TVO Original The Invisible Heart investigates the potential promise and perils of Social Impact Bonds

By TVO News - Published on January 3, 2019
Boy standing next to a wall.
TVO Original The Invisible Heart premieres January 22 on TVO and tvo.org/documentaries.

What happens when capitalism and charity intersect? Premiering January 22 at 9 pm on TVO and tvo.org/documentaries, TVO Original The Invisible Heart, joins award-winning filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza, in an unprecedented exploration of one of the fastest growing social innovations in modern history: Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). In raising private capital to pay for social services, do these new investment products carry more promise or pitfalls?

 

The Invisible Heart delves into the important question of how to best battle social inequality,” says John Ferri, TVO Vice President of Current Affairs and Documentaries. “It helps people to learn about an innovative way to help those living on the margins of society. But it poses some powerful questions about who benefits the most.”

 

Filmed over three years in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, The Invisible Heart reveals how Social Impact Bonds create an unorthodox marriage between capitalism and charity. The documentary shows different ways the novel financial offering is starting to gain support around the world.

In Canada, the Ontario government is working with a non-profit housing organization to introduce its first SIB to combat homelessness. In Chicago, a SIB designed to reduce the city's special education costs is funded by Goldman Sachs and billionaire JB Pritzker. And in the UK, The Invisible Heart talks to the Chair of the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce, Sir Ronald Cohen who is charged with igniting the international Social Impact Bond (SIB) revolution.

 

This sounds like change-making, but as The Invisible Heart reveals, there are many challenges and questions associated with introducing a profit incentive to the delivery of social services. How important will profit potential be in designing a program? Who will decide the payment trigger and rate of return? How will we know whether the programs we fund are truly improving lives?

 

"My hope is that the film helps audiences to better understand these complicated financial deals and that it equips them to make informed decisions about what kind of social finance policy they would like to see in Canada,” says director Nadine Pequeneza. “Hopefully The Invisible Heart encourages more Canadians to be involved in this important discussion."

 

The Invisible Heart can be streamed anytime at tvo.org/documentaries beginning January 22 at 9 pm.  It will also air Saturday January 26 at 9 pm and Sunday January 27 at 10 pm.

 

The Invisible Heart is produced by Hitplay Productions, presented by TVO.

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