Investors play a unique and critical role in the Pay for Success (PFS) movement, financing interventions to meaningfully improve lives. Our projects span a range of issue areas, such as expanding access to economic opportunities, improving health outcomes, and alleviating homelessness.
How Investors Support PFS
Catalytic capital refers to impact-first, often concessionary, capital within the impact investing spectrum. PFS projects are fundamentally impact-first and therefore typically deploy catalytic capital to scale effective interventions.
Investors provide upfront growth capital for service providers. This access to flexible, multiyear funding enables providers to focus on program participants and deliver the highest quality interventions. The service providers in PFS projects have a track record of effectively delivering social programs with demonstrated impact. In the PFS development process, Social Finance performs deep due diligence on service providers, including an assessment of how well they can handle an infusion of scale capital.
Investors are repaid their principal, plus a modest return, based on the results of the project. In many cases, there is an independent evaluator to validate the impact. To date, there have been several projects launched in the U.S. with different structures and investors, and many more are in development.
Impact investing is a global movement with true momentum behind it, now representing over $715 billion in assets under management according to the latest market sizing data from the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). The impact market ranges from ESG strategies in public markets to private investments to PFS – together garnering support from more than 1,700 impact investors around the world including asset managers, foundations, banks, development finance institutions, family offices, pension funds, insurance companies, and others. Within this broad spectrum of asset classes, our PFS work represents a uniquely high-impact investment that makes an optimal complement to traditional impact portfolios.
PFS directly and transparently ties financial returns to impact as measured by outcomes rather than outputs. It’s different from traditional impact asset classes because all stakeholders must agree on the impact that a project aims to achieve. Outcomes are measurable and must be defined in advance as part of the deal structuring process, as they directly trigger the return on investment inherent in the structure.
Investing With Social Finance
- Our team is impact-driven, analytical, and highly focused on outcomes.
- We have successfully mobilized $150 million over the past 10 years. Our investment vehicles have ranged from debt and equity instruments to bespoke inter-party obligations.
- Social Finance has experience with different financing structures to meet the needs of a wide range of investors.
Our Investment Partners
Across our PFS investments, we have raised capital from a diverse group of more than 100 investors. Our deals have included financial institutions and philanthropic partners such as national and international foundations. Additionally, our projects have received investment capital from high-net worth individuals, family offices, and donor advised funds (DAF).
The point is about structuring a product that is scalable. The world needs today far exceed the pool of philanthropic capital; the scale of capital markets is critical to solve urgent social and environmental challenges.— Hervé Duteil, Chief Sustainability Officer, Americas, BNP Paribas
We are enthusiastic about Pay for Success as an innovative financing mechanism for evidence-based services that can improve social outcomes and produce local and federal savings and benefits. Our continued partnership with Social Finance has allowed us to help scale service to vulnerable individuals, including child welfare-involved families and residents returning from incarceration.— Sara Vernon Sterman, Vice President, Strategic Investments, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
- Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement
The first Pay for Success project to unlock DAF capital.
- UP Fund
A $40M pool of catalytic capital to help low-income students secure good jobs in a changing economy.
- Unlocking DAF capital for greater impact
Working with DAF sponsors to facilitate more DAF capital for deployment toward impact-first investments such as small business loans, affordable housing access, and clean energy. Investments will be made through recoverable grants to create a sustainable, recyclable pool of capital for historically under-invested communities.
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- “Issuing Bonds to Invest in People,” The New York Times
- “In Massachusetts, Investors are Betting on Immigrants,” Institutional Investor
- “A New Public Finance Tool to Help the Most Vulnerable,” Time
- See more publications >>
Social Finance has a range of experience in structuring and managing different impact investments, including Social Impact Bonds and Career Impact Bonds. Our team brings experience with program-related investments for private foundations, loans and equity investments directly into for-profit and nonprofit entities and through funds, recoverable grants from DAFs, and loan guarantees. We have made investments across a number of sectors, including technology, clean energy, workforce development, education, economic and community development, affordable housing, and infrastructure.
Our team is uniquely staffed with legal and financial experts that have experience structuring and managing public finance debt issuances and private equity funds. Learn more about our team leads, Andrew Chen and Jackie Khor. Learn more >>
For more information on investing with Social Finance, contact Jackie Khor.