Thursday, December 29, 2005

Jean's last email request

Here's what Jean Russell, member, life coach, and now CatComm volunteer, wrote today in her last request to friends to sign the Pledge:

Support your global social entrepreneur

One more day to go and only ten signers needed to meet our pledge! Signing the pledge enters you into a drawing for a trip to Rio!!!

$10,000 of the match for this pledge came from my online community, where social entrepreneurs roam the wikis!

Theresa and the pledge received visibility at via the Global X blog.

This is the foundation started by Ebay founder Jeff Skoll—yes, another social entrepreneur champion.

And, I am currently writing a recommendation for Theresa to become an Ashoka Fellow for Brazil. If you watched PBS: New Heroes, you know what I am talking about!

I would be so ecstatic if my friends close this pledge. We have the match, everything is in place. Will you join us?

"I will set u p a $10 monthly donation to CatComm (or $120 annually) but only if 199 other people will too, and only if one philanthropist will match our joint donations dollar for dollar."
— Theresa Williamson, Founder and Executive Director

Deadline to sign up by: 31st December 2005 189 people have signed up, 10 more needed
Country: United States

More details
Should this Pledge be met, all signers will be put in a drawing for a free trip for two, including travel and accommodations, to Rio de Janeiro!Not only that, but meeting this pledge will allow CatComm to thrive in 2006! It's as simple as $10 a month! We are counting on you to help us meet our 2006 core budget.Catalytic Communities' mission is to develop, inspire and empower a global network of communities generating and sharing solutions.CatComm connects communities through spaces both physical and virtual. The "Casa," our model networking hub in Rio de Janeiro offers a space for face-to-face events and Web access for community leaders across that metro region, while our Community Solutions Database and other online tools make searchable, detailed, community-generated solutions to everyday challenges available across languages and borders.Over 500 leaders from 72 city neighborhoods depend on our Casa. Over 11,000 people in 65 countries use our website monthly. Over 100 community success stories have been documented to date.Please get the word out about this Pledge. Visit the Campaign Countdown blog at for support materials.For information about the Rio drawing visit visit for more information.Note: CatComm is a 501[c][3] tax-exempt organization in the USA and a registered non-governmental organization in Brazil.

- Jean Russell

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Social Edge's Global X blogs us...

Today, December 20th, Social Edge, a website of the Skoll Foundation, began a 3-part story the result of a recent interview with me in California. Here goes...

Not too long ago, Global X met Theresa Williamson, a social entrepreneur who strongly believes in fate...
Read on: PART 1

Theresa Williamson launched
Catalytic Communities in 2000. She had noticed that many communities were very good at innovating at the local level, but they couldn’t share their innovations with other communities...
Read on: PART 2

Theresa Williamson, the social entrepreneur from Rio, was born in England from a British father and a Brazilian mother. She was raised in the U.S., and she describes herself as “a product of globalization.”...
Read on: PART 3

Friday, December 16, 2005

CatComm Announcement: Omidyar Network Community Award!

This week CatComm received word that the Omidyar Network has granted us a $10,000 community award in support of our Casa community networking hub and website's Community Solutions Database in 2006!

Here is our posting on the Omidyar Network's site...

Posted to:
Local Global group on the Omidyar Network site by Theresa Williamson, Fri, 16 Dec 2005

For the original post & responses, visit:

Hello All!

I am just thrilled right now to be writing with some wonderful news: I've received word from Susan Megy that Catalytic Communities has been chosen to receive a $10,000 community award from the Omidyar Network to support our Casa in Rio and the Community Solutions Database on our site at! Woo hoo!!!!

Now bare with me as I have many, many people to thank, all of whom have made this year for Catalytic Communities, and for me!

Thank you to Onetters Jean Russell, Michael Maranda, Norbert Mayer-Wittmann, Brandon Sanders, Rose Vines, Anne Marie Bellavance, Ted Ernst, Mark Grimes, David Bale, Julie Caldwell, Christina Jordan, Michael Herman, Sally Duros, Greg Murray, and Sue Braiden for being catalysts in this process!!! Thank you also to Lenore Cowen, John "Eyeclectic", and Antony Wachira for your support and interest in this work over the past months!!

Daniel Bassill, Tom Steinberg, Chris Macrae, Ellison Horne, Gabriel Grant, and Justin Bellew have shared your complementary efforts with me this year -- all of you are undertaking projects with fantastic opportunities for collaboration with CatComm's work, and I can't wait to explore these ties more thoroughly in 2006!

In addition to the Onet Community, there has been something ultraspecial about the reception CatComm has been given by the Omidyar Network staff. The three staff members I've met, Thomas Kriese, Susan Megy, and Dena Jones, have been encouraging in a way that I have seldom experienced elsewhere, and are helping to change my perception of what is possible as we slowly and carefully undertake this important work of changing the world, one community at a time...

I can't stop there, however!! 2005 has been a pivotal year in my life, having gone through immense changes in my internal and external, personal and professional life. As such, I find myself reflecting as the year comes to an end, and realizing what an immense role Onet has had in the transition I've experienced since mid-year, which not coincidentally was when (A) the most difficult period in my life began taking a turn towards recovery, and (B) I found myself in Chicago amidst an amazing, supportive group of people...

In these few short months on Onet I have found like-minded people, from all walks of life, ready to brainstorm and provide significant insights on just about any topic CatComm could hope for as we strengthen our work, several of which have taken CatComm on as their own, something I dreamt about before... I have found friends, a few of whom I know I will be close to for the rest of my life... I have realized the power of online communities in a way that, even with the work we are doing!, I had not dreamt of being possible before... and now this?! What an amazing way to complete 2005, with the vouch of support from the Onet Community that is this Award.

