The Catalyst Fund’s small, one-time investments increase the effectiveness of the service networks that support the most underserved populations in our region. 

The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette Catalyst Fund ($50,000 for Fiscal Year 2017-2018) is designed to initiate or strengthen an effort through one-time investments to strengthen the systems and networks that support the communities in our region.

The second cycle of the Catalyst Fund for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year will open on March 1, 2018. 

Learn more and apply for a Catalyst Grant here.

Recent Catalyst Fund Investments:

Building Blocks To Success Corporation

Lego Robotics
Awarded: $5000.00

Catalyst Fund dollars will make it possible for Building Blocks To Success to strengthen their strategic partnerships with current networks of support including Concordia University, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Portland Public Schools, Portland Community College, and New Song Church, to ensure the success of the program's mission. Catalyst Fund dollars will also enable Building Blocks To Success to acquire much needed resources and jumpstart their outreach program which focus on creating awareness about Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) careers, increase the opportunity for underrepresented youth and their families to see the need for STEM programming in the community, and meaningfully impact our minority and underrepresented youth in a positive way. Lego Robotics develops critical thinking skills, the ability to think innovatively, teamwork, and inspires youth to get excited about pursuing STEM related fields and careers.


Clark County Latino Youth Leadership Conference

SW Washington Parent Leadership Institute
Amount Awarded: $5000.00

The Clark County Latino Youth Leadership Conference aims to strengthen Latino parent engagement and leadership by taking a community and family approach to leadership development. Catalyst Fund dollars will be used begin initial development of the SW Washington Parent Leadership Institute and will include convening necessary community partners and local leaders in SW Washington's education and Latino community to begin planning. 


Concordia University  

Community-Based Wraparound Services Planning for 3 to PhD
Amount Awarded: $5000.00

3 to PhD is a community response to poverty and inequality. The project aims to alter the well-being and economic trajectory of an entire neighborhood by establishing an educational corridor anchored by Portland Public School's (PPS) Faubion School and Concordia University. Catalyst Fund dollars will be used for the development and implementation of a community needs assessment in preparation for the project. 3 to PhD is achieving collective impact by aligning best-in-class efforts of numerous Portland-area organizations. Wraparound services - including physical and oral health, mental wellness, early childhood education, parent literacy, and prenatal health - will complement innovative curriculum and teaching strategies inside the classroom, ultimately supporting successful learning by meeting children's basic needs.


HINT w/Todos Juntos as the Fiscal Sponsor

Middle School Hispanic Youth Leadership Program
Amount Awarded: $5000.00

Latino youth are rarely offered the opportunity to learn of their own cultural background. The Middle School Hispanic Youth Leadership pilot project hopes to bridge this gap by highlighting Cesar E. Chavez, and allowing Latino youth to study the life, work, and philosophy of Cesar Chavez.  Curriculum components developed by the California Department of Education will be incorporated into the development and activities will include Service Learning as a way of giving back to the community, which is a main component in the teachings of Cesar Chavez. 


ROSE Community Development

Baby Booster
Amount Awarded: $5000.00

The Baby Booster Project will focus on pregnant women and families with young children. ROSE and their partners aim to improve nutrition and reduce stress caused by factors such as poverty and housing instability. The Baby Booster Coalition will plan coalition meetings, organize parents, coordinate the partners' efforts, advocate for improved family support systems and collect outcome data in relation to the project. ROSE has an important implementation role because their work addresses key social determinants of health such as housing, jobs, child-care and neighborhood infrastructure.