Croatan Institute is an independent, nonprofit research institute whose mission is to harness the power of investment for social good and ecological resilience by working at the critical nexus where sustainability, finance, and economic development intersect. With initial funding from foundations, sustainable investment groups, civil society, and community development organizations, the Institute’s activities address some of the most complex sustainability challenges of our time, often in close partnership with practitioners in the field and movements for social and environmental change.

The Institute’s team includes a group of committed, interdisciplinary experts, researchers, and critics working on issues such as climate change and energy, environmental and social impact investing, sustainable finance, regenerative agriculture and regional food systems, institutional accountability, social equity, diversity, and inclusion, and resilient community development.

Launched publicly on Earth Day in 2014 in the Research Triangle of North Carolina with an extended team based in Boston, New York, and Geneva, Croatan Institute was initially incubated at Tellus Institute, the Boston-based sustainability think tank where several of the founding team members and advisers began their collaboration. The Institute is governed by a board of concerned citizens and environmental entrepreneurs and counseled by a Board of Advisers drawn from a diverse cross-section of leaders from civil society, business, social finance, and academia.


Croatan Institute’s name draws inspiration from the Native American Croatan people associated with the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke, the first effort at English settlement in the Americas.  In the late sixteenth century, families of more than 100 English-speaking colonists settled on an island nestled between the Outer Banks and the inland coast of present-day North Carolina.  Within the space of less than three years, the colonists had mysteriously vanished.  When the colony’s governor returned to rejoin the settlers, his crew found an abandoned settlement with the word “Croatoan” carved in a gate post and the letters “CRO” on the trunk of a tree.  Read more.


  • sustainersArchimedes' Point
  • sustainersChristi and Igor Veytskin
  • supportersMatthew Patsky
  • stalwartsBig Path Capital
  • stalwartsRichard S. Bookbinder
  • stalwartsBreckinridge Capital Advisors
  • stalwartsClean Land LLC
  • stalwartsJason Cooke
  • stalwartsErickson Advisors
  • stalwartsEssex Investment Management Company LLC
  • stalwartsDolly H. Gray-Bussard
  • stalwartsPraxis Mutual Funds
  • stalwartsDavid and Jocelyn Sand
  • stalwartsTrillium Asset Management
  • stalwartsLexie Wolf
  • stalwartsMary Ellen and John Zellerbach

Learn more about the Founders Circle Campaign here.



Archimedes' Point

The Baffler Foundation

Big Path Capital

Bonwood Social Investments

Boston Common Asset Management

Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Burt's Bees Greater Good Foundation

Calvert Investments

Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina State University

Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

Church Impact

Clean Energy Group

Clean Yield Asset Management

Community Capital Management

Conetoe Family Life Center

Confluence Philanthropy

Delta Institute

Democracy Collaborative

Divest-Invest Philanthropy

Earthwise Organics

Erickson Advisors

Essex Investment Management Company LLC

Farmland LP


Fifth Season Ventures

First Affirmative Financial Network

Ford Foundation

Fossil Free Indexes

Friends of the Earth

Global Fund for Women

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

Good Capital

Green Century Funds

Green Rural Redevelopment Organization (GRRO)

Iroquois Valley Farms

Jonathan Rose Companies

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)

McIntosh County Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (McIntosh SEED)

Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands)

Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)

Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF)

North Carolina Justice Center, Budget and Tax Center

NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.

Organic Valley

Out Leadership

Pathstone Federal Street

Pax World Management, LLC

Rachel's Network

Rainforest Action Network

RBC Global Asset Management

Responsible Endowments Coalition

Root Capital

RSF Social Finance

Saxapahaw General Store

Self-Help Credit Union

SEIU Capital Stewardship


Social Justice Fund NW

Southern Organic Female Farmers Association (SOFFA)

Southern Partners Fund

Sustainable Endowments Institute

Tellus Institute

Thirty Percent Coalition


Trillium Asset Management

TS Designs

US SIF Foundation

Values Advisor

Walden Asset Management

Wallace Global Fund

Weaver Street Market

Working Landscapes

Yellow Wood Associates