PLAN Institute

Social Finance

Eventually, social entrepreneurs will encounter the challenge of finding new sources of financial capital to develop their innovation or expand their social enterprise. Traditional models of funding for the social sector do not support the scaling up of social innovation. Social entrepreneurs therefore require new financial frameworks to service their long-term needs.

In response to this challenge, a new field is emerging. It is called social financing. Social financing creates the financial infrastructure and provides the financial tools to enable social entrepreneurs to access capital, particularly debt and equity financing. Investors who value social change as well as financial returns can use this new infrastructure to support social innovation locally and globally. Together, social investors and social entrepreneurs are transforming how capital is generated, accessed, allocated and used in the social sector.

SiG and Plan Institute have been working with the Tides Canada Foundation to increase awareness about the need for social financing and to develop new pools of capital for social innovation and social enterprise. Tim Draimin, Tides CEO and Plan Institute’s founder, Al Etmanski, initiated a national roundtable on social finance which led to the creation of a new Canadian resource called Causeway. Founding partners of Causeway include: the JW McConnell Family Foundation; Vancity Credit Union; Ashoka Canada; Canadian Co-operative Association; Social Capital Partners; MaRS Discovery District; and Carleton University in addition to Plan Institute and Tides.



For Reports on various social finance roundtables and conferences co-hosted or co-sponsored by PLAN and Plan Institute, see:

Social Finance Forum
Scaling Up the Canadian Social Finance Sector: Strategy Session
21st Century Financing: Exploring New Sources of Investment for Social Transformation


Vancity Capital Corporation
Social Venture Network
Social Capital Partners
Venturesome Social Financing
Social Finance


Leaders in the citizen sector who want to extend impact, durability and scale of their work should check out Thinking Like a Movement retreat. With four days of intensive learning with other social change leaders, participants will explore the complexities of systemic change while reflecting on personal roles and responsibilities.


Social Innovation:

Transforming deeply rooted social problems by introducing new ideas, practices, policies, relationships and resources in the direction of greater resilience.


Social enterprise:

An organization, usually non-profit but sometimes for-profit, that seeks to earn revenue while achieving its social and economic justice objectives.


Social financing:

The leveraging of multiple sources of financing to achieve long term, accountable, social impact while generating an economic return.




 Download Learning Catalogue  Join our Facebook  Contact us  Plan Institute Newsletter