Project Social Impact Assessment: A Discussion Among Grantmakers
Host Goldman Sachs
Start Date 2003-00-00
Notes The Goldman Sachs Foundation Social Impact Assessment A Discussion Among Grantmakers  March 26, 2003 New York City Table of Contents 1. Background 2 2. State of the Field 4 3. Case Studies 7 3.1. Roberts Enterprise Development Fund: From 7 Measurement to Management 3.2. New Profit, Inc.: Finding the Right Measures 9 3.3. Edna McConnell Clark Foundation: Improving the 10 Rigor of Impact Assessment 3.4. Coastal Enterprises, Inc.: 12 Balancing Credibility and Feasibility 4. Specific Challenges for the Field of 14 Social Impact Assessment 5. Next Steps: Principles and Possibilities 16 APPENDIX A: Double Bottom Line Glossary 18 In recent years, there has been a sea change in measuring social impact in both the philanthropic sector and the double bottom line investing community. However, while many methodologies exist, there is minimal consensus across the sector on how to assess social impact. On March 26, 2003, The Goldman Sachs Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation hosted over fifty funders at Goldman Sachs offices in New York to discuss the issues sur- rounding assessing social impact and social return on investment (“SROI”). We were pleased with the high level of interest in this topic and the insights articulated during the day’s discus- sions. Our focus was on two thematic fields: education/youth development and community development/employment. The purpose of the meeting was twofold: • To convene a cross-section of charitable and double bottom line funders to discuss and learn from various approaches to assessing social impact and social return on investment in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors; and • To begin a dialogue on developing a common set of expectations for metrics or standards that could be used in the education/youth development and community development/employment sectors to assess the social impact of philanthropic and other social purpose investments. The idea for this meeting came from our respective activities in the area of social impact assessment. The Rockefeller Foundation recently commissioned work by leading academics and social scientists in the area of social impact and SROI assessment. The Goldman Sachs Foundation has supported work through the Global Social Venture Competition on social impact measurement, and convened a symposium for social entrepreneurs on measuring social impact in 2002 at the University of California at Berkeley. While the attached document by Neil Carlson summarizes the content of the March 26th meeting, it should not be viewed as a stand-alone publication. We intended this discussion to serve as a catalyst for furthering dialogue among funders. This meeting was only the start of a journey toward developing metrics that can be useful to the funding community and practitioners. Finally, special thanks to Catherine Clark of Columbia Business School, William Rosenzweig of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and Sara Olsen of SVT Consulting for orga- nizing this meeting. Sincerely, Stephanie Bell-Rose President The Goldman Sachs Foundation Julia Lopez Senior Vice President The Rockefeller Foundation