Catalyst Miami: Strengthening South Florida’s Nonprofit Community

I wanted to highlight Catalyst Miami (formerly the Human Services Coalition) in a blog post because I think they are a great resource for local nonprofits and do-gooders. I first learned about Catalyst Miami last year while searching for an organization to get involved with. I was automatically drawn to their emphasis on empowering both individuals and nonprofits to make South Florida a better place.

For nonprofits in particular, they have developed the Nonprofit Leadership Training Institute (NLTI) to help strengthen the organizational capacity of local nonprofits. Earlier this month I attended their first NLTI session – Development with a Dose of Reality. Local fundraising consultant Glenn Kaufhold of GKollaborative led the session, giving local organizations advice on how to create a development plan. It was a great opportunity for local organizations (especially startups) to get insight from an experienced professional and ask questions.  If you are interested in learning more about the sessions, they will be sending out information via their e-newsletter (you can sign up on their website).

Future NLTI sessions include:

  • Individual and Major Giving Plans
  • Nonprofit Sales Pitch 101
  • The Written Message
  • Social Media for Nonprofits
  • Unique Challenges of Managing Nonprofit Employees
  • Creating a Dynamic and Engaged Workplace – SPEC
  • Nonprofits in the World of Profit – Business Strategies and Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement – Partnerships and Alliances for Community Success
  • Tell Your Story – Use Data to Show Impact
  • Tools for Internal Change – Managing Internal Roles and Assessments
  • Advocacy and Storytelling – Building a Movement
  • Applying an Asset-Based Approach to Your Development Projects
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Positive Change Through Media Arts
  • Make Government Your Ally

I hope you find this post helpful and can make use of this neat resource. 🙂 If you know of any other great resources for our local nonprofits, please share them either in the comments below or send me an email at I’d love to highlight them also!

Catalyst Miami //

Creative video explanation of what they do: Catalyst Miami

Mission: To develop and support individual leadership and strong organizations that work together to improve health, education and economic opportunity in all our communities.


A Day At The Miami Art Museum

“I wish for a turtle and world peace” – A wish printed on a ribbon for Rivane Neuenschwander’s I Wish Your Wish installation

On Saturday I visited the Miami Art Museum (MAM) exhibit “Focus Gallery: Joel Meyerowitz – Aftermath” as a way to remember those we lost on 9/11. I expected to see a touching (understatement) exhibit commemorating the 10 year anniversary of this event, but what I did not expect was to leave the museum so refreshed.

The exhibit features photography by Joel Meyerowitz. As the only photographer allowed on Ground Zero after 9/11, he chronicled the cleanup efforts for 9 months. The collection of photographs displayed at the MAM communicated what he intended:  “what it felt like to be in there as well as what it looked like: to show the pile’s incredible intricacy and visceral power”.  Looking at the photographs and reading the story behind some of them, was sobering. The photographs themselves were moving, but the exhibit seemed to take on a three-dimensional feel as I overheard a mother explain the exhibit to her little girl in a way she could understand.

While this exhibit is clearly extraordinary on its own, I think it was the opportunity to view Meyerowitz’s photographs AND Neuenschwander’s installation in the same day that made Saturday special. Ravine Neuenschwander’s I Wish Your Wish is an interactive installation that allows you to swap wishes with someone you have never met. Their wishes are printed on ribbons and hung on the wall for you to choose and then replace with your own. They range from the innocent “I wish for a turtle and world peace” to the chilling “I wish it was benign”. It is definitely a special and intimate experience to be able to read and adopt someone else’s wish as your own.

Together, these exhibits show us mankind’s resilience, hope, strength, vulnerability, tenderness, creativity and diversity. I thought I was going to leave the museum saddened by the memory of what happened 10 years ago, but instead I left both sobered and refreshed.  If you haven’t visited the MAM recently, I would encourage you to do so while both of these exhibits are being displayed. It’s definitely worth it.

PS – You can also participate in the Neushwander’s I Wish Your Wish installation online

Visit  for more info on how you can support the museum.



10 Miami Nonprofit Blogs To Follow

I’ve been on a quest to find local nonprofit blogs. I thought I should share the list (along with each organizations mission statement) in case you were looking for some to follow. If you know of any others, please share in the comments section below.. enjoy!

