What is a Catalyst?
We use the term “catalyst” to describe the dynamic organizations we partner with on a number of levels. A catalyst is an organization that drives social change through sustainable, long-term solutions that help people improve their own lives. The term “catalyst” reflects the impact and agency of these organizations to change lives in their communities. Catalysts are inducted into the Stand Together Catalyst Network by participating in our six-month Catalyst Program.
What is the Catalyst Program?
Stand Together conducts a six-month program for transformative, innovative organizations that are building sustainable solutions to the country’s toughest problems. The Catalyst Program provides access to resources, industry best practices, and a growing network of innovative leaders. Participants choose an obstacle specific to their organization to tackle over the course of the program with support from their peers and experts in the field. Industry experts lead monthly online sessions and guide participants through curriculum on topics such as organizational development, strategic partnerships, and measurement and growth.
Each Catalyst Program class is a small cohort of 10-20 organizations seeking social change in a variety of ways. Focus areas include workforce development, at-risk youth, housing, substance abuse, criminal justice, homelessness, education, hunger, and more. Through the course of the program, organizations can encounter new ideas, seize opportunities to collaborate, and poise to grow, scale, and replicate.
The Stand Together Catalyst Network grows with each cohort and extends past the program. Participation in the program grants organizations lifetime access to resources and relationships with leaders in their societal issue area in cities across the country.
To meet our Catalysts, visit the Catalyst Homepage.
What are the benefits of being a Catalyst?
The immediate benefit to becoming a Catalyst is the six-month Catalyst Program. The Catalyst Program offers three high-level outcomes:
- The Catalyst Program creates an environment where ideas can be shared and impact can be amplified through partnerships, connection, and collaboration.
- Programming focuses on areas that we have identified as common barriers to growth and unique opportunities among transformative organizations in the social sector, based on feedback we have received from our current Catalysts and industry experts.
- Each Catalyst has a powerful story to tell. We help tell stories to inspire others and connect individuals with each organization directly.
Once an organization is a Catalyst, it will always be a Catalyst. The Stand Together Catalyst Network is an always-growing web of organization leaders, industry experts, and passionate, driven individuals. The Stand Together Catalyst Network provides access to a variety of resources and potential relationships with leaders in their societal issue area, organizations in their cities, and influencers across the country.
Our primary mechanism to help Catalysts is connecting them to a community and providing support that will position them for long-term success. When we see an opportunity for significant growth, we also consider larger capital investments for significant expansion. In these instances, we carefully evaluate the preparedness of an organization to receive substantial financial and human capital investments, and we tailor an investment and support engagement that will set up the organization for long-term success.
How does an organization become a Catalyst?
We are actively looking for organizations that have a proven, established model and that are eager to solve vexing problems and break down barriers to success through collaboration. Through our own research, the referrals of trusted partners, and submissions on our website, we identify and evaluate hundreds of organizations on a rolling basis.
Organizations move through an extensive screening and due diligence process before we invite them to participate in the Catalyst Program. Our initial assessment begins with a referral or a submission through our website, which we follow up with a phone interview. Stand Together staff meet with strong potential Catalysts to assess an organization’s model, finances, leadership, and social impact. They develop a summary report for each organization that is reviewed by a selection committee. Upon approval, we notify organizations of their acceptance to the program.
What are the criteria to become a Catalyst?
Our three main areas of evaluation are leadership, approach effectiveness, and appetite for collaboration, growth, and partnership with others:
- Leadership. We look for entrepreneurial leaders committed to solving a social problem in communities across the United States. These leaders must embody integrity, humility, collaboration, and a long-term vision for growing their organization. An organization’s leadership is integral to their impact, success, and growth potential.
- Approach Effectiveness. Thousands of organizations across the country are changing their communities for the better. What unique approaches and advantages does an organization offer its community? We also believe that those who focus on meeting the needs of their customers, rather than their funders, are best positioned to deliver transformative results.
- Appetite for Collaboration, Growth, and Partnership with Others. Our goal is to identify and partner with organizations making a difference in people’s lives. Ideally, these organizations are ready to collaborate, scale, or replicate their unique model to increase impact. We look for engaged participants willing to join a network of like-minded, enthusiastic leaders.
Where can I apply to become a Catalyst?
Visit our Apply page to review details of the program, criteria for participation, and expectations. You can submit an application through our website, and we will be in touch with you directly.
Can I recommend an organization for the Catalyst Program?
Yes! We are actively looking for organizations who have a proven, established model and who are eager to find collaborative solutions to vexing problems or barriers to success. If you know of an organization with a demonstrated record of social impact, please recommend an organization here.
Why was Stand Together created?
Stand Together believes the most important work being done in America today is the result of everyday people solving problems in their own communities. Churches, volunteer groups, businesses, and individuals are breaking through barriers to help others improve their lives and make the world a better place. The problem is, the innovation and solutions happening within our communities are often not recognized, supported, scaled, shared, or celebrated. We are working to ignite what is happening under the surface by leveraging, connecting, and supporting these innovative community-based solutions. We believe that by cultivating catalysts for social change, we can solve our country’s toughest problems and help people improve their lives.
To learn more about our organization, visit our About Us page.
The organizations you partner with work in various industries. How do they relate to one another in your efforts to alleviate poverty?
Research identifying the major causes of poverty supports our own findings — that several complexly connected factors perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Our portfolio approach does not focus on just one issue but prioritizes organizations that provide integrated solutions to the underlying causes of poverty: chronic unemployment, educational failure, family breakdown, debt, and addiction and trauma. The organizations we partner with focus on one or more of these areas. In pursuing solutions in these areas, we seek to empower individuals and inspire a movement of Americans to drive social change within communities.
What is venture philanthropy?
Venture philanthropy refers to grant making for scaling an organization’s social impact. Unlike passive philanthropists, we see ourselves as institutional stakeholders in an organization’s success. We connect our partners with services and expertise to support them as they look to hone their effectiveness or replicate their model into new communities.
What is impact investing?
Impact investing is at the cutting edge of philanthropy. Powered by free enterprise and market demand, revenue-generating investments with a social impact help achieve philanthropic ends through attractive returns and revenue. Stand Together is building partnerships and vehicles to make sustainable for-profit investments to help others improve their lives.
How can I get involved with these efforts?
Interested in partnering with us? You can get involved in several ways.
- Are you a citizen with a desire to connect to like-minded organizations making a social impact? Stand Together can connect you to businesses and nonprofits in your community that share your drive to make the world a better place. If you are interested in specific civil society issues, we can connect you to groups across the country that focus on workforce development, hunger, at-risk youth, poverty, and more. We can also direct you to specific volunteering and funding opportunities. For more information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact us.
- Are you an organization making a social impact with the desire to grow? Stand Together offers partners the organizational and financial support necessary to help accelerate the social impact of their efforts within their communities. We provide you a platform to tell your story to the world. We can also connect your organization to citizens within your community who share the same values and want to get involved. To learn more, visit the Catalyst Homepage.
- Are you searching for exciting investment opportunities that will have an impact in communities across the country? As a venture philanthropy and impact investing organization, we offer a variety of opportunities consistent with your personal or foundation’s goals. Our strategic investments come with operational support from Stand Together. We provide the opportunity to participate in an advisory capacity to leverage not only your own donations but also those of other philanthropists and citizens in your area. We’d love to hear from you. Contact us here.
Where can I get more information?
How are you funded?
Stand Together is supported by The Seminar Network, a group of hundreds of business leaders led by Charles Koch with a vision for social change in America. The vision of the Seminar Network is to help people to remove internal and external barriers holding them back so they can improve their lives.The Seminar Network invests across key institutions in society, strengthening K-12 and higher education, supporting community-based solutions, encouraging principled business, and improving public policy. Stand Together’s unique focus is to help people improve their lives through innovative community solutions.
How can I donate?
If you would like more information about investment opportunities specific to an organization or city, please contact us. We would love to connect you with organizations that align with your passions.
Where does my money go? Does my money go directly to the organizations I want to support?
Donations to Stand Together help fund expansion opportunities with innovative and transformative community models across the country. We use your donations to build the training and tools to help drive organizational effectiveness based on the specific needs expressed by our partners.