Funder Spotlight: The Rockefeller Foundation

One of our funder-partners instrumental in helping us lay the groundwork for our Pay for Success work is The Rockefeller Foundation – which strives to accelerate and scale transformative innovations, and create unlikely partnerships spanning sectors.

The Rockefeller Foundation traces its involvement in Pay for Success to its seeding of Social Finance UK and the original social impact bond innovation, the underpinning for the current Pay for Success financing model.

In addition to early investments in the United Kingdom and our Pay for Success effort, The Rockefeller Foundation supported the creation of the Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab (SIB Lab) at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and promotes its grantee, Social Finance US, which is working to facilitate the use of social impact bonds in the United States. (SIB Lab at HKS is a collaborator with CSH assisting of our new subgrantees in our Pay for Success for supportive housing initiative.)

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to further the well-being of humanity throughout the world. In their own words, they say “Social impact bonds/Pay for Success financing sit at the nexus of The Rockefeller Foundation’s work in scaling innovation and impact investing to spur the delivery of programs and services proven to show results for people who need our help most. The Rockefeller Foundation believes Pay for Success represents one of the most innovative examples of public-private initiatives, and has the potential to substantially transform the social sector, support poor and vulnerable communities, and create new financial support for social service delivery by offering a more sustainable way to scale what works.”

The Rockefeller Foundation considers pay for success a win-win-win for all parties. Government saves taxpayer money by only paying for programs that successfully deliver a social benefit; the private sector has the opportunity to invest for impact while earning a return on investment; and non-profits have a larger financial pool, allowing them to focus on scaling proven, prevention-oriented programs to address critical social issues. They recognized early on the Pay for Success model can be applied to social issues ranging from homelessness to health care to early education. The Rockefeller Foundation has supported social impact bonds from the very beginning, and has been working to build the relevant infrastructure and ecosystem to support the testing of this innovative tool and Pay for Success in the United States.

Last year, when the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced a $750,000 award to CSH through their Social Innovation Fund (SIF) program, designating us a SIF Pay for Success grantee, we vowed to use it to build on the seed funding we received from the The Rockefeller Foundation to provide expert advice to communities hoping to implement robust Pay-for-Success financed supportive housing.

Because The Rockefeller Foundation is forward thinking, they recognize the promise of Pay for Success to bring together various interests within a community for a common purpose, the potential it holds to redefine accountability by rewarding providers and investors for programs that work, and the powerful impact it could have on transforming the bottom line so communities can tackle their most pressing problems.

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