Now accepting Government Innovation Fellow applications for 2015-2016!

The Fall 2014 application for technical assistance is now open! 

The Harvard Kennedy School Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab (SIB Lab) conducts research on how governments can foster social innovation and improve the results they obtain with their social spending.  An important part of our research model involves providing pro bono technical assistance to state and local governments implementing pay-for-success contracts using social impact bonds. Through this hands-on involvement, we gain insights into the barriers that governments face and the solutions that can overcome the barriers.  By engaging current students and recent graduates in this effort, we are able to provide experiential learning as well.  The 10 governments we are currently assisting are:

  • Chicago
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Denver
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina


Chicago Becomes Third SIB Lab Partner to Launch Social Impact Bond

On October 7, 2014, Chicago became the third SIB Lab partner to launch a social impact bond. The project will provide pre-K services to over 2,600 children in high-need communities over four years. The project will allow the expansion of services by the Child Parent Center (CPC), which offers services to preschool children and their parents designed to improve child development, parenting skills, health and nutrition, and academic achievement. The intervention is supported by the Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund, the Northern Trust Company, and the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, which together will provide nearly $17 million funding. The Finnegan Family Foundation will underwrite a portion of the evaluation costs. Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) will serve as the project intermediary. For more information, please see the City’s press release here and additional information on the project here.

Massachusetts Launches Social Impact Bond

On January 29, 2013, Massachusetts launched a social impact bond that will benefit almost 1,000 young men  who are in the probation system or exiting the juvenile justice system and have a high risk of re-offending. The 7-year project will be implemented by Roca, Inc. in the Boston and Springfield areas. Third Sector Capital Partners will serve as the project’s intermediary. In order to fund the program, Goldman Sachs, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, New Profit, The Boston Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Living Cities provided $18 million in grants and loans. If the project successfully decreases incarceration, increases job readiness, and increases employment among the young men served, the Commonwealth will make up to $27 million in success payments.  In 2013 Massachusetts received an $11.7 million U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund grant, which will enable the Commonwealth to extend the project, should it prove successful, to an additional 391 young men. For more information, please see the Commonwealth’s press release here and additional information on the Third Sector Capital Partners website.

New York State Launches Criminal Justice Social Impact Bond

On December 30, 2013, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of the first state-led SIB in the United States, and service delivery has begun. Through this project 2,000 formerly incarcerated individuals who are at high risk of reoffending will be connected with the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) to receive evidence-based employment training and job placement services over 4 years. Individual and institutional investors invested $13.5 million in this project, and will be repaid based on the program’s impact on recidivism and employment. This is the largest operational SIB in the world to date and the first to use a randomized control trial (RCT) in determining outcome payments. Please see the New York State press release for further information.

Our email address is: hks-siblab@hks.harvard.edu

SIBs in the news

The Denver Post (12/13/2014)
Caldwell: Social impact bonds bring government, investors together to solve societal problems

The Boston Globe (8/13/2014)
Adult education initiative gets boost

Forbes (6/26/2014)
Bi-partisan bill would allocate $300M for social impact bonds

Reuters (1/29/2014)
Massachusetts uses largest ‘social impact bond’ to tackle crime

Christian Science Monitor (1/8/2014)
'Pay for success’ social impact bonds help train ex-convicts

The Boston Globe (09/24/2013)
'Pay for success' program in Mass. gets boost

WKAR (09/20/2013)
Michigan tackles public ills with private funding

Associated Press (09/09/2013)
Michigan will seek investors for social program

Huffington Post (06/12/2013)
Improving Social Services in an Era of Budget Cuts: Social Impact Bond Competition Gives Six States the Tools to Lead the Way

Charleston Post & Courier

South Carolina Wins Grant Money to Tackle Infant Mortality Using Some Private Sector Funding

The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio plans program to help fund nonprofits

Harvard Magazine (06/10/2013)
Social Impact Bonds

Washington Post (06/10/2013)
Can investors make money in social services?

The Denver Post (06/10/2013)
Colorado and Denver receive grants to study social impact bonds

Illinois Government News Service (04/09/2013)
Governor Quinn Announces Illinois is Second State to Launch Social Impact Bond Program

The Economist (02/23/2013)
Commerce and conscience

Harvard Kennedy School Magazine (Winter 2013)
Market Values

The Economist (08/06/2012)
I'll put $2.4m on recidivism to fall

Boston.com (06/27/2011)
Investors may fund social programs