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, Catapult hosted a pitch competition featuring 10 finalists who represented diverse nonprofit organizations in southeast Michigan. A final event brought together Community Foundation Board members and the Catapult Steering Committee to celebrate two winning nonprofits, each of which received a $7,500 grant, coaching from the Catapult Steering Committee, and an opportunity to interact with Community Foundation Board members.

On September 21, the Catapult Steering Committee is hosting a pitch competition for the 10 nonprofit finalists of this year’s applicants.

2016 Pitch Competition Details

Learn more about each of the 2016 Finalists through the links below. Finalists will give 3-minute pitches about their creative ideas for solving problems and creating opportunities in our community. Enjoy networking, hors d’oeuvres and drinks with a community of entrepreneurs and innovators. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Please click the link below to register.

A Host of People

Atlantic Impact

Detroit Horse Power

Detroit Youth Volume

Jordan Morgan Foundation

The Lawn Academy

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

Trans Sistas of Color Project – Detroit

Southeast Michigan Doula Project

Unity in Our Community TimeBank

This event is open to the public but registration is required and you must be signed up by September 16.


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, Wisely

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.


Applications for 2016 are now closed. Check back May 1 for the 2017 Catapult application.




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.