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:

  • Serve as an integral member of the Communications team, which may include managing the firm’s social networks, developing marketing materials, monitoring press and public discussion of Social Finance, and contributing to internal knowledge building
  • Research social issue areas, intervention-based programs and non-profit service providers to support Advisory and Social Investment projects
  • Support market education and partnership development efforts, which may include creating original content and coordinating events 
  • Perform additional 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.

2018 Intern Reflection: 

My summer internship at Social Finance has been an incredible experience so far. I have been able to work on quite a few different projects in different areas of the firm, so really have had a well-rounded experience. Each morning, I collect news articles related to Social Impact Bonds, Pay-For-Success, or other social initiatives that are related to different Social Finance projects and email them out to my coworkers. I also assist with the communications team, and have had the opportunity to work with them on an upcoming project that will help Veteran's struggling with PTSD find employment, which is very important to me as a Veteran. 

Everyone I work with is incredibly helpful, and they all truly care about the work that they do. Before I started the internship, I let my director know that if possible, I would like to learn about the impact investing side of the business. To help me gain some experience in this, my director put me on some projects with the Capital Formation team. With them I have been researching asset manager, foundations, and family offices to help Social Finance look towards financing for future projects. For anybody interested in the Impact Investing space or learning about private-public partnerships, I highly recommend applying to the Social Finance internship.

Thomas Bassett '21

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

Boston, MA / Cambridge, MA