Catalytic Capital Consortium

An investment, learning, and market development initiative bringing together leading impact investors to encourage greater impact and use of catalytic capital
Three stacks of coins in the soil, with each stack supporting a sapling tree


Catalytic capital—debt, equity, guarantees, and other investments that accept disproportionate risk or concessionary returns compared to a conventional investment in order to generate positive impact—is an essential tool to support impact-driven enterprises and organizations that lack access to capital on suitable terms through the conventional marketplace. The alt tag placeholder aim of catalytic capital is to unlock additional investment that would not otherwise be possible. It strengthens communities, expands opportunity and economic growth, and fuels innovation that advances the well-being of people and the planet, while laying the groundwork for mainstream investors to participate in transformative investments.

To make substantial progress toward a more just, inclusive, and resilient world, we need more catalytic capital to flow. The Catalytic Capital Consortium, or C3, aims to demonstrate the power of this form of investment to extend and deepen the reach of the impact investing field, helping to address the annual funding shortfall of $4.2 trillion that is hindering the world from reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative is helping a select group of outstanding, diverse funds address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while also building knowledge, awareness, and use of catalytic capital globally.

To implement the C3 initiative, we selected a set of funds and organizations to receive impact investments totaling over $120 million. Collectively, this portfolio is intended to showcase powerful examples of catalytic capital across diverse sectors and geographies. It is designed to reduce risk, build track records, and increase the scale of promising fund managers. These investments to advance the C3 initiative set the stage for other investors—both impact-oriented and conventional—to participate and fuel additional growth. The initiative’s pooled grant funding is supported by other funders, including The Rockefeller Foundation and Omidyar Network. The investments made to advance the work of C3 are funded solely by MacArthur.

MacArthur is a leader among foundations, government agencies, research institutions, nonprofit community organizations, and private sector actors that mobilize collective assets to address pressing challenges or pursue timely opportunities. We work in close collaboration with our partners to identify the problems and support the solutions that community members want to address.

Field Partnerships

As part of the initiative, we have made ten investments totaling over $120 million that demonstrate a powerful use of catalytic capital across diverse sectors and geographies. As collaboration is essential to the successful use of catalytic capital, we use the term “field partnership” to describe the efforts that we support with our investments. The complete set of field partnerships includes:

  • Adjuvant Global Health Technology Fund: $5 million program-related equity investment to help address overlooked public health challenges by financing the development of life-saving technology products for low- and lower middle-income countries.
  • ALIVE Ventures: $5 million equity investment to Acumen Latin America Early Growth Fund LP, a private equity impact fund managed by Acumen LatAm Impact Ventures, which invests in companies that tackle inequality in Colombia, Peru, and Central America, with a focus on agribusiness, education/access to formal jobs, and renewable energy.
  • Ankur Capital Fund II: A $7.5 million program-related equity investment to provide early-stage capital to support tech-driven businesses in India that unlock economic opportunity for low-income people in India.
  • Impact America Fund II: $7.5 million equity investment to provide catalytic venture capital to early-stage companies that are advancing economic agency for low- and moderate-income communities of color in the U.S.
  • One Acre: $10 million program-related investment loan to the One Acre Fund, a nonprofit social enterprise supporting smallholder farmers in Africa with financing and training through a new capital structure demonstrating the way catalytic capital can bridge financing gaps, spark additional investments, and help sustain and grow high-impact nonprofits.
  • Prime Impact Fund: $5 million investment to address a critical capital gap for climate-relevant innovation by financing technology-based solutions with the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • SDG Loan Fund: $25 million guarantee to support a $1.1 billion fund co-created and co-managed by AllianzGI and FMO Investment Management to mobilize capital to provide loans for financial inclusion, clean energy, and sustainable agriculture in emerging and frontier markets.
  • UP Fund: $5 million program-related equity investment to help expand employment opportunity for historically marginalized populations in the United States.
  • Women in Safe Homes Fund: A program-related equity investment roughly equivalent to $5 million USD to help pioneer an alternative acquisition and leasing model to address the need for safe and affordable housing for women who are navigating difficult circumstances in the United Kingdom.
  • Zero Gap: Up to $15 million equity investment to expand and accelerate The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap initiative, which aims to tap into mainstream markets and investors, scaling up investments into promising new finance vehicles that help to close the funding gap.


Collectively, the C3 Strategic Partners, working through a project housed at New Venture Fund, have provided $10 million in grants to fuel learning and market development related to catalytic capital. The C3 Grantmaking program has supported work to equip the investor community with the knowledge and tools required to deploy greater and more effective investments of catalytic capital. This has involved efforts to build and advance knowledge about catalytic capital, as well as to engage and work closely with practitioners.

Based on research and analysis of market needs, the C3 grantmaking program is funding work in three categories:

Strengthening the Evidence Base

The C3 Grantmaking program has funded organizations that are building knowledge about why and where catalytic capital is needed, what it looks like, who has been involved, how it has been deployed, and what outcomes have been the result, drawing on current and historical experience from around the world. We have seen significant traction among investor cohorts that have learned from these investment initiatives, and we believe that this evidence base will serve as an important foundation on which others can build.

Advancing Practice

We support engagement and collective learning with leading catalytic capital providers to identify and share current best practices. Our goal is to help practitioners solve technical or practical challenges with guides, convenings, and other activities to inform and support effective deployment of catalytic capital. As part of this work, C3 also has produced a training on catalytic capital that can be adapted and used by different stakeholders across the globe.

Fostering Solutions and Infrastructure

To spur the use of catalytic capital and help address barriers that impede transactions, we have supported projects that make catalytic capital transactions faster, more efficient, and more effective.

As a complement to these workstreams, C3 is working with leading impact investing networks to engage investor audiences and amplify learnings. Several of these networks have been conducting catalytic capital programming with their own member communities over the past several years.

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Evaluation for Learning

The measurement and evaluation of the Catalytic Capital Consortium initiative includes questions that test our conceptual framework and underlying assumptions, assess our activities, and measure the extent to which we have met our intended outcomes. From measurement and evaluation, we expect to learn the extent to which our strategy and investments increase the knowledge, awareness, and use of catalytic capital.

Evaluations will be published as they are completed.

Join the Community

We encourage investors, entrepreneurs, advisors, researchers, and others to join us in expanding catalytic capital investment and learning.

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We encourage you to contact us to:

  • Share your experiences with catalytic capital, including how you have invested or benefited from catalytic capital and lessons learned;
  • Ask questions and propose research topics related to catalytic capital;
  • Request information on how catalytic capital is being used today and where more is needed.
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