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Catalysts

How can we make progress on a problem as huge and seemingly intractable as poverty? How can we not? There is no silver bullet to eradicating poverty, but all across the country, a diverse array of social entrepreneurs are doing their part to take on this monumental challenge, building amazing organizations that are having a real impact in their communities. Catalysts, a Freethink original series presented by Stand Together, will take viewers to the frontlines of the fight against poverty to understand the challenges we face and meet the people behind some of the most innovative solutions to this complicated issue.

Catalysts Grid

Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
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Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
It’s time to change how we make change. Join us as we meet inspiring social entrepreneurs who are exploring bold new solutions to big social problems.
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February 19, 2019

How can we make progress on a problem as huge and seemingly intractable as poverty? How can we not? There is no silver bullet to eradicating poverty, but all across the country, a diverse array of social entrepreneurs are doing their part to take on this monumental challenge, building amazing organizations that are having a real impact in their communities. Catalysts, a Freethink original series presented by Stand Together,...

Catalysts
How Urban Farming Saved a Dallas Community
urban farming
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Catalysts
How Urban Farming Saved a Dallas Community
In the impoverished community of Bonton, it takes a three-hour bus ride just to reach the nearest grocery store. But the neighborhood is now home to one of the largest urban farms in the US - offering jobs, nutrition programs, and more.
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February 5, 2020

In the impoverished community of Bonton, it takes a three-hour bus ride just to reach the nearest grocery store. But the neighborhood is now home to one of the largest urban farms in the US - offering jobs, nutrition programs, and more.

Catalysts
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
Can Former Bloods and Crips Unite to Break the Cycle of Violence?
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Catalysts
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
For the children of Dallas, these ex gang leaders may be their only chance.
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September 10, 2019

What do you get when former Bloods and Crips gang leaders come together? Original Gangsters United, a pathway to ending gang opposition, promoting peace, and saving younger generations from senseless violence. Antong Lucky is a former Bloods gang leader in Dallas, Texas. Like most children, Antong never aspired to be a part of a gang or to end up in prison. But sadly, many communities affected by peer pressure and gang violence leave kids with no choice. When Antong left prison, he began working to bring opposing Dallas gang leaders together to put an end to gang violence. And it worked.

Catalysts
A School Made for Homeless Children
A School Made for Homeless Children
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Catalysts
A School Made for Homeless Children
When a child faces chaos at home, it's impossible to learn. This school is doing whatever it takes to help homeless students and their families create better lives.
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August 28, 2019

When you think of homelessness, you typically don't picture homeless children. However, every year, approximately 2.5 million children experience homelessness. Homeless children can't learn when they don't know where their next meal is coming from, or what is waiting for them at home. They often struggle in public schools where they feel out of place, or unable to keep up because they've missed schooling in the past....

Catalysts
The Lost Art of Apprenticeship
The Lost Art of Apprenticeship
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Catalysts
The Lost Art of Apprenticeship
After his dad died, he struggled in high school and ended up getting a DUI. Stuck in dead-end jobs, he responded to a nonprofit’s post for free skilled labor training - and his whole life changed.
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August 14, 2019

The Master’s Apprentice is an organization that recruits young people from rough backgrounds - and gives them the skills to find quality careers in the trades. “There’s a huge gap between youth looking for an opportunity... and businesses looking for quality employees.” It’s been a problem for a long time. Urban youth without college educations find few opportunities, and often get stuck in menial jobs. On the other...

Catalysts
Racing out of Homelessness
Racing out of Homelessness
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Catalysts
Racing out of Homelessness
This running club that meets at 5:45am is helping the homeless transform their lives.
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July 31, 2019

It’s 5am in New York City. Most people aren’t awake yet; a few might still be up from the night before. But a group of people with a special organization is gathering for a morning run. Back on My Feet is a nonprofit community that’s helping people struggling with homelessness or recovering from drug addiction begin their journey towards self-sufficiency: employment, housing, and a sustainable income. While members might...

