Salt Lake County Leads Country In Pay-For-Success Financing (Forbes)

By Devin Thorpe

Salt Lake County reports having deployed the first implementation of  pay-for-success financing at the county level in the country. Mayor Ben McAdamshas been actively involved and is now looking for more ways to apply the nascent financing structure, sometimes called social impact bonds.

McAdams says, “Salt Lake County used the Pay for Success model to send 600 additional low-income kids to preschool in 2013.”

“The Pay for Success model creates a huge opportunity to put taxpayer dollars towards what actually works, rather than following an out-dated recipe that we once thought or hoped would work,” McAdams adds.

McAdams explains his motivation, “Pay for Success is a new and different approach to traditional government programming geared towards addressing social needs in the community. Pay for Success is about better accountability for taxpayer dollars and funding what we know works.”

McAdams sees this as a beginning. “We’re interested in following data and evidence to scale up programs that help folks in their effort to get on a better path for their future.”

Next week, the Mayor is hosting a conference on Pay For Success in Salt Lake City in partnership with the White House. Sponsors for the conference include the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

The Salt Lake County Council approved developing three more pay-for-success programs in the areas of maternal and child health, prison recidivism and homelessness.