"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, November 16, 2014

National Performance Network

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.npnweb.org

The National Performance Network (NPN) is a national organization supporting artists in the creation and touring of contemporary performing and visual arts.

NPN is about community engagement, touring, creating, sharing ideas and knowledge. NPN is about representing all artists who create something new and supporting the presenters who take the risk in showcasing it.

The National Performance Network (NPN) has brought innovative performing artists to all corners of the United States for more than 25 years. Begun in 1985 by David White at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York, NPN was founded to address the issues of artistic isolation and the economic constraints of moving art around the country and the sharing of artistic and community voices. From a beginning of 14 organizations as “primary sponsors,” the network now numbers 61,

In 2007 the Visual Artists Network (VAN) began as a pilot program and was formally launched with the selection of 15 VAN Partners that are leading contemporary arts organizations from across the United States.

As an artist-centered, field-generated network, the National Performance Network is unique in its structure. Its active and engaged network of presenters form an interconnected web or relationships through which support and services are strategically designed, effectively distributed, and successfully leveraged. The National Performance Network and the Visual Artists Network are closed networks, intentionally kept small to facilitate active participation, build sustainable relationships, and measure impact over time. The national infrastructure meets NPN’s goal to support artists and the creation of new work in the context of community engagement. Every few years, a small number of organizations are invited to join the Network following a rigorous nomination and application process.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Orleans Airlift

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.neworleansairlift.org

New Orleans Airlift is an artist-driven initiative that collaborates and creates alongside the artists and communities we support. Founded in 2008, New Orleans Airlift was founded by musician and artist manager Jay Pennington and Delaney Martin, a multi-media artist installation artist, in response to the unparalleled destruction of Hurricane Katrina and its devastating aftermath which left local artists, like all New Orleanians, struggling for their lives and livelihoods.

Jay and Delaney recognized a need for new audiences who could support these artists as they rebuilt their city. They dreamt up a one-time project that took city artists to Berlin and called it The New Orleans Airlift after the Berlin Airlift of WWII. Other exchange projects that used an import/export model and a multidisciplinary approach soon followed and the name stuck.

Airlift programming highlights our city's underground art and under-the-radar artists, transporting the dynamic street culture, living folk culture and growing contemporary arts scene of New Orleans to far-flung locations around the world for exhibitions, workshops, festivals, performances, and collaborative projects. Airlift also brings influential artists from abroad to participate in collaborative endeavors with local artists in our own community. We believe that collaboration between artists and across communities shares resources, empowers learning and unites disparate groups in common and powerful goals. New Orleans is the last great bastion of living folk culture in the United states. Airlift projects honor tradition alongside innovation, leading our artists, culture and communities in meaningful new directions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Location: Detroit, MI

Website: afrotopiaisnow.com


Creating imaginative and effective solutions to address social challenges. By fusing elements of science fiction, magical realism, ancient history, and non-western cosmologies, AFROTOPIA serves as an invitation to actively create tomorrow and consciously control destiny.


AFROTOPIA, the place, is constantly being created, altered, and augmented. At its core, AFROTOPIA is the physical manifestation of time and space dancing together, blurring the lines between the familiar and the imagined.

AFROTOPIA, the project, focuses on the city of Detroit and includes exhibitions, workshops for youth and adults, and events that imagine the future of Detroit using the Black American cultural legacy of experimental creative practices as inspiration.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pacific Institute

Location: Worldwide

Website: www.pacinst.org

We envision a world where the basic needs of all people are met, where resources are managed sustainably and the natural world protected, and where conflicts over resources are resolved in a peaceful and democratic fashion.

The Pacific Institute works to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. We conduct interdisciplinary research and partner with stakeholders to produce solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity—in California, nationally, and internationally.

Our aim is to find real-world solutions to problems like water shortages, habitat destruction, global warming, and environmental injustice.

Based in Oakland, California, we conduct research, publish reports, recommend solutions, and work with decision makers, advocacy groups, and the public to change policy. Since our founding in 1987, we’ve become known for independent, innovative thinking that cuts across traditional areas of study. Our interdisciplinary approach not only helps us make connections that others miss, it also enables us to bring opposing groups together to forge effective real-world solutions.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Break Shuttle

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.breakshuttle.com

BreakShuttle is the largest national provider of college and university break transportation services in the United States. We are committed to providing reliable, safe, and convenient transportation services that allow even the most remote colleges and universities to have a "pop up" transportation network around major school breaks.

This allows students to travel directly from campus to major surrounding cities. Such a service is vitally important to reduce the cost of attending college for many students and families. On average, students who have a BreakShuttle service at their school save over $1,000 a year.

Riding with BreakShuttle is incredibly easy. Students and parents can purchase tickets on our website using a credit card or a deferred payment plan. Then, BreakShuttle immediately sends an E-Ticket to the purchaser's inbox.

The student can then use the E-Ticket to check in at one of our pre-designated boarding points on campus and then be quickly and safely on their way home!

In addition to being the provider of choice for students, BreakShuttle is also the provider of choice for colleges and universities. BreakShuttle is the only provider of transportation services in the country that can provide fully integrated ticketing, operations, and transportation services to colleges and universities.

By offering direct service from our partner schools, colleges and universities can more easily retract and retain students who live quite a distance away. By partnering with us, colleges and universities decrease the costs of attendance for their students and increase the level of service provided. Most large schools pay nothing for our service. BreakShuttle is based out of offices in Philadelphia, PA, Burlington VT, and Boston MA. From these locations, we have a full time staff dedicated to coordinating travel arrangements for our students around the country.

BreakShuttle uses fully insured luxury motorcoaches and vans (often with WiFi, TVs and premium seating) which are driven by drivers who undergo constant training and testing making them the best in the industry.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Silence is Violence

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.silenceisviolence.org

SilenceIsViolence is a campaign for peace in New Orleans, founded following the murders of musician Dinerral Shavers (December 28, 2006) and filmmaker Helen Hill (January 4, 2007). Dinerral and Helen were beloved friends, neighbors, and artists of New Orleans’ Bywater-Marigny district.

Following these tragedies, Ken Foster, Helen Gillet, and Baty Landis organized a march to New Orleans City Hall to express dismay at the silence of city leadership on the issue of violent crime. The January 11, 2007 March For Survival was attended by 5,000 concerned citizens. On that day, citizens from all parts of the city spoke directly to our leaders and each other about their fears and hopes for a safer and more equitable city—and SilenceIsViolence was founded.

The mission of the Silence is Violence is to call upon both citizens and public officials to achieve a safe New Orleans across all communities. We engage youth in positive expressions and actions to counter the culture of violence. We demand respect for every life, and justice for every citizen in our city.

Catapult Fund

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.jazzandheritage.org

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation is partnering with four organizations to create a new program that will provide opportunities for business training and access to funding for entrepreneurs in the arts.

Catapult Fund seeks applications from arts- and culture-based businesses in Louisiana. Applicants tell us about their businesses idea, explain why it fills a void in our cultural economy and show why they need the training and access to funding.

We’ll review the applications, and nine to 12 business owners will be accepted into the “Catapult Boot Camp” – a nine-session program, over an eight week period, of business development training that will include instruction in:

- Credit

- Budgeting

- Marketing

- Social Media

- Financing

- Accounting

- Bookkeeping

- Networking

- Insurance

And more.

Participants will learn to write and produce a high-quality business plan that is suitable for seeking investments or loans. Those who complete the program will also have the opportunity to earn up to $1,000 in matching funds toward their business’ saving. Finally, those who complete the training will submit their business plans to us for funding consideration. We will award a total of $50,000 in grants to the best plans.

The Catapult Fund is a program of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation, which is providing the funding and overall coordination. The project is in some ways a successor to an older program called S.E.E.D. (Supporting and Enfranchising Economic Development), which gave micro-loans to businesses in partnership with a local bank from 1994 to 2005.

