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Announcing the Inaugural Recipients of the McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund

The McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund launches at the Aspen Institute with over $100,000 in inaugural grants.

The McNulty Foundation announced the recipients of the McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund, a new fund at the Aspen Institute to support innovative social ventures at vital inflection points. A total of $110,000 will be granted to six organizations around the world that have proven results and show great potential for further impact. Each is led by an Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellow using their entrepreneurial spirit and expertise to address critical global problems.

From building the college-to-career pipeline in state universities across the US, to deepening economic resilience in global fishing communities, to training the next generation of Haitian teachers, to magnifying the voices of DREAMers in America, the recipients are all effecting positive change throughout the globe and poised for significant growth in the coming years. Read about the recipients below.

Countless ventures that are driving social change are at critical moments to expand their impact. The Catalyst Fund gives us the opportunity to support many more models of empowering people around the world. The multiplier effect is enormous.

Anne Welsh McNulty

The Catalyst Fund was established in 2017 by Anne Welsh McNulty to support exceptional and promising ventures, including those of previously recognized McNulty Prize Laureates. It was made possible through a matching grant from the McNulty Foundation and donations from David Blood, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, and the Nancy & George Walker Foundation, among many others, who honored the legacy of John P. McNulty with over $1.2 million in contributions to the Fund.

Congratulations to the 2018 Catalyst Fund Recipients:

Las Claras


Strengthening leadership, education and career prospects for teen mothers, and preventing teen pregnancy in the first place, Gisela Porras, Panama’s former Vice Minister of Finance, is working to eradicate harmful conditions for women and girls that perpetuate poverty and social exclusion. Through a holistic collective impact model, Las Claras is poised to double their number of participants and expand to more communities.

Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti)


Through a grassroots approach focusing on local talent, culture and community, former head of Chicago Public Schools Jean-Claude Brizard is training cohorts of Haitian teachers capable of altering the country’s education outcomes, and with it the social and economic trajectory of its children and society as a whole. The venture is on track to grow 40% in 2018 and aims to reach 16,000 students by 2020.

Student DREAMers Alliance

United States

Executive Director of South Carolina's Hispanic Alliance Adela Mendoza is breaking the cycle of exclusion by providing youth leadership and scholarship opportunities for DREAMers, and advocating for statewide legislative action. Entering two new school districts this year, the program is on a path to be statewide.


United States

Aimée Eubanks Davis is using her experience as a teacher and head of talent for Teach for America to launch Braven, which imparts crucial employability and life skills to first-generation and low-income college students at large public universities to transition them into jobs and careers worthy of their degrees. Braven is on the cusp of dramatically scaling their program within existing and new institutions.

Acumen – Global Fellows Program


Jacqueline Novogratz redefined philanthropy and social entrepreneurship with Acumen’s theory of ‘patient capital’. Its Fellows Program builds moral leaders with a group-based seminar model that calls on them to think ethically about their power and responsibility as social entrepreneurs. The successful model will be expanding from three to 15 geographies by 2020.

Rare – Fish Forever


Conservationist Brett Jenks began Fish Forever to reverse the global decline of small-scale fisheries and tropical marine habitats by empowering local communities to protect and manage the resources they depend on, so that both people and nature can thrive. Fish Forever continues to scale and deepen the economic resilience of fishing communities by investing in new technology, and providing access to capital.

Learn more about the Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund builds on a decade of impact of the John P. McNulty Prize, a $100,000 award given annually to honor the visionary work of individuals moving the needle on intractable global challenges. McNulty Prize Winners are chosen by an international jury that has included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, international statesman Olara Otunnu, international development expert Brizio Biondi-Morra, and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.

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