Catalyst Grant Surpasses $1 Million

After 10 years and more than $1 million awarded, the NOW District Catalyst Grant program continues to fund innovative projects in the Northwest. This effort, which supports new bridges into the community, will fund six new projects in 2024 (including two comfort dog ministries!).

“Catalyst Grants from the NOW District are funded by the legacy giving of prior years of ministry, using it to spark future Gospel engagement with our Pacific Northwest communities,” said NOW District President Mike Von Behren. “This year’s funding will support a new high school in Anchorage, Alaska, new preschools among our Ethiopian and Eritrean brothers and sisters in the Puget Sound region, a new transitional kindergarten in West Seattle, the sharing of the comfort of Christ through comfort dog ministry in both Washington and Idaho, and more.”

The Catalyst Grant is a key initiative of the NOW District that supports community connections. A total of $117,000 will be awarded this year, continuing a legacy of financial partnerships since the program was launched in 2014. To date, just over $1 million in Catalyst funds have been awarded. It is one of the many ways the NOW District is “helping leaders do their best work together.”

Von Behren noted: “A brief survey of how the Gospel of the resurrected Savior spread in the earliest days of the church in the pages of scripture reveal that God’s people carried it. . . to a chariot on a desert road on the way to Gaza, to a family gathering at the home of a Roman centurion named Cornelius, to a riverbank in Philippi where a ladies’ prayer group was meeting, and to a marketplace at the center of Athens. NOW Catalyst Grants and Faith Community Grants continue to support that movement of the Gospel as Christ’s word.”

NOW District executives carefully review every Catalyst Grant request to consider the feasibility and impact of the project. Applications must include an evaluation plan, an avenue for sustainability, show bridges into the community, meet real needs, and support new ministry; recipients must also have a way to “pay it forward” by sharing their blessings with others.

“What ideas might the stories of this year’s Catalyst Grant awards stir for you? How is your ministry engaged in this Gospel movement? Share the story with your fellow partners in ministry in the NOW District. We do our best work in the Gospel when we support one another doing it together,” Von Behren said.

Read on to find out about how this year’s recipients will bless their communities. And don’t forget to circle Feb. 1, 2025, on your calendar! This is the deadline for the next round of Catalyst Grants. Download the guidelines here.


Anchor Lutheran School, Anchorage, AlaskaGymnasium Construction Project
Anchor Lutheran School received a Catalyst Grant to fund the construction of a gymnasium as part of their overall facility expansion project – a goal that will allow them to better serve current families and attract many more from throughout the community. The gymnasium is a cornerstone of Anchor’s expansion plan. As noted in their application: “This facility is more than just a physical education space; it represents a multifaceted enhancement to our campus, supporting a wide range of activities that contribute to the holistic development of our students. The gymnasium is also part of a broader initiative to expand Anchor’s infrastructure to support the launch of a high school program.

Christ the King Lutheran Church, Coeur d’Alene, IdahoLCC Comfort Dog Ministry
Christ the King Lutheran Church received a Catalyst Grant to help start a new comfort dog ministry to serve the communities of North Idaho, Eastern Washington, and Western Montana. They will partner with Lutheran Church Charities (LCC), a national human-care ministry embracing the unique, calming nature and skills of purebred Golden Retrievers. LCC Comfort Dogs are a tool to offer the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus to those who are suffering and in need. Christ the King expects to train two to three dozen members to serve the community on an almost daily basis, being the regular presence of Christ in places such as care facilities; schools; hospitals; amongst first responders; and organizations that provide service to foster families, the disabled, those in addiction recovery, etc. This ministry will also be a blessing during times of crisis or tragedy.

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Federal Way, WashingtonLCC Comfort Dog Ministry
Like Christ the King, St. Luke’s will also use their Catalyst Grant funds to launch a comfort dog program with LCC. They intend to bring their comfort dog to local businesses such as schools, adult care facilities, and emergency resource areas (such as 911 call centers and police stations). St. Luke’s also has an incredible relationship with Mirror Lake Elementary School, and they will strengthen it by using their comfort dog as a resource to the students and staff there. As the only LCC Comfort Dog in the Puget Sound area, they aim to be a resource for the NOW District to cover a wide range of needs with a team ready to travel to where people are in need. As stated in their application: “Our desire is to provide unconditional love, comfort, a listening ear, and prayer to hurting people as the dog connects those in need with those who can point them to our Lord Jesus Christ. ”

Christ the Son of God Lutheran Church, Seattle, WashingtonPreschool Ministry
Christ the Son of God Lutheran Church, an Ethiopian and Eritrean community church in Seattle, was awarded a 2024 Catalyst Grant to help establish a preschool. This new outreach effort, the Son of God Preschool, will provide high-quality education infused with Biblical teachings for children. The program will emphasize social-emotional development, language and literacy, math, and science using a play-based, child-centered approach. This will help the church serve and share Jesus’ love with their neighbors and community.

Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church, Mountlake Terrace, Washington Preschool Ministry
A 2024 Catalyst Grant was awarded to Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church (Mountlake Terrace, Washington) as they work to launch their preschool ministry, Grace Christian Academy. The mission of Grace Christian Academy is to foster students in Christ, promoting their spiritual, social, emotional, and academic growth through a well-rounded Christian education. Situated near numerous public schools, the church can serve families who might not otherwise introduce their children to Jesus, thereby planting seeds of faith in a significant mission field. With approximately 60,000 families and 25,000 young children in the city, this initiative represents a vital opportunity for community outreach and sharing God’s truth. Catalyst funds will specifically be used to purchase fencing, playground equipment, and classroom materials.

Hope Lutheran School, Seattle, WashingtonTransitional Kindergarten Program
Hope Lutheran School in Seattle, Washington has been undergoing a number of exciting changes and expansions lately. A significant addition planned for Fall 2024 is the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program. This new program addresses the learning needs of older preschool students ready for more academic challenges and younger kindergarten students needing more active playtime. The TK class will follow a full school day schedule and use “The Creative Curriculum” to provide structured learning and detailed assessments. This will be the first TK class in the West Seattle community, designed to attract new families to the school. With funds from a NOW District Catalyst Grant, certain expenses for this project – such as early childhood furniture, learning materials, teaching curriculum, and new flooring – will be covered.

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