"The Jazz and Heritage Foundation has over the years provided millions of dollars in grant funding to nonprofits and education programs through our Community Partnership Grants,” said Executive Director Don Marshall. "With the explosion of entrepreneurship in our region, we also want to support those businesses working in the arts that are contributing to the development of a sustainable cultural industry."

The Catapult fund is an example of how we're continuing to find ways to support our community with innovative new programs. Our partners in the Catapult Fund are:

The Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, which will oversee the online application process;

Capital One, which programs and operates the Getting Down to Business “boot-camp” workshops in partnership with the Louisiana Small Business Development Center and;

The Ashe Cultural Arts Center, which will assist with community outreach.

Both the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation and the Ashé Cultural Center will provide help with the application process, including instructional online “webinars” and in-person help with understanding the program guidelines and completing applications. We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other entrepreneurship assistance programs by reaching deep into the grass-roots community, and making sure everyone knows about this opportunity,” Marshall said.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Southeast Food Access Working Group

Location: San Francisco, CA


SEFA is a collaborative of residents, community based organizations, city agencies, and others working on food access and food systems. SEFA’s goal is to leverage similar efforts and encourage partnerships and collaboration in order to achieve a vibrant and robust food system for all in Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP). As such, SEFA has identified three pillars that are integral to a robust food system and which guide our work: Food Access, Awareness/Education, and Urban Agriculture.

SEFA has been particularly focused on bringing healthier food retail and grocery options to the neighborhood. In 2007, SEFA members conducted and released a resident food preferences survey which was instrumental for efforts by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to recruit a new food retailer, Fresh and Easy to the neighborhood. And, we continue to work with BVHP food retailers to increase their offerings of fresh, affordable and healthy foods.

SEFA and the Food Guardians are key partners in the Bayview HEAL Zone initiative, funded by Kaiser Permanente, to promote healthy eating and active living.

The Southeast Food Access (SEFA) Working Group evolved out of the April 2006 Shape Up San Francisco Summit where community food justice organizations and city agencies identified the need for regular communication among all entities working on food issues in the BVHP. In January 2007, the first SEFA meeting was held and the group has met monthly since to address food systems in the Southeast sector.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Conserving Modern Architecture lnitiative

Location: Nationwide

Website: http://www.getty.edu/conservation/our_projects/field_projects/cmai/

The Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) is a comprehensive, long-term, and international program of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). The goal of the CMAI is to advance the practice of conserving twentieth-century heritage, with a focus on modern architecture, through research and investigation, the development of practical conservation solutions, and the creation and distribution of information through training programs and publications. The CMAI will work with international and local partners, including professional and organizational networks focused on modern architecture conservation, to expand the existing knowledge base.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, new conservation challenges emerged as the seminal works of the Modern Movement reached fifty years of age and became eligible for heritage protection. Many of these buildings have not aged well. The new and innovative construction methods and materials that typify the era challenge traditional conservation approaches and raise new methodological and philosophical issues. Despite increased recognition of modern architecture's cultural significance, there is a lack of practical conservation knowledge that addresses the many complex challenges. Effectively tackling these issues demands leadership, strategic research, and brokering with industry to develop appropriate repair techniques that translate research into practice and achieve conservation aims. A concerted effort to bring together and distribute existing information as well as identify and fill information gaps is also needed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Straphangers Campaign

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.straphangers.org

The campaign was founded in 1979 by the New York Public Interest Research Group at a critical time for New York City transit: By the late 1970s, the city's subways had become unreliable and decrepit. Graffiti covered every car and station. Transit fires and derailments hit record levels.

Crime steadily worsened.  Ridership plummeted to the lowest level in 80 years.  Businesses cited poor transit as a leading reason for moving out of New York.  The system had become a symbol of the decline of the city itself.

There's been great progress since then.  Today, trains are nearly ten times more reliable.  Ridership has bounced back.  Transit crimes, fires, derailments—all have been greatly reduced in the last two decades.

In 1997, the transit system started offering free transfers between subways and buses.  In 1998, riders received the first fare decrease in the history of the system in the form of unlimited-ride transit passes.  As a result, ridership has soared. By 2007, ridership was at its highest level since 1952!, These improvements didn’t happen by accident.

The Straphangers Campaign played a leading role in building a consensus for scores of billions of dollars in new investments in metropolitan transit—through our rider organizing, coalition building, research, reports, and media savvy.

At neighborhood forums, we ask whether people think the transit system has gotten better, worse, or stayed the same. The majority always respond "better." How many New Yorkers would say that about our other key institutions, from schools to health care?

Although much more remains to be done, the campaign is proud of our role in turning around transit. The campaign had many achievements in our advocacy for decent, safe, and affordable transit.

Seattle Process

Location: Seattle, WA

Website: n/a

The Seattle process as an informal method values study, discussion and civic engagement. It will involve numerous stakeholder groups. It requires the community to present effective data, and for organizers to translate data from different constituencies into useful reports for decision makers.

Using process to seek out consensus and hearing all opinions even extends to the corporate boardroom, not just government.

Methods of participation typically include council meetings, neighborhood forums, ballot measures, and marches. Stakeholder groups are all-inclusive and usually include citizens, corporations, non-profits, neighborhood representatives, and advocacy groups.

Despite being called a "process" there is no definitive methodology to the Seattle process; in fact, while writing about Seattle taking four decades to build a light-rail line, the New York Times called it a "mysterious and maddening phenomenon".

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Greater New Orleans Foundation

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.gnof.org

Our mission is to create a thriving community for all. At the Greater New Orleans Foundation, we look to create a resilient, sustainable, vibrant community in which individuals and families flourish and the special character of our region is preserved, celebrated, and supported.

At the Greater New Orleans Foundation, we look to create a resilient, sustainable, vibrant community in which individuals and families flourish and the special character of our region is preserved, celebrated, and supported.

Recognizing that New Orleans is more than a city–it is an interconnected region–we serve the surrounding parishes of Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.

Recognizing that New Orleans is more than a city–it is an interconnected region–we serve the surrounding parishes of Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.

Like other community foundations, the Greater New Orleans Foundation serves both donors and recipients–linking philanthropists with the needs and aspirations of the greater community. We pull together people, ideas, and resources; we serve as a champion of civil society and civil solutions; and we help the effectiveness of nonprofit leaders and organizations.

Like other community foundations, the Greater New Orleans Foundation serves both donors and recipients–linking philanthropists with the needs and aspirations of the greater community. We pull together people, ideas, and resources; we serve as a champion of civil society and civil solutions; and we help the effectiveness of nonprofit leaders and organizations.

By partnering with donors, we help them achieve their charitable goals–whether that means starting a fund, creating an endowment, leaving a legacy, or just making a gift.

By partnering with donors, we help them achieve their charitable goals–whether that means starting a fund, creating an endowment, leaving a legacy, or just making a gift.

Since our founding by forward-looking community leaders in 1983, the Foundation has grown from scarcely $4 million in assets to more than $275 million in assets under management–and 700 donor funds–today. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the region, but also prompted an outpouring of generosity from long-time supporters and new donors from around the world.

The Foundation played a key role in the region’s recovery, coordinating donor efforts and rallying support for the Unified New Orleans Plan–which made possible the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid.

Since our founding by forward-looking community leaders in 1983, the Foundation has grown from scarcely $4 million in assets to more than $275 million in assets under management–and 700 donor funds–today. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the region, but also prompted an outpouring of generosity from long-time supporters and new donors from around the world. The Foundation played a key role in the region’s recovery, coordinating donor efforts and rallying support for the Unified New Orleans Plan–which made possible the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid.

