May 21, 2018
Social Finance Raises $12M to Help Limited English Speakers

June 22, 2017 — Social Finance, a Boston nonprofit that is spearheading a new approach to financing nonprofits that aim to solve pervasive social problems, recently announced it has raised $12.43 million to fund Jewish Vocational Service, a Boston-based nonprofit provider of social services, to help limited English speakers in Greater Boston.

Social Finance said the Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Project aims to increase access by limited English speakers to workforce development services, including vocational training, English language classes, job search assistance, and college-transitioning programming for approximately 2,000 adults over three years.

Social Finance raised $12.43 million from 40 investors including financial institutions, donor advised funds, individuals, and foundations, to fund JVS services.

The new first pay-for-success (PFS) project is being carried out by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, represented by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, and the Executive Office of Education, in conjunction with partners including Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), Social Finance, the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab, Economic Mobility Corporation, and Jobs for the Future.

This is the first PFS project in the nation to focus exclusively on workforce development.

“This innovative source of private and public capital, where government pays only for what works, enables JVS to scale our proven workforce development model, reduce waiting lists, and prepare thousands of talented immigrant workers to meet the demands of our booming economy," said Jerry Rubin, president and CEO of JVS. "We are thrilled to be part of the Commonwealth’s groundbreaking effort to creatively expand funding for high-quality human service delivery, and look forward to successfully delivering great results for our clients, investors, and partners,”

"Social Finance is proud to be a part of the nation’s first Pay for Success project to focus exclusively on workforce development," said Tracy Palandjian, Social Finance co-founder and CEO. "This public private partnership would not have been possible without the support of impact investors committed to using their capital to advance the core values of our country, including Prudential Financial, Maycomb Capital, CJP, Living Cities, and others. This initiative will contribute to the economic mobility of immigrants and refugees and to the vitality of the Massachusetts economy for years to come.”

PFS is an innovative funding model that combines nonprofit expertise, private funding, and independent evaluation to transform how government leaders respond to chronic social problems.

Through PFS, private investors provide upfront funding to scale effective service providers. Government agrees to repay investors if and when the project achieves its desired impact. This shifts the focus from outputs to outcomes, such as achievement of credentials, directing taxpayer dollars to programs that work.

Other PFS projects in Massachusetts have included a $27 million partnership involving Roca, a Chelsea-based service provider, and Third Sector Capital Partners, a nonprofit fundraising and project management intermediary based in Boston, that seeks to reduce incarceration rates and improve employment outcomes for young men.

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