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SOCAP21 Panel on Catalytic Capital & Intersectional Equity

by | Oct 19, 2021 | News

SOCAP21: At the intersection of money and meaning

What was it?

Catalytic Capital: A Tool to Drive Intersectional Equity for Immigrants and Refugees

When was it?

October 2021


Smitha Das

WES Mariam Assefa Fund

Stefanie Thomas

Impact America Fund

Lauren Grattan

Mission Driven Finance



Smitha Das of WES Mariam Assefa Fund, Stefanie Thomas of Impact America Fund, and Lauren Grattan of Mission Driven Finance discuss how they are using catalytic capital as a tool to drive intersectional equity for immigrants and refugees at this SOCAP21 opening day panel.

Immigrants and refugees contribute significantly to our economy and society, yet many face barriers to economic inclusion and mobility due to race, gender, cultural and language differences, or other aspects of their intersectional identities. As funders and impact investors increasingly support efforts to build a more equitable and just economy, integrating an intentional lens around supporting the aspirations of immigrant and refugee workers is vital. Catalytic capital has the potential to close capital access, opportunity, and outcomes gaps experienced by immigrant and refugee workers and communities. Impact investments can take into consideration the intersectional identities of immigrants and refugees to address structural barriers they may face—from systemic racism to immigration policy to the recognition of international credentials. Hear how three impact investors, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, Impact America Fund, and Mission Driven Finance are centering intersectional equity in how they invest. Through their portfolios, they will demonstrate how funders and investors can provide mission-driven organizations with flexible funding to innovate and scale up solutions that build more inclusive economies where everyone can contribute and thrive.

ImpactAlpha quoted Lauren in their write-up:

Investment practices that reach underbanked populations can open the market to other historically excluded groups. Mission Driven Finance dropped the use of credit scores for its placed-based fund in San Diego to reach a more racially diverse set of borrowers. The effect: The impact investment firm reached more military families, immigrants and women. “Where we can look for opportunities where others see risk is the biggest part of our work,” Mission Driven’s Lauren Grattan said at SOCAP.


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