Our housing and community development efforts since Katrina included the Economic Opportunity community revitalization Community Revitalization Fund, a five-year, $25 million initiative to support the organizations, people, and systems that produce affordable workforce housing in the City of New Orleans. Since 2007, the Community Revitalization Fund has made 63 grants and other investments to 51 organizations, supporting the development of nearly 9,500 housing units.

Our housing and community development efforts since Katrina included the Economic Opportunity Community Revitalization Fund, a five-year, $25 million initiative to support the organizations, people, and systems that produce affordable workforce housing in the City of New Orleans. Since 2007, the Community Revitalization Fund has made 63 grants and other investments to 51 organizations, supporting the development of nearly 9,500 housing units.

We also worked with the City of New Orleans Center for Community Progress to reduce the city’s number of vacant, abandoned, and blighted properties in the city. We also worked with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and the Center for Community Progress to reduce the city’s number of vacant, abandoned, and blighted properties in the city.

Southeast Louisiana faced another unprecedented disaster when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 2010, causing the largest oil spill in the nation’s history. The Foundation responded within days by opening the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, designated for projects that would restore and strengthen the communities and environments affected by the disaster. Donations poured in from around the world and were channeled into millions of dollars in grant assistance over the next three years.

Southeast Louisiana faced another unprecedented disaster when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 2010, causing the largest oil spill in the nation’s history. The Foundation responded within days by opening the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, designated for projects that would restore and strengthen the communities and environments affected by the disaster. Donations poured in from around the world and were channeled into millions of dollars in grant assistance over the next three years.

Recognizing that a full 44 percent of our region’s residents live in threatened coastal parishes, addressing both the short-term and long-term needs of these residents–and the environment upon which we all depend–is one of the Foundation’s top priorities.

Most recently, the Foundation’s Coastal 5+1 Initiative has been helping the region’s coastal parishes and the City of New Orleans identify and implement immediate, concrete solutions to long-term problems created by marginalized economies, poor planning, and environmental degradation.

Recognizing that a full 44 percent of our region’s residents live in threatened coastal parishes, addressing both the short-term and long-term needs of these residents–and the environment upon which we all depend–is one of the Foundation’s top priorities.

Most recently, the Foundation’s Coastal Issues - Coastal 5+1 Initiative has been helping the region’s coastal parishes and the City of New Orleans identify and implement immediate, concrete solutions to long-term problems created by marginalized economies, poor planning, and environmental degradation.

Today, GNOF manages more than 700 funds devoted to charitable, environmental, cultural, and economic development purposes. As one of the oldest and largest philanthropic organizations in the region, we’re proud of our investments in creating a thriving community for all.

Today, GNOF manages more than 700 funds devoted to charitable, environmental, cultural, and economic development purposes. As one of the oldest and largest philanthropic organizations in the region, we’re proud of our investments in creating a thriving community for all.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.treme4treme.org

Character of Place as Social Capital in the Revitalization of the Iberville Housing Project and the Surrounding Tremé/Lafitte Neighborhood in New Orleans began to circulate, residents of the neighborhood who are active in civic life began responding positively to it.

Many found it to be an accurate picture of the community, and some found it highly congruent with their own ongoing work and with what they themselves have previously affirmed about the place. The report was described as having “rediscovered” things the community has previously and repeatedly discovered about itself.

+ -A group, Treme4Treme, representing several area non-profits, residents, business, and community leaders with a long history of working in social services, community and economic development, and culture in the Tremé neighborhood came together to design the future and developed a strategic plan for how to create that future.

Tremé for Tremé reached out widely within the community to develop a broadly based vision and process.

What was developed is fundamentally different from providing input into a planning process, or providing community engagement. Tremé for Tremé stepped forward to take the primary role in creating their own future.

The first words of the Choice Neighborhood Initiative application for New Orleans were that “Nearly six years ago, when the city had been inundated with flood waters, some national leaders pronounced that New Orleans was dead and suggested not to rebuild.

This once great city refused to accept that pronouncement…” It is widely recognized that it was the deep resilience of New Orleans, rising from the love of its people for the place and its culture, that produced a bottom-up process of renewal.

Tremé for Tremé and the residents of this neighborhood is ready to take its place and accept its responsibility in continuing that renewal.

Most important, the people and institutions of this neighborhood have taken responsibility for planning their own future, and creating that future. Rather than merely providing input concerning their needs and desires, or stepping forward to play a role in initiatives designed by others. Tremé for Tremé is prepared to play a primary role and ask for partnerships to complement its efforts.

The goal is to create a state that we call resilient autonomy, in which a community is self-directed and capable of constantly renewing itself in a healthy, sustainable way.

We believe the path to resilient autonomy is through neighborhood-led, asset-based and place-based community and economic development.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Location: Chesapeake Bay

Website: www.cbf.org

In the four centuries since the explorations of Captain John Smith, the Chesapeake Bay has lost half of its forested shoreline, more than half its wetlands, nearly 80 percent of its underwater grasses, and more than 98 percent of its oysters.

Across the watershed, approximately 1.7 million acres of once-untouched land were developed by 1950. Development has accelerated dramatically since then, with an additional 2.7 million acres built on or paved over between 1950 and 1980. The human pressure of these changes has imposed heavy negative impacts on the health and resilience of the Bay. Although we will never return to the pristine territory explored by Captain John Smith during those early voyages, CBF is fighting to return this fragile ecosystem to balance.

For years, CBF has been a leader in restoration efforts that improve the capacity of rivers, streams, and the Bay to treat pollution. In programs across the watershed, many of them conducted with CBF volunteers and partner organizations, CBF is restoring native oysters, planting underwater grasses, and planting trees, to restore the Bay's natural filters.

CBF's Clagett Farm is a working farm and a site for field experiences for students, teachers, and adults.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its members, more than 200,000 strong, are the strongest and most effective voice that exists for protecting and restoring the Bay and its rivers and streams. We work at local, state, and federal levels for effective laws and regulations that will reduce pollution, restore vital natural systems like oyster reefs, forests, and wetlands, and encourage smart growth in our communities.

CBF acts as a watchdog to elevate good practices for healing our waterways, while being vigilant in opposing projects or proposals that would degrade water quality. Our scientists submit comments to governing bodies regarding fisheries management, wetlands mitigation, stormwater issues, construction and development projects and more. CBF is a well-respected resource on environmental issues that impact the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers, and streams.

From public meetings and adult education classes to numerous hands-on volunteer activities, CBF engages residents and teaches them ways to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries. But it doesn't stop there. CBF is also an active partner in local restoration efforts spearheaded by community organizations throughout the watershed.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pivot Legal Society

Location: Vancouver, BC

Website: www.pivotlegal.org

In the fall of 2000, John Richardson listened to a man tell a story about the Downtown Eastside. The man described being pushed and knocked to the ground by a cop on East Hastings Street. Police harassment had become so commonplace that residents no longer felt like they had any rights under the law. Justice was out of reach for many in this impoverished neighborhood.

After hearing other residents repeat similar stories, John – a recent law school graduate – could not ignore what was happening to people in this twelve-block stretch of Vancouver. As an environmental advocate committed to using the law to affect change, John realized that people living in the Downtown Eastside needed legal tools to tackle the problems they faced on a daily basis.

Over the next few months John attended meetings where residents openly disclosed their accounts of police abuse and the impacts of a decade of provincial and federal cuts to social services and housing programs. Recognizing the power of people’s lived experience and shocked by the rights abuses, John connected with neighbourhood residents, members of the legal community, and local activists – including VANDU founder Ann Livingston. Together they prepared to act.

The following spring Pivot Legal Society was born. John explains, “the concept of Pivot came to me fully clothed— name, concept, everything.” The pivot point which allows maximum force to be exerted on a given structure made perfect sense as a symbol.

