We have overseen, directed and fundraised USD250M+ towards hundreds of high impact organizations and are committed to bringing forth awareness through our research of leading practices and centres of excellence. We are committed to driving impact by engaging a diverse set of institutions, including:
· High-impact social enterprises and non-profit organizations
· Accelerators and Incubators of Social Entrepreneurs
· Impact Investment Funds
· Museums, Performing Arts Institutions, Artists, Arts & Culture Promoters
· Executive Leadership Associations
· Embassies, Government Agencies, Chambers of Commerce
· Universities and Think Tanks
· Multi-lateral Development Banks and Policy Initiatives
· Sustainability Ratings Companies and Forums
· Other Corporations and Supply Chains
For a list of our partners, please contact us. We provide a select number of testimonials from our partners below.
Grace Kataoka and Ash Sharma are true impact investing professionals. TBLI recently worked together on a substantial research project of Impact Investing. I was struck by both of their deep level of understanding of the financial sector, and philanthropy, in particular. What is quite unique about both of them is their total passion, commitment, and understanding of Impact Investing and most important their authenticity. So many of the “impact investing” advisors are just repacked financial engineers or strategy consultants who have found a new direction to write hours. This is not the case with Grace and Ash. I have known both quite a while. They were always supportive and showed leadership in pushing CSR and sustainability in the mainstream financial sector, at a time when few were engaged. It was a great joy reconnecting and seeing again their passion, generosity, integrity and total authenticity. They have always worked for their clients in a non-conflicted manner and always in the interests of the client. Within this framework, they have shown true thought leadership in the Impact Investing arena and would be a great partner and advisor for any family office, endowment, or asset owner truly interested in engaging in impact.
Robert Rubinstein, CEO, TBLI Group
In their Impact Investment report, Grace and Ash properly identify the paradox of foundations worrying about the impact of the 5% of corpus and allowing 95% to roam freely in the world of high return. Given 20:1 impact in the US and UK and likely more elsewhere, this is a right place for early focus. It also allows foundations to set a path for investors adjacent on the spectrum (pension funds etc.) This is a big lever! If unleashed in Japan, it could change the world.
Their investigation of programmatic related philanthropic investing provide critical insights to a new and important global investing asset class. Their work is well written, objective and profound.
John Schaetzl, Non-Executive Director, SustainAbility / Investor and Advisor
Grace and Ash come across as super professional and efficient. But what struck me most in my interaction with them is their heart for impact and outcomes…the ability to channelize their wide experience and networks to help finance and scale enterprises serving the base of the economic pyramid; I do wish them well as we all together strive to create a world without poverty.
Royston Braganza, CEO, Grameen Capital India
Impact Investment is a space that has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years. This is due the tireless work of a group of individuals and organizations across the globe who have dedicated themselves to connect money with meaning. Amala is one of these organizations. Amala's commitment to the impact investment field from a corporate and personal-level is practical and authentic in assisting advance the sector. With backgrounds in philanthropy, finance and corporate development, the Founders of Amala have a thorough understanding of the process that massive capital flow and multi-stakeholder collaborative effort towards ecosystem accelerators and social entrepreneurs tackling critical development challenges is the most effective means towards the sustainability of the planet and future generations. The Founders of Amala have over the course of the last couple of years continually connected the dots of their network to advance the sector. One of the Founders, Grace Kataoka, the former Head of CSR for Asia Pacific for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was a leading advocate of impact investment and funded numerous social entrepreneurs, enabling them to attend our conference to present to accredited investors for capital and capacity building expertise. Amala is committed to doing what is necessary to break down the barriers and creating impact for all stakeholders and keep the space growing.
Durreen Shahnaz, Founder and Managing Director Shujog / Founder and Chairwoman IIX
Grace Kataoka and Ash Sharma are unique professionals in the CSR field who continually conceptualize and deliver on pioneering platforms in Asia, including impact investment, women’s empowerment and social entrepreneurship. I first worked with them when they were heading the respective Philanthropy and Sustainability Divisions at Shinsei Bank. I was the Japan Representative of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Bank Group at the time and we worked together on developing a multi-stakeholder fund to support youth in developing countries. In the 6 years since then, I worked with them on various projects, and recently selected them to conduct comprehensive research on the current impact investment sector highlighting what leading US, European and Asia foundations, family offices, funds, policy makers and accelerators were doing. They provided a report complete with numerous case studies and a strategic framework for Sasakawa Peace Foundation to take a lead in the sector in Asia. I knew that they would be the best people to conduct the extensive and difficult study in a short period of time as they have the ability to win the trust of the most respected people in the industry. Their insightful delivery included the big picture and also considerations from a policy, risk and investment perspectives. I thoroughly enjoyed their hands-on education approach which also incorporated our active participation and attendance at impact investing conferences in New York, Singapore and London where we had one on one meetings ensuring throughout that my colleagues and I connected to several leaders. It has been a great pleasure working with them.
