The Global Inclusive Growth Partnership, a collaboration between the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and the Aspen Institute, selected three Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellows as the recipients of the 2023 – 2024 Global Inclusive Growth Spark Grants in December of 2023. The Spark Grants are designed to catalyze new models of inclusive economic futures for all. This year’s unprecedented application pool showcased the depth of world-changing innovation led by AGLN Fellows, further demonstrating the network’s powerful drive to be a force for good.
Out of this impactful applicant pool, three organizations led by AGLN fellows from around the world were awarded a total of $60,000. Congratulations to the following AGLN Fellows and their teams for advancing sustainable and equitable economic growth (pictured from left to right below):
- Multiverse, led by Rocio Pinto (Central America Leadership Initiative) | Guatemala
- Procure Impact, led by Lauren McCann, Civil Society Fellow (Civil Society Fellowship, a partnership of ADL and the Aspen Institute) | United States
- Finpublica, led by Adam Wasserman, (Finance Leader Fellowship) | Global
Their work tackles issues fundamental to inclusive growth including supporting entrepreneurs on their path to success in their region, accelerating job creation for individuals with barriers to work, and building competency in sustainable and responsible investing for finance industry leaders. The creative and innovative ventures are at a critical stage poised for greater impact in the future.
These three Fellows join a community of Spark Grant Awardees who are building powerful solutions that advance long-term economic inclusion and reimagine broken systems and structures. With the 2023-2024 grantees, Spark Grants have now supported 15 AGLN Fellows on their journeys to impact since their inception in 2020.
Read more about the 2023-2024 Global Inclusive Growth Spark Grants recipients below and join us in celebrating their leadership.
Multiverse | Guatemala
Successful business woman Rocio Pinto founded Multiverse with a vision to harness entrepreneurship as a catalyst for Guatemala’s development. The regional platform addresses immediate entrepreneurial needs, actively contributing to economic development and poverty alleviation in the country. Multiverse activates a diversity of initiatives, including mentorship, tailored programs, online courses, consultancies, and a dedicated entrepreneurship school, all aimed at ensuring entrepreneurs have the knowledge, network, and resources they need to thrive. They’ve supported more than 4,500 entrepreneurs, resulting in at least a two-fold increase in jobs per venture and elevated incomes for all participating enterprises.
Building on success in Guatemala City, Multiverse aims to launch programs in intermediate cities, scaling their work by fostering local communities, generating employment, and contributing to the stability and prosperity of families. Multiverse is creating a resilient entrepreneurial ecosystem within Guatemala that seeks to retain the country’s talent and create opportunity for its future.
Procure Impact | United States
Many companies have made significant commitments to building positive and sustainable social impact through their supply chain, but they don’t know how to find suppliers to make good on these aspirations. Enter Procure Impact: a first-of-its-kind B2B marketplace, founded by Lauren McCann, that connects companies looking to make every-day purchases with vendors who employ individuals with barriers to work, in turn helping companies achieve social impact goals while maximizing the dignity of work for underestimated populations.
Each vendor on the Procure Impact platform creates jobs for people with barriers to work in the United States – this includes individuals with disabilities, folks experiencing mental health challenges, poverty, homelessness, trauma, or addiction, refugees, previously incarcerated, and veterans. Offering a wide range of high-demand products, from bath and body to consumer-packaged goods, furniture, and art, Procure Impact collaborates with corporations sourcing items for corporate gifting, retail stores, hotels, and office spaces. Since its 2022 launch, the platform has partnered with more than 130 customers, resulting in purchases that have generated over 2,500 hours of work.
Finpublica | Global
While sustainability and responsible investing are critical to creating a healthier and more prosperous financial services industry and society, few of today’s finance leaders have trained on these issues. Additionally, with the breadth and depth of climate, social, corporate governance, and impact related issues, the barriers to entry can seem high.
Adam Wasserman founded Finpublica as a non-profit platform to support current and future finance leaders wherever they are in their sustainability journey and to inspire and empower them to ideate and implement sustainable finance initiatives that add value to their organizations and the industry. In its first year, Finpublica has brought together more than 300 leaders from 20+ countries; convened a dozen discussions on such topics as how to make an impact with impact investing; and launched its first member-led initiative promoting sustainable finance in Africa. The organization also has built a website with free and easy to use educational resources, research tools, and sample policies and disclosures so anyone can quickly get up to speed on those sustainable finance topics they are most interested in.
About the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership
Launched in October 2019 with an inaugural summit, the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership (GIGP) combines the expertise and networks of both the Aspen Institute and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to address systemic issues across a range of topics including financial security, the future of workers and portable benefits, growing micro and small businesses, and commercially-sustainable social impact. Through research, synthesis, and convenings, GIGP aims to catalyze new partnerships and shine a spotlight on innovative, data-driven, and scalable solutions to build a more inclusive and resilient economy for all.
About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
The Center for Inclusive Growth is the philanthropic and thought leadership arm of Mastercard. It serves to advance equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. In pursuit of this mission, the Center leverages Mastercard’s core assets and competencies – including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the Mastercard Impact Fund – a pool of philanthropic capital – to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on Twitter @CNTR4growth and subscribe to its newsletter.
About the Aspen Global Leadership Network’s (AGLN)
The Aspen Global Leadership Network develops authentic, high-integrity leaders committed to proactively confronting societal challenges, individually and collectively, in order to create a more just, free, and equitable society. The network has fostered a worldwide community of nearly 4,000 high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders from business, government, and the nonprofit sector in more than 60 countries. Because of their demonstrated accomplishments and abilities, they have been selected to join one of 14 geographic or sector-specific AGLN Fellowships around the world. The AGLN is committed to moving these leaders from “success to significance” by spurring them to take action on some of the world’s most pressing problems. For more information, visit agln.aspeninstitute.org.