Caroline Whistler, Third Sector Capital Partners

LinkedIn Profile = Caroline Whistler

Caroline Whistler co-founded Third Sector Capital Partners with George Overholser and Drew von Glahn after completing a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil researching nonprofit sustainability. She led the completion of the Cuyahoga and Santa Clara County projects, and currently leads the government advisory and project construction engagements for the firm.  With over $100mm in investments, Caroline's work has touched prison reform, workforce development, and Homelessness. Working with partners like the White House, Google, and Goldman Sachs, Caroline is keeping her now 35 person team at the forefront of this exciting new financing model for solving various social ills. 

Prior to Third Sector Caroline worked at Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) Capital Partners, a leader in applying growth metrics and accountability to equity-like financing for high performing nonprofits. While at NFF, Caroline structured growth capital campaigns, conducted economic feasibility analyses and designed scenario planning tools to help raise over $320 million in capital for nonprofits including Health Leads and Year Up.

Third Sector Capital leads governments, high-performing nonprofits, and private funders in building evidence-based initiatives that address society’s most persistent challenges. As experts in innovative public-private contracting and financing strategies, Third Sector is an architect and builder of the nation’s most promising Pay for Success projects including those in Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Santa Clara County, California. These projects are rewriting the book on how governments contract for social services: funding programs that work to measurably improve the lives of people most in need while saving taxpayer dollars. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Boston and San Francisco, Third Sector is supported through philanthropic and government sources, including a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund.

A visual explanation of pay for success 


In this interview, we discuss:

  1. Why evidence-based initiatives like Pay For Success are going to change the way we think about social impact. (1:00) 
  2. Why it is the ultimate investment in human capital and behavioral change. (11:30)
  3. The process of measuring and quantifying impact, and tracking outcomes. (13:15)
  4. How the field is still quite young, and expected evolutions in the model and modifications to PFS that will inevitably occur. (19:00)
  5. Why this is one of the best philanthropic investments possible. (21:30)
  6. How Third Sector Capital Partners is working with government programs and transforming the way they think of and address evidence-based programs. (26:00)


"I really believe this Pay For Success field is the most revolutionary thing to hit the social sector in decades."  -Caroline Whistler


  1. About Third Sector Capital Partners. 
  2. Learn more about Pay for Success financing with Pay For Success 101.
  3. Caroline speaking at the SOCAP15 Conference
  4. The Pay For Success (PFS) Financing Playbook from Social Finance. 
  5. An Overview of Pay for Success Financing on Chronicle of Philanthropy
  6. Third Sector's Social Innovation Fund award competition. 


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