Application Deadline 182 days 0 hours 43 minutes

Big, Bold Ideas for a Better Future

The Catalyst Fund makes grants between $2,500–$15,000 to anyone, anywhere in the world who has an early-stage idea or project that addresses pressing global challenges.

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The Catalyst Fund

Early Stage Big Ideas Bold Vision

Early Stage

The Catalyst Fund is geared towards small and/or early-stage ideas and projects that need a capital infusion to launch or prove viability. Catalyst awardees are typically piloting a program, venturing into new territory, on the cusp of launching, or pivoting in a new direction.

Big Ideas

The Catalyst Fund supports big ideas or projects that depart from the status quo and require us to look at a problem and its solution in a new light. These big ideas have a high potential for impact across an entire community, city, or country. They tend to leverage existing infrastructure, build on partnerships (public and private), and improve on what’s already out there. Big ideas push boundaries and challenge convention.

Bold Vision

The Catalyst Fund supports individuals whose vision for change is audacious. Catalyst awardees seek significant, long-term impact and have a vision for how to get there and what needs to get done. They are able to articulate how they plan to make the world better and why. Their vision inspires others and offers a glimpse of a better future.

Evaluation and Criteria

We know you are applying with an early-stage idea. However, we’re looking for a well-thought-out plan with clear goals, specific metrics, and measurable impact. We’re also looking for:

  1. Innovative: Approaches or strategies that innovate on existing models — What are you building on? What other solutions already exist?
  2. Community-based: You have a deep understanding of the communities you work on behalf of — What are their needs? How are they engaged in the process? How will they be able to maintain the solution over time?
  3. High potential for impact: A recognized issue that affects a significant percentage of people — this is relative, but we’re looking for solutions to problems that have outsized impact.
  4. Sustainable: Experienced team and a smart strategy for driving change — Who and what are driving the change? Why is this the right team? What makes this the right strategic bet right now?

The selection process also takes into consideration the following criteria: innovation, potential impact, eco-system, and originality.

Learn More

The Catalyst Fund has been created to source ideas from all corners of the globe. You can be a seasoned social entrepreneur or a first-time changemaker. Eligible candidates for the Catalyst Fund may be individuals, teams of individuals, non-profit organizations, or social enterprises. To be eligible, all applicants must:

  1. Be 18 years of age or older
  2. Submit an application in English
  3. Include completed responses to all required application questions
  4. Agree to all legal terms and conditions of the Catalyst Fund grant program
  5. Be able to legally receive grant funding

In evaluating Catalyst applications, we differentiate between eligibility and criteria. Eligibility is a set of benchmarks that an application either meets or doesn’t. Criteria explains how applications will be evaluated and unpacks what we mean when we say that we’re looking for big, bold ideas.

Some things that we’re not looking for are projects that are small in scope, limited in scale, or lack innovation. If the problem you’re trying to address is too narrowly defined or if it’s not clear how your solution will lead to measurable change — we’re going to pass. And projects that are well on their way to completion are also not a good fit.

See our Criteria page for more information.

Global Impact

47 Awards Granted 19 Countries

Questions & Answers

What are the deadlines for funding?

There are no deadlines. Applications are accepted year-round.

What are the sizes of Catalyst grants (i.e. how much should we request)?

Requests submitted through the Catalyst Fund range from $2,500 to $15,000. Requests above $15k will be automatically disqualified. Please align your request with what you need — if you need $7k, don’t ask for $12k. In deciding how much to request, consider how much funding you need right now and how you will use it to advance your idea.

My budget is much larger than a Catalyst grant, what should I do?

If your project requires significant funding, identify what you can accomplish with a Catalyst grant in the 9-month timeframe. If, for example, you have a $200k budget, we want to know what you can do with $15k and why it’s important we support you and your idea.

How long do I have to complete my grant?

Upon receiving your funds, you will have 9 months to complete the activities outlined in your grant application.

If I have been declined for a grant, when can I reapply?

If you have a new or different idea you can reapply in 6 months. If your grant was not accepted, please do not resubmit the same proposal.

Can I apply if I am not a 501(c)3 or part of a larger organization?

Applicants can be individuals, for-profits, B-corps, or non-profits operating outside the US.

Do I have to be in or from the United States?

No, anyone, anywhere can apply.

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