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Catalyst 2030 Inaugural Systems Change Award Winners Announced

25 March 2021 | Events, Press Releases

Contact: Lynne Smit
Communications Lead, Catalyst 2030

Catalyst 2030 Inaugural Systems Change Award Winners Announced; Finalists Represent Philanthropic, Government, Multi-lateral and Business Leaders who Embrace Collaboration, Co-creation and Shifting Power Dynamics to Achieve the SDGs

25 March 2021 – Catalyst 2030, the global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators who are collaborating to achieve the SDGs by 2030, announced the winners of its Inaugural Systems Change Awards today.

“As we work to achieve the SDGs, we face a huge challenge. I am hopeful because we are social entrepreneurs! It is in our DNA to find the positive and innovate,” said Jeroo Billimoria, spokesperson and co-founder of the movement. “The philanthropists, donors, corporate and government leaders we honour today share our vision and the principles detailed in the Embracing Complexity Report. We are better together, and, with their true partnership and co-creation, I am confident we will achieve this monumental task.”

The ceremony, held at Althorp House in Northamptonshire and hosted by renowned BBC journalist Emily Kasriel, was broadcast live to a large global audience.

The Awards were given in six categories, with the finalists chosen from more than 200 nominations. There was rigorous judging process by a high level jury chaired by Matthew Bishop, Founder and Board Member of the Social Progress Imperative. The criteria largely mirrored the principles that the entire sector must embrace to achieve social impact. These include: A systems mindset; funding systems leaders rather than projects, working in true partnership, long-term engagement and collaborating with other stakeholders.

The categories and winners were:

Individual Philanthropist

Azim Premji and MacKenzie Scott for donating significant money, time and resources to achieving systems change; and Ray Chambers who was honoured with a Lifetime Impact Award.

Donor Organisation and Philanthropic Intermediary

Small Donor Organisation, to Garfield Foundation for its substantial contribution to a more equitable vibrant and sustainable world.
Large Donor Organisation, to Ford Foundation for leading long overdue change across the philanthropy world, by trusting social entrepreneurs more particularly during the pandemic.
Philanthropic Intermediary, to Greenwood Place in recognition of its investment in the community of entrepreneurial philanthropists and the organisations they support in the long term.

Bi/Multilateral Organisation

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation in recognition of its commitment to build funding partnerships that deliver long-term sustainability.


IKEA Social Entrepreneurship for its open, collaborative mindset, deep empathy for social issues and its tireless collaboration with social entrepreneurs across the value chain.


Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development in recognition of its commitment to achieving and measuring SDG 12; to the Government of Paraguay in recognition of its commitment to promote collaboration and the contribution of social entrepreneurs to public policy; to the Government of Taiwan in recognition of its commitment to social innovation by collaborating and co-creating solutions with social entrepreneurs; and to the Ministry of Health, Malawi in recognition of its commitment to promote multi-sectoral collaboration with social entrepreneurs for creating health solutions at scale.

Special Recognition

Ashoka, Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Skoll Foundation being there from the start and providing invaluable support. And the early supporters – Chandler Foundation, GHR Foundation, Mastercard Foundation and Shockwave Foundation.

The Awards will help to kick off Catalysing Change Week 2021. All of the Award finalists will be invited to host sessions in the second annual Catalysing Change Week which will be held virtually from 3 to 7 May 2021.

“A core principle of our Theory of Change is to bring key stakeholders together to create tangible outcomes for policy-making,” Bishop said. “At Catalysing Change Week 2021, we will unite experts, social innovators, and representatives from the private sector and governments to showcase, listen to and come to understand one another. Through raising awareness of outstanding practices in the field and the potential to bring about change, we aim to change the mindset of policymakers, funders and leaders and urge them to give social innovators a seat at the decision-making table.”

Notes for editors

Catalyst 2030 is a global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all sectors who share the common goal of creating innovative, people-centric approaches to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Joining forces with communities, governments, businesses and others, Catalyst 2030 members are changing systems at all levels through collective action and bold, new strategies.

Launched at the World Economic Forum in January 2020, Catalyst 2030 comprises more than 500 proven social entrepreneurs who are active in over 180 countries and who directly reach an estimated two billion people. We believe in collective action and that bold new strategies are needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

For more information about the work of Catalyst 2030, or to arrange an interview, please contact Lynne Smit at:


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