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.

The Community Foundation created Catapult to encourage civic engagement among young entrepreneurs throughout southeast Michigan. To learn about the community and support change, Catapult volunteers facilitated a small grants program for emerging nonprofit organizations. Eight finalist organizations with impactful solutions to address challenges in our region participated in the Catapult Pitch Competition.

2017 Finalists

Each group had three minutes to tell the audience how a grant to their organization would “catapult” them to the next level. All of the finalist organizations were recognized for their projects. Four organizations received grants of $7,500 to $10,000 with the remaining organizations receiving smaller operational grants.


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 M. 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 M.C. 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 E. 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.

Rishi R. Narayan
Underground Printing
Why are you interested in Catapult?
If you are not located in the metro Detroit area, it can be difficult to really understand what is going on and what are the needs that have to be addressed. As an entrepreneur based in Ann Arbor, Catapult has been an amazing way to learn about these initiatives and connect with the organizations that are actively making Detroit a better place.

Michael J. 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.

Melissa Butler
 Lip Bar
Entrepreneurship means freedom and fulfillment. It gives rise to dreams and hope that we can constantly improve and be of service to others. And ultimately, entrepreneurship is important because there’s nothing more satisfying than pursuing your passion, experiencing the ups and downs, starting a business and watching  your idea take on a life of its own.

Sherman S. PowellArmy Property


To make a donation to support the efforts of Catapult, an initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to encourage and support nonprofit organizations that are creating impactful solutions addressing challenges in southeast Michigan, please complete the donation form below.

Questions? Feel free to contact

Surabhi Pandit

Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion & Community Engagement