Mari Kogiso, Senior Fellow, Project Department, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation / Former Representative in Japan, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, The World Bank Group
Ash Sharma provided us with invaluable strategy formulation and in depth knowledge from all levels on how to approach and work with corporate foundations and business lines at Wells Fargo on our CSR & Public Relations campaigns on a national level with lasting results. We selected Ash's advisory over larger firms as he always over delivers and is efficient, fast and has a deep knowledge of the industry and its practices. He has a particular strength in leveraging philanthropic initiatives to reach targeted demographic audiences, in our case multicultural and medical professional wealth management segments. He helped expedite the deliverables of program tools needed to communicate our client's business and social responsibility efforts internally and externally. Now at Amala, both he and Grace are reputable executives in the CSR field who have worked for and advised leading multinational companies.
Grace Niwa, Founder and Principal, Niwa PR
I got to know Grace in 2011, when I was conducting a consulting assignment for a bank on the development of the microfinance sector. Grace was recommended as an Asian-Pacfic expert and I spoke to her about the regional trends and perceptions of private donors and investors in microfinance. Her feedback was extremely insightful, analytical and pragmatic, which helped me move the project forward. But most importantly, she came across as a very authentic and driven person, dedicated to advancing the fields of sustainable investing, philanthropy and impact investing. In the years that followed, that perception has only strengthened, and it was always a real pleasure to re-connect with Grace, witness her abundant energy, professionalism and generosity, and collaborate in driving the adoption of impact investing by financial institutions and private foundations.
Dr. Julia Balandina-Jaquier, CFA, Founder JBJ Consult, Board and Investment Committee member at Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets
I have known Grace Kataoka and Ash Sharma for seven years and seen them continually be at the pulse of initiatives around sustainable investment and philanthropy. They continually deliver value whether it be in-house in a corporation or through their advisory on a range of areas including, microfinance, sustainability, community engagement and corporate citizenship. They are valuable peers in the region by driving sustainability through numerous channels.
Hiroshi Amemiya, CFA, Japan Representative, Developing World Markets / Lecturer on CSR and Social Entrepreneurship, Meiji University Graduate School of Governance
Shinsei Bank's Offices of Corporate Sustainability and Corporate Philanthropy driven by Grace Kataoka and Ash Sharma had provided NPO GEWEL (Global Enhancement of Women's Executive Leadership) absolute support in hosting events and panel discussions for female leaders from both the private and public sectors. Their commitment to women's empowerment and inclusive markets led to a collaboration on a series of game-changing events that would serve to enlighten their Bank's employees and the general public on the importance and economic benefits of investing in women. These events allowed female leaders representing various Japanese corporations, governmental organization as the Gender Equality Bureau, female entrepreneurs and NPO/NGOs who participated at the Global Summit of Women (nicknamed The DAVOS for Women) to report in real time what was happening in all parts of the world as to the changes taking place in the gender gap, as well as the economic advancement and sustainability of women in the work force and advancement of their status. NPO GEWEL could highlight critical information from the Summits having taken place in Cairo, Berlin and Hanoi in subsequent years as a result of their commitment to the advancement of women. Grace and Ash, not only organized such events but were corporate pioneers in funding leading female social entrepreneurs and microfinance when few companies were making such a commitment publicly. Their commitment and engagement to think out of the box for competitive differentiation were truly inspiring!
Ann Sado, Representative Director & Founder, A to Z Sado Enterprises Ltd. / Former Vice-President & Founder and Current Advisor of NPO GEWEL
Grace Kataoka and Ash Sharma are truly original thinkers who have been relentless in developing networks and strategic communication around our organization and proposing specific initiatives that address critical needs that advance our mission and vision. As a member of our Board, Grace has been instrumental in connecting me with leaders in the corporate world and among cultural centers of excellence both on the East and West coasts. It is a pleasure to work with her and benefit from her vast experience and deep expertise. She is a strong and passionate advocate for preserving arts education in our schools and nurturing creativity in our global community as indispensable for conflict resolution and cultural diplomacy. Grace is a gem, and having found her and worked with her, we never want to lose her.
Ashfaq Ishaq, Ph.D., Executive Chairman, International Child Art Foundation
Grace Kataoka and Ash Sharma embody consummate professionalism. At, "It's a Habit" we found their impact immediate, insightful, and inspiring. They fully invested in our mission to deliver "early age and family" financial literacy from minute one. They made themselves available mornings, evenings, weekends providing super timely, efficient, laser like guidance that has been responsible for opening previously closed doors and our preparing more compelling, attention grabbing presentations. They seamlessly helped us hone and refine our strategy to make it a winning one. Their commitment to excellence, families, social enterprise, global impact, doing good and doing well motivated us. Their attitudes, spirit and work reflect the highest standards. It is with tremendous pleasure and honor that I recommend their services.
Sam X Renick, Founder, "It's a Habit"