David Socolow Joins Social Finance Institute as Head of Policy


David Socolow

Socolow will oversee the new Institute’s policy and research agenda

BOSTON, MA & WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Social Finance announced that David Socolow has joined the team as Head of Policy for the Social Finance Institute. Socolow comes to Social Finance from the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), where he was Executive Director since 2018.

A professional portrait of a smiling man dressed in a suit without a tie.With the Social Finance Institute, Social Finance aims to build connections among cross-sector partners and amplify learnings for policymakers and practitioners looking to use innovative funding models to achieve impact. As the Head of Policy, Socolow will play a critical role in shaping and guiding the policy and research agenda for the Institute.

“David brings unique experience to the Institute, as both a highly respected thought leader and a seasoned practitioner, and we are thrilled to have him join our team,” said Karen Anderson, Managing Director of the Social Finance Institute. “He will play an important role in defining and delivering the Institute’s research and policy, and in building strategic collaborations with policymakers, practitioners, and key stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels of government.”

“We worked closely with David to develop the first-in-the-nation New Jersey Pay It Forward Program, an innovative workforce finance program that supports the state’s economic development goals,” said Tracy Palandjian, Co-Founder and CEO of Social Finance. “David brings a deep and broad range of public sector experience, and we are excited to welcome him to Social Finance.”

Socolow previously served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Director of the state’s Unemployment Insurance program, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, and Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews. He also worked as Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Pinnacle Foods, Inc., and as the Director of CLASP’s Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success.

The Social Finance Institute is a unique field-building platform, launched in 2023 within Social Finance. The Institute leverages insights from practitioners and experts to develop networks, tools, and actionable resources to advance outcomes-based, impact-first funding models to measurably improve people’s lives.

“I am delighted to join the Social Finance Institute at the launch of this exciting new policy platform that is poised to significantly contribute to the field and improve economic mobility,” said Socolow. “I look forward to working with Tracy, Karen, and the team to build bridges among policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders to conduct research and share insights about outcomes-based solutions that deliver positive impacts for people and communities.”

The Institute will officially launch with an event on April 10 in Cambridge, MA. The event will bring together innovators in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors for roundtable discussions and talks highlighting innovative, outcomes-based approaches to improving lives.


Contact: Abby Silverman, Associate Director of Communications & Public Relations, Social Finance,

Related News