The Government Performance Lab (GPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced Feb. 23 that it has selected California, Connecticut, and Illinois to receive technical assistance developing performance improvement projects that apply Pay for Success (PFS) principles to core agency services. The GPL, a grantee of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Social Innovation Fund (SIF), received applications from more than a dozen state and local governments, demonstrating the growing interest in new approaches to the way governments address stubborn social challenges.

Over the past three years, the GPL has provided pro bono government-side technical assistance to 32 jurisdictions in 22 states and has helped state and local governments develop nine of the 15 launched Pay for Success projects in the country. By connecting payment to the achievement of rigorously measured outcomes, these PFS projects allow innovative leaders to invest in preventative services, generate evidence about what works, and collaborate with service providers to catalyze systems change.

“Our experience with Pay for Success over the past five years has shown that it can be a powerful tool for transforming government’s ability to provide services effectively and improve outcomes in areas of pressing social need,” said Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at HKS and GPL director. “We are excited to collaborate with innovative government leaders in California, Connecticut, and Illinois on projects aiming to alleviate poverty, increase family stability, combat recidivism, and improve higher education.”

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