MaRS will launch a $200-million fund that grants to social impact organizations based on results. Could this accelerate recovery?

The National Outcomes Fund is intended to help organizations deliver tangible results to the communities they serve, but it will need to contend with some major critiques of the model

Why It Matters

Deploying $200 million worth of funding to assist the social impact world will be welcome during the pandemic. Outcome-based models are relatively new, but appear to be gaining in popularity. However, it isn’t clear whether they actually provide the sort of innovative thinking they claim to.

What would happen if a fund granted capital to a social impact organization not on the basis of need, but according to whether its programs actually achieved their mission? 

Sometime this year, the Toronto-based MaRS is planning to launch a $200 million National Outcomes Fund aimed at providing grants to social impact organizations based on how well they achieve a set of predetermined goals. Adam Jagelewski, co-founder and executive lead of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, says this fund could be used to reward organizations that meet their targets. 

“If they were to achieve a performance level that is over and above what they’re currently operating on, then they would be given a bonus payment,” he says. Another option is to use private investors through a social finance model — the decision will depend on whatever the partners involved with the project d

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