SAN FRANCISCO, June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The best hope for lasting progress against America's biggest social problems is for service providers and funders to align around what really works – and what it really costs – to advance healthy communities.
This was the unifying message on Tuesday, when Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (SF Fed) opened the West Coast chapter of Invest in Results, a national dialogue around outcomes. Hundreds of experts from government, nonprofits, philanthropy, and finance are joining forces to shift the US social sector toward an outcomes orientation, in which funding is tied to the ability to demonstrate that high-quality services produce results against America's most severe problems in healthcare, education, housing, employment, and more.
"If you give a well-managed, strategically focused, and results-oriented nonprofit organization flexible, unrestricted dollars, good outcomes will follow," said Fred Ali, President and CEO, Weingart Foundation, at the event at the SF Fed. "The incessant focus on restricted programmatic funding has come at a huge cost to our sector. If you're doing it the right way, unrestricted funding allows you to look holistically at the organization rather than just a specific program."
SF Fed and NFF are helping the outcomes dialogue move forward in meetings, events, and workshops of all shapes and sizes across the country. A new book, What Matters: Investing in Results to Build Strong, Vibrant Communities, includes expert perspectives and examples detailing the social, cultural, and financial implications of orienting programs and funding around outcomes.
For example, outcomes-focused partnerships from California to Maine are joining public and private healthcare organizations with community-based nonprofits that provide human services. "Health and the economy benefit from our understanding that the social determinants of health, and the well-being and long-term prosperity of individuals, are fundamentally the same," said Tyler Norris, Chief Executive, Well Being Trust, another speaker at Tuesday's event. "We need to think about outcomes financing strategies for things that drive health, such as access to affordable housing and fresh foods. Through collaborative planning, communities can create this groundswell of change and serve as an example for others to aspire to."
One panel focused on Pay for Success (PFS) contracting, an early proving ground in the shift to outcomes. "At their core, PFS and other approaches to outcomes-based financing are about doing more for communities, not just innovation for innovation's sake," said panel moderator Jessica LaBarbera, Vice President, Strategic Innovation, NFF. "Work on PFS has ripple effects that help build much-needed 'outcomes muscle,' such as infrastructure improvements in government and service providers' capacities to measure results and expand programs that work."
"For us, it was important to create a relationship between government and service providers where incentives around outcomes are central. Instead of fee for service, we structured our Pay for Success contracts around true outcomes in order to improve service delivery to our most vulnerable clients," said Kavita Narayan, Deputy County Counsel, County of Santa Clara. "For our County, the drivers of the cultural shift toward outcomes have been all through the spectrum, from the leadership level and the CEO prioritizing an outcomes focus, to a number of County department heads working with their staff members to understand the importance of the shift and of working differently with our providers. It's been an organic shift."
"Through this book series and surrounding events, we are convening stakeholders across the community development industry – from governments, foundations, and impact investors, to many nonprofits providing critical services to Americans in need," said Ian Galloway, Director of the Center for Community Development Investments, SF Fed. "We all need to be more strategic about how we do our work. We need data to know what's working and empower service providers with evidence to sense and respond to changes on the ground. And we must continue to shift our industry away from programs, process, and compliance so we are all working toward outcomes."
Tuesday's speakers also included: Mark Gould, Vice President and COO, SF Fed; Nancy Andrews, President and CEO, Low Income Investment Fund; Jennifer Talansky, Managing Director, Knowledge & Impact, NFF; Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO, NFF; Fred Blackwell, CEO, The San Francisco Foundation; David Erickson, Director of Community Development, SF Fed; Sam Schaeffer, Executive Director and CEO, Center for Employment Opportunities; Carrie McKellogg, Chief Program Officer, The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund; Don Howard, President and CEO, The James Irvine Foundation; Louis Chicoine, Executive Director, Abode Services; Saidah Leatutufu, Economic Mobility Director, HOPE SF, Office of the Mayor of San Francisco; and Andrea Levere, President, Prosperity Now.
Visit investinresults.org to join the conversation.
About Nonprofit Finance Fund
NFF advances missions and social progress in underserved communities through financing, consulting, partnerships, and knowledge-sharing that empower leaders, organizations, and ideas. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), NFF has $250 million in assets under management and has provided $620 million in financing and access to additional capital in support of over $2.3 billion in projects for thousands of organizations nationwide. Visit nff.org to learn more about our work and follow us on twitter at @nff_news. Funding for the Invest in Results campaign is generously provided to NFF by Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network, The Robin Hood Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation.
About the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (SF Fed) promotes low inflation, full employment and financial stability and serves the Twelfth Federal Reserve District, which includes the nine western states—Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington—plus American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The SF Fed's community development team works with a wide range of organizations to create economic opportunity for lower income Americans by developing and connecting best practices and emerging ideas with organizations positioned to make meaningful change in communities. Follow us on Twitter at @sffed.
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SOURCE Nonprofit Finance Fund