Edna McConnell Clark Foundation: Enabling a Performance Driven Philanthropic Capital Market

Harvard Business School



Case Study Sector


The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, focused on building the organizational capabilities of nonprofits that served the disadvantaged youth in the United States, has recently been named an intermediary in the federal government's new social innovation fund (SIF), which is intended to bring together public-private funds to help expand effective solutions across three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development. SIF intermediaries would be responsible for directing resources to innovative community-based nonprofit organizations that were seeing results. Edna McConnell Clark Foundation had long been a promoter of evidence-based accountability and grantmaking and saw the absence of an efficient capital market in the nonprofit sector as a major impediment to funding growth, increasing scale, and building the sustainability of successful nonprofit organizations. With its Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot (GCAP), Edna McConnell Clark Foundation had seen positive results in taking a "syndicate" approach to funding a select group of nonprofits. With it being named an SIF intermediary, Edna McConnell Clark was ready to build on its GCAP experience and continue to evolve a model that would provide, at increased efficiency, growth capital for successful organizations. The foundation hoped to build a capital aggregation approach that would serve as a model for philanthropy.



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