Caroline Whistler

CEO and Co-Founder

San Francisco Office

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Caroline Whistler is CEO and co-founder of Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc., where she leads the firm’s work to drive public sector resources to measurably improve lives. Under her leadership, Third Sector has launched six of the nation’s Pay for Success contracts, driving over $100 million in government funding to outcomes-oriented programs. Third Sector’s work has grown to serve over twenty state and local government jurisdictions, with strategic partnerships including: the White House Office of Social Innovation, New Profit, the Ballmer Group, the Kresge Foundation, and the Stanford University Center on Poverty and Inequality. The organization has grown from 2 to 35 staff members and increased its revenue by approximately 400 percent. In 2013, Caroline opened the San Francisco office (where she is based) followed by the firm’s third office in Washington, DC in 2016.

Caroline is recognized nationally as a leading expert in outcomes-contracting. In 2016, the Chronicle of Philanthropy named her to their “40 Under 40” list recognizing nonprofit and philanthropic leaders who are driving forward innovative solutions to pressing problems. In the same year she was also recognized by Living Cities as one of the country’s “25 Disruptive Leaders” working to improve economic outcomes for low-income people in America’s cities.

Caroline co-founded Third Sector after completing a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil researching nonprofit sustainability. Prior to Third Sector, she worked at Nonprofit Finance Fund where she structured growth capital campaigns to raise over $320 million in capital for nonprofits. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University where she studied Political Science and African-American Studies, and was a Robertson Scholar.


"Defining Positive Outcomes" by Caroline Whistler and John Grossman.

25 Disruptive Leaders Who Are Working to Close the Racial Opportunity Gaps by Ben Hecht, President & CEO, Living Cities

"Dividends for Doing Good: Caroline Whistler" by Nicole Wallace, Chronicle of Philanthropy's 40 under 40

Translating Plain English: Can the Peterborough Social Impact Bond Construct Apply Stateside?” by Drew von Glahn and Caroline Whistler.

Pay For Success Programs: An Introduction” by Drew von Glahn and Caroline Whistler.

The Real Revolution of Pay for Success: Ending 40 Years of Stagnant Results for Communities” by George Overholser and Caroline Whistler, published in the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Community Development Investment Review.