One year into the pandemic, here’s what the social finance world has learned

Four key lessons from across the social finance ecosystem

Why It Matters

The federal government’s $755 million Social Finance Fund is expected to launch sometime this year, and the need for that capital is high. But design matters — and the government has a chance to implement a year’s worth of accelerated learning on the future of social finance.

The federal government’s Investment Readiness Program wasn’t supposed to be a crisis-times social finance tool, but that’s what it became. 

The government announced the program in 2019 as a way to prepare organizations to take on loans as part of the incoming $755 million federal Social Finance Fund. After two rounds of the program, social finance experts say while many organizations’ readiness might have been boosted, the social finance ecosystem as a whole still needs to change for a post-COVID, rebuilding-oriented, more equitable future. 

“The IRP came at a really nice time where they were able to meet people where they were at with some flexibility,” said social finance consultant and facilitator André Pawan Vashist, but “let’s be honest: (communities) were vulnerable before COVID…that’s what we need to really lean into, now that we’ve l

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