Philanthropic funders can support outcomes-based funding in many ways, from investing in projects to providing grants that lay a foundation for impact.

Impact Investing

Funders may participate in projects and funds as an impact investor, providing the upfront capital to support service delivery. Philanthropic partners often bring a critical understanding of the challenges and opportunities in local and issue area contexts and can incentivize other impact investors to support a project or fund. In some projects, foundations participate as traditional investors, while others provide more catalytic capital, committing to a first loss position or providing credit enhancement to other impact investors.

Social Finance can facilitate philanthropic investments of many types—program-related investments (PRIs), mission-related investments (MRIs), recoverable or recyclable grants, funded or unfunded guarantees, and other investments.

Learn more about our impact investing work >>


Philanthropic organizations and individuals can help build a strong foundation for project design through grants to support a feasibility assessment, which could include evaluating the social problem, examining evidence-based interventions, identifying growth-ready service providers, and modeling potential transaction economics. These analyses prepare investors, payors, and other project partners to pursue outcomes-based projects, and help identify any additional capacity that a service provider may need.

Philanthropic support is also critical during the project design phase; foundations and individuals can help build capacity among different stakeholders, support early project pilots or evaluation costs, and contribute to outcomes payments alongside government and other payors.

Learn more about our advisory work with philanthropies >>

Catalyzing Innovation and Thought Leadership

Foundations have played an important role in Social Finance’s ability to innovate since its founding. Initial supporters like the Pershing Square Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation supported our early work adapting the Social Impact Bond to a U.S. context and helped us launch our first project in 2013. In recent years, we have worked with philanthropic partners to design and test outcomes rate cards and Career Impact Bonds, now core parts of our strategy.

Foundations also help build the field through market education and thought leadership. From webinars to publications and workshops, we have partnered with foundations to share our learnings and develop a strong and sustainable market for outcomes-based funding.

“Silicon Valley Community Foundation believes we have the responsibility to help guide our donors in maximizing their philanthropic dollars not only through traditional grantmaking but also through place-based and impact-first investments. Partnering with Social Finance has allowed us to expand the tools we offer our donors to help them amplify their impact, achieve their philanthropic goals, and contribute to equitable recovery efforts.”

— Nicole Taylor, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Our Supporters

Our philanthropic partners include individuals, family foundations, private foundations, and donor-advised funds. See a list of our supporters >>

Our Team

The Social Finance team brings experience from government, private foundations, nonprofits, and leading financial, consulting, and legal firms. Learn more >>

Contact Us

For more information on supporting our work, contact Vice President Annie Knickman Plancher.