Meet Daniella Levine Cava

Daniella Levine CavaDaniella has been a tireless advocate for South Florida residents and communities for over 30 years. She has proven business skills as founder and CEO of Catalyst Miami, an organization dedicated to helping Floridians achieve economic well-being and self-sufficiency. As County Commissioner, Daniella will apply her impressive leadership and organizational experience to solve community problems and restore confidence in local government.

Born in New York City, and raised across North and South America, Daniella’s family stressed giving back and working to create equal opportunity. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors from Yale University and graduate degrees in law and social work from Columbia University. Daniella came to South Florida in 1980 to join her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, a Miami native, who returned home to join his father in medical practice.

Daniella served special needs children and immigrants at Legal Services of Greater Miami, then represented children in the child welfare system as Associate and Legal Director for the Guardian Ad Litem Program.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, Daniella was recruited to create a new intake system for child abuse cases with the Department for Children and Families (DCF). Her efforts were concentrated on the neighborhoods of County Commission District 8 where she helped restore the lives and homes of those devastated by the storm. Due to her success with this special assignment, she was promoted to Manager for Foster Care, Adoptions and Child Welfare Legal Services.

In 1996 Daniella founded Catalyst Miami to help low- and middle-income families through education and advocacy. Catalyst is an innovator in health and human services and an incubator for new approaches to community and economic development. As president and CEO, Daniella managed a staff of 30 and a budget of over $2.5 million from a mix of public and private sources, growing during an economic downturn and recognized through countless awards for innovation and impact. Catalyst Miami “offers a smorgasbord of services in areas such as financial assistance—from how-to’s on taxes and home ownership to healthcare,” wrote the Miami New Times. “It’s a one-stop shop for people looking to pull up to the middle class…”

At Catalyst Miami, Daniella launched the Prosperity Campaign in alliance with the business community, Chambers of Commerce, United Way, and local banks. The Prosperity Campaign helps people increase their income and savings, and has brought in hundreds of millions in income tax credits and other programs, money reinvested in the local economy. Catalyst helps approximately 5,000 people each year to become more self-sufficient.

Daniella has helped thousands improve their standard of living and enter the middle class. She has created hundreds of jobs through programs such as Public Allies, ReServe, and internships throughout the nonprofit and government sectors. Hundreds of new civic leaders have graduated from Catalyst’s programs, including new immigrant leaders in Homestead. These graduates are now active members of school, community and civic life.

Ann Kimble came to the Catalyst Miami seeking tools to advocate for the disabled. After her Catalyst training, Ann started her own business for transportation for the disabled. She received grant funding, worked with commissioners, and mastered the legal issues to help disabled drivers. “Daniella planted that seed in me, that we can help ourselves,” Ann says. “Catalyst has the classes to teach us how to better our lives. They’ve given me so much that I can’t give them back enough.”

Daniella has served on the Florida Bar Committee on Legal Needs of Children; the boards of League of Women Voters, Orange Bowl Foundation, North Dade Medical Foundation and the South Florida Health Information Initiative. She’s won awards from the Red Cross, American Society for Public Administration, ACLU, FIU, National Council of Jewish Women, League of Women Voters, People for the American Way and American Association of University Women. And she was selected as one of 11 “leadership fellows” by the International Women’s Forum in 1999.

Daniella has been a trustee-level member of the Greater Miami Chamber for over a decade and a member of the Steering Committee for One Community One Goal. She also serves on two economic development advisory boards at Florida International University and the community healthcare advisory board at University of Miami.

Daniella and Robert raised two children, Eliza and Edward Cava, in Miami-Dade, supported by strong networks of friends, families and co-workers. They welcomed Fanny, Daniella’s beloved mother in law, and countless interns, family and friends to live in their home. Daniella is poised and excited to apply her extensive and effective experience for the benefit of our entire county, growing jobs, developing effective programs and responsibly managing public funds.


Latest News
Get Updates

Daniella’s Videos


Guardian ad Litem
Special Achievement Award
For your tireless advocacy on behalf of Florida’s children and families
October 17, 1996

Metropolitan Dade County Florida
Certificate of Appreciation
In recognition of your valuable contribution to our community
December 6, 1996

Juvenile Court Eleventh Judicial Circuit
Wall of Honor
Daniella Levine

Is hereby inducted into the Juvenile Court Wall of Honor for making outstanding contributions to the children of Dade County
December 6, 1996

Health Council of South Florida
In recognition and appreciation of your outstanding contribution to the improvement of South Florida’s Health System
May 22, 1997

International Women’s Show
Women of Influence Award for Emerging Leaders
October 17, 1997

Baptist Health Systems Health Care
Red Cross Spectrum Awards for Women

Representative John F. Cosgrove
“Dade-Daze” Award

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
Health Care Heroes 2002

Alliance for Human Services
Outstanding Leadership as Health and Human Services Advocate
October 9, 2003

Friends of MUJER Award
In recognition of your tenacity, perseverance, and “no-nonsense” approach to bringing about change.
December 1, 2004

AAUW Miami Branch
Gwendolyn S. Cherry Award
May 19, 2005

Community Coalition for a Living Wage
10th Annual Achievement Award
For unwavering support in promoting living wages in our community
September 2007

Little Haiti Community Action Group
In appreciation of your services, we thank you for your support and generosity for the Haitian community. Thank you for providing us with untold access to educational upliftment and leadership development
November 23, 2007

Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative
2007 Local Hero Award

Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity
For excellence in social medicine and health equity
April 24, 2009

Casabella Award
For your contribution and commitment to out community and your support of single mothers

National Association of Social Workers of South Florida: Miami-Dade Chapter
Agency of the Year Award

Dunspaugh-Dalton Community and Education Wellbeing Research Center
Community Leadership Award
February 3, 2010

TACOLCY Center, Inc
M Athalie Range Leadership Award
For community leadership and service
In tribute to the “save the babies campaign”

February 27, 2010

Office of the Mayor of the City of Coral Gables
Certificate of Recognition
For continuing drive, commitment, and devotion in furtherance of wonderful projects that are promoted throughout our community
March 23, 2010

Miami-Dade County Certificate of Appreciation
In recognition of your nomination as a champion for children and for your service and dedication to the children and families of Miami-Dad
July 11, 2010

City of Miami
Keepers of the Dream Award
In recognition of your community service and outstanding dedication to promoting economic empowerment and brotherhood throughout greater Miami.

B.O.F Paradise Academy and Church of Christ Redeemer As. of God, Inc.
Connecting People to Opportunity Award
In appreciation for all the things you have done for our community. Thank you for organizing the Community Action Group of Little Haiti, for working against domestic violence, and for supporting our youth and children.

April 28, 2011

League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County
Joanne Hayes Democracy and Mentoring Award
For outstanding and exemplary civic activism, promotion of democracy, and mentoring and encouraging others.
May 12, 2011

National Alliance to Nurture the Aged and Youth
Most Distinguished Pioneer Award
For being cutting edge, meeting the needs of families and communities through public education, advocacy and dialogue on critical social and economic issues, for pioneering a shared management infrastructure and efficiency among nonprofit organizations, and for exemplifying the true meaning of community service.
November 4, 2011

American Society for Public Administration
10th Annual Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Award
For making distinguished contributions towards achieving fairness, justice and equity in government and communities
March 2012


Miami Dade County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners

Prosperity Campaign Super Saturday
January 27, 2007

Catalyst Miami Day
January 30, 2013

Financial Aid Awareness Week
February 6-12, 2011

Daniella Levine Day
Mar 11. 2010