The future of national service depends on the support of people like you.
As you’ve probably heard, last week, the House of Representatives passed a budget blueprint calling for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service. While we’ve heard these threats before, this time is different. The budget process in Washington has become particularly charged, with both sides looking for bargaining chips that will justify the ultimate goal of a reduced federal budget and decreased deficit.
These cuts threaten the programs you run and the services you are able to provide.
We need your help and the help of your organization to fight back with the best resource we have: the stories of the impact of national service in communities across the country.
Voices for National Service and ServiceNation, in partnership with AmeriCorps Alums, are launching the first ever “I Serve Because…” Video Contest. If you are passionate about the promise of national service, watch this “I Serve Because…”video from US Senator Tom Harkin then submit a video of your own. As Sen. Harkin explains, “The future of national service depends on your voice being heard.”
You can help us by not only recording your own “I serve because” video, but also by recruiting your friends, peers and co-workers to record one as well. Will you help us spread the word about our video contest by updating your Facebook page, Twitter feed and email list?Click here for a promotional email template you can use as a guide to draft a message to your program list.
Sharing the video contest information is easy. Click here for resources on how your organization can make and submit a video, view other entries for examples of what you can do on our Tumblr page. In the coming weeks, we’ll post the most compelling videos on our Facebook page. The creator of the video that receives the most “likes” will be named the winner, and will receive a prize.
Once recorded, you can even share your video, and the others we post, with your own Congressional delegation via your own social media channels.
Need some ideas on what to tweet? Here are a few you can use:
It is crucially important that we share our stories of service with decision makers in Washington, and this contest offers a perfect opportunity to do just that. The success of this effort hinges on our ability to gather a large amount of quality videos, and we need your help—so step up, get involved, and spread the word.
This post has been passed along from the good people at Voices for National Service.
This year, Common Ground is acting as a search partner for the Echoing Green Foundation. We've had the pleasure of working directly with EG for more than 15 years, as well as with several of their fellows, including George Soros who founded Building Tomorrow. We're working closely with George and his team on a strategic growth plan and just returned from Uganda, where his organization is about to finish building its 10th primary school.
To accelerate social change, Echoing Green invests in and supports outstanding emerging social entrepreneurs to launch new organizations that deliver bold, high-impact solutions. Through a two-year fellowship program, they help their network of visionaries develop new solutions to society’s most difficult problems.
These social entrepreneurs and their organizations work to solve deeply-rooted social, environmental, economic, and political inequities to ensure equal access and to help all individuals reach their potential. To date, Echoing Green has invested nearly $30 million in seed funding to almost 500 social entrepreneurs and their innovative organizations.
Echoing Green unleashes next generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. Through their Fellowship program, they identify promising social entrepreneurs with bold ideas and provide them with up to $90,000 in seed funding, strategic support, leadership development, and a powerful community of nearly 500 other Fellows and Alumni.
Echoing Green is particularly excited to announce a new hands-on approach to preparing applicants from groups underrepresented in their recent classes, This is intended to help them to stand out in the application process—local developing country social entrepreneurs, U.S. Latinos, women, and African-Americans.
View the Application Questions:
The 2012 Echoing Green Fellowship application short answer questions are now available online. While the application doesn’t open until December 5, 2011, the questions and help text are available to give applicants a head start.
Register for a Webinar:
As part of our effort to increase the pool of talent and bold ideas we see each year, we're introducing four new webinars specifically designed for women, African-Americans, U.S.-based Latinos, and local leaders from developing countries. During these webinars, past Fellows from these communities will give advice on how to put your best foot forward.
What's striking to me is that we've added five billion people just in the last one hundred years! Check out this piece re-posted from Machable:
Today, we woke up to the discomfiting news that there are now 7 billion people inhabiting planet Earth. Seems like just yesterday there were only six billion. It’s an important milestone for the world and one big enough that, like most other major events and activities, has its own app: National Geographic Society 7 Billion.
The iPad app is simply called “7 Billion“, which is a number big enough to get anyone’s attention. According to the free app, which is downloadable right now from Apple’s App Store, it would take you 200 years to count to 7 billion out loud. In other words, you’ll never finish. Still, these are the kinds of tantalizing tidbits you’ll find throughout this information rich app. It’s part of National Geographic‘s year-long series on the world’s new population number. National Geographic will deliver new features to the app throughout the year (Cities are the Solution is coming in December).
Inside the app, which ran fairly smoothly on my iPad 1 (but could use clearer navigation–I had a bit of trouble getting out of the opening video), you’ll find over a dozen features and numerous charts, infographics and photos and videos on everything from how income and the average number of children impacts per-country population growth, to what the 7 billion people means for our food and resource supplies. Here’s just some of what I learned from the app:
In 2045 there will be 9 billion people
Every second 5 people are born
Every second 2 people die (you can see the problem)
We’re all living longer: the average Life span is now 69 years old
By 2050, 70% of us will be living in urban areas
We have enough space for all these people: 7 billion people could fit shoulder-to-shoulder in the City of Los Angeles
In 1975 there were three mega-cities (cities with 10 million or more people)
Everyone—students, parents, educators, community members—has a voice in raising awareness of bullying.
