25 funds transforming finance for people and planet

The Transformative 25 is a regular list of funds, banks and initiatives that are demonstrating the power of integrated capital that is designed to reimagine the finance system to work for people and planet. The first list was published in 2021. Access to download the lists below and find information about the criteria, upcoming webinars, blogs that highlight the funds and the criteria used.


The Transformative 25


Click on the button below to watch past webinars, and sign up for upcoming webinars

Transformative 25 Research Fellow – Leila Youssef

Leila is Egyptian-American, grew up in Washington D.C. and moved to San Francisco to study international studies. She is now perusing her master’s degree in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics. She is passionate about impact investing and solidarity economics, portrait photography, and her 2-year-old godson Lukas.

Note: you can scroll through the issue below using the arrows at the bottom. The file is rather large so the page will take time to load.


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Blog Stories on the Transformative 25

Interview with Ellen Fish, Director of R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund When Ellen applied to be part of the Transformative 25, I was intrigued by her fund’s focus on artisan enterprises. Then I learned her initiative was part of the Friends of Tilonia, a non-profit organization working......

Interview with Brandon Welch, Director of Radical Capital & Investor Lead of the Perennial Fund  I learned about the Perennial Fund just after I started Integrated Capital Investing when Brandon called me to learn more about the philanthropic landscape for investing in regenerative, agroecological farming......

Interview with Martha Brantley, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Shared Interest Fund When I learned about the approach that Shared Interest took in leveraging deposits in United States banks to back loans on the continent of Africa, I felt sure that Swift Foundation would......

Interview with Luni Libes, Founder and Co-CEO for the Africa Eats Fund I learned about FLEDGE and Africa Eats from Tim Crosby of the Thread Fund who was excited about the potential of African-based food and agriculture businesses to address job creation. When I was......

Interview with Gaithiri Siva, Director of the Buen Vivir Fund I remember Rajasvini Bhansali, the former executive director of Thousand Currents, talking about a new kind of investment fund in which investors and partners had an equal role in governing the decision-making through an assembly......

Interview with Erika D. Williams, Vice President of Client Development with RSF Social Finance and The Women’s Capital Collaborative Fund   Jen: How was the RSF’s Women’s Capital Collaborative Fund created? Erika: Women entrepreneurs are routinely left behind when it comes to funding. On average,......

Interview with Lora E. Smith, Executive Director of the Appalachian Impact Fund Lora Smith filled the room with joy and focus at the inaugural cohort of the Just Economy Institute (formerly known as the Integrated Capital Institute) in 2017. Unlike many of us in the......

Announcing Call for Funds to Apply for The Transformative 25 in 2022 25 funds transforming finance for people and planet Application Form Link Here What? A list of funds transforming the economy for social, environmental, and economic justice. They employ a mix of sound financial......

Kat Kavanagh, Executive Director of Water Rangers. Kat is demonstrating the water test kit that communities use to test and upload water data to their shared platform. Thrive Impact Fund provided an early revenue loan for working capital....

Download a PDF of this file Link to Application What? A list of funds transforming the economy for social, environmental, and economic justice. They employ a mix of sound financial structures to overcome barriers and transform how capital is invested to benefit all people and......

Criteria for the Transformative 25

The fund must meet at least three of the following four criteria:

  • Employ integrated capital
  • Use creative finance
  • Focus on social, relational, and ecological returns
  • Engage with ownership and governance for equity

Integrated Capital

In the words and work of RSF Social Finance, “integrated capital is the coordinated use of different forms of financial capital and non-financial resources to support strategies and enterprises working to solve complex social and environmental problems.” Many of the funds are structured as social purpose funds for community benefit and can receive grant support as well as investments. Others organize themselves with multiple entities.

Creative Finance

A creative finance structure is “when a loan or investment is put together in a different, unusual or innovative way to create a circumstance where a person with a nontraditional credit history or a lack of collateral can access those resources.” By providing diverse finance strategies: fixed low interest rates, royalty payments, repayment moratoriums, recoverable grants and promissory notes, they are reshaping both investor and borrower understandings.

Social, Relational and Ecological Returns

Social, relational and ecological returns are built into the purpose of the funds alongside targeted financial returns. These funds consider return in holistic ways. This stands in contrast to funds where the emphasis is on the return on investment (ROI) or the financial gain or loss generated on an investment relative to the amount of money invested.

Ownership and Governance

Many funds focus on redefining ownership and governance, including questions around who owns the assets, who makes decisions about the assets, and how decision-making processes work. They support cooperative conversions and employee shareholder ownership plans (ESOPs). Others are led and managed by people within their communities. These shifts contribute to wealth redistribution.

Financial Returns

All the funds have a return profile that they articulate in their prospectus and terms. They range in structure and approach and solicit a range of types of capital from grants to recoverable grants, to investments and equity evergreen funds. Some offer dividends or royalty payments, while others financial returns of 0-8%.  Importantly, they are diverse in their approach and tailor their funds to the communities and financial opportunities they understand. Some of the funds are seeking investment and grants now while others are currently closed with plans to open for funding in the next 3-18 months. All funds on the list expect to grow and have plans for the future.