Catalyst: Community Finance Initiative

Collaboratively scaling the place-based community finance ecosystem
About usJoin
The Catalyst: Community Finance Initiative aims to enhance the ecosystem to support the start-up and scale up of place-based community finance organizations in urban, rural, and Northern communities across Canada.

What We Do

Convene around community finance:

  • Facilitate knowledge sharing amongst place-based finance organizations, investors, and capacity builders.
  • Engage existing and new community finance organizations that can serve organizations, projects, and enterprises in urban, rural and Northern communities, alongside mainstream leaders in philanthropy, public policy, and financial institutions.

Programs to advance community finance:

  • Support a learning community of current and interested place-based community capital stakeholders.
  • Develop and curate tools, templates, and shared services for community capital leaders.

United voice for community finance:

  • Collectively design relevant ecosystem and provincial public policy infrastructure to ensure that community finance organizations can successfully and sustainably start-up and scale their impact.

Join our network for and by community finance organizations

Catalyst is a network of place-based impact funds, community loan funds, investment co-operatives, community land trusts, local credit unions, and other community finance organizations. We are a collective that exists to advance the community finance sector in Canada. Join to gain access to peers, programming, tools, and resources. 

Our Principles

Community-focus: We enable communities to thrive through access to community-centric capital.

Trust: We build high-trust relationships based on mutual respect to co-operate openly and transparently.

Meaningful engagement: We hear, learn, and take collective action informed from diverse community perspectives.

Humility: We recognize we don’t have all the answers and commit to making right what we get wrong.

Action-oriented: We advocate for community finance and take action rooted in our collective wisdom and continuous learning.

Belonging and reciprocity: We create collaborative relationships and strive to advance social justice, inclusion and equity.

Stewardship Group

Catalyst: Community Finance Initiative is a collaborative with a growing, wide range of networks, intermediaries and funders. The collaborative is stewarded by a number of key partners:

Thrive Impact Fund
WES Mariam Assefa Fund

Be represented in the Community Finance ecosystem

Catalyst would like to be able to include you and your organization in our maps and directories of the community finance ecosystem. We have developed a brief survey linked below which will establish an overview of who you are and how you are connected to community finance. We would appreciate it if you could complete the survey and be reflected in this network.


Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust

Four Key Policy Ideas to Support Community Finance in Canada

We look at four promising policies from around the world to bolster community finance in Canada.

Despite constrained resources, community finance organizations shaping future of rural, northern Canada

Three community finance intermediaries share creative ways to invest in ventures and grow local ecosystems in Northern and rural Canada.

EntrepreNorth program

Taking the long view, EntrepreNorth supports Northern Indigenous entrepreneurs to create transformative change

In convening partners to launch a Northern impact fund, EntrepreNorth brings a decolonization lens to financial equity and impact capital in the North.

Tiffany Callender, Executive Director of FACE

FACE looks to support Black entrepreneurs beyond post-pandemic hardships

FACE administers loans of up to $250,000 to existing Black-owned businesses and $50,000 to start-up businesses with Black entrepreneurs at the helm.

Catalyst Community Finance Initiative Ecosystem Convening Summary

Report summarizing the Ecosystem Convening with various ecosystem stakeholders in March 2022

Catalyst Community Finance Initiative Stakeholder Engagement Report

Report detailing the findings of interviews from 35 community finance ecosystem stakeholders
Financial Four

Four experts share secrets to scaling community finance without tension

Here’s how community finance organizations can scale their impact sustainably.

How experts are dismantling colonial approaches to business and housing

Here’s how barriers to Indigenous home ownership can be broken down by decolonizing financial structures.

Community Finance Explainer

This article breaks down some of the concepts in community finance.

Five must read resources on place-based impact investing

A curated collection of articles on place-based investing from recognized and respected sources.

Place-Based Impact Investing: Catalyzing women-led enterprises in Ontario’s COVID recovery

This article highlights the need to support women-led and women-serving businesses with place-based impact investment solutions.

Five Ways to Catalyze Community Capital in Ontario

This article summarizes five (5) key actions for the community capital movement to consider in supporting organizations and enterprises that can lead at a local level.

Why Community Capital Institutions Could be the Key to Recovery

How Canada can leverage community capital institutions to help lead recovery and regeneration efforts that can support local communities.

Place-Based Impact Investing: Three Briefs for Practitioners

Three practitioner briefs designed to focus on building strong ecosystems, mapping opportunities and capacities, and deploying capital.

Beyond Donations: How Two Canadian Organizations are Rebuilding Community Wealth Post-COVID

How 10C and VERGE Capital are leveraging innovative ways to mobilize social finance for community resilience.

Get in touch with us

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