Catalyst Program

Each year the BFC program awarded resources and support to an additional 40-60 projects through our Catalyst Program (including semifinalists, finalists, and the winner). The broader Catalyst Program group included projects that represented the top 20% of the entry pool. Benefits of the Catalyst Program included opportunities for additional funding, pro-bono legal services, fast-track access to accelerator programs, mentorship opportunities, and international press coverage.

In 2013, we created a Catalyst Program in order to extend the resources and support to more projects. Catalyst Program entrants typically constituted the top 20% of the entry pool, and were vetted by the review team. While these projects did not necessarily fulfill the BFC criteria to the degree that the semifinalists did, they were projects that excelled in their particular discipline or problem space.

Benefits of the Catalyst Program included opportunities for additional funding, pro-bono legal services, fast-tracked access to accelerator programs, mentorship opportunities, and international press coverage. In total we were able to extend over $750,000 in additional funding and support to qualified projects.

For example, In 2013 and 2014, select applicants were the recipients of additional funding procured through BFI. In 2015 and 2016, the BFC staff vetted Catalyst Program projects to receive grants from the World Centric giving program. Over the years, the Catalyst Program pool served as a source of rigorously vetted projects for other award programs, and our projects were recognized by the Autodesk Foundation, the World Habitat Awards, the World Design Impact Prize, The Roddenberry Foundation, the INDEX: Award, the Biomimicry Institute, and more. In some cases, as with the Katerva Awards, the BFC program served as a global spotter, and projects from our entry pool were automatically nominated.

Qualifying NGOs and social enterprises benefited from pro-bono legal assistance via BFI's referral process with the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global TrustLaw program. Up to two Fuller Challenge entrants had the opportunity to be selected from the general entry pool for nomination as Echoing Green Fellows each year in fulfillment of the BFC's Fast Track partnership with Echoing Green. Qualifying innovators were referred for inclusion in dMASS Inc.'s depository of innovations, which facilitates the relationship between resource performance leaders and investors. Qualifying solutions were also referred for inclusion in Technology Exchange Lab's depository of appropriate technology solutions for issues of poverty. Select entrants were invited to present their work at future Bioneers conferences.

Additional opportunities to present work at events organized by BFI included Greenbuild, Architecting the Future symposia, Black Mountain College International Conference, The Cooper Union Institute of Sustainable Design lectures, and other international symposia on Buckminster Fuller, sustainable culture events, design conferences and social entrepreneurship gatherings.

Affordable Passive House Prototype
2014 Catalyst Program

The affordable Passive House Prototype (PHP) is a groundbreaking concept of affordable housing using renewable energy sources such as solar PV power, bio-gas from bio-digesters, harvested rainwater and bio-climatic design to achieve thermal cooling and natural ventilation. The buildings are constructed from locally available compressed earth blocks and bamboo components.

Bullitt Center
2014 Catalyst Program

The six-story, 50,000 square foot Bullitt Center opens a window into the future by showing how healthy, comfortable, ultra-efficient and sustainable an urban office building can be. It produces more energy from rooftop solar than it uses; meets its water needs from rain; creates no municipal sewage; and is toxic-free.

Chintan Group
2014 Catalyst Program

Our strategy is to prevent extreme pollution from increasing volumes of poorly handled electronic-waste by transforming current practices through a systems approach. We link fragmented actors as a chain to develop multiple capacities and leadership, resulting in safe recycling, not dumping of E-Waste, augmented green livelihoods for wastepickers and community.

Chira Project
2014 Catalyst Program

This recycle and community center for Women Association ADATA on Chira Island, Costa Rica, includes a work and social area. Apart from recycling it will be used for environmental trainings for schoolchildren, other inhabitants and tourists, making of handicrafts from recyclables, a daycare-center for children and meeting space.

