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The Catalysts for Change (CFC) funding programme was founded by Foundation North in 2012. A model of venture philanthropy intended to “create significant positive changes in our communities by supporting innovative projects and practices”, CFC offered targeted funding and support for innovative projects and practices with the potential to achieve systems level change. Funding was focused on initiatives for young people not in education, employment or training (NEET youth), and children up to five years and their families/whānau.

The key evaluation questions addressed in the evaluation were:

  • To what extent has the CFC programme improved outcomes for programme participants?
  • To what extent has being part of the CFC programme impacted on organisational
  • development and innovation outcomes?
  • To what extent has the CFC programme impacted on the non-government-organisation
  • (NGO) ecosystem?
  • What are we learning about models of effective venture philanthropy in Aotearoa?

The evaluation found that the programme made a strong and direct contribution to supporting significant outcomes and learnings. The outcomes demonstrated a strong contribution to improving life outcomes for young people at significant risk of not achieving their full potential. Outcomes also indicated that CFC programme grantees successfully achieved positive outcomes for Māori and Pasifika rangatahi, who are at increased risk of negative life outcomes compared to other young people.

The evidence also strongly suggested that the CFC programme achieved its intentions to support organisational development and innovative projects and practices, and to enable grantee organisations to operate as effective social businesses and change agents to achieve catalytic outcomes.

CFC has started to demonstrate potential to influence the youth development and wellbeing ecosystem. Preliminary evidence of CFC programme grantee organisations’ readiness to collaborate was evident, and the CFC programme model continues to inspire the philanthropic sector across Aotearoa.