By making the most tangible violations of human rights the focus of our efforts, Pivot could create the kind of force needed to carry out legal campaigns around policing, housing, and sex work that would result in meaningful positive change for people living in poverty.

Since then, Pivot has exerted this force through legal challenges, legal education campaigns, public engagement, and innovative projects that highlight the struggles, hopes, and insights of people living on the margins of society.

The success of the organization can be attributed to an unflinching passion for justice, the support of thousands of people, and strong partnerships in the downtown eastside and beyond. With compassion, force, and resilience, this tiny staff and an incredible body of volunteers and supporters allows Pivot to function as a punchy vehicle for social and systemic change.

Hope in Shadows

Location: Vancouver, BC

Website: www.hopeinshadows.com

Hope in Shadows is an innovative community engagement project that creates positive and meaningful interactions between residents from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and people from other neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland and beyond.

Each year, winning photos from the Hope in Shadows photography contest are featured in a calendar that local residents can sell on the street through our vendor program.

Hope in Shadows demonstrates that meaningful employment opportunities positively contribute to the well-being and dignity of people impacted by poverty and marginalization.

Photography Contest and Calendar -

Each year we distribute 200 disposable cameras to residents of the Downtown Eastside as part of a photo competition that gives residents the chance to document their own community. Forty photographs are chosen for exhibition, and 12 make it into the Hope in Shadows calendar. In 2013, we piloted a second photography contest in North Vancouver. Visit to find out more.

Vendor Program -

The Hope in Shadows vendor program is designed to remove barriers to employment by offering low-threshold sales work that generates both money and transferable skills for residents of the Downtown Eastside. After attending a basic sales training session, low-income residents are licensed to sell the Hope in Shadows calendar on the streets of Vancouver.

Vendors get one free calendar to get started and make $10 profit for every $20 calendar sold. We train over 200 vendors every year. We have expanded the program in recent years to include an elected vendor advisory board, monthly vendor meetings, advanced sales techniques workshops, financial management workshops, and social events.

Hope in Shadows Archive Project -

Over the past 11 years, Hope in Shadows has amassed a significant archive of photos and negatives. We are developing a process for organizing the thousands of negatives, and our digital archives of the top 40 photographs from each year's contest. Along with organizing our archives, we will be developing best practices for ownership of photo negatives, terms of use and informed consent for archived photos, and community access to the photo archive.

Financial Opportunities for People Impacted by Poverty -

Hope in Shadows trains more than 200 vendors annually. Since 2005 the vendors have increased their sales by more than 500 percent – from 2,500 copies of the Hope in Shadows Calendar to more than 13,000 annually. The impact of this project on the financial standing of people living in poverty is significant with street vendors earning over $0.5 million through calendar sales since 2003.

Hope in Shadows Wins Book Award -

In 2008 Pivot co-published the award-winning Hope in Shadows book with Arsenal Pulp Press. The book has sold more than 5,000 copies through our vendor program. The book contains a collection of personal stories behind some of the stunning contest photos. The personal narratives in the book are candid and moving and challenge the way many of us think about poverty, mental health and drug addiction. The book won the City of Vancouver Book Award and was nominated for a B.C. Book Prize.

Hope in Shadows Artists Recognized -

As the project has evolved, Hope in Shadows photographers are been increasingly recognized for their achievements as artists. Contest participant’s photography has twice been exhibited at the Mayworks Festival on Vancouver Island and private sales of prints are a regular occurrence. In spring of 2011, a selection of Hope in Shadows photographs was auctioned at Dignity, a touring international event curated by the NURU project benefiting the Acumen Fund.

Banff Centre

Location: Banff, Canada

Website: www.banffcentre.org

New art and ideas are born at The Banff Centre every day. We support ground-breaking artists. We inspire visionary leaders. We convene trailblazing researchers.

The Banff Centre is the largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet. Our mission is inspiring creativity. Over 8,000* artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre every year.

Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible.

The Banff Centre adds to Canada's and the world's cultural repertoire by commissioning, supporting, and producing new creative works. We develop multidimensional artists for the international stage in an artistically rich learning environment.

Our leadership programs equip people who want to change the world with the skills to do so. Moving forward, the Centre will disseminate the art and ideas developed in Banff using new initiatives in digital, web, radio, and broadcast media Arts programs are at the core of The Banff Centre. Programming supports the commissioning and creation of new work by individual artists and arts collectives, and provides resources for collaboration and applied research. Training and professional development is offered at the post-graduate level in more than a dozen art forms including, music, theatre, dance, opera, Indigenous arts, literature, ceramics, print-making, painting, papermaking, photography, sculpture, audio engineering, digital film and video, and new media. Work is showcased in public performance, events, and exhibitions throughout the year, culminating in the annual Banff Summer Arts Festival; and is disseminated beyond Banff through Banff Centre LIVE.&The Centre also partners with national and international arts institutions to bring art incubated in Banff to stages and concert halls around the world.

Leadership Development programs equip people who want to change the world with the skills to do so. More than ever, the world needs high-performing, creative leaders who are ready to face increasing complexity and change, while keeping their organizations ahead of the curve. At The Banff Centre, we inspire leaders to make a meaningful difference for their organizations, their communities – and themselves. Leaders developed in Banff are equipped with the skills to manage people and projects under conditions of uncertainty. Leaders developed in Banff are innovators and creative entrepreneurs who identify untapped opportunities and potential. Leaders developed in Banff experience transformational growth to provide the new perspectives needed for their organization's toughest challenges. Conferences at The Banff Centre provides delegates from Alberta, Canada, and around the world with exceptional meeting facilities in an environment that fosters inspirational learning. Net revenue from the Centre’s conference operations supports arts programming.

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Location: Cape Cod, MA

Website: www.ccmht.org

In the late 1930s, on the isolated back shore of Wellfleet, a group of self-taught architecture enthusiasts began building experimental structures based on the early Modern buildings they had seen in Europe.

Through mutual friends they invited some of the founders of European Modernism to buy land, build summer homes and settle. Like their local hosts, the recently emigrated Europeans admired the traditional Cape Cod ‘salt boxes’.

These ancient houses were simple, functional, owner-built and designed for long winters. The Modernist summer houses were inversions of these, oriented to capture views and breezes, perching lightly on the land.

In the three decades that followed, these architects built homes for themselves, their friends and the community of internationally influential artists, writers, and thinkers that took root nearby. Though humble in budget, materials and environmental impact, the Outer Cape’s Modern houses manage to be manifestos of their designers' philosophy and way of living, close to nature, immersed in art and seeking community.

The work of these architects and their clients spread around the world. These houses are the physical remnants of this unique convergence.In the summer of 2006, The Provincetown Art Association and Museum hosted ’A Chain of Events: Modernist Houses on the Outer Cape from Marcel Breuer to Charles Jencks.

The show was reviewed in The Boston Globe & New York Times and received the first place award for Best Architecture or Design Exhibition from the International Association of Art Critics and Writers, New England Chapter, for 2006. All the models, photographs, drawings and research material in the exhibit, as well as all materials collected subsequently, are permanently archived at the museum in their secure vault.

We are seeking drawings, photographs and narratives pertaining to these buildings. This material is fast disappearing.

Our goal is to digitize and archive as much of it as possible to allow for future scholarship and publication. Loaned material will be reproduced and returned promptly. If you can donate your time and/or experience in research, fundraising, construction, event planning, publicity, graphic design or technical support, it would be a great help.

Donations of art and furnishings connected to mid 20th century modernism on the Outer Cape, however modest, would allow us to recreate environments in the renovated houses that give context to the architecture.

Receipt for tax deductions is available based on appraised value. Tax deductible donations are greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Neighborhood Development Foundation

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.ndf-neworleans.org

Neighborhood Development Foundation (NDF) is one of New Orleans’ greatest success stories and the key to a rewarding and productive life for many low and moderate-income families.

