Fuentes’ Social Innovation Act Highlighted at University of Pennsylvania Roundtable

Presentations and discussions held by the nation’s thought leaders from the emerging field of social innovation finance

(CAMDEN) – Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester) took part the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government Social Impact Bond Roundtable, where the “NJ Social Innovation Act” was a topic of discussion.

The “NJ Social Innovation Act” explores ways to utilize social finance to fund programs aimed at reducing ER visits through preventative care. Investors realize a return on their contribution if specific goals – including governmental cost-savings – are met.

“New Jersey’s hospitals face a crisis, which will only get worse if we don’t address the problem at the outset,” explained Assemblyman Fuentes. “By expanding programs that help low-income residents receive the care they need in a timely fashion, we can reduce their reliance on emergency room visits. This saves everyone money, from the patient, to the hospital and even the taxpayers.”

David Thornburgh, Fels Executive Director, led a discussion of how the development of social impact bonds and other social innovation finance initiatives could affect the Greater Philadelphia Region. He highlighted the “NJ Social Innovation Act” as a leap forward in the area of social impact financing, which has primarily been used in this country to fund anti-recidivism rates.

“We have to change the way we finance social projects if we hope successfully improve outcomes for our residents,” said Assemblyman Fuentes. “Yesterday’s event brought together the nation’s leading minds who are working to revolutionize the world of social finance.”

Presenters included Penn Lecturer and Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute John Roman, and John Grossman, Partner and General Counsel at Third Sector Capital. Representatives from the Fund for New Jersey, the City of Philadelphia and a number of other social service providers and foundations were in attendance.

The Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1937 and hosts the University’s graduate program in public policy and public management.

The “New Jersey Social Innovation Act” was passed by the General Assembly on March 21, 2013. It currently awaits a hearing in the Senate Economic Growth Committee.