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Catalyst Fund Application & Eligibility

The Catalyst Fund, developed and managed in partnership with the Aspen Institute, recognizes ventures at critical junctures on their path to impact. Building on the success of the McNulty Prize, the Catalyst Fund was announced by Anne Welsh McNulty at the 2017 Resnick Aspen Action Forum, and has since raised over $1.2 million.

Annually, 3-5 ventures are selected to receive awards of approximately $15,000 each. In addition to financial support, recipients benefit from non-monetary support depending on their needs. Benefits may include opportunities at and scholarships to the annual Resnick Aspen Action Forum, leadership or organizational development consulting, coaching and community building, as well as opportunities for storytelling, visibility and networking. Recipients are announced on a rolling basis.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants for the Catalyst Fund for developing ventures should be at a critical juncture and have critical need. Typically at an earlier stage of development than McNulty Prize candidates, all Catalyst Fund candidates should exhibit high potential to deepen or widen their impact, with significant early momentum. Key criteria include impact, creativity and sustainability. See below for more details.

To qualify, applicants must be AGLN Fellows with a venture or Action Pledge two years active that is poised to continue for the foreseeable future. Submissions must be, or have substantially evolved from, what was designated the Fellow’s leadership venture. They can be non-profit, for-profit or hybrid structures, provided that social benefit is the key priority.

Please contact your Fellowship Director to let them know if you would like to be considered for the 2022 Catalyst Fund. Eligible applicants will be requested to respond to the following prompts in our application portal.


1. NARRATIVE STATEMENT

A. Problem & Approach (300 words maximum)

  • What need or problem does your venture seek to address? What community or systems does this apply to?
  • What is your venture’s mission and why did it begin?
  • What distinguishes your approach from others?

B. Impact (250 words maximum)

  • Describe the impact of your venture on individuals and/or the community, including any key early metrics you track. How do you know the venture is embraced by those it serves?
  • How are you poised to grow or deepen your impact, and how will you know when you are successful?

C. Critical Juncture (200 words maximum)

We want to understand the narrative and trajectory of your venture’s journey, and what critical juncture your venture is at now and looking to the future.

  • What milestones have you achieved in the last year, and what milestones do you anticipate in the next year?
  • Critical need is a key criterion for the Catalyst Fund—how would funding and/or recognition make a difference for your venture at this specific stage in its development?
  • How is the venture funded now, and how do you envision it will be sustained? What is your vision for the future?

2. SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE (150 words maximum)

The Catalyst Fund, like the McNulty Prize, celebrates the boldness and impact of AGLN Fellows using their expertise and platforms to address the world’s toughest challenges.

  • What is your title and role in the venture’s achievements? How are you uniquely positioned to address this issue?
  • In what way is the venture an outcome of your fellowship experience?

3. [Optional] ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

A. Supporting Documents

You are invited but not required to share existing materials that demonstrate your record of success.

Please upload as a single .doc or .pdf file, that is up to around 5 pages letter-sized (8.5 x 11 inches).

  • Financial statements, annual reports or other reports to supporters or investors
  • Press coverage and other recognition, photos or pamphlets
  • Existing letters or testimonials in support of your venture
  • Your CV

B. Short Video

Encouraged, not required—Youtube or Vimeo links accepted

  • If you have one, please share an existing video that shows and tells about your venture.
  • We are not looking for professional filmmaking but for a visual way to capture the power of the work.

Criteria & Guidelines

Applicants are asked to make a written statement of their venture, describe the critical juncture that it is at, and address its impact, creativity and sustainability. Entries are judged on each of the following:

Problem & Approach

What need or problem does your venture seek to address? What community or systems does this apply to? What is your venture’s mission and why did it begin? What distinguishes your approach from others?

Impact

Describe the impact of your venture on individuals and/or the community, including any key early metrics you track. How do you know the venture is embraced by those it serves? How are you poised to grow or deepen your impact, and how will you know when you are successful?

Critical Juncture

We want to understand the narrative and trajectory of your venture’s journey, and what critical juncture your venture is at now and looking to the future. ● What milestones have you achieved in the last year, and what milestones do you anticipate in the next year? Critical need is a key criterion for the Catalyst Fund—how would funding and/or recognition make a difference for your venture at this specific stage in its development? How is the venture funded now, and how do you envision it will be sustained? What is your vision for the future?

Success to Significance

The Catalyst Fund, like the McNulty Prize, celebrates the boldness and impact of AGLN Fellows using their expertise and platforms to address the world’s toughest challenges. What is your title and role in the venture’s achievements? How are you uniquely positioned to address this issue? In what way is the venture an outcome of your fellowship experience?

Not sure if you should apply to the Catalyst Fund or the McNulty Prize? Consult our cheat sheet here.

If your venture is more mature, with an effective model for change that’s now focused on scaling, deepening or institutionalizing, you might be ready to apply to the McNulty Prize. Follow this link to learn more and apply to the Prize.