The purpose of Catapult is to engage young entrepreneurs in civic engagement and to prepare them — individually and collectively — to assume positions of community leadership consistent with their roles as business leaders. Since 2015, Catapult leadership has made grants and provided mentoring to emerging nonprofits.


A steering committee of 8 entrepreneurs from Detroit and Ann Arbor helped develop this targeted grantmaking program. Its primary purpose is to encourage and support nonprofit organizations that are creating impactful solutions addressing challenges in our region.

In 2015 and 2016, Catapult hosted an annual pitch competition featuring 10 finalists who represented diverse emerging nonprofit organizations in southeast Michigan. Over the two years, 5 grantees were selected through the Catapult grantmaking program, receiving up to $7,500 each and yearlong technical assistance and coaching from the Catapult Steering Committee.


Are you an emerging nonprofit organization interested in applying for a Catapult grant? Please see the sections below on eligibility and the 2017 timeline. We encourage interested applicants to call Surabhi Pandit, Senior Program Officer, to discuss your proposal.

Who May Apply

  • Applicants must be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, or organizations who are pursuing nonprofit status and have a strong fiscal sponsor
  • Applicants must be located in and/or serve southeast Michigan and have a clear mission that addresses community needs and fills a gap in social investment
  • Applicants must demonstrate how a grant of $7,500 can help creatively solve a problem in the community
  • Applicants must submit a completed IRS Form 990 (indicating tax-exempt status)
  • Applicants’ annual income should not exceed $500,000

2017 Timeline

  • Application portal opens on May 1
  • Applications will be due June 15
  • Ten finalists will be notified during the beginning of August (with a request for follow-up information)
  • Finalists will be invited to participate in a pitch coaching session during the end of August
  • Finalists are required to participate in a pitch competition in the month of September when grant recipients will be notified
  • Grant recipients will receive awards in the beginning of October

Catapult Steering Committee recommendations will be reviewed by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which will make the final determination of all grant recipients.

How to Apply

Steps in applying to Catapult are as follows:

Step 1: Review Background Information on Catapult

Catapult Background Information

After reviewing the background information, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Community Foundation to discuss a proposed project before submitting a proposal. Organizations can call 313.961.6675 and ask to speak to Surabhi Pandit, who is the program officer for Catapult. She is available to discuss ideas and answer questions about the grantmaking process.

Step 2: Start an Application

Once you’ve reviewed the grantmaking guidelines and spoken with Surabhi, it’s time to start your grant application.

The 2017 Catapult Grant Application is now closed. If you would like to be notified of the next grant cycle, please fill out the form below to receive a notification.


The 2016 Catapult grantees:

Atlantic Impact received support for a leadership and mentorship program for Detroit high school students and regional college students interested in studying abroad.

Detroit Horse Power received support for a program that teaches life skills to Detroit youth through riding and caring for horses.

Trans Sistas of Color Project – Detroit received support for capacity building.

The 2015 Catapult grantees:

Write A House received support to expand organizational capacity by hiring an apprentice to help renovate houses for emerging writers.

Young Detroit Thinkers received support for the Detroit City Chess Club to fund chess tournaments and equipment for area schools and recreation centers.   

Catapult Steering Committee

 Abir Ali
Ali Sandifer Studio
What has been your most exciting entrepreneurial experience?
The first time that an Ali Sandifer piece was knocked off by another company. Truthfully, it was more startling than exciting but we inevitably decided that imitation was a form of flattery.


Adrian Fortino
Mercury Fund (Catapult Co-chair)
Where do you see Catapult going?
I think we are going to reinvent the way that emerging non-profit organizations are cultivated.


Bradley Hoos
The Outloud Group (Catapult Co-chair)
Where do you see Catapult going?
I see Catapult as the proving ground for emerging non-profits that are ready to truly expand their reach in the community. High-potential nonprofits combined with seasoned entrepreneurs means bold solutions to real challenges in our community.


 Amy Kaherl
Detroit SOUP
Why is entrepreneurship important to you?
I found entrepreneurship by accident! I feel empowered to create, give, act with aims of justice and love.


Mike Vichich
Why are you interested in Catapult?
Non-profits have an incredibly challenging job. They do some of the most important work in our society, but they often struggle with funding. That can be especially challenging if you’re trying to get a new non-profit idea off the ground, and that’s where Catapult comes in. I’m thrilled to be helping the next generation of non-profit leaders, in both a financial and coaching capacity.




If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Surabhi Pandit

Senior Program Officer

313.961.6675, ext. 123

Contact Surabhi if you have grant-related questions.