New Year. New Nonprofit.
Catapult Greater Pittsburgh (CGP) has launched to provide economic justice through personal growth opportunities, peer-to-peer support, wealth building, trauma informed financial literacy and policy advocacy. CGP — formerly Circles Greater Pittsburgh — is led by Executive Director and Founder, Tammy Thompson; a Poverty Expert and Creator of The Psychology of Poverty.
Thompson says the new organization is designed to cater to specific community needs. “The program offerings will be more robust and better suited to the primarily Black clientele currently being served,” Thompson said. “The change will allow for the organization to move from a chapter of a national model into an independent and scalable non-profit organization.”
She added, “the Black and Latinx populations continue to be disproportionately represented in the population living below the poverty line. Catapult Greater Pittsburgh will ensure systematically disenfranchised communities can meaningfully achieve economic justice and lead dignified and equitable lives,” Thompson said. “We are highly focused on providing economic justice opportunities for individuals who seek generational stability.”
Experiencing poverty is not unique, but overcoming it and becoming a foremost expert is a rare outcome. Facing many of the common barriers of systemic racism, Thompson’s path was paved with homelessness, food insecurity, job loss and countless other obstacles. She used her pain to turn her experiences into a story of triumph and has dedicated her life to empower and equip individuals and families to get out of poverty.
She added that the organization does not want to see families devastated by temporary financial struggles.
“At Catapult, we do not want to see any individual or family lose their footing based on a temporary financial crisis. We are here to support the needs of those suffering through food insecurity, housing insecurity, benefit management, immediate cash flow issues and mental health needs,” Thompson said.
The work of Catapult Greater Pittsburgh is broken down into 5 areas of concentration: emergency support, peer-to-peer support, wealth building, trauma-informed financial literacy and policy advocacy.
Catapult Peer to Peer Connection
Uses a robust curriculum to help individuals recognize and heal from the trauma of long-term exposure to poverty, create plans for future financial security, expand their social capital and develop lasting relationships for support and to realize long term stability.
Catapult Asset Building
At Catapult, we support wealth building through paths to home ownership and entrepreneurialism. Building generational wealth is an important element in sustainable economic justice.
Catapult Door (Developing Ownership Opportunities for Residents)
Provides a comprehensive plan to make the dream of first-time home ownership a reality. DOOR addresses the specific needs and challenges a prospective buyer may encounter, while supporting the buyer every step of the way. Catapult encourages home ownership as a means to empower individuals towards growing family assets.
Catapult KEY (Keeping Equity Yours)
Equips homeowners to maintain their property and build upon their financial fortitude. Homeowners attend seminars on achieving good credit, appropriate budgeting and saving programs. They will learn basic maintenance, how to avoid predatory lending, and how to do estate planning. KEY strives to provide homeowners with tangible skills and tools to maintain and sustain responsible homeownership.
Catapult Trauma-Informed Financial Literacy
A strong foundation of personal financial knowledge and planning. We will provide workshops, one-on-one guidance and materials to keep our community members financially informed and empowered. We address generational poverty through a trauma informed approach which is unique to the Catapult model.
Catapult Startup to Storefront
A 12-month business incubation strategy for minority and women entrepreneurs who want to start a business and existing businesses that want to grow. The Gallery on Penn is the first storefront space where each participant has access to selling and developing their product in the community. Each business graduates the program with a working business plan.
Catapult for Change
Works to improve local and state policies and practices that are working against economic justice and the best interest of the community.
We understand that it is going to take us working with one individual at a time to pursue economic justice, and that it has to be done with compassion, flexibility, innovation and dignity, to create the desperately needed opportunities for personal growth in our communities.Tammy Thompson, Executive Director