This pillar represents one of Criterion’s longest-term commitments. Because momentum is gathering around using finance as a tool for change and record capital is invested in fields like impact investing, gender lens investing, and innovative finance, there is an urgent need for social change leaders to engage in these fields to help shape their trajectories. Finance cannot create a more just world in a silo; it must be guided by those with deep knowledge and experience of how social change happens.
Criterion works with change makers – be they government actors, investors, or civil society organizations – to persuade them of their power to fundamentally transform financial systems. Placing emphasis on those whose voices have traditionally been left out of financial design and decision making, we equip these change makers with tools and strategies for how their expertise and skills can influence financial systems and inform new financial interventions.
Inviting these social change leaders to engage with finance is not a single action. It is an ongoing process of making people feel welcome, useful, and comfortable as they explore new territory. Invitation may begin with a literal invitation (for instance, to join an event or to read a new white paper). It becomes an ongoing process, as we inspire trust, deepen relationships, and cultivate long-term transformation.
We envision a future in which using finance as a tool for social change is a ubiquitous strategy deployed by diverse social change organizations, who receive sustained funding from philanthropists and donor agencies to learn new skills sets, experiment with strategies, engage with private sector allies, and design and test new interventions.