It’s hard to think of a funder that is more obsessed with finding breakthrough solutions than the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. One day, it’s laying out big bucks to find alternatives to expensive college textbooks, and the next day, it’s forging a left-right coalition to reform criminal justice policies.
Its big move last week? Pumping $8.4 million into a major initiative at the Urban Institute to advance Pay for Success (PFS), which aims to reward successful programs in the social sector. The investment will pay for a variety of technical resources aimed at bolstering and evaluating PFS projects, with an eye toward upping the game of all the players involved in PFS: government, service providers, evaluators, and funders. Tools developed by the Urban Institute will help to structure deals, determine which projects are most effective and cost-efficient, and set benchmarks for success.