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.

Note: you can scroll through the 2023 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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Program Coordinator

Joan Coello (pronounced “Joe- ann Quello”) is our 2023-24 Transformative 25 Program Coordinator. She is a recent UC Berkeley graduate. She has experience in the startup and nonprofit sectors, working closely with Latino and Indigenous communities in Berkeley and Oakland, California.

Through her work in the California Rural Legal Assistance Program and Immigrants Rising Through Education,  she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to social impact by contributing to initiatives that seek to improve the lives of underrepresented communities.

She’s excited to start this new chapter with the Transformative 25 Team because it serves as a unique opportunity to merge her existing career experience in business with her personal mission to help increase visibility and resource allocation for underrepresented entrepreneurs, businesses and initiatives. Her goal is to help create tangible change in the world through the power of financial systems and integrated capital.

Blog Stories on the Transformative 25

Application Link Here   Download PDF Here   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 they invest capital to benefit unfinanced people and the planet.......

Fibers Fund Interview with Sarah Kelley and Teju Adisa-Farrar; Co-Managing Directors Jen: How was Fibers Fund Created?  Sarah: Fiber crops are an integral part of agricultural systems with critical impacts on land use, soil health, communities and economic development. The current global textile industry is......

Cooperative Fund of the Northeast Interview with Micha Josephy; Executive Director How was the Cooperative Fund of the Northeast Created?  Micha: During the mid-1970s, community-owned grocery stores (food co-ops) were launching and expanding healthy food access and food sovereignty across the region, but couldn’t access......

Foodshed Capital Loan Fund Interview with Michael Reilly; Co-Founder and Executive Director Jen: How was Foodshed Capital Loan Fund Created?  Michael: Michael Reilly founded the fund to help human-scale farmers access fair, patient and affordable capital Jen: How are your investment funds catalytic in a......

IMPAQTO Capital Interview with Justin Schwartz, Managing Partner How was IMPAQTO Capital Created? Justin: IMPAQTO Capital was created by Michelle Arévalo-Carpenter and Justin Schwartz as a spin off of IMPAQTO, an ecosystem builder based in Ecuador that has been a key player in the development of the social......

Viwala Interview with Carolina Lobo-Guerrero, Chief Financial Officer Jen: How was “Fund” Created?  Carolina:  In late 2018 Rodrigo Villar and Armando Laborde, founding partners of New Ventures realized the need for an investment vehicle that could help bridge the financing gap for missing middle entrepreneurs.......

Navajo Power Interview with Brett Isaac, Fund Founder and Executive Chair How was Navajo Power Created? Brett: Navajo Power is a majority native owned company that was founded to help address the catastrophic economic impact of the decline of the coal-based economy on the Navajo Nation by developing......

Gouts Lakawoulh Hiwechk Fund, Wiyot Tribe Dishagamu Community Land Trust Interview with Michelle Vassel, Tribal Administrator  How was “Fund” Created?  Michelle: Dishgamu Humboldt CLT and the Gouts Lakawoulh Hiwechk (money that makes us well) were both created by the Wiyot Tribal Council. The goal with......

IndigiDAO Fund Interview with Liz Gamboa, Co-Director Jen: How was IndigiDao Created? Liz: I think we recognized that new blockchain and Web3 technologies offer their users a chance to take sovereignty over their data technologically. This tech also provided an opportunity to exchange goods and services in......

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.