Building assets over a lifetime that will enable you to leave an inheritance to your children is a dream for many working families and a dream that the Neighborhood Development Foundation (NDF) has helped to make a reality for thousands of families throughout the greater New Orleans area since 1986.

NDF was founded on the beliefs that decent affordable housing is essential to the physical and emotional health, productivity and self-esteem of individuals and that homeownership has a significant effect on children’s success. Studies show that the positive behavioral characteristics required of homeowners are passed on to their children. These positive outcomes include: better health; fewer behavioral problems; greater achievement in math and reading; lower high school dropout rates; fewer teen births; more years of schooling by age 25; and an increase in high school graduation rates. And in the community, homeownership builds and stabilizes neighborhoods.

For over 25 years, NDF has provided knowledge, education, and advocacy that make owning and maintaining a home affordable. This education is something we can all benefit from. It’s fiscal responsibility 101 and it results in lifetime renters becoming homeowners, landlords, developers, and investors in our community.

The Mission of the Neighborhood Development Foundation is to educate and assist low and moderate-income families to build assets through homeownership.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Art Everywhere US

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.arteverywhereus.com

Five leading U.S. museums came together in January 2014 with a daunting challenge: to celebrate the history of American art through a total of 100 great works--twenty each--from our respective collections.

Our museums have collaborated with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and with artists, estates, foundations, and rights agencies to share images of these 100 works with the public in August, so that you can vote for your favorites, informing a final selection of 50 works that will be reproduced in tens of thousands of public spaces nationwide, including billboards, street furniture, transit hubs, and many other channels. This collaborative effort is the first of its kind in the US, and follows a successful version in the UK in the summer of 2013, with plans to be repeated this summer as well. It affords an unprecedented opportunity to acquaint countless millions of Americans and visitors to our country with some of America’s best and most memorable artworks.

The 100 artworks illustrated on this website span the history of the United States, from portraiture before and after the American Revolution in 1776, to landscapes of the nineteenth century, both illustrative and imagined, to scenes of daily life in the last quarter of the 1800s, to still life paintings and images of the well-to-do. Selections from the early twentieth century take us to the American West through photography, to a scene from the Bible, to the emergence of abstract painting on American soil. The First World War is commemorated in colorful tributes, followed by artworks championing the centrality of the agrarian tradition and the emergence of an industrial economy.

Gritty urban scenes documenting the Great Depression are joined by an image of the Dust Bowl in the West. The genius and travails of African-Americans at that time are commemorated, along with Surrealism’s fascination with human psychology and perception. Abstract Expressionism’s explosion on the scene in the 1950s is chronicled in multiple masterpieces, a new form of artistic language that changed the rules of painting. Pop Art takes the stage in the 1960s, with several instantly recognizable images from the worlds of advertising and mass media. The decades since the 1970s are represented by the disparate forms and concerns of artists questioning the received wisdom of the past, probing topics ranging from identity politics to race to gender stereotypes.

All in all, the 100 works in Art Everywhere US bring us face-to-face with the story of our nation, told by the visionaries who captured our essence at the time they lived and worked, and who to this day compel us to find our place in the evolving story of America. From a stained glass window to a prairie quilt, the two-dimensional artworks in this wide-ranging selection invite reflection on the vernacular of American art, from high art to the everyday, from East to West, and from our origins to the present moment.

Art Everywhere US will provide chance encounters with great works of art to reflect the story of our country, encourage everyone to visit their local museums, and start a national conversation about the importance of nurturing creativity in our schools and in our daily lives. We hope you enjoy the biggest art exhibition in history—and please let us know which artworks you’d like to see reproduced, wherever you live or travel, by voting now!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Historic Green

Location; New Orleans, LA

Website : www.historicgreen.org

In 2007, several emerging young leaders of the U.S. Green Building Council’s volunteer network rallied the green building industry to commit more knowledge and resources to rebuilding New Orleans, which was still in recovery mode in the aftermath of the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

With more than 85% of its existing homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the need for environmentally responsible action was clear. So we started "Spring Greening", our annual greening event in the Lower 9th Ward.

We created an alliance with the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, who had set the objectives of carbon neutrality by 2020 and climate neutrality by 2030.

Our mission is to assist and lead in the transformation and restoration of under-resourced communities through education and service and with a focus on heritage conservation and sustainable design. All people are empowered to revitalize and sustain their communities, creating bright futures and celebrated pasts.

We do so by the following principles:

- Develop a healthy environment, sustainable living, equitable economic development and community empowerment, and conserve a community’s cultural uniqueness.

- Resource communities that have faced disaster or decline from natural and/or human causes such as social inequity, climate change and habitat loss. We help communities build civic and economic capacity through sustainable restoration of the built and natural environment.

- A community decides what is integral to its heritage and identity and needs to be restored and preserved. We educate our volunteers about the sense of place, and we value a community’s right to enjoy its natural surroundings and celebrate the local heritage.

- Share resources. We value collaboration, avoid competition and look for ways to become members, not merely volunteers, in the communities we serve.

- We respect the professional technical expertise of designers, builders, and tradesmen, and we treasure the deep local knowledge of community members and organizations. We engage professional design and construction experts who turn local values into the right ideas for the built and natural environments.

- We appreciate volunteer, partner and community member education. Community members, technical experts and volunteers all have valuable knowledge and skills to share, so we create many opportunities for learning.

- We help young, emerging talent become green restoration leaders.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jane's Walk

Location: International

Website: www.janeswalk.org

Jane’s Walk celebrates the ideas and legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs by getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods and meeting their neighbours.Free walkin g tours held on the first weekend of May each year are led by locals who want to create a space for residents to talk about what matters to them in the places they live and work.

Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk has expanded rapidly. In May of 2013, more than 800 walks were held in over 100 cities in 22 countries worldwide.

The main Jane’s Walk event takes place annually on the first weekend of May, to coincide with Jane Jacobs’ birthday. Jane’s Walks can be organized and offered any other time of the year by enthusiastic local people or organizations, although the first weekend in May is where we focus our organizational energies and resources.

Jane’s Walk honours the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning.

Jane’s Walk often takes Jacobs’ ideas to communities unfamiliar with her ideas, in order to advance local engagement with contemporary urban planning practices. The walks helps knit people together into a strong and resourceful community, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership.

Thousands of people have taken part in a Jane’s Walk. Past walks have explored a wide range of urban landscapes, from social housing slated for redevelopment to areas with a rich architectural and cultural heritage, to teen hangouts and secret gardens.

Walks are led by individuals and small groups. Some are focused around historical themes more than geographical areas, for instance, some strolls have been built around ideas like the urban forestry, gay and lesbian history, places of relevance to the homeless, the history of ‘skid row’, and urgent planning matters facing certain neighbourhood. The walks offer a more personal take on local culture and issues. They are not a tourist driven initiative but an insider tour of a neighbourhood that helps open up a friendly, engaged discussion amongst interested participants.

As always, people face a complex array of challenges and hazards in our social and built environments. The decline in physical health is a problem that is exacerbated by our reliance on mechanical modes of transportation that burden our environment and infrastructure.

When it comes to making improvements to the livability and vibrancy of neighbourhoods, people are often isolated or unaware of others who may share their interests. Jane's Walk attempts to do this by the following:

- Help bridge these gaps and encourages people to explore the sidewalks they use for the basic tasks of daily life – tasks like shopping, getting to school and work.

- Help make cities and streets safe for all users. We encourage people to get out and walk not just for recreation, but for basic tasks of daily life, shopping, schools and work. Walking not only improves health, it increases social cohesion and connection.

- Help pedestrians by providing a simple walkability tool kit, available on our website, which gives the basic tools for recognizing, discussing and improving local walking conditions.

