Catalyst Chicago Marks 20th Anniversary with New Editorial Ventures And Membership Model


FEBRUARY 23, 2010, CHICAGO, IL – In the midst of a contracting media landscape, Catalyst Chicago, an independent non-profit news organization focused on public education, is launching new editorial ventures and a membership model as it marks its 20th anniversary.

The ventures will range from an online public forum with invited delegates from across the education landscape to a four-page newsletter for parents:

Catalyst In the Know, the parent’s newsletter, debuted on report card pickup day in November. It focused on year-round schools and was distributed to some 60,000 parents in communities with a high concentration of year-round schools. It was printed in English and Spanish.
• Catalyst Caucus, an online forum featuring diverse perspectives on education, launched in early February, along with Catalyst In Brief, an occasional, online summary of key facts, research and resources on major education issues.

Catalyst In Depth, the organization’s flag-ship print quarterly, is now a benefit of membership, and news stories, including a daily roundup of education stories published elsewhere, are posted to the Catalyst web site, where readers can comment and add their own information.

“Improving Chicago’s schools requires well-informed decisions in many quarters, and that’s what motivates our work,” said Founder and Publisher Linda Lenz.

“We see ourselves as a watchdog and a resource,” said Editor in Chief Lorraine Forte.

Catalyst has won numerous journalistic awards and gets high marks from the community.

“Catalyst gives us tools to mobilize communities,” commented Carol Johnson, Director of Community Building at Bethel New Life.

”Catalyst has been a great source of expert opinion, data and other valuable information that I have used to advocate for change,” says Miguel del Valle, Chicago City Clerk and former chair of the Illinois Senate Education Committee.

Catalyst also continues to receive strong support from Chicago’s philanthropic community. Three founding funders -- The Chicago Community Trust, The Joyce Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundations -- have been backers from the start.

In honor of Catalyst 20th anniversary, the Community Renewal Society will host a gala reception on March 25, at the Chicago Cultural Center.

For more information and to become a member of Catalyst Chicago, visit

Catalyst Chicago is published by the Community Renewal Society. The Community Renewal Society empowers people to build just communities by working to eradicate racism and poverty. It does so by publishing newsmagazines, organizing in progressive communities, providing training, and encouraging individuals and communities in sustained and strategic efforts to create systemic change.

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