McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund Launches at the Aspen Institute with over $100,000 in Inaugural Grants

July 9, 2018

The Catalyst Fund recognizes and supports innovative social impact ventures at critical moments in their development.

Nina Sawhney
McNulty Foundation

Philip Javellana
The Aspen Institute

New York, NY, July 9, 2018––The McNulty Foundation announced the inaugural 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 who are transforming education outcomes, to magnifying the voices of DREAMers in America, the inaugural recipients are all effecting positive change for individuals and communities throughout the globe and poised for significant growth in the coming years.

“Countless ventures that are driving social change are at critical moments to expand their impact,”  said Anne Welsh McNulty, President of the John P. and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation and Trustee of the Aspen Institute. “The Catalyst Fund gives us the opportunity to support many more models of empowering people around the world. The multiplier effect is enormous.”

The McNulty Prize Catalyst Fund was established in 2017 by Anne Welsh McNulty to provide unrestricted support to grow exceptional and promising ventures by AGLN Fellows, including those of 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.

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.

Congratulations to the 2018 Catalyst Fund grant recipients:

Las Claras | Panama
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) | 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 broad legislative action. Entering into new school districts this year, the program is on a path to scale statewide.

Braven | 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, transitioning 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 – Fellows Program | Global
Jacqueline Novogratz redefined philanthropy and social entrepreneurship with Acumen’s theory of ‘patient capital’. Its Fellowship Program builds moral leaders tackling poverty and injustice around the world. The one-year program, which will be expanding from three to 15 geographies by 2020, connects and cultivates the next generation of social change agents with the audacity and skills to address the problems of poverty.

Rare – Fish Forever | Global
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.

The recipients will be celebrated alongside the announcement of the 2018 McNulty Prize Laureates, and an interview with Darren Walker on July 25 at the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. Watch the event live:

About the John P. McNulty Prize and Catalyst Fund

Founded by Anne Welsh McNulty in honor of her late husband John, the McNulty Prize celebrates the boldness and impact of individuals who are using their exceptional leadership abilities, entrepreneurial spirit and private sector talents to address the world’s toughest challenges. The Catalyst Fund supports ventures from individuals eligible for the Prize and former McNulty Prize Laureates at pivotal junctures.

Each year, the McNulty Prize winner is selected by an international jury that has previously included Mary Robinson, Bill Gates, Sr. and Sir Richard Branson. The winner receives $100,000 and each Laureate receives $25,000 to further his or her venture. The Prize is given in partnership with the Aspen Institute, and recognizes exceptional leadership ventures undertaken by Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

For more information, visit Follow @McNultyPrize on Twitter and join the conversation with #McNultyPrize.

The Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) is a growing, worldwide community of more than 3,000 high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders from over 60 countries who share a commitment to enlightened leadership and to using their creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. Fellows convene annually at the AGLN’s flagship event, the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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