Six Winners to Receive Help Setting Up Social Impact Bond Projects

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School have announced the six winners of a national competition to provide technical assistance to state and local governments looking to develop "pay-for-success" contracts using social impact bonds.

In the social impact bond (SIB) model, public agencies partner with service providers and private-sector investors to fund prevention-focused social programs that address pressing social problems. Investors are repaid if and when improved social outcomes are achieved. According to proponents of the model, SIBs have the potential to tap new funding sources for programs that deliver measurable social benefits while saving taxpayer dollars.

Selected from a pool of twenty-eight state and local government applicants and representing Colorado/Denver, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina, the winning governments will receive pro bono technical assistance from the SIB Lab related to the design, procurement, and implementation of SIB-funded policy initiatives. Among other things, the lab will provide each winning state or local government with a full-time Government Innovation Fellow who will based for a year in the government agency spearheading the pay-for-success initiative, pro bono advice from Harvard Kennedy School professor of public policy Jeffrey Liebman and other experts, up to six months of programmer and data analyst time, and a small pool of flexible funding that can be used to remove barriers to implementation of social impact bonds.

"The SIB Lab is excited to work with these innovative governors and mayors who are trying to achieve better outcomes for their citizens and make more effective use of taxpayer dollars," said Liebman, who directs the SIB Lab. "In these challenging fiscal times, governments around the country are looking for new strategies to finance preventive investments and spur social innovation. The pay-for-success approach has the potential to generate scalable solutions to some of our nation's most pressing social problems."