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Classroom Insights: Hybrid Models for Social Good

In a talk with Master of Advanced Management students at Yale SOM, Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer ’82 discusses the importance of finding innovative partnerships between the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.


The model for successful international relief and development efforts is changing rapidly. The field was once dominated by governments; today, most development assistance—and the most innovative solutions—comes from private organizations, many of them making use of hybrid, market-based solutions. Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer ’82 tells Master of Advanced Management students at Yale SOM that organizations like his need to create partnerships in order to connect the world’s poor with the power of market forces. 

“If you’re going to leverage impact,” Keny-Guyer says, “you’d better find ways to plug into that marketplace. Because that’s where the real resources are.”

One example Keny-Guyer describes is a partnership between Mercy Corps and Swiss Re. The reinsurance giant brought crop insurance expertise; Mercy Corps brought expertise in dealing with communities of poor small-hold farmers. Together they were able offer effective insurance for farmers that neither could do alone. In 2010, the two organizations partnered to create MiCRO (Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organization). To date, MiCRO has paid claims of nearly $10 million, including $6.8 million to 28,000 clients in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaac, when Haiti lost more than 40% of its harvest.

Neal Keny-Guyer also talked with Yale Insights about the importance of local leadership and innovation. Read the interview.

CEO, Mercy Corps