Our Research

Activating and informing investors, funders, and the field to gain deeper impact perspectives.

In order to help investors and supporting stakeholders understand how to move capital more transformatively, we do research to understand how finance is deeply linked with social justice outcomes.

Whether it's determining the downstream effects of investment on particular communities, understanding a sector from a deep social justice perspective, or learning about models to replicate and build upon, our research is used by our partners and the field as a whole.

Our relationships and unique audience help to ground our work in a broader context. We try to use our research to lift up others’ work within the world of finance, too!

Types of Research

Our research supports funders seeking to support the field and change narratives, partners working on issues of transformative finance, and entities seeking to gain deeper internal understanding of issues in transformative finance.

Commissioned Research

We answer to research RFPs and support foundations’ field building work by customizing research agendas that address current needs of the field. This work can help provide internal understanding for commissioning organizations, but primarily serves to educate peers and the field as a whole on more transformative investment strategies.

commissioned research example: Participatory Investing

Our Participatory Investment work was initially supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which sought to educate fellow foundations, investors, and community development practitioners on the need for investment approaches that built power through participation and project governance. This led to a field-facing report and entire educational program.

Contact us to discuss field-facing research we can support

Research Partnerships

If you’re embarking on a research project that could benefit from an understanding of potential investment interventions, we would love to learn more! Some of our past research has emerged through partnerships with other organizations doing similar work, to join forces and share insights, connections, and narrative power. 

Research partnerships example: Alternative financing structures with the idb

We partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank to understand different financing structures that were more favorable for impact enterprises. This partnership built on the IDB’s experience supporting these kinds of investments and their relationships with other investors and entrepreneurs; we provided the analysis that led to the resulting report, Innovations in Financing Structures for Impact Enterprises: Spotlight on Latin America.

Contact us if you'd like to discuss potential partnership opportunities for research

Tailored Research for Internal Use

Our research supports individual organizations, such as funds, asset owners, foundations, and others understand specific sectors and social justice issues. This research directly informs decision making for our partners so that they can adjust their investment or grantmaking strategies accordingly.

tailored research example: tech-enabled worker organizing

We helped Open Society Foundations understand the sector of technology-enabled worker organizing tools, which was used to inform grantmaking and investment strategies. We performed a field scan of existing tools and resources and produced an internal report that gave a high level understanding of this sector from a philanthropic investor’s perspective.

Contact us if you think we'd be able to help with your research needs

Transform Finance’s ability to think through systemic issues of power and equity when it comes to finance strategies proved invaluable. Their work helped shape our investment strategy in a few of areas and sets a high standard for anyone looking to invest in worker power and democracy.

Robin Varghese

Open Society Foundations