Nonprofit Spotlight: Catapult Greater Pittsburgh

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In May, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Catapult Greater Pittsburgh!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 2018

  • Leadership: Tammy Thompson is a poverty expert and nationally sought after speaker. A survivor of poverty herself, she’s dedicated her life to empower and equip others to do the same. She created “The Psychology of Money” training + curriculum, produced a documentary about the stigma associated with women in poverty, and runs her own consulting firm.

  • Issue they address: root causes of economic injustices in BIPOC communities.

  • What they do: ensure systematically disenfranchised communities can meaningfully achieve economic justice and lead dignified and equitable lives.

  • How they do it:

    • Connect families to emergency resources, like food, essential household supplies, feminine care products, personal hygiene items and more.

    • Peer-to-peer support: run a 9 month program to help participants recognize and heal from the trauma of long-term exposure to poverty, create goals for the future, and develop long-lasting relationships.

    • Wealth building: create paths to homeownership and entrepreneurialism through various programs and business incubators.

    • Trauma-informed financial counseling: workshops, 1-on-1 guidance, and materials to keep community members financially informed and empowered.

    • Policy advocacy: improve local and state policies in areas like food justice, education justice, and the criminal justice system.

Why they were chosen

📢 We have a special guest expert this month! Hilary Brown, Program Officer at the Hillman Family Foundations, came through to select our Racial Justice charity.

“Catapult Greater Pittsburgh’s programming is designed to economically empower, in large part, the BIPOC community. The models are culturally relevant and provide an opportunity to identify and heal from the trauma of poverty. They unapologetically call out the current and historic harms wrought by race-based segregation, discrimination, and deprivation of economic and other opportunities, while providing tools for people to move forward and reach their own financial goals.

  • Executive Director, Tammy Thompson, is an abundantly competent leader and her personal experiences with poverty inform the work and contribute to the success of the programming.
  • Finally, learning from this organization, while providing philanthropic support is an example of the kind of meaningful partnership organizations and funders can have.”

– Hilary Brown, Program Officer at the Hillman Family Foundations

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💵 Poverty in Pittsburgh

About 20% of Pittsburghers live at or below the poverty line (defined as $25,100 or less per year, for a family of four). And the poverty rate is over 30% in many Pittsburgh neighborhoods, many of which are majority Black communities.

In fact, RAND research has found that if you’re Black in Pittsburgh, you’re 6x more likely to go to bed hungry than a white person, and bring home less than half as much pay.

⚖️ The Racial Wealth Gap

The racial wealth gap refers to the “disparities in assets of typical households across race and ethnicity”.

The average wealth in white households is 6-7x the average wealth in Black households. So many factors have contributed to this widening gap, including discriminatory governmental and housing policies, segregation and income inequality.

📅 May was AAPI heritage month

Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Americans hailing from across the Asian continent and Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Check out this list of book recommendations by AAPI authors.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Racial Justice cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit creating a more equitable world.