Foundation research

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap Fund has mobilized $582 million in private capital to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

3rd annual report demonstrates initial impact of Fund’s $18 million diversified global portfolio

NEW YORK | July 18, 2022 – The Rockefeller Foundation has released its annual Zero Gap Fund: 2021 State of the Portfolio report which captures the critical role catalytic capital plays in enabling investment solutions to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Across its seven investments to date, the Fund has leveraged $582 million in private financing for a diverse portfolio of high-impact investment strategies. The Fund added two investments in 2021, bringing total commitments to $18 million out of the $30 million fund.

The Zero Gap Fund was launched in 2019 in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It deploys patient, risk-tolerant and flexible capital in promising, impact-oriented financial strategies and mechanisms that aim to stimulate large-scale private investment in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Innovative financial mechanisms like those supported by the Zero Gap Fund demonstrate the power of catalytic capital to cultivate and scale impact-driven investment strategies. With the SDGs undermined by Covid-19, climate change and other crises, there is both a critical and urgent need for investment solutions that combine impact and return and mobilize significant private capital for such strategies.” , said Maria Kozloski, Senior Vice President, Innovative Finance, Rockefeller Foundation. “As the Zero Gap Fund’s portfolio matures, we are seeing encouraging results, even in the face of broader market instability.”

Zero Gap Fund Impact Highlights:

  • Exceed provides access to financial services and healthcare for emerging consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. Through its portfolio companies, it provided essential healthcare services to 11 million emerging consumers and created 50,000 jobs in 2021, up from 17,000 in 2020. Two-thirds of those impacted by LeapFrog’s portfolio are from income low and lower medium. groups.
  • The Forest Resilience Bond enables forest restoration and ensures water quality for farmers and communities threatened by forest fires. It has helped avoid 20,000 megatons of CO2 emissions, funded the restoration of 2,000 acres of fire-prone areas in California, and protected 6,000 acres of terrestrial ecosystems. It is now targeting an additional 25,000 acres for restoration, building on the original 15,000-acre plan launched in 2019 and expected to be completed by 2023.
  • Sixup provides student loans to low-income, high-achieving students in the United States who face a college funding gap. It has distributed 328 loans to students in 32 states totaling $3.1 million, with an average loan size of $9,000.
  • ARTS AND CRAFTS funds climate adaptation and resilience solutions to improve the lives of underserved communities around the world. Its investment in SOURCE, a hydroelectric solar panel company, succeeded in reducing 16 tonnes of net GHG emissions, while serving 6,000 beneficiaries in 48 different countries.
  • Women’s Subsistence Obligation 2 (WLB2) provides capital and other assistance to women-owned businesses in Southeast Asia. It directly reached 43,000 emerging female consumers and indirectly benefited another 100,000, compared to 31,000 women in 2020. Since the Fund invested in WLB2, the WLB series has continued to grow and thrive, mobilizing a total of 78 million dollars and empowering over a million people. women in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Founder’s First Capital Partners provides revenue-based financing to underfunded and underrepresented entrepreneurs across the United States. In 2021, the company funded 12 loans averaging $175,000, including 65% to women, 63% to ethnic minorities, and 50% to low- and moderate-income communities, and saw growth in 53% revenue per borrower.
  • API & Heritage enables job preservation and asset ownership for low-income and minority workers in the United States through employee ownership. He announced his first two corporate buyouts using an employee-led buyout model, helping 170 workers build wealth by owning the businesses where they work.

The Zero Gap Fund is built on a grantmaking portfolio that has awarded nearly 70 grants totaling $38 million to more than 50 organizations working around the world to develop new impact-focused funding mechanisms. These grants have funded local groups to rebuild coral reefs that protect communities from hurricanes; created a new asset class that places a monetary value on the environment to incentivize its protection; and climbed Zambia first buyer of renewable energy to support a portfolio of up to 110 MW of renewable energy in the region.


About the Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy based on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology and innovation, working to enable individuals, families and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our goal is to develop renewable energies for all, to stimulate economic mobility and to ensure equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

About John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks that are building a more just, green, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing some big bets that truly meaningful progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including promoting global climate solutions, reducing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in United States and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows program and the global 100&Change competition, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy as well as the vitality of our home city, Chicago.

Media Contact

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The Rockefeller Foundation
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Maria Speiser
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John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
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