McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund Awarded to Emerging Organizations Challenging Entrenched Inequities

October 14, 2020

Five promising leaders with innovative organizations in the US, Ghana, and Nigeria will receive unrestricted funding to expand and scale their impact.

Contact: Nina Sawhney
McNulty Foundation

New York, NY, October 14, 2020
––The McNulty Foundation and the Aspen Institute announced the 2020 recipients of the McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund. The Fund is awarding $75,000 in total this year to five exceptional organizations that have demonstrated significant early momentum with great potential to scale and deepen their impact.

This year has had no shortage of critical challenges and has laid bare the entrenched inequities and structural barriers that communities across the world face. The Catalyst Fund recipients are fearlessly and uniquely tackling these barriers: from working with institutions and individuals to advance an anti-racist and equitable vision in the US, to incubating a social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ghana, to creating integrated, place-based healthcare solutions for farmworker communities in California, to galvanizing a performing arts movement to challenge gender norms and advance human rights in Nigeria, to building a pipeline for Latino education leaders across the US. They are working towards creating the change we need now and for generations to come.

“We started the Catalyst Fund to boost proven leaders and support their organizations to move to the next phase of their impact. Now more than ever, we must support a fundamental re-imagining of systems to advance opportunity and self-determination for all, and these individuals are leading the way,” said Anne Welsh McNulty, President of the McNulty Foundation and Trustee of the Aspen Institute.

The McNulty Foundation established the Catalyst Fund at the Aspen Institute in 2017 to provide unrestricted support to promising ventures led by Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. The Fund has received $1.2 million in contributions from David Blood, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the Nancy & George Walker Foundation, and many more, as well as a matching grant from the McNulty Foundation, all honoring the legacy of John P. McNulty.

Congratulations to the 2020 McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund recipients:

The Equity Lab | United States

Race and equity leader Michelle Molitor catalyzes individuals and teams as change agents who can lead collective anti-racist actions in their organizations. Through fellowships and long-term partnerships, The Equity Lab empowers leaders at all levels to disrupt the institutions, structures, and systems that perpetuate racism and oppression, and is poised to grow across the country and bring others along in its vision for an equitable, antiracist society.

Social Enterprise Ghana | Ghana

Entrepreneur Amma Lartey is developing a vibrant social enterprise ecosystem in Ghana, driving local innovation for critical problems through advocacy, convenings, and capacity building. Reaching a network of over 600 members and more than 1,000 change-making organizations, Social Enterprise Ghana is steering the country’s burgeoning entrepreneurial sector into a vehicle for scaled social impact.

Under One Roof | United States

Healthcare executive Margaret Lapiz is working directly with over 100 community leaders to create an integrated hub for improving health outcomes and opportunities for farmworkers in California. Under One Roof is a unique model demonstrating how systems change can be genuinely community-led, ensuring an equitable approach to health and well-being for those historically underserved.

iOpenEye Productions | Nigeria

Nigerian director and playwright Ifeoma Fafunwa uses the power of storytelling through provocative theater, workshops, and street storms to challenge societal norms that limit gender equality and human rights. Her company iOpenEye has reached a live audience of over 100,000 with the flagship production Hear Word!, and is expanding to reach a broader regional and global audience through new online platforms.

Latinos for Education | United States

Education advocate and entrepreneur Amanda Fernandez is creating pathways for Latino leaders in the education sector, bringing diverse talent into positions of influence and ensuring educational equity for all. Having built a network of over 3,000 leaders and a Fellowship impacting the lives of over 200,000 students, Latinos for Education is poised to advocate nationally and activate the collective Latino voice on issues affecting students and families.

About the Catalyst Fund & the John P. McNulty Prize

The McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund recognizes ventures with significant momentum at critical junctures on their path to creating meaningful change. The Fund builds on more than a decade of impact with the John P. McNulty Prize, a $100,000 annual award that celebrates the boldness and impact of individuals using their leadership abilities, entrepreneurial spirit, and expertise to address the world’s toughest 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. The McNulty Prize and Catalyst Fund are given in partnership with the Aspen Institute, to recognize exceptional leadership ventures undertaken by Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. For more information, visit Follow @McNultyPrize on Twitter and @McNultyFoundation on Instagram.


The Aspen Global Leadership Network’s (AGLN) mission is to develop 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 more than 3,000 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

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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