"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friends of the Urban Forest

Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.fuf.net

Friends of the Urban Forest's mission is to promote a larger, healthier urban forest as part of San Francisco’s green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education, and advocacy.

Each year, Friends of the Urban Forest helps communities plant nearly 1,000 trees. Neighbors organize the plantings. Friends of the Urban Forest obtains permits, removes sidewalk concrete, supplies tools and materials and selects, purchases and delivers the trees. On planting day, Friends of the Urban Forest volunteers work side-by-side with residents. After the work is done, everyone celebrates over a community lunch.

At plantings neighbors meet, often for the first time, to improve their streetscape. Spirits are high and everyone has a good time for the common good.

In 1995, Friends of the Urban Forest formally instituted Tree Care to improve tree health and to increase survival rates. Friends of the Urban Forest’s certified arborists, assisted by volunteers and trainees, prune and restake existing street trees. Tree Care aims to provide essential maintenance services and to educate neighbors, through mailings and hands-on assistance, on how to care for their trees.

Friends of the Urban Forest is committed to increasing its resources for Tree Care, which is essential to maintain and enhance the community’s investment in San Francisco’s urban forest.

Friends of the Urban Forest seeks to increase public awareness of the importance of trees in an urban environment. In addition to its newsletter and other periodic publications, it offers tree tours, quarterly pruning workshops, and leadership training.

Friends of the Urban Forest’s Youth program trains youth from underserved communities, in planting and tree care. It also encourages young people to engage with their communities and introduces them to careers in urban forestry.

In all of its programs, Friends of the Urban Forest seeks to improve our City’s environment, build community and connect San Franciscans with the natural world and each other.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: www.onsl.org

ONSLRG is pursuing a comprehensive revitalization strategy rooted in the community’s vision of a sustainable and welcoming neighborhood that offers high quality housing opportunities for a diverse population from all walks of life.

What's New in Old North chronicles the dramatic transformation under way in the neighborhood of Old North St. Louis. As a neighborhood just north of Downtown St. Louis, Old North is becoming a dynamic urban village of new and historic homes, a landmark eating establishment, beautiful community gardens, and a diverse, friendly, and engaged community.

Michigan Municipal League

Location: Michigan

Website: www.mml.org

The Michigan Municipal League is the one clear voice for Michigan communities.

Our goals are to aid them in creating desirable and unique places through legislative and judicial advocacy; to provide educational opportunities for elected and appointed officials; and to assist municipal leaders in administering community services.

Our mission is that of a non-profit, but we act with the fervor of entrepreneurs to passionately push change for better communities and a better Michigan.

Downtown Doodles

Location: Columbus, IN

Website: www.artsincolumbus.org/caac/index.cfm/calendar/downtown-doodles-exhibit

Columbus Area Arts Council (Indiana)

A community-based art project to celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month, October 1–15

October is National Arts and Humanities Month and we wanted to celebrate. So, we've created a community-based art project. From October 1–15, visit one of the participating downtown restaurants, grab a special napkin and pen, and start doodling. There's no pressure to create a masterpiece. Just take some time to create something.

During the month of November, we will have a display at Hotel Indigo's gallery of the doodles. A public reception is planned for Thursday, November 8 at 5:30 PM.

Participating restaurants include Bistro 310, The Garage Pub & Grill, Smith's Row, 4th Street Bar, Zaharakos, Tre Bicchieri, and The Fork.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Visual Artillery

Location: International

Website: www.visualartillery.org

We're Visual Artillery, an international street art collective, and a certified nonprofit organization.

We function as a network for artists, and as an educational service to developing countries and struggling communities to provide them with art, training, and experience.

We're "against" the destruction of property, and we're "for" the empowerment of society through street art, graffiti art, and urban-inspired art.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.evacuteer.org

Evacuteer is a non-profit organization incorporated by the State of Louisiana on June 8, 2009, and approved as a 501©3 tax-exempt entity by the IRS on August 17th, 2009. Evacuteer.org recruits, trains, and manages evacuation volunteers (evacuteers) who assist with New Orleans’ public evacuation option called the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP).

The CAEP activates when a mandatory evacuation is called in the city of New Orleans and is designed to move 25,000-30,000 New Orleanians without transportation. The City has successfully implemented the plan once, in advance of Hurricane Gustav (Sept. 2008), when 18,000 residents utilized the CAEP.

Evacuteer.org is an organization created out of lessons learned from that experience. Through an existing agreement with the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP), the City of New Orleans has authorized evacuteer.org to manage all volunteers who work within the CAEP at 17 neighborhood pick-up points, at the Union Passenger Terminal (hereafter UPT) for evacuee processing, and at City Hall to assist with hotline operation.

The organization has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, the Huffington Post, the Times-Picayune, The New York Times, The LA Times, the Associated Press, ABC 26, Fox 8, WDSU and the Gambit for its community and citizen engagement strategies and preparing New Orleanians for future storms.

To date, the organization has 27 non-profit, faith based and neighborhood based partner organizations and trains 500 citizens each hurricane season.

Long term projections for the organization include a nationwide proof of concept in New Orleans to export to other American cities. The organization also develops academic, peer reviewed emergency preparedness research, new and social media emergency preparedness campaigns and its current flagship initiative is working with the City of New Orleans to commission public art to double as hurricane evacuation pick up point markers.