Skip to main content
Move the World.
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
Watch Now
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.
Watch Now
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
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
Can Former Bloods and Crips Unite to Break the Cycle of Violence?
Watch Now
Catalysts
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
For the children of Dallas, these ex gang leaders may be their only chance.
Watch Now
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.

More on Social Entrepreneurship

Catalysts
Nonprofits Innovating in the Face of COVID-19
Nonprofits Innovating in the Face of COVID-19
Catalysts
Nonprofits Innovating in the Face of COVID-19
Wondering how you can help during the coronavirus? Here are five organizations that need your support, and how your donation could be doubled.
April 4, 2020

Wondering how you can help during the coronavirus? Here are five organizations that need your support, and how your donation could be doubled.

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,...

Stand Together
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
Watch Now
Stand Together
This Restaurant Gives At-Risk Youth a Second Chance
Cafe Momentum offers an alternative to the revolving doors at Texas jails.
Watch Now
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...

The Phoenix
How The Phoenix Is Fighting Addiction with Fitness
How The Phoenix Is Fighting Addiction with Fitness
Watch Now
The Phoenix
How The Phoenix Is Fighting Addiction with Fitness
Meet the group that is helping thousands of people transform their lives and unlock their potential.
Watch Now
September 17, 2018

Meet The Phoenix, the free sober active community that’s using fitness to change how we treat addiction. Scott Strode, the founder, got sober with the help of a gym and wanted to help others with their recovery. Now thousands of people are transforming their lives and unlocking their potential. In doing so they are challenging the stigma around drug rehabilitation by publicly embracing their sobriety and talking about it...

Hudson Link
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
Watch Now
Hudson Link
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
50% of people released from prison return within three years. This program is changing that.
Watch Now
April 17, 2018

Nearly 50% of people released from prison return within three years. But less than 1% of graduates from Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison ever return. By offering college degree programs, their mission is to give people the tools to turn their lives around and give back to their communities when released. Freethink is proud to present this story in partnership with Stand Together. For more information on other...

Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with...
July 27, 2019

Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with employment barriers, whether due to prior convictions, medical concerns, poverty, homelessness, or any other issues which make gainful employment difficult.

Catalysts
The Crib: A Place to Call Home
The Crib: A Place to Call Home
Catalysts
The Crib: A Place to Call Home
For young LGBTQ adults, this is the shelter that accepts many people that are too often turned away.
August 29, 2019

Every night, young adults pass through the basement door of the Lakeview Lutheran Church, close to the heart of Boystown, the gay neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. Like many institutions in Lakeview, the church offers a place specifically welcoming to the LGBTQ community. These young adults are taking refuge at The Crib, an overnight emergency shelter for people aged 18 to 24 who find themselves temporarily homeless. Founded by The Night Ministry in 2011, The Crib is one of the few places in the city where young LGBTQ adults, especially those of color, can find housing and community with others their age in similar situations.

Row New York
Helping Kids Through Rowing
Helping Kids Through Rowing
Watch Now
Row New York
Helping Kids Through Rowing
Inside the surprising program helping disadvantaged kids in New York thrive.
Watch Now
August 14, 2018

In the middle of New York City sits an unexpected sight: a boathouse; and inside is an unexpected group of rowers: middle and high schoolers from across the city’s fragile communities. Every year, in this place, thousands of kids show up to find something in themselves — whether strength, confidence, discipline, or community — that can make a difference in their lives. Row New York is one of the most successful after-school...

Coalfield Development
Rebuilding Coal Country
Rebuilding Coal Country
Watch Now
Coalfield Development
Rebuilding Coal Country
Meet the nonprofit bringing jobs back to coal country.
Watch Now
August 20, 2018

Coalfield Development is a nonprofit on a mission to unlock the resources and potential of coal country. Partnering with local entrepreneurs, they've helped launch six new businesses and trained hundreds of workers across Appalachia. They provide education and training for unemployed workers, from college courses to trade skills, and partner with businesses to help them succeed on the job. The coal jobs might not be coming...

Headstrong
How Veterans Help Each Other Heal Through Therapy
How Veterans Help Each Other Heal Through Therapy
Watch Now
Headstrong
How Veterans Help Each Other Heal Through Therapy
Headstrong believes that trauma is treatable.
Watch Now
October 10, 2018

Veterans returning home with PTSD often face many of the same stigmas around getting help that civilians face and aren’t always able to access the care they need to recover. But Headstrong, a nonprofit founded by veterans to help other veterans, believes that trauma is treatable. They provide veterans with free access to quality therapists who offer them the tailored support they really need to get better and adjust to life...