Civic Creatives organizes experiences that help citizens more creatively engage and address social topics that matter to them.

To do our work, we harness “common cultural denominators” like storytelling, food, creativity, technology, and public space to help people connect with each other and reimagine their collective experiences. Our efforts aim to create social and environmental change that contributes positively to the well-being of citizens.


Our Origin Story


Civic Creatives was incorporated January 2015 as a strategic pivot from the non-profit design firm, Catalysts by Design, which was founded by current Principal, De Nichols, and partners, Cambrie Nelson and Emily Bornstein.

Catalysts by Design was developed in 2013 through the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and accelerated with the support and investment of Points of Light Civic Accelerator, StartingBloc, and the Clinton Global Initiative. During this time, it partnered with communities and social good organizations through its flagship initiatives, Design Serves and United Story, which fused human-centered design with digital storytelling to help citizens problem-solve social challenges.

Upon forming as a for-profit, Catalysts by Design shifted into its social enterprise model, Civic Creatives, to utilize revenue generated from its organizational partnerships to fund the social initiatives sparked by its works. The structure of Civic Creatives is comprised of a  collective of activists, organizers, educators, facilitators, and creators who it deploys to help teams manifest creative impact through its cross-disciplinary design strategies. These leaders—the Creative Catalysts—help unearth social change across thirteen American cities. Recent clients and project partners have included: Arch Grants, Great Rivers Greenway, Points of Light, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Red Bull, Regional Arts Commission, Sodexo, St. Louis Metro Market, StartingBloc, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and Youth Service America.

Behind the work

Creative Catalysts

Civic Creatives is building a community of change makers committed to catalyzing creative approaches to civic progress. We call this network of awesome humans the Creative Catalysts, and it includes our team members as well as individual partners of collaborators of our work.