Jane’s Walks are usually organized by a broad network of people and groups who share a common concern for making cities more livable but a spectrum of approaches and observations about the neighbourhood, the city, the past and future are welcomed.

As with all community organizing, the wider the network, the lighter the organizational load for everyone. A key principle of Jane’s Walk is that it is self-organizing and self-selecting. Tour guides don’t have to be familiar with Jane Jacobs’ work to lead a tour, but we encourage people to find out more by reading her books or consulting our website for more links and primers on her ideas.

Jane’s Walk was inaugurated on May 5, 2007 in Toronto by a group of Jane Jacobs’ friends and colleagues who wanted to honour her ideas and legacy. They decided upon a simple, adaptable, and what would prove to be, an internationally successful concept – free neighbourhood walking tours led by local volunteers. Mary Rowe, Margie Zeidler, Chris Winter, Alan Broadbent and Ann Peters made the first Jane’s Walks happen that year with 27 tours. Attendance and buzz exceeded all expectations.

CBC broadcaster Jane Farrow, one of the inaugural tour guides, quickly came on board to explore how Jane’s Walk could be shared with other cities. That fall, she organized the event in New York City, making sure to include a range of neighbourhoods outside the core and in the process showcased an exciting variety of perspectives on city-building and community organizing. It was clear that Jane’s Walk filled a need people had to talk about issues affecting their neighbourhoods, and as such, had unlimited potential in helping communities find their voice.

Since then, Jane’s Walk has been successfully exported and adapted to many more cities. The event and its namesake, Jane Jacobs, mobilizes local residents to get out and share the stories of the urban spaces they know and love, to meet neighbours, to explore common cause in making improvements and celebrating their successes.

Jane’s Walk has expanded beyond the confines of an annual event by researching urban and suburban walkability conditions in association with Paul Hess of the University of Toronto Geography Department.

We are also engaged in consulting with planning firms and municipal stakeholders in how to make the city more walkable and welcome the input of local residents. Jane’s Walk has been adapted in schools and used both in classes and as an extra-curricular activity.

The City of Toronto has made good use of our bank of neighbourhood tour guides, getting employees out on ‘discovery walks’ and getting to know how their policies have an impact on people and places.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beautiful Downtown Lewiston

Location: Lewiston, ID

Website: www.beautifuldowntownlewiston.com

Beautiful Downtown Lewiston evolved from efforts of the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce, downtown business and property owners and the City of Lewiston to revive efforts of previous downtown organizations, including the Port City Action Committee.

As participation and interest in the downtown revitalization increased, the organization left the umbrella of the Lewiston Chamber to become a stand alone non-profit organization. Beautiful Downtown Lewiston is a 501(c)3 organization, directed by its own by-laws and board of directors. With support from citizens, property owners, business owners and the City of Lewiston, Beautiful Downtown Lewiston is spearheading the task of revitalizing Lewiston’s downtown district.

Through application of the Main Street Program, Beautiful Downtown Lewiston is working to create a vital downtown district which promotes quality business, cultural and community growth.

Beautiful Downtown Lewiston has adopted the principles of the Main Street™ program, due to its 30 year history of proven success across the United States. The comprehensive four point approach emphasizes:

Organization involves getting all stakeholders to work toward common goals. Proper financial and human resources need to be identified. The basic framework entails assembling a governing board and standing committees. This volunteer-driven design also needs coordination and support from a paid director. The outlined structure promotes cooperation and consensus building, thus providing stability to build and maintain a long-term effort.

Promotion creates excitement downtown. Special events, marketing, advertising and retail promotions all aid in showcasing the district’s authenticity and work toward creating a brand for downtown. In addition, the promotions create consumer confidence in the district, resulting in increased commercial activity and investment in the area.

Design enhances the attractiveness of the business district by capitalizing on its assets. Enhancing appearance, developing maintenance and design management practices, encouraging historic building rehabilitation, incorporating long-term planning are the cornerstones of this piece. Creating an inviting atmosphere where consumers gravitate to shop, work, play and live. Design improvements result in a reinvestment of public and private dollars to downtown.

Economic Restructuring involves analyzing current market forces to develop long-term solutions. Retaining businesses, recruiting new businesses, and sharpening the competitiveness of downtown merchants are examples of economic restructuring. Converting unused commercial space into economically productive property heightens the profitability of the district.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

California Forward

Location: California

Website: www.cafwd.org

Over the last generation, our systems of government have failed at dealing with our state’s challenges. We aren’t getting the results we need from public programs; lawmakers are mired in gridlock; and budgets are out of balance even during good times.

There is growing concern that this dysfunction is not only impacting public programs, but the economy and the confidence of entrepreneurs to do business here.

Perplexed by the increasing dysfunction of the state’s fiscal and political systems, five major California foundations –

The California Endowment
The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

– came together to create California Forward, charging it with reshaping the future of the Golden State by fundamentally changing the way government operates.

California Forward was created by combining projects from California Common Cause, Center for Governmental Studies, New California Network, and The Commonwealth Club of California's Voices of Reform Project.

The organization has established itself as a trusted, influential, and bipartisan public interest effort, with an unwavering commitment to making government work better.

Our early steps toward reform include:

- the fiscal mess through budget reform.

- Changing political incentives with redistricting and the top two primary.

Restructuring state and local government to drive innovation and results.

California Forward's mission is to work with Californians to help create a "smart" government – one that’s small enough to listen, big enough to tackle real problems, smart enough to spend our money wisely in good times and bad, and honest enough to be held accountable for results.

We’re different from other efforts to reform our state, because we believe in the importance of working together and understand that only robust public discussion and the creation of broad coalitions can move solutions forward.

California’s state and local governments must work better together for everyone. If Californians can come together to restructure the relationships between state and local governments, the experience of other states indicates that in five to seven years, we will begin to see the benefits of better governance and renewed private investment.

Continuous improvement in the performance of education and social programs will allow the state to shift resources from prisons back to universities. Efficiencies and innovation in regulation will allow businesses to pay higher wages, while still remaining competitive. Growing middle-income jobs will reduce demand for public services and increase tax revenue.

Restructuring California’s government can be the beginning of a cycle – improved education, increased employment, decreased poverty, improved health, and less crime – that can lead to the best possible outcome: A government that achieves positive social gains in a financially sustainable way.

California Forward believes we can revive the California Dream and turn our broken government into an efficient, effective body, focused on performance, accountability, and transparency. But we must all get involved.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Location: International

Website: www.appmycity.org

It’s official! Entries are now open for AppMyCity!, the New Cities Foundation’s annual competition for the world’s best urban mobile application. Mobile app developers from all over the world can submit their apps.

AppMyCity! promotes and rewards mobile apps that improve the urban experience, connect people, and make cities more fun, fair, vibrant and sustainable places. The winner will be selected and announced at the New Cities Summit in Dallas on June 17 – 19, 2014, and will receive a prize of US$5,000.

This year, we’re excited to be teaming up with Guardian Cities ;to launch the contest. Everyone, not just developers, is invited to join the conversation and suggest their favorite urban-related mobile apps via Twitter. Applicants have until April 18 to submit their apps. We’ll announce the 10 semi-finalists on May 6

A group of expert judges will assess the semi-finalists and select three talented finalists, which will be announced on May 21. The finalists will join us at the New Cities Summit in Dallas to present their apps. The winner will be picked via a live audience vote and walk away with the US$5,000 prize.

