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Social Finance India’s new CEO Shantanu Ghosh and Chair Ashish Dhawan to deliver social outcomes at scale

New Delhi, Feb 19, 2020: Social Finance Global Network (SFGN) and The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) today announced that Shantanu Ghosh will be the new CEO and Ashish Dhawan the new Chair for the non-profit company. Social Finance India (SF-IND), part of the pioneering Social Finance Global Network and established with the support of The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, is a catalytic impact investment intermediary designing products for improved social outcomes in India. In 2018, the initiative was incubated along with a marquee board and advisory council to oversee its operations.

Shantanu brings three decades of business and leadership experience, with previous roles at Genpact, GE, Unilever and PricewaterhouseCoopers. On being asked about his motivation to leave a significant corporate role and transition to the Social Sector, Shantanu mentioned, “I sincerely believe that there is need and the environment is opportune to mobilize non-philanthropic capital at scale to help accelerate the journey to the Sustainable Development Goals. It will require intensive collaboration and diverse talent from all sectors – governments, non-profits, for-profit enterprises, philanthropic foundations, and impact investors – to scale outcome-focused and SDG-aligned impact programs. SF India can play a significant catalyst role and am personally thankful to have the opportunity to give back to the community, the desire for which led me to the social sector”.

Ashish Dhawan, Founder of Central Square Foundation and Co-Founder of Ashoka University said “I am personally very excited by the prospect of improving the delivery of social outcomes in India through innovative financing instruments. We welcome Shantanu and I will work with him to drive the organization to deliver impact at scale.”

Sir Ronald Cohen commented, “The GSG warmly congratulates Ashish and Shantanu on their important new roles and looks forward to supporting their efforts to develop Social Finance India.  The potential for impact investment to play a major role in improving lives in India is huge.  Their gifted leadership will help to make this a reality.”

SFInd’s initial focus will be on Education in India. The India Education Outcomes Fund (IEOF), announced in October 2018 is a pooled-structure for commissioning Impact Bonds at scale. An Impact Bond, or a Pay-for-success contract as it is known in the US, is a mechanism that harnesses private capital for social services by making repayments contingent upon achievement of pre-agreed outcomes as validated by a rigorous and independent evaluation. The IEOF, along with the Middle East & Africa Education Outcomes Fund, are the world’s first outcome funds. The initial outcome funding for IEOF will be provided by philanthropic organizations, international aid organizations, and CSR contributions as allowed under existing legislation. These outcome-focused interventions in the education sector will lead to improved learning and educational outcomes across government and affordable schools in India. The first impact bond of SF-IND is under execution.

To date, three[1] impact bonds have been contracted in India (185 bonds globally). None of these have been able to direct the $2bn of CSR spends into an outcomes-based financing construct. Social Finance India has designed and convened the first-ever pay-for-outcomes project using CSR funding that will impact literacy outcomes of Grade 1 and 2 students in Haryana. The $2.5mn project is under execution and will improve foundational reading skills of ~110,000 students in more than 3,200 Government Schools across 7 districts of the state.

The SF-IND Board includes Ashish Dhawan, Founder, Central Square Foundation and Ashoka University; Rajiv Lall, Non-Executive Chairman, IDFC Bank; and Vikram Gandhi, Founder, ASHA Impact, a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School and Amit Bhatia (CEO, GSG). The SF-IND Advisory Council include Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman, Global Steering Group (GSG); Brace Young (Chair of the Social Finance Global Network and Chair of Social Finance USA); David Hutchison, CEO, Social Finance UK; Tracy Palandjian, CEO and Co-Founder, Social Finance USA; Yaron Neudorfer, CEO of Social Finance Israel, Vivek Pandit, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company; and Nishith Desai, Founder and Managing Partner, Nishith Desai Associates.

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