Nava receives grant from Schmidt Futures for the Expanded Benefits Access Initiative

Schmidt Futures has announced Nava as a grantee of the Expanded Benefits Access Initiative to modernize the social safety net.

Nava joins twelve innovative teams to the Social Safety Net Product Studio grant to accelerate innovation and open access to over $100 million in safety net benefits for low-income families across the country

Nava has been selected to join the Social Safety Net Product Studio, an initiative of Schmidt Futures, bringing technologist entrepreneurs together to improve the accessibility of U.S. government social safety net benefits. The program aims to spark innovation in benefits access programs and help unlock more than $100 million in benefits over the next two years for lower income families. As part of Schmidt Futures’ mission to bet early on talented individuals seeking to solve society’s hardest problems, the Product Studio will support twelve groups aiming to improve benefits access through product and tool development for scale.

Nava is a consultancy and public benefit corporation on a mission to make government services simple, effective, and accessible to all. As part of the Social Safety Net Product Studio, Nava, with technical assistance from Montana Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), will create an open source participant recertification portal to reduce the burden of the six-month/annual recertification process on participants and staff. 

“The WIC program helps millions of families, but one of the most challenging parts of participating in WIC is the recertification process. Our goal is to make recertification simple and accessible for participants and staff," said Rohan Bhobe, CEO and co-founder of Nava. "It's an honor to work with the state of Montana and the Social Safety Net Product Studio to not only launch this project, but share what we learn to support WIC agencies across the country so they can continue to serve the communities they know so well."

Collective impact

Launched in partnership with Ballmer Group, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Product Studio is a $13 million initiative that brings together cross-sector stakeholders in the social safety net ecosystem to increase access to government benefits by developing state and federal policy recommendations. These twelve inaugural Product Studio teams will receive funding, technical assistance, and in-kind support to develop product innovations that will ease access to key government benefits for underprivileged populations, and the Digital Harbor Foundation will assist in managing the Product Studio. Winners include entrepreneurs, engineers, data scientists, designers, and researchers from across the country, with missions ranging from increasing online education access for people who are incarcerated to simplifying the application process for emergency rental assistance.

Together, this group of talented experts will rise to the challenge of transforming access to U.S. government benefits for millions of families nationwide. This initiative will propel a community of highly skilled civic tech innovators working to drive positive change and increase access to benefits for families in need of support.

“We have been inspired by the ingenuity of the applicant pool, the awardees, and their government partners. They are tackling stubborn challenges with a renewed sense of urgency and optimism, driven by new, tech-forward solutions to enable greater access. We are thrilled to work alongside them, and support their efforts to make the safety net more efficient and effective for all who need it,” said Elizabeth Young McNally, Executive Vice President of Talent Ventures at Schmidt Futures.  

Teams were selected based on their demonstrated success, technical innovation and ingenuity, scalability, and strength of their government partnerships. Successful implementation of these innovations - such as simplifying communication about benefits enrollment and renewal from government agencies - can help unlock more than $100 million in government benefits within the next three years for families in need.

 Schmidt Futures proudly introduces the inaugural Product Studio cohort:

  • Ameelio

  • Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project 

  • Beam (formerly Edquity)

  • Better Government Lab

  • DataKind and New America

  • Jump Credit

  • Medicaid Innovation Collaborative

  • National Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

  • Nava

  • Semicolon Design Group

  • U.S. Digital Response (Grants Modernization)

  • U.S. Digital Response (Unemployment Insurance)

About Schmidt Futures:

Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society. To learn more about our method and the diverse types of capital and tools that we deploy, visit the Schmidt Futures website.

PublishedOctober 5, 2022


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