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.

Current Catalyst Recipients include:

Organization Name: City Club of Portland
Project Name: IP22 Voter Education & Activation
Award Amount: $5,000
Counties Served: Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington
Project Description: The City Club of Portland will provided non-partisan research, civic engagement opportunities, and public forums to educate and activate Oregon voters around the Initiative Petition 22 (IP22). IP22 is an effort to end Oregon’s sanctuary status and it is likely to be on the November 2018 ballot. Outcomes of the project will include in-depth engagement of over 30 volunteers, an independent community-based research report, public forums on the measure, a public debate, an election night gathering, a debrief of the results, and continued project evaluation for quality improvement.

Organization Name: Kùkàtònòn African Dance Troupe
Project Name: Kùkàtònòn STEAM Village
Project Amount: $5,000
Counties Served: Multnomah
Project Description: Kúkátónón's award-winning, tuition-free, after-school arts learning program teaches West African dance and drumming to school children (ages 7-18) who reside primarily in Portland's low-income neighborhoods. The program uses dance and music to develop creativity and understanding of cultural identity and diversity, and improve educational outcomes and welfare of participants. Kúkátónón is expanding its program to serve up to 60 children in the Portland Metro area and implement a STEAM curriculum that expands weekly touch points with Kúkátónón members from one day a week to up to three days a week adding on STEAM activity days, mentoring and tutoring. 

Organization Name: Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon
Project Name: Hunger-Free Schools Family Engagement
Project Amount: $5,000
Counties Served: Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington
Project Description:  The Hunger Free Schools campaign, led by Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, will engage families and communities in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties to develop policy recommendations to reduce childhood hunger. Core policy goals will focus on increasing access to school breakfasts and supporting more high-poverty schools to feed all students at no charge. This project will include robust engagement of families and communities in the tri-county area to develop and organize for policy solutions improving access to school meals through the Hunger-Free Schools campaign. Community members who are calling for improvements to school nutrition programs will be empowered through connecting with their neighbors at listening circles with kids and families, one-to-one conversations, providing trainings and workshops, and the establishment of a Hunger-Free Schools Campaign campaign Advisory Committee.

Organization Name: Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette
Project Name: Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette
Project Amount: $5,000
Counties Served: Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington
Project Description: PPCW in collaboration with diverse community organizations, youth leaders and stakeholders will coordinate outreach activities to create about the health services available through Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA). PPCW does outreach adapted for culturally specific and regional communities, whose needs are specific and nuanced. PPCW will coordinate closely with other community-based organizations and agencies to address many overarching social determinants of health that intersect directly with PPCW's core services, collaborate with and support community organizations to provide culturally relevant information back to their own communities on services that are available in their area, and engage with communities to create awareness about the newly available services. 

Organization Name: Proud Ground
Project Name: Affordable Homeownership for Working Families
Project Amount: $5,000
Counties Served: Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington
Project Description: Proud Ground expands homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families by lowering the purchase price of homes to make them permanently affordable. Proud Ground stewards the homes in its portfolio ensuring communities have affordable homeownership opportunities in perpetuity to serve income-qualified, first time homebuyers. New funding from the Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Program is focused on building new, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households across the state, specifically focused on serving households of color and households in rural areas. This new funding source requires all homes maintain permanent affordability, with the state requiring a permanent steward of its funds. Proud Ground will develop a multi-tiered partnership with other non-profits to serve as the Community Land Trust for affordable housing developed through this new fund. This effort would impact the entire affordable homeownership industry and its ability to develop needed housing for people of color. 

Organization Name: Washington County Cooperative Library Services
Project Name: Multilingual Storytimes
Project Amount: $5,000
Counties Served: Washington
Project Description: Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) and member libraries have learned through outreach work with immigrant and refugee communities, that parents want to transmit their culture and native language to their children. Parents have expressed concern that the rapid acculturation is creating a communication gap with their children and are requesting more culturally specific materials and programs in their native languages in order to keep their culture and maintain communication with their children. WCCLS will recruit, contract with, train, and pay people to present culturally responsive storytimes in their native languages at local libraries. Cooperative Library Services staff, local library staff, and presenters will work together to select which books and materials to purchase for storytimes. Presenters will plan and implement culturally responsive storytimes in their native language, with technical assistance provided by WCCLS.