Catalysts
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
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Catalysts
A Game-Changer for Chronic Homelessness
He turned a food truck for the homeless into a thriving 51-acre community.
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March 29, 2019

Mobile Loaves & Fishes is an organization with a new approach to tackling homelessness - putting community first. Their Community First! Village provides affordable, long-term housing for the chronically homeless. They find through housing and a community that emphasizes respect and relationships, chronically homeless individuals are able to finally heal from trauma and begin to thrive, work, and live better lives....

Catalysts
Can the Apartment Industry Help Solve Homelessness?
Can the Apartment Industry Help Solve Homelessness?
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Catalysts
Can the Apartment Industry Help Solve Homelessness?
Meet the innovative group connecting people with housing — and a job that can pay for it.
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March 21, 2019

Over 80% of people experiencing homelessness are "situationally homeless" -- losing their housing after a lost job or unforeseen incident. This can spiral quickly into other issues that make it difficult to recover. Shelters to Shutters is an innovative organization that identified a solution that addresses both needs and connects individuals experiencing homelessness to both an entry level job and an apartment in order to...

Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
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Catalysts
Could This Be the Future of Foster Care?
Take a look inside a town built for foster families
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May 1, 2019

Peppers Ranch is a community of a dozen families raising at least five foster kids. Is it a model for providing better foster care to more kids? In this episode of Catalysts, we visit Peppers Ranch and meet some of the people and families who call it home. We talk to foster child Scott, who was close to aging out of foster care but unprepared to live on his own. We also meet Tonya Ratcliff, a mother of 13 children who felt...

Catalysts
A Home Helping Teen Moms Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty
A Home Helping Teen Moms Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty
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Catalysts
A Home Helping Teen Moms Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty
Hope House in Denver is changing lives for generations to come.
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June 19, 2019

Teen pregnancy is highly linked to poverty and lower educational outcomes. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22, compared with 90% of women without a teen birth. This is a vulnerable population who often have nowhere to turn. Early and effective intervention can give mothers the tools to continue their education and become self-sufficient, giving them a path to self-sufficiency changes...

More on Social Entrepreneurship

Catalysts
This Urban Farm in Dallas Grows Financial and Social Opportunities for Residents
This Urban Farm in Dallas Grows Financial and Social Opportunities for Residents
Catalysts
This Urban Farm in Dallas Grows Financial and Social Opportunities for Residents
A once impoverished and isolated neighborhood in South Dallas is now flourishing thanks to Bonton Farms.
February 6, 2020

A once impoverished and isolated neighborhood in South Dallas is now flourishing thanks to Bonton Farms.

Catalysts
Shedding the Stigma of Substance Use
Shedding the Stigma of Substance Use
Catalysts
Shedding the Stigma of Substance Use
By achieving fitness goals together, The Phoenix community is peeling off the shame, regret, and stigma often associated with addiction.
By Esther Landhuis
December 18, 2019

By achieving fitness goals together, The Phoenix community is peeling off the shame, regret, and stigma often associated with addiction.

Catalysts
Bloods and Crips Unite to Steer Kids Away From Gang Violence
Bloods and Crips Unite to Steer Kids Away From Gang Violence
Catalysts
Bloods and Crips Unite to Steer Kids Away From Gang Violence
These former Bloods and Crips are coming together to spread peace on the streets and end the cycle of gang violence by mentoring local youth.
December 2, 2019

These former Bloods and Crips are coming together to spread peace on the streets and end the cycle of gang violence by mentoring local youth.

Catalysts
Diversity in the Outdoors: Bridging the Adventure Gap
diversity in the outdoors
Catalysts
Diversity in the Outdoors: Bridging the Adventure Gap
This DC nonprofit is defying statistics by promoting diversity in the outdoors and connecting people from all walks of life with the wonders of nature.
November 29, 2019

This DC nonprofit is defying statistics by promoting diversity in the outdoors and connecting people from all walks of life with the wonders of nature.

