WHAT ARE OUR MODELS?
In creating the outline for Urban Initiative, we looked to a pioneering new initiative called the Awesome Foundation [www.awesomefoundation.org], providing monthly grants of $1000 to fund “awesome” ideas. A number of chapters of the Foundation have proliferated in cities across the country, confirming its success as a model for promoting citizen action at a local level. Included below are several other foundations, organizations and creative projects doing similar work that could serve as inspiration for our own work and help inform how we make Urban Initiative as effective as possible. • Ashoka [www.ashoka.org] • Echoing Green [www.echoinggreen.org] • Civic Center [www.civiccenter.cc]
WHAT IS OUR PLATFORM?
With grassroots community development being one of the core tenets of the Urban Initiative Foundation’s mission, a platform that allows easy and transparent crowdsourcing of one’s idea is a necessity. Aside from using a Kickstarter type funding mechanism, the Foundation will also create an interactive forum similar to the Neighborland website [www. neighborland.org]. Taken from their website:
“Neighborland is a new way to make your city a better place.We are providing residents, neighborhood organizations, economic development groups, and municipalities with a powerfully simple platform to connect and make good things happen. A healthy neighborhood is a connected neighborhood. No idea is too big or too small to share on Neighborland. If it matters to you, then it matters.”
By posting ideas for grant applications online, not only can a community coalesce around a specific issue or area, there is also the ability to leverage several different ideas into one larger multi-faceted project. The use of “tags” for each application such as urban farming, rain garden, public art, etc. will allow residents to sort through projects based on their passions and interests and will create an “ecosystem” of community-driven projects. Simply by connecting people through an easy to use website and smartphone app, the capacity of one individual to change their neighborhood is magnified exponentially, and communities built around causes can flourish SEPTEMBER 2012
Published on Mar 16, 2013