Social service providers are in desperate need of funds outside of traditional philanthropic and government dollars. At the same time, financial institutions are trying to sate a growing appetite among clients who demand their investments make some kind of social impact.
Seems like a golden opportunity, no?
“If I’m working at a big bank or I have a lot of money at my disposal, I’m not thinking about [making a social impact] on a day-to-day basis,” said Nick Ashburn, director of emerging market strategies at Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII). “If I’m on the service provider side, I’m thinking about how to fund the great work I’m doing every day.”
The disconnect, Ashburn said, is largely due to a lack of awareness. Folks who are managing wealth are trying to find creative ways to meet growing client demand for social impact.
So, WSII, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, just released a report that will (hopefully) help funnel private sector capital into social sector funding gaps. Innovative Finance: Mobilizing Capital for Maximum Impact, Ashburn said, delves into what’s already been done in innovative finance, highlights the problems that keep this particular kind of finance from growing and fleshes out some solutions.
The report is targeted primarily at leaders in business, finance, the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, as well as folks working in international development.
“If you’re a service provider trying to tackle these complex social issues on the ground, are you going to do that through philanthropy or government grants?” said Ashburn. “The likely answer is, not at scale.”
Ashburn said the report will be a tool for Rockefeller to use when it talks about innovative finance and social sector funding with other institutional stakeholders — “They’re also looking to seed fund some of these innovative ideas with their grant money.”
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