Catalyst: Community Finance Initiative

Collaboratively scaling the place-based community finance ecosystem
About usCollaborators
The Catalyst: Community Finance Initiative is a multi-year initiative to develop enhanced ecosystem and policy infrastructure to support the start-up and scale up place-based community finance organizations in urban, rural and Northern communities in Ontario and across the country.

Our Mission

We are seeking to:

  • Collectively design relevant ecosystem and provincial public policy infrastructure to ensure that community finance institutions can successfully and sustainably start-up and scale their impact;
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing amongst place-based finance and capacity organizations; and
  • Engage existing and new community finance organizations that can serve organizations, projects, and enterprises in selected urban, rural and Northern communities, alongside mainstream leaders in philanthropy, public policy, and financial institutions.


  • Learning Community of current and interested place-based community capital stakeholders;
  • Community Capital Research Report including case studies, map, data, and comparative analysis of Canadian (federal and provincial), US and UK policies that support community capital institutions
  • Action Plan including potential policy interventions to scale up community capital institutions in Ontario as well as potential ecosystem infrastructure interventions with an appropriately phased plan to scale up community capital institutions in Ontario and across Canada
  • Tools and templates for community capital leaders. 

Catalyst Action Plan

After our first year of engagement with community stakeholders, Catalyst has prepared a comprehensive Action Plan including overall objectives, goals, and next steps.

Catalyst’s overarching goals:

  • Decenter whiteness in the social finance ecosystem
  • Educate: Raise awareness and understanding around the role of Community Finance in helping address policy priorities — in particular with regards to the advancement of the Black community and addressing the affordable housing crisis
  • Map the flow of money and define the ecosystem: Identify how money flows (from where and to who), what stops money from flowing, the financial tools that work and the circumstances under which they work
  • Build/Convene the Network: Promote connections, sharing, and collective action on shared priorities
  • Build an enabling policy environment: help ensure a sufficient flow of capital to support social and economic development in Ontario communities through policy advocacy

Or view a presentation of the Action Plan here.


A growing, wide range of networks, intermediaries and funders are supporting this initiative.


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

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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