A Letter from the Director, Renee Martin
As we begin this year, I want to share a bit about what we learned in 2018 and provide you with an overview of what we have planned for the year ahead.
1. Investing in people
For the first-time in 2018, Catalyst Kitchens offered two sessions of training for front line staff via our Train-the-Trainer program at FareStart in Seattle. Over 20 individuals left feeling inspired, motivated, and aligned in their training approach. Their motivation has inspired our team to identify new and dynamic ways to support staff at all levels of member organizations.
In 2019, Catalyst Kitchens will increase our commitment to front line staff by offering these workshops more regularly with three sessions scheduled throughout the year. We have also committed to making Train-the-Trainer more accessible by bringing them closer to you and your teams by hosting a few of these sessions at Model Member locations throughout the country.
2. Learning from leadership
You may have been exposed to the caliber of leadership and expertise we have within our network by attending our biennial national summit last September in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. To ensure ongoing connection between these thought leaders and to establish feedback mechanisms for the network, Catalyst Kitchens formed a Member Advisory Council (MAC) in 2018 comprised of leaders from our Model Member organizations.
In 2019, the MAC will participate in two key initiatives to support professional development and sustainability within the network. The MAC members have volunteered to serve as mentors to member staff protégés in Catalyst Kitchens’ first pilot of a network wide mentorship program. In addition, the MAC will participate in Peer Standards Reviews for Model Membership, in which we will pair leaders from Model Member organizations to conduct standards assessments and provide feedback to enhance the efficacy of their programs.
For those organizations that are not quite ready for model membership, we are developing a Peer Exchange Toolkit to encourage member staff to visit fellow Catalyst Kitchens programs across the country.
3. Getting together more
In 2018, we hosted three Regional Summits to create networking and learning opportunities closer to home for staff that may have been unable to participate in our larger National Summit. By popular demand we are committing to hosting five Regional Summits this year. Beyond our member-wide summits, we want to place an intentional focus on our youth programs in 2019: Catalyst Kitchens will be hosting its first Youth & Young Adult Training Workshop for front-line staff and management that work with or oversee programs for young people.
Check our new public events calendar for upcoming dates and locations.
4. Increasing the sustainability of your programs
Catalyst Kitchens members regularly express interest in ensuring the sustainability and efficacy of their existing programs. Not all members are using Catalyst Kitchens curriculum and might benefit from the best practices and recommendations of our consulting team. Therefore, we have raised funds to give members access to our support at a dramatically reduced cost. Our Member’s Request for Proposal (must have member login to view) to access Catalyst Consulting services is available now with applications due very soon. If you miss this first round, look out for the second-round RFP later this year.
5. Diving deep into key areas of interest
Finally, based on the feedback we have received over the past year we will be taking a deeper dive into three key content areas this year.
Our programs cannot survive without sound business and fundraising practices. We will cover many topics pertaining to sustainability including appropriate funding models for nonprofit social enterprises, fundraising best practices, and more.
We will tap into the knowledge of our Catalyst Consulting team who have helped their clients increase their retention and graduation rates through proven programmatic techniques.
We all have a shared goal of preparing students for sustainable jobs that will serve as the beginning of a successful career rather than a short-term solution. We will explore advanced training programs that aim to provide the “next steps” of training for students aiming for supervisory positions or highly skills culinary roles.
To help us fully explore each of these topics, we will offer serial online content to help users build knowledge over multiple sessions. Look out for our first webinar series in March 2019 around Fundraising for Non-Profit Financial Sustainability.