National Bullying Prevention Month (October) unites communities nationwide to promote bullying prevention through creative resources designed to engage, educate, and inspire. All schools, organizations, and communities are invited to partner with PACER on this important issue. PACER offers free web-based resources that can be used by schools, parents, and students to promote bullying prevention. Activities include interactive websites, classroom toolkits, letter-writing campaigns, contests, live events, and much more!
PACER offers free toolkits for student-led activities and downloadable posters and other visual displays, as well as bookmarks and other promotional items. Everyone is encouraged to sign the online "The End of Bullying Begins with Me" petition.
Whether you are an educator, student, family, or individual you can take an active role during the month, other exciting opportunities include:
As many of you know, I've been working with the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) for many years now. Today, my friend (and their president) George Hamilton, released an important letter about climate change. Please read his note and check out the video.
There has been much debate in the media lately about whether or not the extreme weather events we’ve been having are caused by climate change.
I say it doesn’t matter.
This year, record-breaking rainfall, drought, and wildfires followed record-breaking floods, landslides, and tornadoes which followed record-breaking snowfall. All over the world.
The fact is 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and is caused primarily by human activities. And a changing climate will mean more frequent and more cataclysmic weather events for all of us.
So whether or not the overwhelming drought in Russia, the catastrophic tornadoes in Missouri, the intense wildfires in Texas, or the devastating floods in my home state of Vermont were each caused by climate change doesn’t really matter.
This is just a sample of what our future will look like if we don’t take action today.
Tomorrow, the Climate Reality Project is inviting people all over the world to share the reality of the climate crisis. People living with the impacts of climate change will tell their story through a presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once an hour for 24 hours, in every time zone around the globe. You can watch at 7pm in your time zone atwww.climaterealityproject.org.
Something exciting is coming to WhiteHouse.gov. It's called We the People and it will significantly change how the public -- you! -- engage with the White House online. Our Constitution guarantees your right to petition our government. Now, with We the People, there is a new way to submit an online petition on a range of issues -- and get an official response. This is such a terrific idea!
Here are the basics:
Individuals will be able to create or sign a petition that calls for action by the federal government on a range of issues. If a petition gathers enough support (i.e., signatures) it will be reviewed by a standing group of White House staff, routed to any other appropriate offices and generate an official, on-the-record response.
How many signatures? Initially petitions that gather more than 5,000 signatures in 30 days will be reviewed and answered.
There's another aspect to this meant to emphasize the grassroots, word of mouth organizing that thrives on the internet. At first, a petition's unique URL will only be known to its creator and will not show up anywhere else on WhiteHouse.gov. It's up to that person to share it in their network to gather an initial amount of signatures -- initially 150 -- before it is searchable on WhiteHouse.gov.
As we move forward, your feedback about We the People will be invaluable, and there are a few ways you can share it. Numerous pages on WhiteHouse.gov, including the We the People section, feature a feedback form. In addition, you can use the twitter hashtag #WHWeb to give the White House digital team advice and feedback. I'll also try to answer questions when I have time today -- you can pose them to @macon44.
Finally, while We the People is a fresh approach to official, online petitions, the United States isn't the first to try; for example, the United Kingdom offers e-petitions, and this work was very helpful as we developed our own.
We’re entrepreneurs. We pour unbelievable amounts of time, hustle, and blood into our companies [or organizations], making sure the product is amazing, the users are delighted, the team is inspired, and the investors are excited about the future.
There’s a lot to do and we’ve got to have the energy and the stamina to last through some very full days. It’s not easy, but we’ve been pulling it off. What’s our secret weapon in this battle against crushing work loads? It’s not an app. It’s not a pill. It’s not a version of GTD. It’s just a simple thing we call working out.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Working out isn’t just about looking sexier, but about getting more out of your mind and body. Most entrepreneurs who get regular physical activity find that there are many other (more practical) reasons for heading to the gym/bike trail/yoga mat. Here’s why we do it:
Perhaps it’s strange to think that expending energy provides more of it, but a 2008 study found that regular low-intensity exercise increased energy by 20% and reduced fatigue by 65% for sedentary people. Work days are tough, big deadlines are stressful, and there are always so many things to do– but we’ve found just an hour in the gym can give us the extra juice we need to power through the day. And on the really busy days when we don’t have an hour to spare, we’ll usually still end up taking 20-25 minutes for a short run, brisk walk, or a set of pushups & situps. We blow off steam and then return happier and more energized.
