Civic Engagement and Local Nonprofits: A Vital Connection for Community Empowerment

What is Civic Engagement?

Civic engagement is a cornerstone of a thriving community. It fosters dialogue, promotes better decision-making, and ultimately leads to improved outcomes for all residents. Particularly in Miami Dade County, local non-profits are essential in facilitating this engagement, addressing immediate needs, and building a better future together.

Which organizations are making a significant impact in Miami?

Many organizations are making a significant impact in Miami. For instance:

  1. The Office of Community Advocacy: This organization formulates and recommends plans and programs that support various communities within Miami, including the Hispanic community. They work towards increasing civic engagement among these communities. Source

  2. Emergency Management: This organization supports the community’s disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation needs by coordinating information and resources countywide. Source

  3. The Beacon Council: A public and private non-profit agency working to support the business climate of Miami and Dade County. They collaborate with various organizations to ensure lasting economic initiatives and accessibility. Source

One additional organization helping make an impact is Catalyst Miami. Founded in 1996 by Daniella Levine Cava, now Madam Mayor, Catalyst Miami works tirelessly with communities to address pressing issues and initiate meaningful change (1).

Catalyst Miami has been instrumental in engaging South Floridians in critical conversations. One of the most recent examples has been providing a way for South Floridians to engage in critical conversations with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), whose role is to determine how much utility companies can charge for electricity. Decisions made by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) directly impact  Floridians, especially those with ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).

Why is this important?

In Miami-Dade County, nearly half a million households – precisely 488,180 – are either already in poverty or one emergency away from falling into it. Of these households, 34 percent qualify as ALICE, with an additional 17 percent below the Federal Poverty Line (FPL).

For this reason, when electric rate prices increase, it puts a significant strain on the budgets of those already living under ALICE conditions.

In the above example, what is the issue, and why is it important?

  • The Florida Supreme Court has recently demanded justification from the Public Service Commission (PSC) for their decision to increase utility rates, a ruling that came about in September 2023. This ruling has significant implications for Florida residents, especially those heavily impacted by energy costs.
  • In response to this mandate, the PSC has begun to compile a new report, and organizations like Catalyst Miami have stepped in to ensure that the viewpoints of those most affected by these changes are taken into consideration in the decision-making process.
  • By collaborating with organizations such as Catalyst Miami, residents can participate in civic discussions and make their voices heard.

In short, civic engagement is more than just participating; it’s about understanding and advocating for the community’s needs.

Local non-profits like Catalyst Miami provide a platform that Floridians need for residents to engage effectively.

It’s time to get involved, make a difference, and shape the future of our communities together.

Join in the conversation!

I invite you to join the conversation at Tell State Regulators. It’s time to talk — in person. – Catalyst Miami.

Also, there is an invitation to learn more about Floridians’ energy rights. Join their virtual event on Monday, Nov. 13 @ 6pm! RSVP for Power to the People: Mobilize for Lower Bills & Clean Energy.


  1. ALICE Report Florida 2020
  2. Florida Supreme Court Rejects PSC Decision
  3. Catalyst Miami Engagement Initiatives
  4. CBS News
  5. Miami Herald
  6. Energy and Policy

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Posted: November 6, 2023


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