SCE Announces 2023 Catalyst Awards

Each year, our staff and board nominate several organizations to receive Catalyst Awards: one-time contributions made as part of our year-end giving. These organizations typically work on issues beyond our primary program areas. What unites them is their distinct and promising approaches to chronic social problems.

In a year marked with vast challenges, the work of these 23 organizations feels urgent and critical. We’re proud to support their exemplary work.

Arts and Culture

Red Door Project: The Red Door Project leverages the arts to bridge the divide between the public and law enforcement. Their core program, The Evolve Experience, presents live and filmed first-person narratives from police officers, judges, and Black community members describing their lived experiences at the intersection of race and the justice system.

SkyART: SkyART uses free visual arts programming as a vehicle for young people to create, to communicate effectively, and to learn the essential skills and creative expression.

OneTable: OneTable’s mission is to make Shabbat dinner accessible to tens of thousands of people who otherwise would be absent from Jewish community. They are the “AirBnB for Shabbat dinners” and provide hosts and guests with easily accessible tools and resources, making these rituals not only attainable, but sustainable and support in creating offline communities.

Community & Economic Development

Project Blue: Project Blue’s Healthy Room Project empowers at-risk youth aged 5-16, living in dangerous communities, by transforming their bedrooms into clean, safe, comfortable, and personalized spaces that promote positive physical and emotional well-being collaboratively with police officers and mentors.

Folded Map Project: Folded Map Project visually connects residents who live at corresponding addresses on the North and South Sides of Chicago. The project investigates what urban segregation looks like and how it impacts Chicago residents.

Future Founders: Future Founders fosters inclusion in the entrepreneurial community and seed more diverse founders into the startup ecosystem. Founded in 2011, their programs immerse youth in experiences that inspire and empower them to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and create their own opportunity.

Impact Justice’s Building Justice Project: The Building Justice project partners with architects such as Frank Gehry and architecture students at Yale to re-design prison environments to nurture people’s growth and return home.

Strides for Peace: Strides for Peace convenes and provides capacity building to organizations working to prevent gun violence across the city to support pilot programs, program enhancements, community and social cohesion, resilience and collaboration.


Unite Against Book Bans: Unite Against Book Bans is a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.

GripTape: The GripTape Learning Challenge provides young people with up to $500 to pursue an interest or learn something their passionate about and pairs them with a Champion to support throughout a 10-week Learning Challenge.

The Hidden Genius Project: The Hidden Genius Project was founded by Black male technologists to address the dramatic juxtaposition between the high unemployment of Black male youth and the plethora of career opportunities within the local technology sector.

Once Upon Our Time Capsule: Each June, they launch a new Youth Time Capsule, with a new theme, creating an outlet for youth to share their stories and discover the stories of others.


Well Done Foundation: The Well Done Foundation works with farmers and landowners, local and state governments, and corporations to locate abandoned wells, measure and document the CO2 emissions, then plug the wells and restore the surrounding surface area to its original state.

Health and Human Services

TaskForce Chicago: TaskForce offers a range of programming, including services that tackle the root contributors to HIV/STI risk and the growing hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community.

Healing to Action: Healing to Action promotes the individual and collective transformation of survivors through an eight week leadership program that builds relationships between survivors, facilitates their collective healing from trauma, and provides training so survivors can organize against structural barriers that perpetuate gender-based violence.

Beauty 2 The Streetz: Beauty 2 The Streetz aims to serve the homeless by providing necessities alongside the things that make us feel inherently human: a hot shower, a hearty meal, the hope-inducing feeling of looking in the mirror and loving what you see. They provide mobile beauty and hair services to the homeless across Los Angeles.

iFoster: Their mission is to ensure that every child growing up outside of their biological home has the resources and opportunities they need to become successful, independent adults. iFoster provides a free platform of resources for foster care youth, caregivers, and organizations.


Chicago Refugee Coalition: Their mission is to provide innovative, dignity-centered relief services for refugees in the Chicagoland area.

Journalism and Civic Engagement

Center for Scholars and Storytellers: The Center for Scholars & Storytellers is the only youth-centered organization that bridges the gap between social science research and media creation. Their focus is on doing work that has a positive impact on the entertainment industry and on youth who consume popular media.

The Center for New Data: The Center for New Data, a non-partisan and non-profit organization, makes big data accessible to nonprofits involved in protecting voting rights and strengthening democracy.

Braver Angels: Their mission is to bring Americans together to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic. They organize thousands of citizens at the grassroots level across all 50 states through membership recruitment, local alliance-building, regional leadership development, convention delegation, including Red-Blue workshops, debates, community events, and town halls.

Youth Development

Save Streetball Initiative by My Block, My Hood, My City: The Save Streetball Initiative’s mission is to restore basketball courts across Chicago.

Crushers Club: Crushers Club arm’s young people with the support and skills they need to restore their lives and improve their neighborhood. Crushers Club started as a boxing program and has expanded to meet young people’s needs. That includes Life Coaches, Mentoring, Entrepreneurship Training, Music Studio, a Construction Program, Crushers Kitchen, Crushers Clothing Boxing, College Prep and Field Trips.