Igniting Community-Driven Transformation
Founded in 1996 by Daniella Levine Cava, Catalyst Miami builds power with frontline communities throughout Miami-Dade County to collectively advance justice and achieve shared prosperity. Our vision is a just society where everyone can lead healthy, prosperous, self-determined lives.
At Catalyst Miami, our work centers on shifting the economic, social, and political systems that exclude and oppress many people, especially Black and Brown communities. These unjust systems concentrate power in the hands of a few, creating significant barriers that restrict our communities' access to democratic processes and economic prosperity.
We believe that real, lasting change requires systemic transformation that goes beyond surface-level reforms. Our focus is on dismantling the structures of power and privilege that keep people trapped in cycles of poverty and injustice, and replacing them with equitable and inclusive systems that allow everyone to thrive.
To achieve our mission and vision, Catalyst Miami takes a "both-and" approach: both reforming existing systems and introducing new people-powered systems. We provide both individual and shared paths to prosperity, enhance civic engagement through advocacy and leadership training, and increase the resilience of our environment and communities through people-led strategies. These efforts feed into each other, contributing to a unified, influential, multigenerational movement required to bring about systemic change.
We protect and support our communities today, while collectively shaping the world we want to live in tomorrow. We honor the wisdom of frontline communities and follow their lead as, together, we catalyze equitable solutions and grassroots transformation.
Catalyst Miami's power-building strategies are founded on the twin pillars of economic and democratic inclusion.
What We Do
- Improve lives through free services and innovative economic security programs
- Support equitable economic development in communities that have been excluded from decades of wealth-building
- Build grassroots power and achieve better policies through engagement and advocacy
What We Strive For
- To advance racial, economic, and gender justice by shifting systems that lead to inequity in the first place
- To expand community control and ownership, and catalyze grassroots change led by our communities
- To ensure equitable access to the economy and increase participation in our democratic processes
What We Stand For
Design and implement innovative programs to build the health, wealth, and civic engagement of people in low-wealth communities in Miami-Dade County.
Create opportunities for community members, business and civic leaders to work through and solve critical community issues together.
Promote engaged community leaders and constituency-informed policy and system reforms to better meet the needs of communities.
Our Integrated Vision of Thriving
As our communities work together toward systems change, our guiding principles serve as the compass that directs our efforts. These principles embody our core values, beliefs, and mission, and they guide our decision-making as we strive toward our vision. By using these principles as our north star, we can ensure that our work is always aligned with our commitment to people-led transformation.
Drive racial, economic, and gender justice.
In a just society, people have equal access to the economic means necessary to lead meaningful, self-determined lives.
We work alongside our community members to address financial needs, improve health, and develop individual leadership. Together, we build the collective power to advance inclusive economic and political systems — advocating for policies and practices that end the extraction of resources and labor from people and the planet.
We recognize that in Miami-Dade County, our communities most disproportionately impacted by inequity are Black, Indigenous, immigrant, women, and people of marginalized genders. We especially honor and affirm these communities in our work, which is led by their wisdom.
Deepen democracy to grow the conditions for social justice.
People should have access to the necessary means to participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their lives.
We carry out state and local policy campaigns that are people-centered and address issues which directly impact our communities. We prioritize community input and control in government processes, and create our own avenues for community to influence government when its processes are insufficient.
Build regenerative economies through democratic ownership.
In a regenerative economy, the long-term well-being of humanity drives every decision. Economic justice means that people and communities own and decide together how to manage our collective needs and assets — from housing and energy to economic development. Through enterprises and real estate that are cooperatively owned and managed (democratic ownership), our communities can engage in place-making, ensure environmental responsibility, and keep capital circulating locally.
Encourage solidarity through coalition-building.
A just and equitable society requires people-led processes that are built off, and shoulder-to-shoulder with, existing organizing efforts in a community.
We work to build power among underinvested communities across Miami-Dade County, reinforcing existing solidarities and expanding opportunities for united efforts. Doing so builds the grassroots power and influence needed to transform the systems and power structures impacting our communities, while rejecting divisions that allow extractive policies and practices to take root.
Follow the leadership of communities.
We approach our work with cultural humility, respecting the past, honoring local and cultural histories, and acknowledging the inherent expertise of people on the frontlines as we shape the future. We will be present and center joy, building accountable, mutually beneficial relationships with our communities.