Apr 05, 2013

NYU Wagner Fellow Explores Innovative Methods to Fund Social Programs

NYU Wagner Fellow Megan Golden’s recent report for the Children's Aid Society, "Developing a Social Impact Bond: Lessons from a Provider," explores how social impact bonds can tackle social problems while also saving the government money. Social impact bonds allow the government to contract for positive, cost-saving outcomes; deliver a modest return for investors; and can lead to positive social outcomes. With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Children's Aid Society began exploring how this innovative financing mechanism could be used to scale up some of its interventions for low-income children in New York City. Megan Golden’s report outlines the steps Children's Aid Society took and the lessons the nonprofit learned in developing several concepts for social impact bonds.

Though social impact bonds are a new innovation and require further research, they offer great promise. Frist, they enable government and service providers to track program outcomes in real time. They also provide the opportunity to envision, and plan for, a world where preventive programs are implemented at scale and expensive remedial programs play a smaller role. 

Continuing her work, Megan is now working with the Institute for Child Success in South Carolina to study the feasibility of using social impact bond financing to expand early childhood interventions in that state.

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