Catalytic Philanthropy
ICV catalyzes projects that achieve measurable impact. We use all possible tools and donor resources available to solve the most pressing problems that no one nonprofit can solve alone.

We identify and empower change makers who have the character, courage and commitment to lead projects that create systemic change. We form coalitions and public-private partnerships, and we enable stakeholders to develop their own solutions. We employ innovative financing solutions to unlock capital. We leverage our convening power to create awareness and turn that awareness into action.


Projects at a Glance

The ICV Donor-Advised Program is a series of donor-advised funds for our catalytic projects, each led by an experienced team who have the character, courage and commitment to solving the world’s greatest challenges. Conducting large-scale interviews and clarifying risks and opportunities, we operate on the ground to facilitate essential research and engage with community leaders to establish sustainable solutions.

Through the ICV Donor-Advised Program, philanthropists can allocate their capital in a conscious way to save the world.

  • The Cancer Breakthroughs Fund, a partnership between ICV and Jefferson, was created to invest in proof-of-concept studies that typically go unfunded through traditional government and industry sources; fuel early-stage investigators in cancer research; and support the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians who hope to write the final chapters of the story that puts cancer into the history books. We have a particular focus on prostate cancer with Dr. Karen Knudsen, one of the top researchers in the world in this area, leading the Fund.
    This Fund can also allocate to the ICV Cancer Impact Grants to fuel the research of HDFCCC’s most promising and innovative physician-scientists. Each quarter, Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS – President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology— and the HDFCCC review panel, will select one Impact Grant winner. All ICV members will be kept abreast of the latest findings and breakthroughs made possible by the Fund and the projects of the grant recipients.

  • The Every Breath Counts Fund is a private-public partnership of some of the biggest names in development that formed the Every Breath Counts Coalition, where ICV shall bring visibility to the burden of pneumonia, the leading killer of children under 5. ICV is working closely with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to serve the most vulnerable population, Nigeria, by catalyzing investment in innovations and breakthrough technologies.

  • The Omnis Fund, a partnership between ICV and the Omnis Institute, was created to support critical research focused on solutions to the health disparities in both refugee camps and urban refugee communities.

  • The Give Freedom Fund is designed for wealthy individuals who wish to advance the well-being of humankind but who may not have the time to diligence organizations or who consider their allocations too large for the capacity of early-stage organizations. ICV has carefully selected early and mid-stage nonprofit organizations — focused on ending modern slavery, human trafficking with an emphasis on sex trafficking, and violence against women and children — for a portfolio structured within a donor-advised fund. ICV conducts extensive due diligence on the organizations, gaining transparency which we, in turn, provide to our donors along with measurable results.

  • The Back from the Brink Fund: A Call to Prevent Nuclear War, a partnership with PSR led by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Ira Helfand, will employ a strategy to help Americans understand the enormity of the destruction that nuclear war will cause; the great and increasing danger that nuclear weapons will be used; and the reality that nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to our health, safety and security.

  • One Humanity Institute Fund: A City of Hope seeks to create a global peace epicenter at Auschwitz, where visitors can experience the stark realities of the past alongside models of transformation for a culture of sustainable peace and the uniting of humanity. We will present tools for positive change and as a positive alternative to destructive patterns of development.

  • The Inner and Outer Peace Fund is focused on advancing human potential and effecting positive change for humankind.

  • A Landmine-Free Colombia is a partnership between ICV, the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and APOPO, which has removed over 100,000 landmines using mine detection rats. In Colombia, we will build peace, sustainable agricultural and health systems, and flourishing communities empowered by decent work, gender equality and security through the removal of the country’s landmines. By using animal detection methods instead of traditional methods, we believe we can have the country landmine-free in 6 years rather than the current pace of 20-30 years.

  • The Aluna Fund will initially support the historic Original Caretakers Ceremonial Visit of the Kogi, from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia to the United States, which will be led by Kogi Mamos from Colombia and Otomi Shamans from Mexico, and to assist the Kogi in repurchasing their ancestral lands.

  • New Era World Model will build economically empowered, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable communities while maintaining their cultural dignity and natural identity. The NEW model engages community leaders and works from the bottom up, then to the top down to create a sustainable system that the community wants.

  • The ICV Afya Fund aims to transfer the value of the development in medical technology over the last few years from western sources to emerging markets, thereby creating positive change and a social impact beyond a financial return.

  • The Africa Rising Fund will support the “100 Mandelas” project, which will celebrate, elevate and extend the legacy and example left by Nelson Mandela. Together, we can empower the underserved youth of Africa to become productive citizens of African communities by overcoming educational and economical challenges.

  • Water is a Human Right will advance the efforts of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, the world’s first initiative that is engaging the planet’s many faiths as allies in efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene.


“Plenty of billionaires are still buying sports teams, building yachts and donating to museums and hospitals. But many new philanthropists appear less interested in naming a business school after themselves than in changing the world.”

 – The New York Times, October 20, 2017


An Innovative Approach from Outside the Nonprofit Sector

The ICV Donor Advised Program provides impact-oriented philanthropists a new way to allocate tax-deductible, donated capital to catalytic projects designed to solve most pressing problems.

Philanthropists can make an up-front donation and receive a tax-deduction in the year they make the donation. Funds are allocated by catalytic project and managed to potentially grow, tax-free. We provide transparency, simplified record keeping and legacy planning support.

The ICV Donor Advised Program is managed by a team of sophisticated investment professionals who unlock financing and leverage networks to create solutions with measurable impact. We understand the importance of transparency, the risk of style drift, and the value of allocating time, capital and resources to achieve specific objectives, where performance can be measured.

  • Allocate capital on behalf of family offices for more than a decade
  • Serve on the boards of private, grant-making foundations
  • Manage large pools of institutional capital
  • Lead corporate boards towards performance and efficiency, stewarding strategic planning and risk management
  • Deep analytical experience to assess social impact and measurement of outcomes
  • Craft international engagement strategies for business interests abroad



” At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we will ask ourselves whether we could have done more for the health and well-being of the planet, of humanity and all living things.

Much like achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is ambitious and will require multiple stakeholder engagement, the catalytic projects of ICV are ambitious. Combining the power of money with the power of compassion can complete these projects on a scale where we can say in confidence, ‘never again.’ We invite you to join us as a new kind of philanthropist, to leverage your charitable giving to catalyze social change.”  

– Robert Smith, Founder of ICV