkPlace Center at Columbia University and Rhode Island College. This unique public private partnership kicked off eight years ago, building and testing an effective model for workforce development that was specifically for and co-created with foster youth. Today, there is a 58% increase in workforce participation among the youth served in Works Wonders® and through recognition as the 2018 winner of the Innovations Award, will receive a $50,000 funding award and support for continued evaluation through replication.

For more information about Works Wonders®, visit our website at