The Catalyst Awards

The Catalyst Awards

Zeta Tau Alpha Alumnae Chapter

By April Carter, Director of Programs,
Momentum Nonprofit Partners

Momentum Nonprofit Partners introduced the nonprofit Catalyst Awards in 2019 to honor the exceptional work of small but mighty change-makers in Memphis. These dedicated organizations and front-line workers, though not widely recognized, have made a transformative impact in community. The Catalyst Awards recognizes three outstanding local nonprofit professionals and nonprofit organizations, with one being crowned the coveted Nonprofit Professional/Organization of the Year. The Catalyst Awards are presented during the annual Mid-South Nonprofit Conference, hosting over 400 nonprofit professionals.

The 2023 Nonprofit Professional of the Year was awarded to Mike Mosby, also known as "Coach Mike." Holding multiple roles, including Arts Administrator with Memphis Music Initiative, Head Football Coach at Oakhaven High School, and Executive Director of Raising the BAR, Coach Mike is deeply connected to the neighborhoods he serves. Having grown up and “made a lot of mistakes” in the same zip codes he now supports, he passionately dedicates himself to the betterment of young black boys, inspiring them with his own transformative journey and motto, "Make Moves that Count." His mother, retired police Lieutenant Dr. Ella Mosby, is credited for being the biggest inspiration for what it means to love and serve the community. “I grew up seeing my mother be a role model and serve her community in so many different capacities. There was always a lot of food, a lot of giveaways, and a lot of love. I knew I was called to do the same work.” Joining Coach Mike as catalysts for change are finalists Katherine Lee of Beautiful Spirited Women and Kristi Baker Patterson of ALLMemphis.

Playback Memphis (PBM) was honored as the 2023 Nonprofit Organization of the Year. Led by Virginia Murphy since its establishment in 2008, PBM uses the art form of Playback Theatre to unlock healing, transformation, and joy in safe spaces where stories come to life. By employing professional artists and facilitators, Playback Memphis ensures that voices from diverse backgrounds are heard and shared. Their core program, Memphis Matters, provides a platform for Memphians from all walks of life, without financial or physical barriers, to experience powerful and truthful storytelling. Recognizing the historical and ongoing pain within the community, Playback Memphis creates unity, community, and courage through their impactful work. As Virginia Murphy reflects, "Memphis has been a very powerful place to root and grow our unique artform as a resource to build social healing and community well-being. In all we are, in all we do, we seek to be worthy of others' trust to provide a platform to speak
their truth."

The Catalyst Awards also recognized the remarkable contributions of the two finalists, Literacy Mid-South and STARS (Students Tackling Autism-Related Syndromes), who are actively igniting change in Memphis.

The Mid-South Nonprofit Conference is especially thankful to the Catalyst Awards review team at the University of Memphis, comprised of students in the Civic Engagement and Volunteerism class, led by Professor Candace McRae Walsh: Jalynn Caldwell, Anna Grace Calvery, Markevia Mayfield, Demetrius Smotherman, Tierra Starks, Deborah Swiney, Leroy Taylor and Justis Woodcox.

The Catalyst Awards