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Toby Eccles: Invest in social change
Here’s a stat worth knowing: In the UK, 63% of men who finish short-term prison sentences are back inside within a year for another crime. Helping them stay outside involves job training, classes, therapy. And it would pay off handsomely — but the government can’t find the funds. Toby Eccles shares an imaginative idea for how to change that: the Social Impact Bond. It’s an unusual bond that helps fund initiatives with a social goal through private money — with the government paying back the investors (with interest) if the initiatives work.
Toby Eccles has created a radical financial instrument that helps private investors contribute to solving thorny public problems.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
All too often, an ex-inmate walks out of prison with the exact same problems he or she walked in with: lack of skills, lack of support, no job. And they end up re-offending and back in jail. It’s an expensive problem to fix, but it’s a much more expensive one to ignore. A director at Social Finance in London, Toby Eccles explores the arbitrage between those two options.
In 2010, his pioneering Social Impact Bond allowed private investors to support a UK program targeting ex-prisoners who served short sentences (the limited government funding only goes to ex-inmates who served long terms). The £5m scheme, funded by 17 investors, supports training and support for 1,000 ex-inmates; if they re-offend less than a control group, the government will pay investors back, plus interest, through the savings accrued by achieving the program’s targets.
More such bonds are now being tried across the world, including in New York City and Massachusetts (both addressing recidivism), and extended to new fields such as development. Eccles founded Social Finance in 2007, and he oversees all of the firm’s social impact bond work, where, he says: “We are incentivised to work with the complicated and with those willing to change.” “We are incentivised to work with the complicated and with those willing to change.”
Steven Addis: A father-daughter bond, one photo at a time
A long time ago in New York City, Steve Addis stood on a corner holding his 1-year-old daughter in his arms; his wife snapped a photo. The image has inspired an annual father-daughter ritual, where Addis and his daughter pose for the same picture, on the same corner, each year. Addis shares 15 treasured photographs from the series, and explores why this small, repeated ritual means so much.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM
In the late ‘80s, Steven Addis imagined a creative agency that merged strategy and design, breaking down the walls between strategists, copywriters and designers. That vision evolved into Addis Creson, a brand strategy firm set on creating positive change by working with clients to market meaningful products and to improve their social benefit. The firm is behind the rapid rise of Kashi, the naming of Shutterfly and the launching of the sustainably raised salmon brand, Verlasso.
A photographer, film buff and writer, Addis began documenting the evolution of branding as the online world took shape. An avid traveler and supporter of the arts, he also advises businesses and non-profits through board work for the UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive andMapLight.