2011 100 Best Communities for Young People Competition
Deadline: May 27 America's Promise Alliance and the ING Foundation have announced the call for submissions for this year's 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING competition. The 100 Best program recognizes communities that are doing exceptional and innovative work to help reduce high school dropout rates and provide their youth with an outstanding place to live, learn and grow. Community representatives are encouraged to download the application now to gather the information needed, which includes essays by local students. Submit your application by May 4 to be eligible for additional prizes. http://bit.ly/hQZoJ2
Parade All-America High School Service Team Awards
Deadline: May 30
Do you know remarkable youth volunteers that should be recognized for their service? The All-America High School Service Team recognizes students in grades 9 through 12 who have made exemplary contributions in the service areas of: health, education, environment, economics or community. These students see service as a solution to solve community problems and use the power of stories to inspire others to action. The top 50 finalists, 10 per issue category, will receive certificates. The top 15 (3 per issue category), will receive a two-day paid trip to Washington, D.C. to receive their award and special recognition. The deadline to nominate for this prestigious award has just been extended to Monday, May 30th, 5:00pm EST. http://bit.ly/ige3KJ
Jumpstart Youth-led Intergenerational Programs Deadline: May 31 Generations United and MetLife Foundation are awarding grants of $1,000 to organizations in developing youth-led intergenerational programs. Projects can range from young people assisting older people in delivering meals, teaching technology, or helping with projects around the house; or younger and older people working together to address a community issue, build a community garden or create an arts project - and many other creative projects. http://bit.ly/mCprqx
MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award Deadline: May 31 Nominate a program for the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award and be highlighted in one of Afterschool Alliance's Issue Briefs: Providing Opportunities for Service Learning for Middle School Students; Aligning Afterschool with the School Day for Middle School; Addressing Middle School Bullying; and Supporting Literacy for Middle School Students. Awardees and other notable nominees will be recognized in the related Issue Brief and in the final compendium. Each of the 5 recipients will receive an award of $10,000 to be used to continue or improve upon the highlighted program. http://bit.ly/kKQCIl
NOYS Youth Turn It Around Awards Deadline: May 31 Has a traffic tragedy occurred in a community near you? You can create an educational and sustainable project to help prevent the tragedy from happening again: Utilize the YOUTH-Turn resources; Send your project proposal to YOUTH-Turn; and Implement the project in May 2011 for National Youth Traffic Safety Month. There is no timeline required of when the tragedy occurred. First Place = $5,000. Second Place = $3,000. Third Place = $2,000. http://bit.ly/lxCTif
KaBOOM! Playful City USA Grants
Deadline: June 1 A total of 103 grants worth $2.1 million are available to Playful City USA recognized cities and towns between 2011-13. Grants range in values of $30,000, $20,000 and $15,000 and will be awarded to existing Playful City USA communities as well as communities receiving Playful City USA recognition for the first time. Communities wishing to receive grants and apply for Playful City USA status must meet five core commitments of the program: Create a local play commission task force; Design an annual action plan for play; Conduct a playspace audit of all publicly accessible play areas; Identify current spending on capital projects and maintenance of playspaces; and Proclaim and celebrate an annual "KaBOOM! Play Day". Cities and towns can apply to become a Playful City USA community by completing the online application http://bit.ly/eM5MCz
WKCD Grad Speech Contest 2011 Deadline: June 1 "Embracing Mistakes" is the theme for the 2011 WKCD Graduation Speech Contest, because we want to hear from you—whether you are a senior or a freshman—about the good side of getting things wrong. The contest is open to youth ages 12 to 19. The speech must be 300 - 500 words long and address the theme, "Embracing Mistakes." There will be five winners ($100 gift certificate from Amazon.com). Winning speeches along with honorable mentions will appear on the WKCD website. http://bit.ly/map7rW
Be Big In Your Community Contest
Deadline: June 17 Scholastic's Be Big Fund will help bring the winning BIG Idea that helps make your community a better place to life with help from Clifford, HandsOn Network and American Family Insurance. Awards include 1 $25,000 Grand Prize honoree, 10 $2,500 first place honorees and 19 $1.315 second place honorees will be selected. Be Big Fund prizes must be used to implement the winning proposals. http://bit.ly/eSU7Om
Tom's of Maine 50 States for Good Community Sponsorship Program Deadline: June 21 50 States for Good is a national initiative to support the goodness behind grassroots community projects. Six organizations will share in our $150,000 sponsorship fund, including one organization that will be given $50,000! Our panel of judges will select 20 organizations doing great things in their communities to be voted on by you. http://bit.ly/iMP8DX
Net Literacy Financial Connects Contest
Deadline: Rolling through June 30, 2011 Net Literacy is a student-founded nonprofit where students comprise 50% of the board of directors. Thanks to support from State Farm, students from across the country to submit short videos that teach a lesson about the importance of financial literacy. Video entries win $100 to $500 and web-based games win $500 to $1000. We hope to give away $100,000 in prizes as students provide the content to build a national financial literacy using their words to explain the importance of being financially literate. Eligibility: all full-time or part-time students - videos and games can be developed by a student, a group of students, or a classroom project. http://bit.ly/eDkDlX
