Catalyst Spark
Introducing the First Issue of the
Catalyst Initiative Newsletter: Catalyst Spark

As an initiative that relies heavily on community engagement and the sharing of ideas, we wanted to return the favor and reach out and engage with those communities and organizations we have had the pleasure to work with.

2015-08-12 23.56.24This quarterly newsletter will share lessons learned, news, events, stories, and grantee achievements.

We want this newsletter to represent both Catalyst AND the community perspective, so if you have a story, event, or fun fact you would like included in one of our issues, please send it to

Also keep an eye out for our "Spark Newsflash" emails. These brief news alerts will keep you updated in between quarterly publications of the newsletter as events take place and stories are shared.

We are excited to start this new effort and look forward to sharing more news and success stories with you – and from you – in the future.

The First Seed Grantee Convening –
a Day of Community and Connection

On February 23, 2016, we hosted our first convening of all our seed grantees from 2015.

This was a chance for grantees to share lessons learned and begin to explore how their networks can be enhanced and communities of practice built. There was a wonderful sense of coming together with others, working toward a shared purpose of building a culture of wellness in community.

Read our report, and view a video of the day's highlights below.

Seed Grantee Convening

Catalyst Initiative's Newest Seed Grantees Announced

We are excited to announce our next round of seed grantees! After the February seed grantee convening and hearing about the inspiring work being done, we are looking forward to learning from and connecting with the early 2016 community partners.

This round includes an organization that will focus on Health and Wellbeing in North Minneapolis and another that will develop a culturally based train the trainer health and wellbeing model for and with Somali women.

Read more about our newest grantees.

Mindfulness in Indian Country

On Friday, February 26, 2016, the Lower Sioux Community welcomed elders and certified mind body medicine trainers Linda Eaglespeaker and Donna LaChapelle from the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC) to provide an introductory training in mind body healing.

MIWRC ( is a Catalyst Initiative grantee partner, and is leading the work to share mind body medicine in Indian Country as a powerful healing practice. About 20 individuals attended, representing community health, family advocates, youth workers, suicide prevention specialists, and tribal government (including one Tribal Council Member).

We opened the half-day session with beautiful words from Donna LaChapelle which can be viewed here.

Following that event, the Lower Sioux Community joined our latest round of seed grant partners. They will build off the early mind body medicine training and embed healing principles into their overall health and human service programs on the reservation.

Healing from Trauma North

On Saturday, March 5, 2016, over 200 community members of North Minneapolis gathered to celebrate resilience and hold space for collective healing at North Community High School. This event, conducted in partnership with our key ally, Marnita's Table, followed an open format, enabling community members to freely navigate through different stations and activities, and providing the option to select from a variety of breakout sessions with locally based cultural and spiritual healers while enjoying a delicious feast provided by local caterers.

Healing from Trauma North closed with an open mic, celebrating the voices of local comedians, singers, poets and youth performers, and a heartfelt Circle Share-in.

Through the support of the Catalyst Initiative, leadership from Marnita's Table, and volunteer services from those in the community – such as Coach Larry Mackenzie and the boys basketball team of North High, and nonprofit organization MAD DADS – this event was a chance to reconnect with neighbors and practice new ways of bringing healing to individuals and the community.

As one attendee said, "It was great to share information and stories of triumph and adversity from different individuals' points of view and past and present life experiences. It's not about how serious our trials and tribulations are, but how we deal with them and overcome them as a community."

Healing from Trauma North

From drumming to coloring and discussion to yoga, attendees had the opportunity
to participate in a variety of activities at Healing from Trauma North.

Catalyst Spark

The Catalyst Initiative of the George Family Foundation is an integrative health
initiative designed to help communities realize their capacity to support health
and wellbeing using mind-body approaches that are culturally meaningful.
Learn more about Catalyst.

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