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Pay for Success/Social Impact Bonds: A New Public/Private Financing Mechanism to Increase Government Efficiency

Though there are numerous models of Pay for Success (PFS)/Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), they all share a core concept: using private capital to support social programming with a promise of a profit if program performance targets are met. Drawing private capital to the social sector provides a new means of funding evidence-based programs, while improving government efficiency. An intermediary identifies investors from philanthropy and private investors. An independent evaluator identifies proven programs to address drivers of costs and populations and determines whether the intervention has achieved its intended performance goals. If the program achieves its goal, then the government pays program investors the principal they invested plus a return. If the program does not achieve performance goals, the investors lose some or all of their invested principal and any potential return. There are several PFS/SIBs in advanced development and an operational SIB in New York City.

Panelists discussed the mechanics of SIBs, how they fit into the landscape of innovative financing programs, and how we move to the next phase of PFS efforts. 


  • Emily Braid, senior social policy advisor, British Embassy (moderator)
  • John Roman, Senior Fellow, Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Kristina Costa, speechwriter and policy analyst, Center for American Progress
  • Rebecca Leventhal, director, Social Finance
Date & Time Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 608 Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE Washington, DC 20510
, DC , 20510
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