Captain Planet Environment Grants
Deadline: June 30 These grant opportunities support hands-on environmental projects that empower children and youth around the world to solve environmental problems in their communities. There are multiple awards ranging from $250 to $2,500. http://bit.ly/e9bXNd
American Dream Photo Contest
Deadline: July 4
The American Dream Photo Contest is an online initiative designed specifically to involve youth in the Opportunity Nation campaign in a meaningful way. To enter, anyone can upload two original pictures - one of their American Dream and one of their American Reality. Their images will be displayed together on a personalized web page on the OpportunityNation site, juxtaposing two visions of opportunity in America. Youth will then share their personalized link via Twitter and Facebook, sparking a dialogue with their friends and peers across the country surrounding their American Dream. The entry with the most ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ will have a chance to win great prizes, including a new Wifi iPad2 or a trip for two to the OpportunityNation national summit in New York City this November! http://bit.ly/lLjy0y
Best Buy Community Grants Deadline: August 1 Best Buy teams across the U.S. select non-profit organizations that provide positive experiences to help teens to excel in school and develop life and leadership skills. Non-profits located within 50 miles of a Best Buy store or Regional Distribution Center may apply. Grants will average $4,000-$6,000 and will not exceed $10,000. http://bit.ly/l8gGrz
Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science + Technology + Engineering + Math Education Competition
Deadline: August 3
If you are a changemaker with STEM expertise and the desire to realize bold, imaginative ideas for educating young people in the United States—especially in our highest-need schools—we want to hear from you! We are seeking creative approaches to solving the country’s STEM challenge by bringing the passion and real-life skills of STEM experts to advance STEM learning in public schools. The competition is open to innovations in the United States. More than $120,000 in cash and in-kind prizes from Ashoka’s Changemakers, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Opportunity Equation, and our prize sponsors.http://bit.ly/l1Surk
Home Depot Community Impact Grants Program
Deadline: October 31 The Home Depot Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations, public schools, and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income and/or transitional housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income and/or transitional housing or community facilities; planting trees or community gardens and/or landscaping community facilities; and development of community parks or green spaces. Grants of up to $5,000 are made in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. http://bit.ly/eIis5T
Today is World Health Day, an event held on the 7th April every year since 1950 to mark the founding of the World Health Organisation and an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health.
This year the World Health Organisation has devoted World Health Day toantimicrobial resistance. This is a problem that is becoming more widespread as bacteria, viruses and parasites develop resistance to antibiotic. Antibiotics and antimicrobial drugsa have changed human history since their introduction in the 1940s, reducing the burden of major diseases such as syphilis, tuberculosis (TB), and leprosy. But in a statement on the WHO website Margaret Chan raises the prospect of a “post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and will, once again, kill unabated.” This statement underlines the urgency of the issue in malaria and TB in particular – resistance to the latest generation of malaria drugs has been detected and although worldwide deaths from TB are declining, the WHO reports that nearly half a million people last year developed multidrug resistant TB. (This videohighlights the effect of drug-resistant TB in Kazakstan, Lesotho and the Philippines).
A major factor contributing to the growth of antimicrobial resistance is the inappropriate use of medicines and this features in the six point policy package that the WHO proposes to encourage governments to take the right measures to tackle the problem. The package emphasizes the need to regulate medicine use and ensure that patients gain uninterrupted access to essential medicines, to enhance infection prevention and control, as well as developing comprehensive national financial plans, strengthening laboratory and surveillance capacity, and help foster innovation and research into new tools to deal with the problems.
The Glimpse Correspondents Program is for talented writers and photographers with a passion for storytelling and a knack for finding truly unique stories. The program is open to anyone who will be working, volunteering, or studying outside of their home country for at least 10 weeks.
And it is super cool!
Glimpse believes that independent travelers, particularly those who spend significant time abroad, have a unique and often overlooked opportunity to effect positive change around the world. This begins with bearing witness to place, people, culture, and especially the stories and struggles that might otherwise go unrecorded.
Glimpse is a worldwide program powered by Matador and supported in part by the National Geographic Society. Glimpse connects young writers, journalists, photographers, and filmmakers with professional editors who help them develop their storytelling voice and media skills.
Correspondents receive the following benefits:
Support from a team of professional editors
Career training in writing and photography
Guaranteed publication on Glimpse.org and Matador Network
Thanks for visiting the blog for Common Ground Consulting LLC. We would love for you to participate directly in our work. If you have seen us in action and have comments or questions, or if you are just interested in what we're doing, please post!