News, events, and articles for the Catalyst Network of Communities.

Human Library Helps Inspire Empathy

*Photo above taken from the Facebook page of Human Library Organization.

What if instead of checking out a book at the library, you could check out a human?

Catalyst Network of Communities, through our Long Beach Free School project, has partnered with the Long Beach Public Library, Long Beach Time Exchange, and Eayikes to host a Human Library event on May 31st. Check out today's write up at LBPOST here.

Held at the main library in downtown Long Beach, the Human Library event will be an opportunity for people to check out a Human Book for 15-20 minutes. You'd be free to engage with the person so that you can gain a better understanding. Listen to personal stories, ask questions, or just have a conversation with someone who has an intriguing background. This is a great way for you to cultivate your empathy towards others.

Would you like to apply to be a Human Book? Contact Rachael Rifkin at

Meet Daryl

This week's video for Link #19 on the Catalyst Giving Chain is of Daryl. He's got a genuine passion for serving those who are homeless and anyone who seems to be in need. Check him out!

We didn't have a sponsor for this participant which means we won't be able to sustain the project for much longer without your generous support. Can you help by making a donation so that we can continue doing this project? Anything and everything helps! Thanks! You can make a tax-deductible donation here:

‪#‎gocatalyst‬ ‪#‎givingchain‬ ‪#‎InspireEmpathy‬

Meet Conrad

This week's video of the Catalyst Giving Chain is Conrad. He is Link #18 on the project and here he talks about being a student, working in a hospital, and shares his thoughts about empathy. Check out what he received from us because Shelly thought of him!

#gocatalyst #givingchain #InspireEmpathy

Catalyst 3.0

For the past several months, Catalyst has been up in the air. What I mean by that is we’ve been going through a lot of reflection, evaluation, and strategizing about how we can best carry out our mission of helping you to connect, collaborate, and share resources.

We’ve had to come to terms with some hard realities: (1) we haven’t been financially sustainable; and (2) we haven’t seen the kind of engagement from our community that would indicate we’re having meaningful impact.

Don’t get me wrong – over the past several years, we’ve literally reached tens of thousands of people through our numerous projects and programs. But the reality remains the same . . . .

Read More

Tactical Urban Interventions


Catalyst founder Eric Leocadio will be a panelist at Tactical Urban Interventions on Thursday, April 10, 2014 from 6:00pm - 8:30pm at California State University, Long Beach at the University Art Museum (UAM). The event is part of the M&A exhibition at the UAM is dedicated to the work of Urban Applications(UA), a project of Materials & Applications. UA has begun to partner with other groups in Los Angeles county who are responding to multiple civic needs by developing community-engaged projects that interpret local environmental infrastructure improvements and include area residents in hands-on experiences that promote deeper understanding in and ownership of their immediate environment. 

What are some of the best strategies to engage communities in the development of new public places?
What are some of the problems with opening the design process to non-designers? What are the opportunities?

Tiffany Chen, Long Beach Office of Sustainability and GreenLB
Jenna Didier, Materials & Applications and Urban Applications
Eric Leocadio, Catalyst Network of Communities
Brian Ulaszewski, City Fabrick
Unable to attend: Jimmy Ng, The Growing Experience

Moderated by John Southern – Principal of Urban Operations, and Faculty at Woodbury University School of Architecture.

For more info, see the event page on Facebook here.

Happy 8th Birthday to Us!

Today is Catalyst Network of Communities' 8th birthday! On April 1st, 2006 I incorporated Catalyst Long Beach (our official name) as a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation in California. One of the first things we did that month was to gather up some folks to participate in the Community Action Team's 30 Minute Beach Clean Up. (yeah sorry, i used to be that skinny.) Over the last 8 years, we've been able to do so much together! And now, as we start our 9th year of service to our communities, I hope that many of you will stick with us and continue to share our vision to see cities experiencing a greater sense of community, collaboration, and citizenship through meaningful relationships. #gocatalyst