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January 5, 2021


Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties, formally San Diego Grantmakers, is an action network of funders building an equitable, impactful social change ecosystem for San Diego and Imperial Counties. The San Diego Workforce Partnership connected with Katie Janowiak, Catalyst Vice President of Communications & Impact to learn more about their mission how they bring people together across sectors, aisles, and industries to increase equity-driven solutions to our region’s most pressing problems. 

Can you tell me more about Catalyst?

Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties is an action network of funders who are driven to improve outcomes for our region and beyond. Through learning events, collaborative funding and project support we connect and activate funders of all types to learn, lead and invest in our community. We served the region for more than 40 years as San Diego Grantmakers and at the end of last year stepped into our new name and identity as Catalyst.

Any partnership highlights you’d like to share?

Catalyst San DiegoPartnering is at the root of everything we do at Catalyst. As a member organization, we are a sum of our parts: from the more than 150 funder organizations and impact investors who make up our funder community, to the cross-sector collaborations, to the initiatives and organizations we fiscally sponsor including YIGBY and Women Give San Diego. In 2020, our team responded to requests to support nearly $3 million in collaborative grantmaking efforts that combined funds from foundation, corporate, individual, government and giving circle donors. 

While we focus our energy on San Diego and Imperial Counties, we know that outcomes here are linked to decisions made across the state and nation. We influence and affect statewide philanthropic and public policy efforts through Philanthropy California (a strategic alliance between Southern California Grantmakers, Northern California Grantmakers, and Catalyst) and ensure our region’s voice is represented nationally through our partnership with the United Philanthropy Forum. 

How can San Diegans get involved?

Whatever your passion is, Catalyst is here to connect you with others who share that passion to help you increase your knowledge and impact. We welcome and encourage organizations of all sizes to check out one of our learning programs, connect with any member of our team or one of our member organizations (you may even work for one already and not know it) for a virtual coffee chat, or consider membership with Catalyst. We’re here for you!

How would you like to see San Diego change for the better?

Catalyst San Diego

Our vision is an equitable, collaborative and impactful social change ecosystem that improves the lives of all residents in our region. For us, that looks like a San Diego and Imperial County where all those striving to affect positive social change are working collaboratively together to tackle not just the symptoms but the root causes of the challenges we face.

We not only believe a region where community based organizations, funders, businesses and government all working collectively is possible; we posit it’s absolutely necessary for our region’s future.

Why is workforce development important to your organization’s mission?

Workforce development is directly linked to economic mobility, which we believe is essential to realizing an equitable economy and to have sustaining outcomes for the programs and initiatives many of the funders in our region are supporting each year. Economic mobility will likely grow as a priority within our society as we work through the long-term recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

This is especially so in California where, because of gaps in educational access and opportunities, it is estimated that by 2025 more than 2 million Californians won’t be prepared for new jobs that are created. In particular, investing in our state’s students of color is critical to meeting workforce needs and creating economic mobility that lifts up communities.

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