CATALYST is Canopy’s education and convening arm dedicated to building the field of place-based investing.  Through creating and stewarding cross-sector, active learning cohorts, Canopy CATALYST generates sustainable, community-driven solutions to local economic challenges.  The following process outlines how Canopy works with partners to create solution-focused learning cohorts.

Catalyst Cohorts

Catalyst Cohorts are cross-sector action groups that convene on a finite basis to address a specific challenge in the field of place-based investing.

  • Identifies & convenes participants
  • Conducts institutional research to surface challenges
  • Structures & facilitates group learning
  • Invites field experts to support the conversation
  • Carriers group recommendations forward

CATALYST Program Development

Canopy CATALYST cohorts are generated by the communities in which we live and work, as they identify gaps in their investment ecosystems.

The program development process involves the following steps:


  1. Assemble cohort participants
  2. Secure program funding
  3. Confirm cohort timeline


  1. Secure field experts & facilitator(s)
  2. Develop program curriculum
  3. Confirm cohort timeline

(See the Cohort Curriculum tab for further detail)

CATALYST cohorts generally run over the course of four months (one quarter), and include four full-day sessions.  With input from partners, Canopy creates a specialized curriculum for each cohort that generally follows the following learning and development structure.


  • SESSION I: Introduction & Foundation.  This session is aimed at level setting the room through a combination of background information and knowledge sharing.  This meeting is also focused on building a positive and productive learning community among cohort participants.
  • SESSION II: Experiential Learning & Case Building.  This second session builds off of the first session through a highly interactive engagement with current field practitioners.  Cohort members will gain a hands-on understanding of the gaps this work is aimed at addressing.
  • SESSION III: Issue Specific Case Studies, Opportunities & Challenges.  In this third session participants will evaluate a body of similar work to glean lessons learned in the form of both challenges and opportunities.
  • SESSION IV: Recommendation & Implementation Plan.  The final CATALYST session will include a recommendation from the Canopy team on the creation of a collaborative funding model, along with a facilitated session to generate an implementation plan.  Participants will leave this final session with a firm understanding of where this work is headed and their respective role in it.

Following each Canopy CATALYST engagement, the Canopy team will support the cohort to translate learning into implementation.


Specifically, Canopy offers each cohort:

  • The opportunity for fund implementation consulting,
  • A presence in Canopy CAPITAL’s fund pipeline once the fund entity has been established, and
  • A program feedback channel to directly influence how this offering supports the field of place-based investing going forward.