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

Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative

When Catalyst decided to narrow our focus a few months ago to creating programs that inspire empathy and understanding between people as a means for accomplishing our mission to help you to connect, collaborate, and share resources, we had no idea that Ashoka has had an initiative called Start Empathy as well, dedicated to building a future in which every child masters empathy. It's pretty cool actually. Ashoka is a huge, innovative, and industry-shaping organization and they have lots of resources to help all of us become more empathetic - child or adult. We all need it!

For more than 30 years, Ashoka has been identifying and supporting leading social entrepreneurs who bring new solutions to difficult problems. With a network of 3,000 change-makers across the globe, they discovered that they all have core skills including teamwork, initiative, leadership, and particularly a foundational one - empathy.

That's encouraging for us because while we hadn't realized about Ashoka's initiative, Catalyst had a similar (albeit smaller scale) realization. For 8 years, Catalyst has been working within our local and regional communities to help people connect, collaborate, and share resources through literally dozens of programs, projects, activities, and events, but we discovered that there were some common limitations for change-makers in these communities. Without new participants, new volunteers, new donors, and new leaders, the resource pool for these change-makers dries up. People and organizations may collaborate outside their typical circles once or twice, but it's not likely to be sustainable if there is a lack of genuine understanding that leads to conflict. People may come to donate or receive materials resources, but the true concept of sharing doesn't necessarily stick. That's why we realized that we need to go deeper - help people and organizations develop and cultivate empathy and understanding for each other so that the substance of their connectivity, collaboration, and sharing is more meaningful and long-lasting.

I've always looked up to Ashoka. They are always on the leading edge of social innovation and I've always aspired to be an Ashoka Fellow. I love the fact that we're in alignment in our recognition of the importance of empathy! We're in very good company. #gocatalyst #InspireEmpathy