In 2021, ORS Impact completed its evaluation of the Community Catalyst grant program. The full report details successful strategies, continued barriers, and insights into the community-driven collaborations undertaken in the Community Catalyst Initiative (CCI). CCI is an IMLS program that explores ways libraries and museums can leverage their unique places in communities to spark change.

This resource can help museums and libraries — or any community-based organization — build better partnerships, find and use available resources identify and incorporate local assets, and create enable lasting change in their communities.


Background: Cohorts of Community Catalyst grantees from 2017 and 2018 are receiving capacity-building and coaching support in Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD). The ABCD approach is a strategy for sustainable community-driven development that relies on local community members. It includes individuals who are often left out of planning and decision making to foster conditions for broad ownership of the development process. Approaches and tools are gleaned from current practices in museums and libraries, community development projects, capacity-building investments, and researchers and data analysts who seek to identify potential levers and outcomes to effect community change.

Grantees also applied developmental evaluation to their projects. This evaluative approach allows them to innovate in complex and uncertain environments while implementing projects focused on social change. They were able to actively monitor and adjust approaches and assumptions to enhance the outcomes of their projects. Support to grantees for ABCD and developmental evaluation was provided through a partnership with DePaul University and the Asset-Based Community Development Institute.

Theory of Change

A Theory of Change (PDF, 134 KB) establishes actions, outputs, and longer term outcomes that are anticipated from capacity-building and research projects.

Outcomes & Indicators

Coming soon.