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A decade of improving community health

A decade of improving community health - cover-min 

People function best when at their highest level of health. Communities thrive when we remove barriers to health - poverty, discrimination, and racism - and promote improved access to healthcare, employment, housing, quality education, and safe environments. It is our collective role alongside community members, nonprofits, funders, government, and other institutions to tackle the social barriers, open the gates to healthcare access, and develop sustainable health equity across all communities.
For over a decade, Catchafire has operated at the intersection of volunteerism and philanthropy, connecting nonprofits with highly skilled volunteer professionals to provide critical programmatic and operational support. We recognized the barriers to nonprofit success early on and designed an equitable model that aims to support BIPOC communities. This frees up the to-do lists for nonprofits, allowing them to focus on advancing community services including key health issues like education, maternal health, housing, employment, and nutrition. 

How Catchafire supports health outcomes        

Through Catchafire, health-related nonprofits have experienced outsized gains more than ever before— reflecting the need for ongoing capacity support in the health sector. Since 2018, Catchafire has seen a 238% growth in the number of health-related nonprofits seeking support.             

As inflation rises, we enter another election season, and face the threat of economic ups and downs, nonprofits know they will experience an increased demand in services. Community needs exacerbated by the long-term effects of the pandemic will continue to press on resources, and nonprofits will again and again rise to the challenge of providing services that contribute to healthy lives and safe communities.     
Capacity support can positively impact the social determinants of health and boost the work of local organizations based on our experiences partnering with philanthropic leaders in the health field.

Lasting change is made with Catchafire 

Over 7,000 health-related nonprofits have completed projects on Catchafire. This diverse group of organizations represents a broad swath of the sector—with a special focus on smaller, more resource-strapped organizations. For those with minimal staff or budget, quick virtual access to talent, tools, and training is transformational. For grantmakers, it is a scalable way to ensure resources are reaching the broadest set of organizations meeting the most diverse range of community needs. 

A decade of improving community health - 1-min

Health equity is more than one community-driven intervention; it’s a lens through which all work should be viewed. Our partnerships have included an intentional focus on:             

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
Historically, policies have created an unequal distribution of money, power, and resources based on factors like race, class, gender, and location. To assure that everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health, we must address equity.
Over the past two years, Catchafire has seen an increase in DEI and justice-related nonprofits on the platform from 130 nonprofits matched in 2018 to 1082 nonprofits matched in 2021. 

Education and health is the primary health focus of nonprofits on Catchafire, with over 34.2% of projects completed related to this field. That translates to close to 17,000 projects providing capacity for organizations to focus on education as a critical social determinant of health.                                    

Catchafire is serving a significant cross-section of low- income communities across health-driven nonprofits providing access to education, quality care, housing, and health resources. Each additional year of education leads to 11% more annual income, improving access to health insurance and housing. Due to structural racism, certain groups are more likely to experience housing instability and live in neighborhoods with limited resources and low-quality housing.  

Health equity in action

A decade of improving community health - 2-min

What does Catchafire’s capacity building support and resources look like for health nonprofits?

For Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, many of their health nonprofit partners have received support that shares a similar theme: finding ways to make complex health information understandable to a general audience.        

A website that is easy to navigate, a clear one pager that talks about services, a logo that stands out - these marketing projects help small organizations get their message out and connect with the community without relying on face to face interaction.    

One of their nonprofit partners, Nurture, aims to improve the health of childbearing families through fitness, education, social support, and community engagement. Their Healthy Communities Action Team, #RVAbreastfeeds, works to reduce childhood obesity and promote a friendly breastfeeding community. There is a lot of evidence about the positive connection between breastfeeding and its downstream health impacts on young people, particularly childhood obesity.

Since joining Catchafire, Nurture has received volunteer support on 31 projects in areas such as web development, accounting, and brand messaging. As a small agency, they don’t have the in-house or back office support that larger organizations take for granted. 


“We are not sure where we would be right now without access to Catchafire. This is a phenomenal resource. We have received solid support from their volunteers…An example: we are piloting a virtual breastfeeding support group. We needed expert counsel on how to both increase visibility of our program via social media, and how to foster community within the private Facebook Group that is part of the program.

We found a volunteer on Catchafire who has been extremely helpful in both of these areas. We could not have afforded this kind of support otherwise.”

Leslie Lytle
Executive Director, Nurture


Capacity building plays a crucial role in empowering health nonprofits like Nurture to effectively pursue their missions and positively impact community health outcomes. By developing and enhancing their organizational abilities, these nonprofits gain the necessary skills, resources, and infrastructure to operate more efficiently and respond adeptly to the evolving needs of their communities. 

This growth extends beyond mere financial support, encompassing a broad spectrum of improvements like strategic planning, leadership development, technology upgrades, and staff training. As a result, health nonprofits can deepen their outreach, tailor services more precisely to the specific health challenges faced by their communities, and drive meaningful advancements in public health. This holistic strengthening not only fortifies the nonprofits themselves but also ensures a more robust and resilient public health ecosystem, capable of addressing both current and future health challenges.
All communities have the potential for positive growth and well-being–the first step is putting nonprofits in the driver’s seat and equipping them with the support they need. Request a demo today to learn more about partnering with Catchafire.

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