There is something so special about this network, I can't stop telling the world about it! And now to have this work recognized in this way, too! Wow, I couldn't feel more realized. Thank you, everyone.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

CatComm's 1st e-newsletter

Hello everyone!

We're thrilled to announce that today CatComm's first e-newsletter was sent to our mailing list of 3000+.

To check it out, or send a copy to a friend, simply click here.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

What Jean said in her blog...

Today Jean Russell, consultant and life coach, posted on her blog:

Pledge for catalytic communities

Do good and a chance to go to Rio!

Pledge a small gift of $10 a month or $120 a year to Catalytic Communities, a very innovative nonprofit, based in Brazil and accessible globally, helping community organizers to share resources, document efforts, and gain visibility. This is leveraged gifting, people. By helping Catalytic Communities, you help the small and local community organizers who depend on this important community resource. Further, Catalytic Communities collaborators began this fall to model what they do so more physical spaces can open. Additionally, they can expand their reach and the usability of the community project database.

The pledge!
More about Catalytic Communities.
More about the Rio trip for pledge signers.
Check out the blog of updates on the pledge.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sign the Pledge, Win a Trip to Rio!

Yes, it's as easy as that!

Wonderful news came today when, thanks to a recommendation by member Mark Grimes, CatComm searched and uncovered the possibility to host, including travel & room & board, two visitors to Rio in 2006!

So we have converted this into a challenge:
Every signer of the CatComm Pledge at will be entered into a drawing for two round-trip tickets to Rio de Janeiro, including room & board!!! But here's the catch: the raffle will only go into effect if we get the 399 signers we need for the Pledge itself to take effect!

Here's what we can currently offer the lucky winner:

1. Two round-trip tickets to Rio de Janeiro
2. A week-long homestay near Ipanema, Copacabana beach, or the Botannical Gardens neighborhood (or hotel)
3. A visit to CatComm's unique Casa community networking hub and opportunity to meet with Rio de Janeiro community organizers
4. A tour of a local community, or favela, by local community leader(s)
5. A city tour
6. These three activities will be accompanied by a translator and organized by CatComm staff

For more information about Rio & signing the Pledge, including wonderful PHOTOS, click here:

We can't wait to welcome a lucky winner and guest to Rio!!!

What Demetri said...

Here is what friend Demetri Bonaros wrote his friends about the CatComm Pledge earlier today (thanks, Demetri!)...


Catalytic Communities ( is a DC and Rio de Janeiro-based non-profit organization facilitating the sharing, across languages and borders, of community solutions to everyday challenging problems. Theresa Williamson, CatComm's founder, has set up an online pledge of $10/month for 2006 ($120 for the whole year) and is looking for 399 others to join by Dec. 31 to join her ( Currently 60 people have signed the pledge. If CatComm makes its goal of 400 pledges by December 31, one of these 400 folks will
win two round-trip tickets & accommodation for a 7-day visit to Rio de Janeiro in 2006!

During the holiday season, this is our chance to support a terrific organization while giving ourselves a respectable shot at a week-long vacation in Rio.

You can go to and for more information about the organization and the pledge; and, even if you don't sign the pledge, please forward this to others you know who may be interested.

Best regards,

Monday, December 05, 2005

What Jean posted on Onet...

Onet Connects: Connection Transforms--Please Pledgebank CatComm

Posted on by Jean Russell

Posted to: Community - General by Jean Russell (485):

What happens when 2 people from Onet connect? For many of us, the connections have been transformative.

Here is one example: Theresa Williamson (Catalytic Communities aka CatComm) connected with Onet members through the Chicago member gathering in late July 05. Through that event, she met several people willing to collaborate to build with/from her organization. See the Local/Global group which contains threads about CatComm.

Theresa historically has spent 30%+ of her time in fundraising. Her organization rests in the space between typical foundation giving plans. What might an alternative be for raising funds for CatComm?

If CatComm needs $100,000, for example, they could get one donor to give the full amount, 2 donors to give $50,000, 10 donors to give $10,000, or 100 donors to give $1000...or many combinations...

Thus, when Theresa discovered Onet Citizen Tom Steinberg's Pledgebank, a new path opened up. What if CatComm used Pledgebank?

If 400 people pledge to contribute $120 or $10 a month, and those contributions are matched by a philanthropist ($48,000 matched once with $48,000=$96,000), then the minimum operating budget will be covered. Additionally pledgebank, which started in the UK, will have a very successful launch in the US with this major pledge.

What does this mean?

  • Theresa will be able to use what she is uniquely talented to do with Catalytic Communities. She will be able to devote her energy to the org rather than to funding the org.
  • Pledgebank will gain visibility as a clear path to giving.
  • Onet will, once again, have changed how citizens here do things, one more success story among many for what is unique and wonderful about the space we have here.

What can you do?

Pledge. Show your support of an organization that, much like onet, creates a space for connections to happen, for resources to be shared, for projects to be witnessed and replicated, and seeks to enable more and more people to make their difference in their own way.

Go to: today.

The more signers we have, the more momentum we build, the closer we get to the goal. The more momentum we build, the better chance we will have of drawing in media attention and sharing the dream with more and more people.

For more about Catalytic Communities, go to where you can read about it in English, Spanish, or Portugese.

For more about Pledgebank, see

Click here about Onet Citizen Theresa Williamson.

Or find Onet Citizen Tom Steinberg.

See also Sustainability at CatComm for more.