Catalysts
These Top Chefs are Helping End Child Hunger in the U.S.
Chefs work together to end child hunger.
Catalysts
These Top Chefs are Helping End Child Hunger in the U.S.
A group of culinary professionals in Chicago is volunteering their talents to end child hunger in the US, and some are going all the way to Capitol Hill.
November 28, 2019

A group of culinary professionals in Chicago is volunteering their talents to end child hunger in the US, and some are going all the way to Capitol Hill.

Catalysts
Can Friendship Keep At-Risk Youth Off the Streets?
UTEC an organization that is helping young people overcome poverty, gang involvement, and unemployment.
Catalysts
Can Friendship Keep At-Risk Youth Off the Streets?
Carlos felt addicted to the thrill of crime at a young age. Today, he yields a different, positive influence on the streets with UTEC.
By Linda Wang
November 25, 2019

Carlos felt addicted to the thrill of crime at a young age. Today, he yields a different, positive influence on the streets with UTEC.

Catalysts
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
Catalysts
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
After suffering a violent gang beating, Desiree Maldonado experienced major medical and emotional issues. She turned from a shy and nerdy 14-year-old kid to a hard and angry rebel. This is how one restaurant job changed her trajectory.
By Lise Metzger
November 23, 2019

After suffering a violent gang beating, Desiree Maldonado experienced major medical and emotional issues. She turned from a shy and nerdy 14-year-old kid to a hard and angry rebel. This is how one restaurant job changed her trajectory.

Catalysts
Old Skool Café Provides an Alternative to Gangs and Violence
Old Skool Café Provides an Alternative to Gangs and Violence
Catalysts
Old Skool Café Provides an Alternative to Gangs and Violence
As a former prison guard, Teresa Goines watched kids drift in and out of the justice system. Now she runs a jazz-themed eatery that hires at-risk youth and gives them a place to learn and grow.
By Esther Landhuis
November 18, 2019

As a former prison guard, Teresa Goines watched kids drift in and out of the justice system. Now she runs a jazz-themed eatery that hires at-risk youth and gives them a place to learn and grow.

Catalysts
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
Catalysts
This Nonprofit Gives Bikes and People New Life
Working Bikes has spent nearly two decades rescuing bicycles from the waste cycle to give people purpose, access to jobs, and independence.
October 3, 2019

Working Bikes has spent nearly two decades rescuing bicycles from the waste cycle to give people purpose, access to jobs, and independence.

CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded...
September 20, 2019

Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded after a perilous journey at sea, they exemplify the risk that refugees are willing to take in search of a better life. A Minnesota fashion start-up creates jewelry from discarded refugee life jackets. There are currently 26 million refugees worldwide....

Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
Transitional employment
Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
This nonprofit is not only polishing the streets of Chicago, but providing a "clean slate" for its interns. Those with a criminal background, dealing with addiction recovery, or domestic violence, are welcome to take part in job training and counseling.
September 30, 2019

It's a muggy Wednesday morning in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, the temperature and humidity rising before the sun. Lena, decked out in her eye-catching slate shirt and chartreuse vest, leans slightly out into the busy rush-hour traffic, sweeping litter (wrappers, cups, lots of cigarette butts) from the gutter into her dustpan. On the sidewalk, she empties her collection into a cart. As she moves down the street,...

Catalysts
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
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Catalysts
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
Cafe Momentum offers an alternative to the revolving doors at Texas jails.
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November 5, 2018

Chef Chad Houser was a rising star in the Dallas restaurant scene, but after volunteering with kids in the criminal justice system, he felt a calling to do more. He gave up his job to start Cafe Momentum, a restaurant staffed by kids from the criminal justice system. They’re given year-long paid internships where they are taught the skills to succeed in restaurants and society. It’s his way of trying to fix the problems...