Casa Weekly

Friday, December 14, 2007

Radical Changes in Store

Radical Changes in Store as We Transition to 100% Sustainability and Community Control in 2008 and Beyond...

Dear Friends,

Here is an exerpt from our latest e-newsletter:

So much to share since our last e-newsletter a year ago! Catalytic Communities has shifted gears in a major way this past year. I don't get the chance to fill you in often, so I hope you'll have a close look at this newsletter to learn what we've been up to and where we're headed next!

Last Fall our online Community Solutions Database won us one of 25 2006 Tech Awards, out of a pool of over 950 initiatives around the world "using technology to benefit humanity."

Similarly, our Casa community networking hub was recognized by UN Habitat's World Urban Forum as one of 12 "actionable ideas" in the area of slum upgrading.

Our community networks are expanding at an increasing pace, and this Fall we launched our first ever "Call for Projects," doubling the number of nations represented in our Community Solutions Database and bringing in new projects in a variety of areas. To help with the posting and translation of these projects, we've also counted on the critical help of several new volunteers.

In 2008 we will be reaching out across Latin America planting the seeds of network expansion by word-of- mouth through initial face-to-face encounters.

That said, we have decided we are not doing good enough! Catalytic Communities is now undergoing a historic, radical, and unique transition process that will make good on our dedication to community empowerment and peer networks.

Our Board of Directors has recently approved the separation of Catalytic Communities (CatComm - USA) from Comunidades Catalisadoras (ComCat - Brazil). CatComm will be uniquely responsible for developing our multilingual website along a Web 2.0 (highly interactive online community) model. We're lucky to have gained Michael Maranda, experienced in community organizing and online communities and previously of CTCNet Chicago, as our new Strategic Director to undertake the remaking of the site to make it more robust, interactive and extensible and keeping at the core mission. By mid-2009 CatComm's site will be a highly interactive online community of local organizers from around the world, all supporting each other through a site requiring minimal staff involvement and developed by a network of volunteer website developers, translators, and community organizers.

Equally exciting, ComCat (Brazil) will take over full responsibility for our Casa community networking hub. With this, we are now transferring leadership and ownership of the Brazil organization to the community leaders who have used the Casa since it was first opened almost 5 years ago. Community organizers in Rio are meeting weekly as they determine the leadership structure, calendar of events, and fundraising approach to grow the Casa in 2008. By 2009 the Casa will be 100% directed, managed and funded through the efforts of volunteer community leaders in Rio.

What all of this means is that by mid-2009 CatComm will be 100% self-sustaining! We have a small endowment that will cover maintenance costs from that date forward. But until then, we are still counting on your support. And Rio's community organizers may also seek your support in the future to grow the Casa's efforts locally there. To make your 2007 year-end contribution please click here or choose among the "year end giving" options to the left. I want to personally thank you for your encouragement of our work in the past and to ask you to support CatComm as we move forward with this bold transition plan. Please write a check or make an online donation today, and throughout 2008, to support us in the home stretch of our goal in achieving financial sustainability and leaving CatComm with the right footing to grow on its own for many years to come...