The California Catalyst Fund

NFF is currently accepting applications for Pre-Catalyst support through October 31, 2014.

A Strategic Restructuring Fund for Community Clinics in California

Between the economic crisis in 2009 and the shifting landscape of health reform, California’s community clinics have faced unprecedented challenges. To flourish in a new era, clinics have simultaneously been competing for resources and exploring ways to collaborate.

To help facilitate this shift, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) and Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF), in partnership with Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), launched the California Catalyst fund in March 2012 as a restructuring fund designed to underwrite technical assistance (TA) for clinics pursuing or involved in new partnerships. The California Wellness Foundation  (TCWF) joined the Fund in October 2013 and with their support, along with the continued investment of CHCF and BSCF, the Catalyst Fund grew from $500,000 to over $1,500,000. More than 22 organizations and 35 projects across California have received financial support and expert help.


The Pre-Catalyst Fund is designed to support organizations seeking strategic financial management advice through work with Nonprofit Finance Fund. With over 30 years of experience providing support and guidance to nonprofits across all sectors, NFF offers a wide range of services, from financing reporting assistance to diagnostics.  NFF is currently accepting applications for Pre-Catalyst support through October 31, 2014.

To apply for the Pre-Catalyst Fund Technical Assistance, click here or email

Although the California Catalyst Fund is no longer accepting applications, below is information about how the Fund was used to underwrite technical assistance, in amounts ranging from $10,000 - $50,000, to nurture and implement promising restructuring projects involving existing or potential partnerships between two or more community based primary care providers. 

  • Examples of technical assistance provided include: administrative consolidation; joint programming; as well as more formal long-term partnerships, such as joint ventures, corporate mergers, or the creation of management service organizations.
  • Parameters around eligibility focused the Fund on nonprofit providers of primary care based in California, who serve primarily underserved populations, or a consortium of organizations, the majority of which are made up of clinics that meet the above criteria.

Assessing a Spectrum of Strategic Questions

Accessible Technical Assistance for Community Clinics in California

“The Catalyst Fund put us on equal footing with larger partners as we navigated the legal, programmatic, and operational considerations of merging,” said Leslie Conner, Executive Director of Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center. “We are now realizing our vision of establishing a pediatric program and improving access to quality care for local families.

Participants included the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center, which used Catalyst Fund support to arrive at a complex partnership agreement with multiple local heath care organizations. The restructuring has resulted in improved care options for the community, while allowing participant organizations to deliver care in more cost-effective and efficient ways.

"Just wanted you to know that this grant and help from FHS is so appreciated! I don't know what we would have done without it. The process of developing our partnership agreements and impact on state licensure and other issues is mind-boggling. HSF (Steve Rousso)'s experience and assistance with contacts has been extremely helpful. Our project remains on track and on time (fingers crossed) and scheduled to open this Nov/Dec."  Paula Wilson, President and CEO of VCC


Another organization that participated in the California Catalyst Fund was the Valley Community Clinic. The Valley Community Clinic (VCC), in partnership with the Los Angeles School District Child and Family Guidance Center, has been working to open a new clinic that will provide high quality health care, mental health services and educational programs benefitting students and the surrounding low-income community. With Catalyst Fund support, VCC focused on creating protocols, policies and procedures to allow VCC and its partners to successfully coordinate and provide services at a new community clinic on the campus of Monroe High School in North Hills.

Catalyst Fund Partners

About the California HealthCare Foundation (
The California HealthCare Foundation works as a catalyst to fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians. We support ideas and innovations that improve quality, increase efficiency, and lower the costs of care. 

About Blue Shield of California Foundation (
The Blue Shield of California Foundation works to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making healthcare accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. 

About The California Wellness Foundation (
The mission of The California Wellness Foundation is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. 

About Nonprofit Finance Fund (
Nonprofit Finance Fund unlocks the potential of mission-driven organizations through tailored investments, strategic advice and accessible insights. Founded in 1980, NFF helps organizations connect money to mission effectively, and supports innovations such as growth capital campaigns, cross sector recovery initiatives and impact investing. 

The California Catalyst Fund is generously supported by:




Michael Kass 
California Catalyst Fund Manager


Learn about NFF's Services for Collaboration, Mergers, and Alliances

Financial SCAN
Learn about Financial SCAN , an easy to use and affordable online tool that can help nonprofit leaders conduct a multi-year analysis of financial performance using Form 990 financial data.

Inquire about an NFF Loan