Massachusetts, like many other states and municipalities across the US, is grappling with a tremendous challenge: With increasingly strained budgets and growing social need, how can government funding be directed towards evidence-based programs that offer demonstrated cost-savings? Pay for Success and Social Impact Bonds (PFS/SIB) have emerged as potential mechanisms for making smart investments in effective social interventions by changing the way Government allocates and invests its resources -- focusing on results and outcomes. In short, funding what works.
In May 2011, Massachusetts issued a Request for Information (RFI) with the goal of helping the Commonwealth determine "the areas of government activity where success-based-contracting strategies have the potential to improve outcomes and/or reduce costs." The Justice System is one area of government activity with the potential to illustrate both improved outcomes and well-defined cost savings for the Commonwealth. In addition, Massachusetts has a variety of established service providers that offer preventative initiatives to populations involved with the Justice System, particularly young people. One of these successful and well-known providers, Roca, had worked with Third Sector Capital Partners (Third Sector) for a year and a half to prepare itself to be a successful candidate for this PFS/SIB opportunity.