City as Living Laboratory
2014 Catalyst Program

Founded by artist Mary Miss, City as Living Laboratory is building a replicable FRAMEWORK for innovative artists of all disciplines to lead collaborative teams that address the pressing environmental challenges of our time, activated through place-based experience to make sustainability personal, visceral, tangible, and encourages citizen and governmental action.

Clean Irrigation Solution
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: iDE’s Clean Irrigation Solution (CIS) system increases smallholder farmers’ agricultural productivity in developing countries by offering an affordable, appropriately designed, and desirable clean energy alternative to fossil-fuel pumps.

2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Drinkwell blends novel water filtration technology that disrupts current best practice reverse osmosis with a micro-franchise business model to transform existing arsenic and/or fluoride-affected tubewells into clean water systems that generate jobs, clean water, and improve health outcomes across the developing world.

ECAR Project
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Our interdisciplinary team has developed a low cost, robust, and reliable arsenic removal technology, Electro-Chemical Arsenic Remediation (ECAR), to sustainably provide affordable, environmentally friendly arsenic-safe drinking water to arsenic-affected communities.

2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Rooted in social and environmental justice, EcoStation:NY is exploring the intersection of the two through innovative, interrelated "community food" and sustainable urban agriculture projects that educate, inspire, and empower. By taking a “Big Picture” approach, we are fostering important dialog and action around food, the environment, society, and sustainability.

Food Shift
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Food Shift is designing and launching a professional food recovery service sector that manages the collection and redistribution of surplus edible food from businesses to those in need. We are shifting the paradigm around food recovery from one that is charity-based to one that ensures financial sustainability and creates jobs.

Forests Survival Leadership
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: For the next 2 years we set up a network of active forest defenders through which we engage 1,000 local leaders throughout Southeast Asia. The victims of deforestation, biodiversity loss, climatic disasters, cultural and political oppresion, shall now lead the movement for survival, resilience, and recovery of forests and peoples.

How Does it Grow
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: How Does it Grow? is a multi-platform initiative that brings agricultural literacy to ages 10-adulthood. By creating broadcast-quality videos and other free, shareable tools, we reconnect people with how their food grows in order to inspire greater connection with and demand for whole, natural foods, and to combat diet-related illnesses.

2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: The Informal Urban Communities Initiative (IUCI) integrates design activism, education and interdisciplinary research in the slums of Lima. It deploys innovative approaches to slum-upgrading that marry participatory design with adaptive, decentralized infrastructure.

Isla Urbana
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: We are working for the widespread adoption of rainwater harvesting (RWH) in Mexico as a response to the worsening water crisis. We design and install RWH technology for low income, water stressed communities, and do education, training and outreach to promote and develop knowledge and capacity for RWH.

LA Green Grounds
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: LA Green Grounds’ “Dig-ins” help south Los Angeles residents to create front-yard food gardens, positively impacting a community deprived of healthy food options.

2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: We understand resources for what they are, not limited to money. We understand architecture as a tool, not existing for its own sake / not as an end in itself. Our solutions are collective; decisions are not made by one but by everyone.

2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: moWoza is an supply chain and money management solution for grassroots SMEs and low income communities in emerging markets that can be accessed via the mobile phone.

2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: To implement a low cost effective way to turn plastic pollution into a leading- edge solution by utilizing the plastic waste and compressing it into blocks which can be used for sustainable building construction. Plastic waste is collected, cleaned, recycled and then compressed into blocks to be used as building.

ReThink DRC
2014 Catalyst Program

ZeroFly Livestock is the first insecticide-incorporated screen that keeps livestock healthy and productive by reducing the impact of nuisance and biting flies, such as tsetse flies, which are the vector of trypanosomiasis (also known as sleeping sickness or Nagana).

2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: We propose a two-year demonstration biochar project, which addresses three of the major challenges facing coffee growing communities across Central America: utilizing the by-products from coffee processing, providing clean-burning, fuel efficient alternatives for cooking and developing effective organic fertilizers, which can combat disease and decreasing productivity