C3 Awards Infrastructure Grants to Fuel Catalytic Capital, Accelerate Global Progress on Justice, Climate, Health
CHICAGO, NEW YORK and REDWOOD CITY, Calif (Nov. 22, 2022)—The Catalytic Capital Consortium (C3) today announced funding for nine projects that will bolster the infrastructure for the catalytic capital market and help accelerate the flow of this vital form of impact investment around the world.
The awardees in this first phase of C3’s Fostering Solutions and Infrastructure (FSI) grants are working to address barriers that create financing gaps and slow progress on critical social and environmental issues. The new funding supports a range of innovative approaches to enhance the deployment of catalytic capital, spur action and partnerships on the ground, and utilize new digital platforms to support the market’s continued growth. The funded projects will offer roadmaps for replicating and scaling proven strategies, while also incorporating equity and the beneficiary voice in their work.
C3 expects to make its second and final round of FSI announcements in the coming months.
“With this round of grants, we are focusing on action-oriented projects that can translate into stronger deployment of capital while addressing deeply-embedded capital gaps and the needs of local communities,” said Urmi Sengupta, chair of the C3 Project Advisory Board and Senior Program Officer, Impact Investments, at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Launched in 2019, C3 is an investment, learning, and market development initiative created and led by the MacArthur Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and Omidyar Network to increase the flow and impact of catalytic capital—a type of impact investment that is more patient, risk-tolerant, concessionary, and flexible than conventional financing in order to achieve social and environmental impact that would not otherwise be possible.
The three partners jointly fund the $10 million C3 Grantmaking program, which focuses on engaging investors, advancing research, networking, peer learning and other field-building activities in order to increase the knowledge, awareness and use of catalytic capital around the globe. A separate C3 Investing program, overseen by MacArthur, is providing catalytic capital to innovative impact investing funds and initiatives.
“These infrastructure projects are advancing solutions that support more efficient and effective delivery of catalytic capital, which is vital to capacity of social enterprises and impact funds to drive progress on key issues, like the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” noted Chris Jurgens, C3 Project Advisory Board member and Senior Director, Reimagining Capitalism, at Omidyar Network.
The grants announced today also complement other C3 grants to date, which have supported the work of eight impacting investing networks around the globe, as well as 14 innovative research projects that are building the evidence base of the field. C3 Grantmaking has also funded a series of Learning Labs on the seeding, scaling, and sustaining roles of catalytic capital, bringing together investors and practitioners to lay the groundwork for a stronger community of practice and more effective deployment of capital.
“Our goal with these various workstreams is to help investors understand how, when and where to use scarce catalytic capital resources to maximum effect,” said Lorenzo Mendez, C3 Project Advisory Board member and Principal, Innovative Finance, at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We want to make it easier for new investors to have the data and analysis they need to enter the field, and for seasoned investors to see more opportunities to innovate, accelerate the flow of financing and expand their impact.”
A total of 100 groups based in 16 countries applied for C3’s new FSI funding. Awards announced today include:
- Agora Partnerships: To develop an Information Exchange Platform (IEP) focused on women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico. The IEP will allow entrepreneurs to leverage their data to access new financing and commercial partners, make better-informed selling and capital decisions, and increase their negotiating power.
- The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment: To deliver a roadmap for actionable solutions that would positively impact the multi-dimensional development of informal settlements in the Global South. The effort builds on conclusions from the GSG’s report, Informal Settlements: No Longer Invisible, proposing practical policies and principles for the design of impact financial vehicles to scale investment in tackling urban informality.
- The Impact Investing Institute: To work towards an inclusive transition to net zero carbon emissions by helping increase the capacity of catalytic capital providers and local managers in the Global South to develop and launch financial products that can attract institutional capital at scale, as part of the Institute’s Just Transition Finance Challenge.
- Invest Appalachia: To operationalize a blended capital impact investing fund designed to catalyze community investment in the Central Appalachian region. IA’s multi-sector approach focuses on connecting national investment and philanthropy to local markets, in alignment with community needs.
- KOIS: To build the Dignity in Labor platform, bringing together a consortium of service providers, lenders and donors to develop and deploy systemic financial solutions and infrastructure that accelerate socio-economic mobility for unbanked and underbanked customer groups in India.
- Opportunity International: To launch a vehicle that will de-risk loans for micro and small borrowers in the agriculture and education sectors in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and India. These borrowers rely on loans from financial institutions to support operations and growth, but often face prohibitively high interest rates; the new vehicle will offer collateral pledges to lenders in order to defray the cost of borrowing.
- Pacific Community Ventures: To develop a guidebook for a U.S. place-based funding model that brings together private and public investment, grant support, and community partnerships to activate catalytic capital for BIPOC entrepreneurs and fuel community wealth-building.
- Rhia Ventures: To develop, test, and share an investment framework that utilizes a health, gender, and racial equity lens, particularly related to maternal and women’s health. The framework is for investors and early-to-growth-stage companies and will inform impact investments and attract more catalytic capital to the field.
- Village Capital: To develop, test, and deploy a digital financing diagnostic and matching platform to help startups identify financing mechanisms that are most appropriate for them and connect to investors who offer that type of financing.
Learn more about these projects and their proposed outcomes here.
Catalytic Capital Consortium Strategic Partners
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including advancing global climate solutions, decreasing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in the U.S., and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program and the global 100&Change competition, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy as well as the vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. MacArthur is also working to build the field of impact investing and increase the supply of catalytic capital to address social and environmental challenges around the world.
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. Rockefeller works to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Their focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for their newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow them on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.
Established by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, Omidyar Network is a social change venture that has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations since 2004. Omidyar Network works to reimagine critical systems and the ideas that govern them, and to build more inclusive and equitable societies in which individuals have the social, economic, and democratic power to thrive.
The photo above features Ghanaian SMEs in a learning workshop at Ashesi University. SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa face a $331 billion financing gap. Ashesi University and Impact Investing Ghana are researching the impact of catalytic capital on increased access to financing for SMEs in Ghana, in a project funded by C3.