Highlighted initiatives, projects, people, and organizations contributing to the growth of the fourth sector.

What kind of "post-COVID-19 economy" do we want? Every actor in society can take important steps to accelerate this emerging purpose-first economy to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and build back better.


Fourth sector development offers tremendous opportunity to spur economic activity that builds back better.


for entrepreneurs, organizations and technical assistance providers to develop and expand into new markets, customer-bases and supply chains.


The public sector will benefit from the new revenues generated by this sector as well as from the cost savings created by reduced social and environmental problems and the creation of quality jobs and economic growth.


The non-profit sector also benefits; new contracting and partnership opportunities with mission aligned for-benefits, and increased philanthropic resources.


A more robust fourth sector would provide a better institutional home for industries whose product or service is inherently a public good — such as healthcare, journalism, mass transit, infrastructure, utilities, energy, education, and banking.

Here are some organizations and initiatives who are using 'fourth sector thinking' and approaches to respond to the COVID crisis and build a better, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable economy. 

"… no “charitable” intervention can solve any of these issues. It can only kick the can down the road. It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code.”


– Peter Buffett,
Chairman of Novo Foundation




New in the Resource Library:




The Fourth Sector Group (4SG), with support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), is working in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce, The British Academy’s Future of the Corporation Programme, McKinsey & Co., Ibero-American General Secretariat, Leaders on Purpose, and other partners to develop a set of Primers to support organisations across the globe to develop for-benefit businesses and participate in building the supportive ecosystem for the fourth sector of the economy.  


The Primers are living documents and resources, which will continue to develop and adapt in line with evolving practice and knowledge about this growing sector. They will be informed by expert and practitioner input from a wide and diverse range of stakeholders around the world, along with comprehensive multi-disciplinary research.


Over the coming year, a program of consultations and events will inform the Primers, disseminate their findings, raise awareness, and catalyze engagement in the application of their recommendations.

Join the Engagement Hub to read and contribute to these essential blueprints to help key actors engage with and help accelerate the emerging fourth sector of the economy.

The rise of a new sector.

A fourth sector of the economy has been growing over the last decades at the intersection point of the three traditional sectors of the economy.  The emergence of hybrid business models that leverage market-based approaches to deliver social or environmental benefit is blurring of the boundaries among public, private and nonprofit sectors…


A growing and diverse class of enterprise pursuing social and environmental aims as their primary purpose.

“For-benefit” or “purpose-driven” are generic terms that refer to a wide range of emerging enterprises with a primary commitment to social and environmental purpose, while earning revenues by selling products and services.  These hybrid business models are creating a new fourth sector of the economy.  Now more than ever, we need to build a supportive ecosystem for for-benefits to unleash their power to address the world’s most pressing challenges…

Legacy "3-sector thinking" and the lack of an ecosystem.

The growth of the fourth sector is constrained by legacy "three-sector thinking." This perpetuates the lack of a coherent and cohesive supportive ecosystem for the sector — including policies and regulations, financial markets, measurement and reporting standards, among other enabling conditions...


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How can you help?

Before the pandemic, many of organizations and individuals were already working together to develop the tools and resources necessary to support intentional growth of the fourth sector, working across the Fourth Sector Group platform on a variety of initiatives and issue areas focused on six key, strategic priorities:

1. Enhance Knowledge

2. Advance Policy

3. Raise Awareness

4. Connect Stakeholders

5. Educate & Train

6. Mobilize Resources


Enhance knowledge and raise awareness about for-benefit

enterprises and the fourth sector.

Develop more enabling policy and regulatory

environments for the fourth sector.

Promote new business and investment models that are

aligned with for-benefit enterprises.

Increase educational and training opportunities for fourth

sector practitioners and leaders.

Develop local and regional hubs to foster collaboration and

accelerate fourth sector development in communities.










Join the Effort!

Help the post-COVID-19 economy grow through the rise of the fourth sector.

Count Me In!

What are your interests?

Contact Us

Growing the fourth sector to respond to COVID-19 and build back a better economy is an effort that requires mass co-collaboration — there is  a role for everyone across every sector. To get involved, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!