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The Social Innovation Finance Series

Past Editions

Dear Reader,

We are proud to share that the Social Innovations Journal is introducing a new monthly edition on financing social innovation – “The Social Innovation Finance Series.” Across the globe there has been a rapid rise in the number of social sector innovators and entrepreneurs who want to find out-of-the-box ways to solve or “move the needle” on society’s problems, and they are increasingly deploying the methods of business and private capital to help them to do so. These Changemakers include people in the social sector who can now tap markets for finance, in addition to seeking grants from donors and philanthropists who are willing to fund innovative ideas and businesses if they offer a greater likelihood of achieving their desired social impact. The force of innovative finance and funding holds the potential to drive a social sector revolution by harnessing the energy of the social innovations, enterprises, and partnerships that propel forward innovation, entrepreneurship, and capital to power social impact. 

The focus of the newest series of the Social Innovations Journal is funding and finance in key areas within social innovation including Social Mobility, Health, and Human Services. The monthly series covers philanthropy, impact investing, policy as investment, raising capital, and new financial instruments. The rich array of topics of our new series includes: Funding Systems Change; Health Care Bonds; Philanthropic Roundtable; Raising Capital; Regional Focus; Philanthropic Equity; Program Related Investments; and Social Impact Bonds.

The economist Robert Shiller discusses the inherent beauty of finance in his Finance and the Good Society. We often think of many other things in life as beautiful, like a great work of art, an expansive landscape, but rarely finance. Yet, Shiller challenges us to expand our view of beauty to appreciate what lies beneath the surface. 

“Beyond the beauty of theory there is even more beauty in finance for what it creates. For finance is about human desires and human possibilities, and it facilitates all of the day to day activities that constitute our waking lives.” 

As Shiller states, there is an inherent beauty in finance and even more so in the use of finance as an instrument to address our most intractable societal problems. Shiller is pushing us to envision the use of finance and funding to imagine “what if” these resources could be leveraged to address our greatest social needs, and our hope is that our latest edition, "The Social Innovation Finance Series," will provide the framework to achieve this goal.


We are kicking off our inaugural edition of "The Social innovation Finance Series" with Odin Mühlenbein. Odin is an esteemed partner at Ashoka Germany and Ashoka Globalizer. He is recognized for his efforts in the development of systems change strategies through his work leading top social entrepreneurs as part of his role at Ashoka Globalizer. We are honored to have Odin's contributions in our first edition, where together we explore Odin's professional work through the articles he authored and learn from his expertise in finding, funding and fostering systems change initiatives through an in-depth, yet candid interview.

We hope that your journey into "The Social Innovation Finance Series" will bring you new insights from the articles and interview by and about the innovators at the helm of building the social innovation finance field. We believe that this series can serve as a catalyst to our coming together to advance innovative solutions in response to some of the largest issues facing communities across the globe.

Yours in innovation,

Nicholas Torres and Tine Hanson-Turton