Social Finance

Social Finance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive, and that social impact financing can play a catalytic role in creating these opportunities. We design and manage public-private partnerships that tackle complex social challenges, such as achievement gaps, health disparities, and prisoner recidivism.

Core to our work is the development of Pay for Success (PFS) financing, also referred to as Social Impact Bonds. An innovative funding model, PFS helps to measurably improve the lives of people in need by driving government resources toward better, more effective programs. PFS is a public-private partnership which funds effective social services through a performance-based contract. PFS projects enable federal, state, and local governments to partner with high-performing service providers by tapping private investments to expand effective programs. If, following a rigorous evaluation by an independent third party, the program achieves predetermined outcomes, then government repays the original investment. However, if it does not achieve its target results, government pays nothing.

Social Finance partners with governments, nonprofits, foundations, impact investors, and financial institutions to create innovative financing solutions to improve social outcomes. In the Pay for Success and Social Impact Bond market, our Advisory Services, Social Investment, and Active Performance Management teams support all phases of work, tailored to the needs of our partners. We are focused on developing a strong Pay for Success field through market education, publications, events, research and analysis.

Role and Responsibilities

The Director’s Intern will:

  • Research social issue areas, intervention-based programs and non-profit service providers to support Advisory and Social Investment projects
  • Provide direct support to Director of Communications, which may include managing firm’s social networking outlets, developing marketing materials, monitoring press and public discussion of Social Finance, and maintaining website
  • Support market education and partnership development efforts, which may include creating original content and coordinating events 
  • Perform additional administrative tasks as assigned

The internship will be an opportunity for students to develop professional skills while learning about impact investing, intervention-based programs, and communications strategy. In addition to working side by side with the entire Social Finance team, the Intern will have the opportunity to attend educational meetings with potential partners and firm stakeholders.

2017 Intern Reflection: 

Through my internship at Social Finance, I have gained in-depth knowledge of the world of impact investing, data and outcome driven programming, public-private partnerships, and specifically, the role of Pay for Success in mobilizing capital to drive social change.  This summer, Social Finance launched the first Pay for Success project focused on workforce development in the United States.  As part of the communications team, I helped craft the messaging strategy, plan the launch event and draft media content.  Additional work for the communications team included managing social media accounts, updating the website, drafting comments for the CEO, creating marketing collateral and planning the content and strategy for the team off-site retreat.  I also was responsible for sending daily news clips to the team about developments in the field.  Beyond my work with the communications team, I performed research on market opportunities for the firm that informed their future strategy.  I synthesized the research and presented it to senior team members and the CEO.  I also supported the client relation management team by synthesizing and organizing data related to the various Social Finance projects and other projects in the broader Pay for Success field.    

Social Finance’s inclusive culture made it easy for me to feel comfortable voicing my opinion and getting involved in interesting projects.  I was encouraged to sit in on meetings and phone calls and team members were always available for questions when I had them.  I felt that my point of view was genuinely valued and there was a real effort on the part of the entire firm to make me feel welcome and included.  Each member of the team was so knowledgeable and passionate about both the daily work they were doing and the people whose lives they were impacting.  With a broad range of backgrounds from finance and consulting, to public policy, to social service and development, the people at Social Finance brought an additional layer of depth to an already innovative and interesting field of work. Social Finance is at a unique intersection of government, private investors and nonprofits and provides an incredible summer experience for anyone interested in using business and finance mechanisms to create positive social impacts.

Rosie Wigglesworth '19

2016 Intern Reflection:

Through my summer internship at Social Finance, I developed an in-depth understanding of the world of impact investing and private financing to support programs and services in the social sector, and specifically the role of Pay for Success projects in the United States and around the world. This summer, Social Finance released a landmark report on the state of the Pay for Success market since the first project was launched in the UK six years ago. As a member of the communications team, I helped edit the report and drive communications strategy for its launch, including managing social media accounts, reaching out to partners, stakeholders, and the media, updating the website, and putting together the company’s quarterly newsletter. Outside of this project, I sent out daily clips to the team, edited other reports, drafted remarks for our CEO, and created additional marketing materials.
In addition to my work on the communications team, I had the chance to help out with one of the company’s advisory projects, researching whether Pay for Success could be used to bring a health-related nonprofit’s services to five large cities in the United States, and helped brainstorm ideas for a large grant application. The opportunity to work on these projects came about due to Social Finance’s transparent and collaborative culture. As an intern, I was encouraged to sit in on meetings and to ask to get involved with projects that interested me. Everyone at the office was incredibly friendly and helpful, always willing to grab coffee or chat over lunch. I learned so much about this growing field and had a great time getting to know the smart, hardworking, and passionate members of the office. For anyone interested in public-private partnerships or the intersection of the business world and the social sector, Social Finance offers an engaging and exciting summer internship experience with huge opportunity for learning and growth.  

Avni Nahar '17

2015 Intern Reflection:

As a summer intern at Social Finance, I had the opportunity work with innovative financing mechanisms while surrounded by team members with a strong commitment to the social sector. During my internship, I worked on several projects involving Social Impact Bonds and Pay for Success deals, and the fast-paced, growing nature of the office and the field ensured there was always more work to be tackled. Throughout the summer, I was staffed on a number of communications and internal projects, including drafting remarks for the CEO, running a statistics and evaluation design training session, and creating a new platform for the firm to organize its projects and issue area work.

As a young, growing company that is a pioneer in its field, Social Finance combines a startup atmosphere with a results-oriented work ethic. The firm draws in incredibly talented minds from finance, management consulting, statistics, social service, and communications backgrounds to create a diverse and collaborative team. The open floor ensures knowledge and expertise is constantly shared, while maintaining a fun, friendly, and dynamic work atmosphere. From afternoons on the treadmill desks and in-house mini golf competitions, to off campus outings and team barbeques, Social Finance emphasizes relationship building inside and outside of the office. By working across sectors and building innovative public-private partnerships, Social Finance offers a unique summer internship experience for anyone interested in developing business skills, while creating  meaningful, social change.

Hope Schwartz '16

Boston, MA / Cambridge, MA
Economics/Business, Research, Advocacy/Policy