End of Year Review: 2017

Throughout 2017, Third Sector and its partners have delivered improved outcomes for vulnerable Americans while accelerating the nation’s transition to a performance-driven social sector. With over $1 trillion in public funding dedicated to social issues each year, our work provides catalytic implementation support that enables communities to effectively address problems such as lack of meaningful jobs, recidivism, and overuse of foster care. See below for highlights on how Third Sector moved over $260M in total public funding to outcomes in 2017 and is leading the effort to implement solutions so that every dollar government spends on services is tied to outcomes.

Looking ahead to 2018, we are focusing our efforts on economic mobility by transitioning larger funding streams to outcomes-orientation, deepening our impact on workforce development and family empowerment outcomes, and building connections between data systems and government contracting to facilitate program effectiveness.

We strive to be catalysts of meaningful systems change, and our projects serve as examples of how to use data and contracts to make government more effective. In nearly every jurisdiction where we have launched a project, the government is working to take what they have learned from our collaboration and implementing those strategies elsewhere.

We look forward to partnering with our communities, supporters, and collaborators for another year of progress as we define and build outcomes-oriented government together.

Thank you for your support, and best wishes for a happy and impactful 2018!

Caroline Whistler, CEO
Third Sector


Expanding Our Impact  

Since our founding in 2011, Third Sector has engaged 30+ communities and helped launch eleven outcomes-oriented contracts that transition over $360 million in total public funding towards positive outcomes. Our work is improving programs across a range of social issues including education, mental health, housing, child welfare, workforce development, and criminal justice. Among our accomplishments in 2017:

We catalyzed the launch of over $260M in outcomes-oriented contracts: "Just-in-Reach" in Los Angeles County ($20M) and King County (WA) Pay for Success (over $80M annually over three years). In Los Angeles, the County is using PFS to reduce jail recidivism and help end homelessness among people experiencing repeat jail stays. King County is utilizing outcomes-oriented contracting to incentivize the provision of treatment on demand of outpatient mental health and addiction services across nearly 30 providers. Both of these communities are leveraging this work to expand the use of data and an outcomes-focused approach across agencies and funding streams.

Early results from the "Partners in Wellness" project in Santa Clara County, CA are demonstrating positive impact with significant reductions in the use of emergency psychiatric services and inpatient psychiatric hospitalization by clients of service provider Telecare.

Three communities from our Social Innovation Fund workforce cohort are leveraging the Pay for Performance provisions in the $1 billion annual federal WIOA funds to shift contracts addressing youth employment and education towards career and living wage outcomes.

We are collaborating with our partners to deliberately connect data to government contracting.

We are working with three of the eight counties awarded $3 million by the US Department of Education to explore innovative funding strategies to expand preschool and improve educational outcomes for three and four year olds.

Developing the Field

Third Sector is dedicated to sharing our learnings and introducing our work and the work of the field to new audiences.

Growing Our Team          

In 2017, we grew our team to 47 people across our San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, DC offices. This diverse group of staff use their deep experience from business, nonprofits, and government to thoughtfully collaborate with our clients and partners to help them advance their efforts in developing outcomes-oriented policy.

We also expanded our Board of Directors and created an Advisory Board.

  • We welcome Sam Cobbs, CEO of First Place for Youth as the newest member of our Board of Directors, as well as Jared Weinstein, General Partner at Thrive Capital and Rick Williams, CEO of the Sobrato Family Foundation, who have joined our Advisory Board.