The Sorenson Impact Center and Social Finance Announce Awardees of Pay for Success Structuring Grant

Press Release


Contact: Sara Peters, Director, Sorenson Impact Center

The Sorenson Impact Center and Social Finance Announce Awardees of Pay for Success Structuring Grant

Charter Oak State College, Lee Pesky Learning Center, and Workforce Investment Network receive technical assistance and up to $100,000 in cash grants to scale high-impact programs

SALT LAKE CITY (July 25, 2017)—The Sorenson Impact Center and Social Finance today announced Charter Oak State College in Connecticut, Lee Pesky Learning Center in Idaho, and the Workforce Investment Network in Tennessee as the awardees of a nationwide Pay for Success (PFS) competition. Awardees will work to develop PFS projects that expand high-impact social interventions to measurably improve the lives of those in need. The competition is supported through funding awarded in 2016 by the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

“A strategic and well-thought out Pay for Success structure will help these enterprising organizations make a significant impact,” said President and CEO Jeremy Keele of the Sorenson Impact Center. “We’re looking forward to working with our partner, Social Finance, and these leading practitioners to do what we do best, which is work across public, private and nonprofit sectors to make a difference for those who need it most.”

The Sorenson Impact Center and Social Finance will provide both technical assistance to structure high-quality PFS projects and cash grants of up to $100,000 to support the awardees in hiring staff dedicated to their PFS efforts.

“For the three awardees announced today, Pay for Success provides an innovative pathway to grow their impact,” said Tracy Palandjian, CEO and co-founder of Social Finance. “We look forward to working with the Sorenson Impact Center and our three partners to structure transactions that deliver enduring, measurable and meaningful results in their communities.”

Pay for Success is an innovative public-private partnership model that combines nonprofit expertise, private funding and independent evaluation to transform how government leaders respond to chronic social issues. PFS unites three key stakeholders—investors, nonprofit service providers, and government—leveraging private capital to scale effective programs and ensure that government only pays for results.

Awardees will work collaboratively with the Sorenson Impact Center and Social Finance to structure PFS transactions. To support the development and launch of PFS projects, awardees will receive technical assistance, active performance management support, capacity-building resources to structure and launch projects, and comprehensive communications and stakeholder engagement strategies.

The following service providers were selected:

Charter Oak State College

Charter Oak State College (COSC) is a fully-accredited Connecticut-based completion college, supporting adults who have “stopped out” of college with few options for finishing their undergraduate educations. COSC supports adult-learners in earning college credit for knowledge and skills acquired throughout employment, military experience, continuing education, and corporate training. With this award, COSC will work to expand out-of-state enrollment and scale their established model.

“We have aggressive efforts in Connecticut to provide cutting-edge education services to the residents of our state, and Charter Oak State College is playing a big role in connecting people with opportunities that are allowing them to receive degrees and open doors to a host of career and life changing prospects,” Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said. “Investing in our workforce by helping Connecticut residents achieve a college degree will help us build a future for our state in which we are graduating as many students as possible into good paying jobs with good benefits.”

“We are very grateful to have been recognized by the Sorenson Impact Center as a leader in adult degree completion,” said President Ed Klonoski of Charter Oak State College. “This unique opportunity pilots a new economic model in public higher education—engaging private investment to more robustly support publicly accredited college degree completion efforts. Charter Oak plans to leverage private investment to scale enrollment and student support services, reinvigorating our business model and contributing to solving the national degree completion crises.”

Lee Pesky Learning Center

The Lee Pesky Learning Center (LPLC) is a Boise, Idaho-based nonprofit that provides professional development for teachers, psycho-educational evaluations and academic and counseling interventions to students ages 6-18 at risk for or with high incidences of disabilities. With this award, LPLC will launch their evidence-based Idaho Early Literacy Training Intervention to Pre-K through 3rd grade teachers to improve grade level reading performance for students at risk for poor reading outcomes.

“We are grateful to be continuing our collaboration with the Sorenson Impact Center and developing a new relationship with Social Finance as we continue efforts to scale our early literacy work in Idaho through a Pay for Success contract. Ensuring that more children enter Kindergarten ready to read is essential to achieving a host of important social outcomes, making this support for our work invaluable,” said Dr. Evelyn Johnson, Lee Pesky Learning Center’s scientific director.

Workforce Investment Network

The Workforce Investment Network (WIN) is a Tennessee-based community resource that prepares job seekers for success and helps connect them with employment opportunities in Memphis, Shelby County, and Fayette County. WIN provides job seekers with a variety of services, such as assessments, resume development, and job search assistance and helps fund the job skills training needed to find and keep a good job. With this award, WIN will implement a PFS project serving individuals at a moderate-to-high risk of reoffending.

“Workforce Investment Network is delighted to partner with Sorenson and Social Finance. The grant will allow us to significantly hone our performance management expertise, and in turn, will equip us to better support local workforce development programs,” said Kevin Woods, executive director of Workforce Investment Network. “Our goal is to design a system that produces significant outcomes—a win for taxpayers, businesses, job seekers and families.”


About the Sorenson Impact Center

The Sorenson Impact Center, housed at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, is a think-and-do tank that marshals capital for social good, empowers data-driven programs, breaks down silos across sectors, and equips the next generation of leaders with social purpose. To learn more, visit

About Social Finance, Inc.
Social Finance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress. Social Finance is committed to using Pay for Success to tackle complex social challenges, facilitate greater access to services for vulnerable populations, and direct capital to evidence-based social programs – all with the goal of measurably improving the lives of people most in need. To learn more, visit

Related News