Roca, a 26-year-old Massachusetts organization that aids high-risk young men who are on track for incarceration and early death, has proven its worth with an effective model for keeping its participants out of jail and in steady jobs. Now the organization is getting a big boost from a seven year, $27 million social impact bond–the largest ever in the U.S.
Social impact bonds are a relatively new type of philanthropy where donors put money in social impact programs, which have specific and tangible goals and make money back (paid by the state of Massachusetts, which has received $11.7 million in funding for the project from the U.S. Department of Labor) only if those goals are met. In this case, Roca is participating in a randomized trial to see how its efforts in keeping young men out of prison compare to the norm.
This is a group of young men in the country that we leave on the street.
The funding, which comes from loans and grants provided by organizations including the Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund, Living Cities, and New Profit, will allow Roca to help 929 at-risk young men between 17 to 23, all of whom are either exiting the juvenile justice system or are in the probation system currently. Nonprofit advisory firm Third Sector Capital Partners organized the effort.