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Publication Title:

Climbing the Pay for Success Learning Curve: How a working group helped South Carolina understand and prepare for PFS financing


Megan Golden

Date: March 2014

Publication Type: Issue Briefs & Policy Reports

Policy Area: Pay for Success

Page Count: 8

Publication Excerpt:

In January 2013, few people in South Carolina had ever heard of Pay for Success financing (PFS), a new approach to funding solutions to difficult social problems. PFS uses private and philanthropic capital to expand successful projects, even when government budgets are strapped. But by September of that year, the state had expressed interest in using PFS to improve maternal and child health, issuing a “request for information” seeking formal input on how this financing mechanism could be implemented. Foundations, banks, and other groups were excited about the prospect of investing in PFS. These stakeholders were excited because they were ready. In the intervening months, government officials, service providers, local foundations, academics, legislators, and potential investors had come together to delve into the subject of PFS financing from many angles. They learned about PFS in other jurisdictions, considered how it could apply in their areas, identified challenges and benefits, and brainstormed ways to overcome thorny implementation issues. The nonprofit Institute for Child Success (ICS) convened the working group that sparked this transformation. This document describes lessons learned from the experience, providing a roadmap for those who wish to convene similar working groups to explore PFS financing.

The Institute for Child Success (ICS) is committed to improving the systems that serve children from before birth through age five to ensure that all children succeed.

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