Caroline Whistler

CEO and Co-Founder

San Francisco, CA

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Caroline Whistler is co-founder and CEO of Third Sector, where she leads the organization’s work advising our government agencies on effective ways to reshape their policies, systems, and services toward better outcomes for all people, no matter their race, background, and circumstances. Third Sector is a national nonprofit helping to unlock possibility, confront inequity, and catalyze change to the benefit of the people and places our government, community-based, and philanthropic partners serve. It has transitioned more than $1.8B in public funding to be outcomes-focused, directing those resources on improving solutions for key social issues, including diversion and re-entry, behavioral health, early childhood, and family economic mobility. Third Sector has grown to serve more than 50 state and local government jurisdictions.

Under Caroline’s leadership, the organization has become an established national nonprofit with 60 remote employees and a $10M operating budget. This success has garnered Caroline national recognition as a leading expert in Pay for Success and outcomes-focused 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.” Caroline's trailblazing approach to public-sector partnerships is rooted in a firm belief that in order to affect social change, leaders in positions of authority must identify and incorporate groundbreaking solutions that challenge the status quo, seek out promising practices, and develop new concepts for programs with courage and conviction.

"Paying for Results 2.0, with Caroline Whistler" - Public Money Podcast with Liz Farmer and Justin Marlowe

"The Evolving Promise of Pay for Success" by Sindhu Lakshmanan, Roger Low & Caroline Whistler

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

"Underwriting Innovation: How Information Technology and Pay for Success Contracting Can Transform Public-Sector Outcomes" by Caroline Whistler and Matt Gee

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.