MDRC Participating in Innovative Social Impact Bond Project in NYC


On August 2, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a contract for the nation’s first Social Impact Bond, an innovative way to fund promising new programs at no cost to the taxpayer. As part of New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative, this investment will support a new evidence-based program for young people on Rikers Island. 

The program — the Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience (ABLE) — focuses on personal responsibility education, training, and counseling, with the goal of reducing the likelihood of reincarceration. In this new model, private investors fund the intervention through a private contractor and the government pays the contractor only if the program meets its goals. Goldman Sachs will provide financing, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide grant support for the effort, and MDRC will oversee the project. MDRC will contract with the Osborne Association and Friends of the Island Academy to deliver the program services. 

In an article in the New York Times, Harvard professor Jeffrey Liebman said about the project: “This will get attention as perhaps the most interesting government contract written anywhere in the world this year…People will study the contract terms, and the New York City deal will become a model for other jurisdictions.”