Formed in June 2021, Catalyst Books & Gifts is a specific benefit corporation (SBC) that provides a welcoming space (physically and virtually) for people to buy science-related books and gifts while celebrating and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and wellness in science. The “SBC” part of the company name means that we consider the social benefit of the company to be more important than profits. We support minoritized scientists, artists, and writers, and aim to change the culture of science and academia both directly through promoting works by Black, Indigenous, people of color, disabled, LGBTQIA+, and other minoritized creators; and indirectly through donating proceeds to organizations working to diversify and decolonize STEM; dismantle racist, sexist, and ableist structures; and improve the culture of science and academia.
Although we are primarily an online store, we are physically located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of the Dakota people.
As of winter 2021, we are actively recruiting our first Board of Directors. The Board will guide organizational decisions including selecting our beneficiary organizations, and will be compensated for their time. To nominate yourself or someone else, please fill out this form.
We are always seeking to learn and improve! If you have comments or suggestions for authors, artists, or products to be featured, or nonprofit organizations we should support, please fill out this form [link coming soon].
In chemistry, a catalyst is a substance that can make a chemical reaction go faster just by its presence. Our aim with Catalyst is to facilitate change: by connecting readers and books, by amplifying voices of authors and scientists from marginalized backgrounds, and by providing funds to non-profit organizations who are working to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM. Our tagline, “Everyone needs science; science needs everyone!” comes from a Professor Terry McGlynn.
As of winter 2021, we are actively recruiting our first Board of Directors, and will invite them to introduce themselves in this space. If you are interested in serving on the Board, please fill out this form.
Hi! My name is Miriam Krause and I am the owner of Catalyst Books & Gifts. I love science, and I love geeking out about science with friends (and strangers), and like many book lovers, I’ve always dreamed of owning a bookstore! I’m a cisgender straight white Jewish woman, with academic experience focused in geology, speech-language pathology, and cognitive science. Understanding that most diversity efforts in science tend to begin and end with benefiting white women like me, I started Catalyst as a way to use my interests and skills to make a positive difference: to promote scientists, authors, and artists from minoritized groups and to provide resources to organizations that are doing real work in this area. I am aware of the irony of writing about myself in a space intended to amplify other voices, but for readers who make it this far down on the page, I think it’s important to be transparent about my positionality.
Our first round of donations to non-profit organizations will come in early 2022, with amounts and recipients to be decided by the Catalyst Board of Directors. Details will be posted on the website at that time. Meanwhile, our first pop-up event in June 2021 included a yarn and craft sale with all proceeds ($100) going to Academics for Black Survival and Wellness.
Who do we work with?
Is it possible to have an anti-capitalist retail store? Maybe not, but we can try to work with ethical organizations and be as transparent as possible about our business. Some of the businesses we work with are:
- Noisemaker graphic design
- Sunrise Banks
- Gravity Payments
- GreenGeeks web hosting
- TeePublic (merch page here!)