Catalyst Program

Catalyst is a long-term community development program, working in historically underserved NYC parks. Catalyst builds park communities, connecting people to NYC green spaces and waterfronts, increasing their capacity to sustain parks as a key component of resilient neighborhoods.


Catalyst builds local excitement and interest in parks and waterfronts.

We engage in extensive community outreach to identify potential partners in parks and waterfronts. We offer free arts, sports, and education programming to help residents see these spaces as active, safe places for community building. Our partners include residents, students, educators, community leaders, non-profits, and the business community who want to make a difference in the neighborhood.

Catalyst connects parks to community priorities.

We create opportunities for collaboration that allow people to see their shared interest in parks and waterfront spaces. We provide training and resources to support park leadership including seed and capacity building grants, technical assistance, and workshops for group development.

Catalyst sustains local leadership for strong park communities.

We provide group development and leadership skill support to groups and leaders to help them accomplish their long-term goals, and to ensure the sustainability of their work. We cultivate collaborations among partners to support parks as vital centers of community life.


– Training for leadership development
– Community visioning and planning
– Grants for projects and capacity building
– Community Outreach
– Project management
– Networking opportunities
– Fiscal sponsorship
– Technical assistance (Graphic Design, Social Media)
– People Make Parks toolkit
– Facilitation and group development
– Government relations

Generous private support is provided by the Altman Foundation and the MJS Foundation. Public support is provided by the City of New York including NYC Parks and the New York City Council.

  • Due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, Catalyst continues working in Kaiser Park to support neighborhood sustainability and ongoing park stewardship while expanding our efforts in the Coney Island Creek and neighboring Calvert Vaux Park.

  • Located along the Kill Van Kull waterfront in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island, Faber Park and Pool is a small but important resource and hub for many communities of the North Shore.

  • Catalyst is based at the Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center where we support health and stewardship efforts while exploring new opportunities to connect neighbors to the East River waterfront.