Social Financial Services (SFS) improves access to financing and sustainable capital from the citizen sector, addressing the lack of quantity and diversity from financial institutions to provide the necessary support for social ventures to succeed. SFS acknowledges that investors are looking for more creative and strategic ways to invest their money in social change- with a social, financial and personal engagement return -yet there are few intermediaries that know how to do this in an effective manner, and on a global scale.
As a result, SFS works with leading financial intermediaries to educate them about the immense value inherent in the social sector and helps them develop new products and services that will enable them and their clients to invest strategically in the sector.
Key SFS strategies include:
Engaging major financial institutions, including private, investment, and commercial banks, to provide alternative sources of capital;
Creating financial models such as SIV (Social Investing Ventures) to allow the movement of these cutting edge ideas to scale;
Assisting other philanthropic groups and Ashoka Fellows to secure investment through non-traditional avenues;
Encouraging learning between potential pattern-breakers and professional support institutions; and
Working with other Ashoka programs – specifically FEC and Changemakers® to leverage global change.
For more information, read " Market Based Solutions for Financing Philanthropy " co-written by Ashoka’s Arthur Wood, Former Director SFS, and UBS’s Maximilian Martin, Global Head of Philanthropy Services for UBS’s 2006 Philanthropy Forum.
In Canada, Ashoka Social Finance Services has the following priorities:
Share global knowledge of Ashoka Social Finance Service through research and articles conducted by Ashoka;
Engage Ashoka global staff and Fellows as Speakers in Canadian events;
Assist Ashoka Fellows to design plans and strategies to secure investment through non-traditional avenues;
Engage our strategic partners like McKinsey & Company in supporting Ashoka Fellows with their social enterprises and to be successful through non-traditional funds;
Encouraging local leaders in the social finance arena to interact with global Ashoka Fellows and staff to share global knowledge to support local action;
Organize learning sessions for multi-sectoral leadership development to influence Canada’s social finance movement
Support the Social Finance Task Force and its Policy Agenda Development.
Current partners in Canada:
SIG, Causeway, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and PLAN Institute
Ashoka’s additional programs in Canada:
Ashoka’s Venture  & Fellowship  program identifies and elects leading social entrepreneurs into our global Ashoka Fellowship and provides strategic support, collaboration opportunities, a community of like-mined individuals, recognition and possible financial support.
Ashoka’s Changemakers.com  is a global online community of action where we open-source solutions to the world’s most urgent social problems.
The Ashoka Support Network (ASN)  is a global community of successful business leaders and philanthropist who engage with Ashoka, committing time and resources to support the work of Ashoka Fellows.
Ashoka’s University Program  fosters, incubates, and accelerates new and effective approaches to high quality social entrepreneurship teaching, research, and action in universities and across campuses.
Ashoka’s Youth Venture  inspires teams of young people to launch and lead their own social ventures with the support of mentors and seed funding.
Ashoka's Social Finance Services (SFS)  improves more creative and strategic ways to financing and sustainable capital in the citizen sector, addressing the lack of quantity and diversity of institutional financial supports needed for social ventures to succeed.
All of our programs contribute to Ashoka's vision and mission. They all convey the historical transformation of the citizen sector  taking place and are building upon that understanding. None of our programs exist to provide services exclusively.
Ashoka's programs together are bringing our vision of Everyone a Changemaker™ closer to reality.