AppMyCity! winner, Bruno Aracaty, co-founder of Colab, Brazil, commented:

"Winning AppMyCity! was a tipping point for us and completely changed our lives. After the contest we had several meetings with the most important city managers in Brazil and we were invited to speak at numerous conferences. We had a surge in the number of new users and we managed to raise venture capital to further develop our app. After the Prize, our ‘project’ became a ‘company’.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Location: Sacramento, CA

Website: www.sactomofo.org

Sacramento Mobile Food (SactoMoFo if you wanna get familiar) wants a level playing field for mobile kitchens. We believe these entrepreneurs deserve the same opportunities for success that other businesspeople enjoy, and to further awareness and build support we produce street food-centric events throughout the greater Sacramento region, to showcase their product, and their positive impact in our community.

Their tasty food is only the beginning. These small business owners buy local produce, meat and bread products, pay local sales taxes, add affordability and diversity to the local food scene, hire local workers, and offer aspiring restaurant owners an entry point into the possibility of the American Dream. Some of the local food trucks are already well on their way there, and have opened local restaurants, created even more Sacramento jobs and have generated thousands of dollars in sales taxes.

Additionally, food truck owners are heavily vested in their local communities and generously give back. In 2013 alone, food trucks working with SactoMoFo raised thousands of dollars for organizations like the Rebuild McKinley Park effort, Toys for Tots Foundation, the California Firefighters Foundation, the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, the Whole Foods Foundation, the Getty Owl Foundation and various others.

The Sacramento region is the farm to fork capital of the country, and offers a myriad of great local food opportunities by ways of the various farmers markets, the multiple ethnic restaurants and the wide variety of local gourmet restaurants that are owner operated.  We see food trucks as a natural extension of this great community, and hope you will love them as much as we do. Come join us at an event, and experience it yourself!

Some interesting facts about the food truck industry:

Food trucks were the #1 small business opportunity of 2011 according to Forbes Magazine. Food truck owners buy their products and produce, and spend their earnings in the communities they serve, creating a virtuous circle.

Food truck roundups are family-friendly community events, with entertainment and food geared to the entire family.

By discarding the formalities of a sit-down restaurant, food trucks encourage patrons to make new friends while eating a great meal and supporting local small business owners. 54% of food truck consumers said they otherwise would have eaten fast food.

Vanishing SF

Location: San Francisco, CA


In her recent article in the London Review of Books, Google Invades, Rebecca Solnit writes:

“The Bay Area is once again a boomtown, with transient populations, escalating housing costs, mass displacements and the casual erasure of what was here before. I think of it as frontierism, with all the frontier’s attitude and operational style, where people without a lot of attachments come and do things without a lot of concern for their impact, where money moves around pretty casually, and people are ground underfoot equally casually.

VanishingSF is an index of stories, events and not-so-random facts documenting the impact of this new frontierism on the people, communities, and cultural life of San Francisco. This page is for everyone who loves San Francisco. If you have an item that you would like featured on this page, please tell us about it.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Location: Eastern Tennessee

Website: www.planeastten.org

PlanET is an ambitious plan to imagine our future and then to chart a path to reach a shared vision.  A planning effort of this scale is new to the East Tennessee Region so if you have questions about this plan, you can find your answers here.

Plan East Tennessee (PlanET) is a regional partnership of communities building a shared direction for our future. We seek ideas about protecting our valuable resources and addressing our challenges regarding jobs, housing, transportation, a clean environment, and community health.

Our goal is to create long-term solutions for investments in our region and to define the next chapter in our rich history, leaving a legacy of optimism and opportunity for future generations. Find out about the plan, the process for developing it and review the project schedule.

Mayors from the municipalities and counties throughout the PlanET region of Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, and Union Counties are guiding a Community Leadership Team responsible for executing the creation of a regional Plan.

Five counties, sixteen cities, four towns, and community of regional partners are committed to making PlanET a reality. Explore this diverse partnership and learn about their commitment to the process.

The PlanET process is an ambitious project that requires a great deal of expertise in a variety of areas. Local staff offer a great deal of technical expertise; however, to ensure its success, PlanET has assembled a team of consultants that represent some of the leading firms from across the country whose expertise will ensure PlanET’s success in meeting and exceeding its goals moving forward.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Location: S.F. Bay Area, CA

Website: www.sfestuary.org

San Francisco Estuary Partnership is a coalition of resource agencies, non-profits, citizens, and scientists working to protect, restore, and enhance water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in and around the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.

Working cooperatively, we share information and resources that result in studies, projects, and programs that improve the Estuary and communicate its value and needs to the public. The Association of Bay Area Governments is the home agency for Partnership staff and finances.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mapping Decline

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: www.mappingdecline.lib.uiowa.edu

The maps were composed in ArcView 9.2, using a combination of digital census geography, archival maps, and historical and contemporary datasets. The base map for the home and the documents pages is Plate I from N.M Fenneman, Geology and Mineral Resources of the St. Louis Quadrangle (United States Geological Survey, Bulletin 438, 1911).

The base map for the other map series is the ESRI shaded world relief layer, based on the USGS’s National Elevation Data (NED) data.

The White Flight series uses 1940-2000 tract level census data. The 1990 and 2000 data and tracts boundaries were drawn from the Census, the 1970 and 1980 data and boundaries are based on the digitization done by Geolytics for those census years. 1960 and earlier data was adapted from the Donald and Elizabeth Mullen Bogue data, maintained by the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. 1960 and earlier tract maps were digitized (working backwards from 1970) by the author.

The historical data and tract boundaries are now much more readily available thanks to the yeoman work of the University of Minnesota’s National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) project and Andrew Beveridge’s Social Explorer.

To display the change over a decade, tract boundaries were normalized for the two census years. This usually meant restricting the scope of the map to the metro tracts of the earlier census, and collapsing data from the latter year into the census geography of the earlier year. In the 1950-1960 map, for example, this required adjusting the 1960 data (323 census tracts) to fit the 1950 geography (247 tracts).

The Race and Property series is based on a number of archival sources. The 1916 layer is based on the text of the ordinance, and on the description provided in “Blocks in Which Negros May Take up Residence,” St. Louis Post Dispatch (2 March 1916) from the clippings collection of the St. Louis Public Library. The scope of the 1923 and 1941 realtor’s zones are summarized in Charles Johnson and Herman Long, People v Property: Race Restrictive Covenants in Housing (Nashville, 1947), and are noted on the City Plan Commission’s 1930 map, “Distribution of the Negro Population,” a copy of which is in the Missouri Historical Society’s map collection.

The NAACP’s 1945 estimate of the reach of restrictive deed covenants is adapted from Johnson and Long, People v. Property, 24, 60. The HOLC security maps were digitized from the 1937 and 1940 St. Louis maps in the City Survey Files of the&Records of the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation, RG 195.3, National Archives.

The Municipal Zoning series is based on archival zoning maps from a wide variety of sources, including the planning and zoning departments of many St. Louis County municipalities. Many (and especially the earliest) zoning plan and maps can be found in the bound and unbound city planning reports conducted by the Harland Bartholomew company and archived in the Harland Bartholomew and Associates Papers at Washington University, St. Louis City ordinances, programmatic reports, and the City’s current property database.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Location: International

Website: www.c40.org

Acting both locally and collaboratively, C40 Cities are having a meaningful global impact in reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.

Through a partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative, C40 brings together a unique set of assets and creates a shared sense of purpose. C40 offers cities an effective forum where they can collaborate, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change.

"While international negotiations continue to make incremental progress, C40 Cities are forging ahead. Collectively they have taken more than 4,700 actions to tackle climate change, and the will to do more is stronger than ever. As innovators and practitioners, our cities are at the forefront of this issue – arguably the greatest challenge of our time."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Womens Community Revitalization Project

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Website: www.wcrphila.com

The Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) is committed to social and economic equity for low-income women and their families. We develop housing and neighborhood facilities; provide supportive services; advocate for policy change; and honor leadership, dignity, and justice in our communities.

When you start with women, you are at the core of communities and families. There is power in women working together to make change. WCRP has created a model that works for community development, putting that power to work for low-income women and their families.


