Social Sector Mobilizes toward Better Outcomes for US Communities Providers, Supporters, and Buyers of Critical Services Gather

June 5, 2017

New York, NY – June 5, 2017 – Hundreds of experts from government, nonprofits, philanthropy, and finance gathered today to share ideas and advance the innovation needed to solve America’s most severe problems in healthcare, education, housing, employment, and more.

The discussion covered many issues, geographies, and sectors, shedding light on a growing movement to shift the social sector toward an outcomes orientation, in which funding is tied to the ability to demonstrate that high-quality services produce results for those in need.

“The system we’ve created does not align our deepest aspirations with what we fund and pay attention to. For example, the people running a shelter don't want to be in the hotel business, they want to be in the ending homelessness business. Changing our sector to orient around outcomes is hard, but it is also crucial and worth it,” said Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), which has partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (SF Fed) to drive a national dialogue about outcomes.

“The Fed stewards the macroeconomy – itself a combination of microeconomies reliant on investments in the social sector," said David Erickson, SF Fed Director of Community Development. "Through initiatives like this, we aim to give investors and policymakers a new perspective on how to strengthen social outcomes for the people and areas that need it most."

Today’s event at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York marked the launch of a national dialogue on outcomes-based funding and the publication of What Matters: Investing in Results to Build Strong, Vibrant Communities, a collection of essays by 80 authors with wide expertise on the social, cultural, and financial implications of orienting programs and funding around outcomes.

“The challenge is that, as a sector, philanthropy is pretty conservative, particularly on the investment side. Over time, we take on the mentality of stewardship, and that can be very problematic for risk-taking and innovation and social investment," said Darren Walker, President of Ford Foundation. "We all know that it is a fiction that a nonprofit can deliver a project with 10-percent overhead. We've all bought into this charade because it allows us to not do the deeper work. It's hard to get a group of very privileged people in a very privileged sector to interrogate their behavior with authenticity. The arc of justice doesn't happen in three-year grant cycles."

“We’re thrilled to partner with Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to help illuminate the need for strategic, results-oriented philanthropy,” said essay author Kerry Sullivan, President of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “Advancing long-term solutions in communities through meaningful dialogue and cross-sector partnerships is essential to fuel economic growth and create shared success.”

Today’s speakers also included: Anand Marri, Vice President and Head of Outreach and Education, Federal Reserve Bank of NY; Denise Scott, EVP, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Member of the Board of Directors, Federal Reserve Bank of NY; Jennifer Talansky, Managing Director, Knowledge & Impact, NFF; Andrew Plepler, Global Head of ESG at Bank of America; Terri Ludwig, President and CEO, Enterprise Community Partners; Zia Khan, Vice President, Initiatives and Strategy, The Rockefeller Foundation; Muzzy Rosenblatt, President and CEO, BRC; Linda Gibbs, Principal of Social Services, Bloomberg Associates, and former New York City Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services; Dave Wilkinson, former Director, White House Office of Social Innovation; Tyler Norris, CEO, Well Being Trust; Ian Galloway, Director of the Center for Community Development Investments, SF Fed; and Andrea Levere, President, Prosperity Now.

Visit to learn more about this exciting initiative.

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