Home / Spiffy's Blog / Phyllis Kurlander Costanza: Rewarding Social Programs Of High Impact
Phyllis Kurlander Costanza: Rewarding Social Programs Of High Impact

Phyllis Kurlander Costanza: Rewarding Social Programs Of High Impact

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Phyllis, the president and co-founder of OutcomesX. Let’s learn what’s happening at OutcomesX and how Phyllis is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Phyllis! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through OutcomesX?

Phyllis: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Many community-based organizations, particularly those focused on addressing the needs of society's most marginalized populations, lack the relationships and resources to attract funding beyond their immediate communities. Lack of access to capital, both social and financial, creates systemic inequity. We are building a social outcomes marketplace that seeks to correct that. Our vision is to enable the best nonprofits delivering the best outcomes to share that data with funders, which will reduce inequities by prioritizing outcome delivery over fundraising activities, and empowering organizations to do their best work through unrestricted funding.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Phyllis: I grew up in a family that was deeply concerned about social injustice. That concept has permeated every job I have held. And now, by starting OutcomesX, my goal is to ease suffering of the most vulnerable populations by directing money to the nonprofits with the greatest potential to improve lives.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Phyllis: OutcomesX will create a market that transparently lists the cost and efficacy of nonprofit organizations, so that donors (or buyers) can purchase specific outcomes instead of activities. Most funders now support activities such as building a school, training teachers, providing textbooks, etc. However, most of the time, what donors want (in this specific education example) is to improve learning outcomes of children. They should thus, be able to purchase that specific outcome, instead of funding activities which may or may not result in the desired outcome. Our marketplace will enable buyers (donors) to pay for outcomes after they have been verifiably delivered. This improves efficiency in the social sector overall.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Phyllis: A recent buyer (a large bank) was interested in purchasing outcomes for children in Ukraine. Currently, most of the humanitarian aid for Ukraine has gone to large international nonprofits working outside of the country with refugees who have left Ukraine. Very little money has gone to organizations based in Ukraine working for families in the country. We were able to source and fund 25 local community based Ukrainian organizations to deliver two outcomes for the buyer: improved mental health and improved learning outcomes for children.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Phyllis: When war broke out in Ukraine, many children, especially those in orphanages or with disabilities were left without services. We are thrilled to be a small part of enabling more funding to flow to local Ukrainian organizations which will allow services for the most vulnerable children to continue.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Phyllis—it’s been an honor!

Phyllis has been delivering positive commercial impact and driving measurable change in society and the environment throughout her career. She is the co-founder and president of OutcomesX which is creating a marketplace for social outcomes. This new company builds on her work at UBS, where she worked for 11 years as the chief executive officer of UBS Optimus Foundation and more recently as global head of social impact. (First published on the Ladderworks website on July 21, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.