A transformational gift to support Third Sector’s work

When we started Third Sector 10 years ago, my co-founder George Overholser and I saw that there was a big disconnect among government-funded human and social service programs, the communities those programs were designed to serve, and the philanthropic efforts designed to address some of the nation’s most persistent challenges, including health, homelessness, education, and workforce development.

There’s no doubt that social service delivery is serious, complex, and expensive -- but the trillions of dollars being spent by government and philanthropy every year weren’t connected to results, and the government programs that funded and delivered services weren’t connected to the communities they were charged with serving.

Our approach to outcomes-focused systems transformation has come a long way since our founding in 2011. In that time, we have worked with over 40 communities to deploy more than $1.2 billion in government resources toward outcomes.

While our initial work used a pay for success model to help government reflect on the outcomes it was trying to achieve and incentivize success against those outcomes, in the past few years we have evolved our mission - and how we work - to more clearly reflect the impact we aim to achieve: to transform public systems to advance improved and equitable outcomes. We have learned that we cannot achieve our mission without dismantling the structural racism that exists in government human services. We must engage the beneficiaries of these human and social service programs to help define the outcomes they care about and be active partners in the programs’ redesign, ultimately aligning policy, dollars, data, and services around improved social outcomes. 

Today, we are honored and humbled to announce receiving a transformational gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, in support of our work. In a Medium article posted on June 15th, Scott announced that we are one of 286 organizations receiving a total of $2,739,000,000, identified as making an impact in historically underfunded and underserved communities.

This support not only validates our approach to public systems transformation -- it also builds momentum toward the tremendous work ahead to realign and redesign more than $1 trillion in government human and social service spending to shape more equitable public systems. It not only tells us that we are on the right track when it comes to advancing improved and equitable outcomes -- but provides us the opportunity to partner more deeply with communities who are eager to dig in on this essential work. 

Durable systems change is hard. We know that we cannot and will not transform government alone. But with this support -- as well as the ongoing work of all of our partners, including government agencies, nonprofit community organizations, and private funders -- we can reach more communities and facilitate larger-scale public systems transformations to foster measurably improved life outcomes for individuals and families. 


Caroline Whistler

CEO and Co-founder, Third Sector


MEDIA CONTACT: communications@thirdsectorcap.org