Empower your grantees to build their own capacity

As funders, how do you offer capacity building supports that foster effective, sustainable, and equitable organizations? How can you honor the visions of those most proximate to issues while ensuring they have the support needed to reach their full potential? How can you effectively support grantees that have very different needs and contexts?

Built for foundations, Catalyst:Ed Exchanges put grantees in charge of their own capacity development, while supporting them with a scaffolded process, expert guidance, and high-quality options.

Learn more about how Exchanges can help build grantee capacity, while also informing your grantmaking below.

Build Grantee Capacity

  • Identify Needs

    We work with your grantees to help them identify their needs and build a capacity building plan.

  • Access Support

    We connect grantees with expert technical assistance providers, coaches, and consultants.

  • Learn and Build

    We create opportunities for grantees to learn from and build on the work of their peers

Inform Your Grantmaking

  • Power Grantee Efforts

    by funding high-impact and individualized capacity-building projects.

  • Track Grantee Progress

    and learn what’s working and why.

  • Connect the Dots

    across projects to surface patterns and build collective knowledge

  • Our partnership with Catalyst:Ed has been a great way for us to make sure our ventures get the thoughtful and timely support they need to build strong organizations. The breadth and depth of expertise in the Catalyst:Ed network ensures that leaders across our portfolio can access coaching and consulting help in any area.

    Frances MessanoFrances MessanoPresident, New Schools Venture Fund

Exchange Components

We design and create each foundation’s Exchange keeping in mind the foundation’s specific priorities and the profile of its grantees. Key components of Catalyst:Ed Exchange include:

  • Grantee Diagnostic

    We create and facilitate a capacity assessment survey with each grantee to understand their assets and development needs. The diagnostic results guide action planning, individualized capacity building, and the cohort experience.

  • Project Scoping and Matching

    We work with grantees to help them determine the highest-leverage opportunity for capacity building support and then develop a project scope or “mini-RFP”. Our network of 830+ vetted consultants responds with proposals. We then guide grantees through a structured selection process.

  • Contracting and Payment

    Our team handles all consultant invoices and payment processing via “consulting wallets”, so your grantees don’t need to sweat the details.

  • Feedback and Reflection

    We ensure the project remains on track, and capture feedback and data from grantees and consultants at specific points in the selection and project engagement cycle. Important trends and insights are shared with the foundation for progress-tracking and decision-making.

  • Communities of Practice

    We partner with the foundation to design a cohort experience (including convenings) that cultivate peer connections and learning opportunities and are designed based on grantee input.

  • Program Design and Management

    We work closely with your team to design the Exchange so it meets your portfolio-specific needs. We share emerging data on grantee needs and progress with you through reports and develop case studies to capture grantee journeys.

Our Funding Partners


  • Spotlight

    Networks for School Improvement (NSI) Exchange

    Catalyst:Ed is the capacity-building partner to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Networks for School Improvement (NSI) Community of Practice. In this role, we work with intermediaries to help them identify their strengths and areas for growth, hone in on areas where increased capacity will result in greater outcomes for their network, and connect with vetted providers who can help them achieve their goals. We operate the NSI Exchange to facilitate intermediary connections with resources, each other, and with providers.

  • NewSchools Exchange

    With NewSchools Ventures, we are helping teams who are planning to open new, innovative public schools and teams working to diversify the pool of teachers and leaders to better reflect and serve public school students. Together, we clarify teams connect with providers who can support their capacity-building efforts.


Interested in learning more?