The Catalyst Hip-Hop program was founded in 2001 by Joel Stigale, who had seen first-hand, through his involvement in gang intervention, how the negative messages in main-stream hip-hop had influenced youth to embrace violence, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and crime as a way of life. Thus Catalyst was birthed out of a desire to offer an alternative message of hope and seeks to be a “catalyst” for positive life change and prevention/intervention in the lives of at-risk youth in Miami-Dade County.

In 2007, Catalyst found a semi-permanent home in Miami Springs at Crossbridge Church.  In 2018, in partnership with the Children's Trust, Catalyst launched an afterschool program at Miami Spring Middle School.

Joel passed away in 2016 from complications of a lung transplant and rare lung disease.  However, Catalyst continues to offer youth a safe space to come and develop their talents, as well as to build relationships with mentors and peers.