"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.

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.