Mergers and Collaborations
Please note: the Catalyst Fund is no longer accepting applications. Thank you for your interest.
The Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits was a unique five-year fund established to support collaborations and mergers in the Boston area. Launched in September 2010, the Fund was a partnership of The Boston Foundation, Boston LISC, The Hyams Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, managed by Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF).
The Catalyst Fund provided a source of financial and technical advisory support as a catalyst for promising voluntary collaborative ventures and mergers among nonprofit organizations. It was designed as a regional and national model, initially focused on support to Boston area nonprofits, with the goal of developing a permanent resource infrastructure to support nonprofit collaborations—rooted in best practices and data-based outcomes.
For additional information, please contact Peter Kramer, Catalyst Fund Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out publications from the Boston Catalyst Fund
WHAT DOES “COLLABORATION” MEAN?
The Catalyst Fund defined collaboration as a relationship between two or more nonprofits that:
- meaningfully changes the way participating organizations do business for the long-term,
- requires board involvement as a high-level, strategic activity, and
- preserves, expands, or improves services to constituents.
What nonprofit mission areas did the Catalyst Fund support?
The Catalyst Fund focused on supporting Boston area collaborations in the following mission areas: arts & culture, community development, human services, and youth development. Please review our full Frequently Asked Questions document for further information.
How the Fund Worked
- Technical assistance providers interested in participating in the pool of Catalyst Fund providers responded to a the Request for Qualifications. RFQ responses were reviewed on a rolling basis for participation in the Catalyst Fund based on criteria found here.
- Nonprofits interested in Catalyst Fund submitted applications which were reviewed based on the criteria found here.
- A nonprofit collaboration receiving an allocation from the Catalyst Fund selected their preferred technical assistance provider for the engagement from a pool of pre-qualified Catalyst Fund technical assistance providers.
Process Map of Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits (CFN) Application and Intake
- Continuing economic challenges have highlighted opportunities for nonprofits to explore new ways of doing business, including pursuing collaborative ventures. The Catalyst Fund was created in response to persistent inquiries made by Boston area nonprofits to funders in recent years for assistance with proposed collaborative ventures, including everything from sharing back-office resources to mergers.
- The Fund was based on the principle that nonprofits deserve financial and technical support that is designed to meet the unique needs of mission-driven organizations rather than an approach borrowed from the for-profit sector.
- The Fund recognized that attempts by individual funders to support collaborations on a case-by-case basis are insufficient to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of Boston area nonprofits.