- Affordable Housing Development

- Supportive Services for Families

- Leadership and Advocacy

- Facilities Development

Women’s Community Revitalization Project values low-income women and their families and their power to make decisions that improve their lives. We honor leaders in our community, find solutions to any challenge, and bring hope and possibility to the women that we serve. We are Women’s Community Revitalization Project. Together we’re building a place for everyone.

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

Location: PA

Website: www.housingalliancepa.org

People all over Pennsylvania are working to solve the state’s housing problems, and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania is helping them. We promote common-sense solutions to balance Pennsylvania's housing market and increase the supply of safe, decent homes for low-income people.

Through our website and weekly e-newsletter, we keep the housing community up to date on news they need to do their jobs better. Monthly Legislative Briefing calls provide updates on state and federal housing and homeless policy and budgets.

We serve as the go-to information source on housing issues for the media and for policy makers.

We actively engage the media to inform and raise the profile of important housing issues.

We testify at legislative hearings.

We provide tools and information to help housing and homeless service providers do their jobs better, through webinars, regional forums and our annual Homes within Reach Conference.

We forge partnerships to broaden the base of support for affordable housing by connecting people and organizations across constituencies. The Alliance has built and sustains a statewide network of service providers, developers and consumers,

We believe research and best practices should inform policy.

We conduct research and analysis on affordable housing issues and publish our findings.

We also serve as a clearinghouse for relevant research from other sources.

We work with policy makers to find win-win solutions and common ground whenever possible.

We believe that we share core values about fairness, opportunity and doing what’s best for the community.

We are the housing community’s eyes and ears in Harrisburg and D.C. We monitor all state and federal housing legislation and let the community know what’s important and when to act.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.sustainthenine.org

Founded in December 2006, the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED) is a 501(c)3 grassroots organization devoted to restoring New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward as a safe, environmentally just and economically vibrant community – and one of the first to become carbon-neutral in North America.

Born in the aftermath of catastrophic flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward caused by the failure of the federal levee system following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, CSED provides community-based support to residents of the Lower Ninth Ward – from “River to Bayou” – in all aspects of sustainability for area neighborhoods as part of long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Our mission is to stimulate civic engagement, repopulate, sustain natural systems, assist community leadership and preserve resources in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhoods.

Our goal is the re-creation and repopulation of a strong community, mindful of its resources and vulnerabilities, with an engaged citizenry that is active, resilient, prosperous, energy independent and beautiful as Built Environment.

In addition, we continue to maintain a strong presence in all development initiatives for the Lower 9. CSED remains dedicated to supporting the construction of the Alfred Lawless School system that was lost during the flood due to the failure of the federal levee system, the development of economic opportunities along the commercial corridors of the L9, as well as the on-going effort to bring a grocery store to the community through the Fresh Food Initiative (CSED administers a $25K Chase Design Competition award to support the grocery store development).

CSED also hired a local resident to support mental health outreach efforts for people still affected by Hurricane Katrina as well as the new disaster from the BP Oil Spill.

CSED also continues to work with multiple state and local partners on:

- Louisiana Coastal Restoration initiatives and the L9 Bayou Bienvenue regeneration.

- Built Environment efforts which includes rebuilding and renovation, blight issues, empty lots, and energy efficiency of existing structures, infrastructure, walkability, return of displaced residents

- Food Security for all L9 residents that involves community gardening, urban farming, reintroduction of tree canopy and support of the local Sankofa Farmers Market.

These and a growing number of new initiatives are led by CSED’s talented Executive Director, Tracy Nelson, a resident of the Lower Ninth Ward.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Idea Village

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.ideavillage.org

Thirteen years ago a group of New Orleans entrepreneurs calling themselves The Idea Village asked a very important question: What if?

What if you could create economic and social change in New Orleans?

What if you could do it in a way that not only inspired entrepreneurs, but those who believed in them as well?

These questions were the result of many conversations between five local entrepreneurs at the Loa Bar in downtown New Orleans on how to reverse the last 40 years of fundamental economic and social decline. New Orleans was in a downward spiral and concerned civic leaders and entrepreneurs wanted to create an environment that would allow emerging talent to stay in New Orleans, grow businesses and create quality jobs.
The core problem was the exodus of the best and brightest from the community; from 1990-2000, there was a net loss of over 41, 23-35 year olds from the State of Louisiana. This brain drain created a vacuum of innovative individuals to provide new thinking to grow the economy and to address pressing social issues such as crime and education.

The collective answer to this problem was to attract and retain entrepreneurial talent that would in turn create innovative solutions to the social challenges and become the next generation civic leaders. To accomplish this goal, New Orleans needed a linked network of business, government, and university resources to support high impact startups. New Orleans needed a “village” for new ideas.

The entrepreneurs continued to meet to discuss how the group would execute this vision. Action was needed, not another plan. In August 2000, each of them contributed $2,000 towards a $10,000 business plan contest.

Word spread quickly and companies began contacting the group with offers of in-kind support for the winner, eventually leading to a grand prize worth over $125,000. The group’s mission became clear – transform New Orleans by stimulating entrepreneurial growth. This organic coming together of like-minded individuals in an implementation-oriented manner ignited a movement that eventually gave rise to The Idea Village.

Twelve years later, New Orleans has developed a vibrant, interconnected entrepreneurial ecosystem that includes corporations, non-profits, universities, and government who collaborate to make New Orleans a place for people with big ideas, grand dreams, and the passion to build, grow, and execute. New Orleans is becoming a globally recognized ecosystem.

Forbes named New Orleans the “Biggest Brain Magnet” of 2011 as well as the No. 2 “Best City for Jobs.” A July 2010 Brookings Institute “Katrina After 5” report states that New Orleans entrepreneurial activity is 40% above the national average, while Inc. called New Orleans the “Coolest Startup City in America.

The Brain Drain has turned into the Brain Gain as inspired individuals have flocked to the city and new entrepreneurial hubs are sprouting up throughout the community driven by passionate, committed entrepreneurs. Capital is being invested in new ventures and entrepreneurial leaders are evolving to solve critical issues with innovative solutions.

New models for health care, education, physical infrastructure, food, and creative media are being incubated and developed.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Urban Conservancy

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.urbanconservancy.org

The Urban Conservancy’s core values guide our interaction with each other, our stakeholders, our associates and our community. We believe in:

- Equity

- Collaboration

- Being pro-active

Dynamic integration

- Being solution-focused

- Facilitation

- Well-informed constituents

- Being pro-local

Our values provide consistency as we strive to meet our goals:


Communities have the right to democratically control their urban environment.


All residents deserve a high quality of life.

The unique culture of Southeast Louisiana is at the heart of our quality of life.


Responsible development maintains the strengths of the historic built environment including connectivity within and between neighborhoods.


Residents need transparency in government and access to accurate information in order to make informed decisions with regard to their communities.


Diversified local economies sustain the people who live and work in the community.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homegrown National Park

Location: Toronto, ON

Website: www.davidsuzuki.org

Inspired by Richard Louv and Douglas Tallamy, in 2013 we embarked on a mission to establish the world's first "Homegrown National Park" by crowd-sourcing a vibrant green corridor along the former path of Garrison Creek in the City of Toronto.

In the project's first year, our 21 volunteer Neighbourhood Park Rangers helped partner organizations to spur more than a dozen creative green interventions, from pothole planters and canoe gardens to butterfly friendly schoolyards and "parkify-ing" a residential street.

In 2014 we are aiming to deepen and expand the project to adjacent neighbourhoods in the Greater Garrison Creek area. We will begin connecting with community groups this winter and plan to train another crop of Park Rangers in the spring. Find out more by reading stories below, and stay tuned by joining our Facebook page.

If you're interested in getting involved or learning more, feel free to contact project leader Jode Roberts.