  1. Casa Valentina: Casa Valentina’s mission is to help young women transition successfully from foster care to independent living.
  2. Art Studio Miami: The mission of Art Studio Inc, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is to empower young minds by providing a safe location where youth are inspired and guided by artists, teachers and professional mentors who support the student’s education and career development through the integration of creative holistic arts.
  3. Voices for Children Foundation: The mission of Voices For Children Foundation is to raise funds to ensure that every abused and neglected child in Miami-Dade County has a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and that financial assistance and other resources are available for their accompanying health, educational, and social needs.
  4. Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens: Our mission is to save tropical plant diversity by exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants; fundamental to this task is inspiring a greater knowledge and love for plants and gardening so that all can enjoy the beauty and bounty of the tropical world.
  5. South Florida Red Cross: The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.
  6. MOCA: The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is dedicated to making contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences – especially underserved populations – through the collection, preservation and exhibition of the best of contemporary art and its art historical influences.
  7. Catalyst Miami: To develop and support individual leadership and strong organizations that work together to improve health, education and economic opportunity in all our communities.
  8. Knight Foundation: Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.
  9. LegalArt Miami: Founded in 2003, LegalArt has dedicated itself to providing artists with affordable legal services, grants and educational opportunities. By empowering artists with access to legal and professional support, resources and information, LegalArt creates opportunities and protections for Miami’s art community; fostering a generation armed with the skills to legally protect their creations. All LegalArt programming helps artists by creating a community both dedicated to and invested in their success.
  10. Greater Miami Jewish Federation: The Mission of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is to mobilize human and financial resources to care for those in need, strengthen Jewish life and advance the unity, values and shared purpose of the Jewish people in Miami, in Israel and around the world.

*UPDATE 8.5.11

Adding another great organization to the list!

  11. KidSafe Foundation: KidSafe Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower children, teachers  and  parents with personal safety education life skills to make safer and smarter choices. It is our goal to decrease the incidents of child abuse, bullying, peer pressure, abduction and internet safety issues to create confident skilled children who can be the first line of defense in their own safety. KidSafe Foundation offers prevention education programs for children ages 4-15 and their parents. This consists of providing adult seminars, teacher workshops and in classroom lessons with the children.  Prevention Education Life Skills are taught through a 4, 6 or 8 week program.  The lessons are  fun, developmentally appropriate  and include activities such as song, art, role-playing, games, and discussion. This empowering program allows the children and parents to open communication regarding sensitive topics in a safe environment.

Finding grants in our wide eyed city – 3 links to get you started

I have worked on a couple of grants in my day, but I have not had experience actually searching for them. So, I thought I would do a little homework. I’ve done some searching and have posted the best finds below. Let me know if you’ve used these and/or if you found them helpful!

  1. : The Donors Forum of South Florida actually exists to support local funders. However, they do have a section on their website for organizations seeking funding. For an annual fee ($150), you will be able to access a directory of South Florida funders, including profiles for each. The profiles list the donors giving history, interests, contact info and more.
  2. : While they are currently in the review process and not accepting applications, The Miami Foundation also has a section for grant seekers.  Keep checking for updates and opportunities.
  3. :  Miami-Dade’s Office of Grants Coordination has a free searchable database. They also include a link to the power point presentation for their Community Based Organization Grant Writing Workshop. The presentation includes 10 useful tips for grant writing.

Feel free to share other links! 🙂

Additional Links:

Dark Days – It’s ok to feel uncomfortable

I’ve had the documentary Dark Days on my Netflix queue for quite a while now. Last week, it finally made it to my mail box. The film, which was made in 2000 by Mark Singer, follows a group of homeless individuals who live underground in NYC. My initial response to the film was discomfort. How could they possibly live in those conditions? Right after that, I caught myself trying to rationalize: “Oh, well, he just said that most of the people there are crack heads. So…” (a weak attempt at trying to make myself feel better). As the film goes on, you get to hear some of their personal stories. Some of these stories were heartbreaking, but they served as a harsh reminder that homelessness, like other social problems, are complex issues that can’t be rationalized away.  These are human beings, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Someone’s heart is breaking for them.

The truth is, it’s ok to feel uncomfortable when watching this film or when we see a homeless person. We feel uncomfortable because it’s unacceptable. The good news is that, as with any other cause, there are a things we can do to make a difference. First and foremost, we can treat everyone (homeless or not) with dignity. Second, we can support a local organization. Third, we can simply use our voices to call attention to the problem/solutions.

Dark Days Trailer:

Miami-Dade County Homeless Helpline: 1-877-994-4357

For information and statistics for Miami-Dade County:

Here are some organizations that serve the homeless in Miami:

Camillus House:

Community Partnership for the Homeless:

Miami Rescue Mission:

Stand Up For Kids:

Salvation Army:

Lotus House: