Cultivating Repair: Meet the Catalyst Initiative cohort

"Meet the Catalyst Initiative Cohort" with illustrated headshots of the 10 cohort leaders

Artists expressing the pain and joy of human experience. Community leaders gathering neighbors to replenish land after disaster. Storytellers using technology to bring untold histories into the light. Omidyar Network celebrates 10 organizations illuminating pathways towards repair and healing, selected from 700 submissions to the Cultivating Repair Catalyst Initiative (a project of Amalgamated Foundation).

By Vanessa Mason, Fanta Condé, and Nicole Allred

In December 2023, Omidyar Network launched Cultivating Repair, a four-year $12 million commitment that places repair and healing at the heart of our vision to build cultures of belonging. This work has three aims: to connect organizations practicing various approaches to repair; to foster creative expressions of healing after trauma; and to strengthen collaborative funding so that the broader repair ecosystem can thrive.

Our first step of the journey was a call for nominations via the Cultivating Repair Catalyst Initiative (Catalyst Initiative). This initiative connects courageous, earlier-stage efforts to seed repair and healing of the legacies of colonialism and slavery across the United States.

Repair encompasses a wide range of practices for acknowledging past and present harms, taking accountability for changed behavior, and rectifying harms. When a culture of repair exists, it shapes a community’s practices and policies, the structures we build up, and those we take down. There are multiple ways of practicing repair: through the stories we tell, the ways we gather community, or in rituals of grief and celebration.

After reviewing more than 700 submissions to the Catalyst Initiative across 48 states and three territories, we are deeply inspired. This work is hard and delicate, but we are seeing a hopeful groundswell of leadership. Together with the initiative’s Advisory Council*, we selected ten organizations to take part in a participatory learning cohort over the next year. They will be accompanied in part by philanthropic partners exploring ways to better resource the growing repair and healing ecosystem.

Congratulations to the 10 organizations selected for the Catalyst Initiative cohort! Here is a glimpse into their shared work:

From left to right: Idris Brewster of Kinfolk, Assia Boundaoui of Inverse Surveillance Project, Alexis Flanagan of Resonance Network, Chelsea Tayrien Hicks (Osage) of Words of the People. Illustrations by Bareface Headshots.

Understanding our collective past to reimagine our future

  • Through powerful use of augmented reality, Kinfolk brings Black, Brown, and Queer histories to life in public spaces. Kinfolk was founded to create a future where communities are active shapers of our public spaces, carriers of our histories, and reflections of the richness of our nation.
  • Inverse Surveillance Project integrates community art, healing, and tech for American Muslims to heal from the collective trauma of state surveillance. Healing means safety expressing religious and political opinions, mending bonds broken by surveillance, and freedom when exercising constitutional rights.
  • Resonance Network creates visionary spaces to imagine and practice living into a world beyond violence. This world becomes possible when individuals commit to personal healing, communities practice new cultural norms, and systems scale these transformations.
  • Honoring ancestral Indigenous languages, Words of the People amplifies creative writing to heal people and land. As Indigenous peoples speak, sing, write, and create in their ancestral languages, they deepen connection to culture, community, and place.
From left to right: Haewon Asfaw of Abolition Dream Lab, Corinne Espinoza of HEART, Oscar Trujillo of The Embodiment Institute.

Healing relationships with our selves, our cultures, and our communities

  • Abolition Dream Lab creates a culture of collective and individual healing for Black abolitionists. Healing means the integration of accountability practices as a cultural norm, mutual aid as an economic model, and self-governance as a way of being.
  • Centering deeply connected local communities, the Cambridge Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team (HEART) reimagines public safety. Cambridge HEART envisions a world where everyone feels responsible for and capable of working through conflict.
  • Through research, training, and culture change, The Embodiment Institute evolves the conversation, practices, and politics of healing. The Embodiment Institute envisions a world where our relationships with ourselves, each other, and the environment are authentic, intimate, and regenerative.
From left to right: Richard Wallace of Equity & Transformation Chicago, Camille Kalama (Native Hawaiian) of Koʻihonua, Michael Ishii of Tsuru for Solidarity.

Reimagining institutions, structures, and systems

  • Equity & Transformation Chicago advocates for Black workers engaged in the informal economy. Through community-led advocacy for guaranteed income and reparations for lasting harms of the War on Drugs, they are upholding dignity and opening hopeful pathways to healing.
  • Through cultural revitalization, Koʻihonua reclaims and restores Native Hawaiian lands and practices. Ko’ihonua believes that healing begins with land and continues with advocacy to move Hawaiian lands into Hawaiian hands.
  • Building cross-community solidarity and intergenerational healing, Tsuru for Solidarity calls for the end of past and present state violence. As Japanese American survivors of WWII imprisonment, their work is grounded in the belief that “all beings will be liberated”, which comes from a cultural principle from Buddhism’s Bodhisattva Vows.

We are humbled to learn alongside the Catalyst Initiative cohort and commit to sharing insights on building a culture of repair as we go.

Together with the initiative’s Advisory Council, we also want to recognize and express deep gratitude to a wider constellation of organizations that took time to share their stories and wisdom as part of this process. We are honored to be connected with all of these organizations, which embody the boundless possibilities for healing and repair.

African American Redress NetworkAgrarian TrustAxle Impact Studio’s Reparation.VRBorderless — A Black & Indigenous CollectiveCahokiaPHXCoalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of DiscoveryCradle of CareDignity Restoration ProjectEmmett Till Interpretive CenterFaith Matters Network CollaborativeFood Culture CollectiveGet FreeHealing Justice HEART Women & GirlsIndigenous CommonsIndigenous Justice Institute for Democratic Education in America’s Jackson and Puerto Rico Healing & Solidarity ExchangeIntelligent MischiefJust Cities Institute Kulaiwi Land TrustLand Justice FuturesLiberated Learning Community Lowcountry Gullah FoundationMake Justice NormalMedicine Bowl Giving CircleMuslim Wellness FoundationNarrative ArtsNational Black Cultural Information Trust, Inc.North Bay Organizing Project
Not Our Native DaughtersOne Square World, Inc. • Our Sisters Room, Inc. Puʻuhonua SocietyRamapough Culture and Land Foundation RematriationRight to Democracy ProjectTerence Crutcher Foundation The Partnership FundTurtle Mountain IMPACTXa Kako DileYour Neighborhood Museum

*Special thanks to our Advisory Council for their compassionate accountability and guidance through this selection process. We have deep gratitude for their continued wisdom and nurture of the ecosystem.

  • Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook (Akawaio), co-holder, 7 Gen Cities
  • Rashida James-Saadiya, executive director, Muslim Power Building
  • Michael Johnson (Nuxbaaga / Sahnish / Anishinaabe), president, IllumiNative
  • Dr. Megan Ming Francis, associate professor of political science, University of Washington