Michael Moody, MSW ‘19, a “Catalyst for Change”

Michael Moody, wearing black sweatshirt, speaking with one arm partially raised
Michael Moody

After working in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, Michael Moody returned to UW-Madison to complete his undergraduate degree. By chance, he took Social Work Professor Marah Curtis’s class on social policy, and, as he explains, “her approach to systems and social policy blew me away!” Motivated to pursue social work and, “looking for a more satisfying career and a way to give back to the community,” Michael continued his studies and received his MSW degree.

On taking Social Work Professor Marah Curtis’s class on social policy: “Her approach to systems and social policy blew me away!”

In the MSW program, Michael focused his studies on policy and administration. An advocate for marginalized people and devoted to elevating their voices to help them be heard, Michael has collaborated with colleague, John Adams, to create rational policies and sustainable programs for people experiencing homelessness in Dane County. After working together for several years in programs devoted to assisting unhoused people and noting the gaps in service and philosophy of some providers, they formed a new agency, Catalyst for Change (CFC), to take their expertise and vision into the community.

Catalyst for Change is dedicated to supporting and empowering individuals experiencing homelessness by creating meaningful connections, offering trauma-informed clinical interventions, and utilizing harm reduction methods to enhance their wellbeing. Aiming to reimagine homeless services in Dane County, they design and implement out-of-the-box, creative solutions to reduce and ultimately end homelessness.

Initially “meeting people where they are at,” by providing street outreach services, they build relationships with homeless people. While housing is a major goal, their Comprehensive Community Services component provides wrap-around services to meet the multiple challenges faced by those with whom they work. Critical to their success is the relationships they have formed with other agencies and law enforcement.

Michael recently gave a Lunch and Learn talk at the school about his work.