If you look at science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet the people in this unnamed movement and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart.

March 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you look at science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet the people in this unnamed movement and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart.
Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History is Restoring Grace, Justice and Beauty to the world. 

Happy Mardi Gras/100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day!

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Lately, I have been working hard to finalize a proposal for my non-profit organization I plan to start. In my organization, single mothers in East African urban slums will enter into a two year program where they receive resources such as classes and business training, employment, childcare and micro-finance loans. These opportunities create stronger, educated women who are eager to make a difference in their own communities. 

I believe to the core that investing in women and girls is key in helping to diminish global poverty and no matter what happens with my non-profit this belief will never change. 

One of my main inspirations for the project is Nicholas Kristof. If you don’t know the extreme respect I have for him, you don’t know me. Today in his blog, Kristof reminded me that today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in a way that honored Muhammed Yunus. Yunus, a Nobel laureate,  started Grameem bank and revolutionized business loans to create an idea that gave out small loans to the impoverished. He has created a movement that has helped millions of women generate income and create lives outside of poverty. Yunus has recently been removed from his position as managing director. This ridiculous move was made by Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s female prime minister. She reasons it is because Yunus is older than the allowed retirement age.

In Kristof’s blog, Do Women Leaders Matter?, he approaches the idea that women empowerment goes deeper than just electing a woman leader. Sheikh Hasnia is proof that just because a woman is in power does not mean she necessarily creates positive change. Kristof states that “women’s rights isn’t a battle between men and women, it’s also not the case that the only beneficiaries will be women. When girls get educated, when women enter the formal labor force, when female talent can be realized, then all society benefits, men along with women.”

Kristof’s words in this blog describe exactly what I am working for. I am not working for women empowerment just to make sure women are equal to men, even though this is well deserved, but to benefit society as a whole. The quicker the world can see this, the quicker we can make positive change. 

The 30 Project

March 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

The 30 Project works simultaneously to solve the anti-hunger and anti-obesity issues in the world in the next 30 years. According to The 30 Project, through domestic and international efforts, hunger and obesity are coinciding causes that can be solved through awareness and education about nutrition and food and better food industry practices.

Currently, the 30 Project has a few plans up their sleeve to make this happen. These plans include dinner parties to help build conversation within your own community about food. It seems they are also planning on using advocacy as a majority of their beginning projects. They have ideas for workshops, keynote speakers, and an awareness campaign to reach out, educate and bring together communities to help eradicate hunger and obesity in the next 30 years.

They have a great website that does a great job in describing their mission and vision. Take a gander here.

Google: If you fail, fail fast.

February 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

At this point, you can only expect brilliance from Google and when you don’t, you get over it fast. Remember Google wave? Do you still care about Google buzz? These were Google failures, but the impact of these failures, especially on Google, were minimal. One of the reasons Google has become such a successful and innovative organization is due to their mantra “Fail fast, fail smart.” They’re not fearful of new ideas and more importantly, they’re not fearful of executing these new ideas, full force until they are successes (Gchat, Google Docs, Google Earth, etc, etc, etc) or until they fail, in which case Google gets over it, fast.

Any company, but especially non-profits can learn from Google’s theory in failing fast. Go forward with good ideas, but if it doesn’t work, move past it and move past it fast.

On a slightly different note, one of Google’s latest successes, Demo Slam, is one of the best campaigns I’ve seen in awhile. It allowed every day google users like you and me to participate and apparently, every day google users like you and I are brilliant. I’ve spent a good amount of time watching every presentation and loving each one. If you haven’t already, check it out.

How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Spark Change

February 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

As I move the organization I work for into the world of web, I am constantly thinking about how we fit into the social media world. While everything is incorporated into social media these days it is difficult to find out how you can use social media in an innovative way without overwhelming users. As a nonprofit, especially a service organization, we have several audiences that we need to reach out to (i.e. not just the consumer). We have the individuals we serve, our donors and those who help our organization be successful (in most cases this is volunteers, in our case it is the businesses who hire our clients). There is a delicate balance in social media that I feel many people are not aware of: juggling your audiences, always being innovative and at the same time consistent, and finally being able to educate your constituents about the issue your nonprofit addresses while communicating action taking place by your organization.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy came out with a terrific article filled with great tips on how nonprofits can effectively use social media. While many of these articles I come across about Social Media give blatantly obvious advice (“use Facebook to get volunteers!”), this one discusses a lot of important points that many nonprofits often overlook. As I launch our new website and bring my organization into the social media age (finally!), I will be referring back to this article and to many of the organizations who do a great job in working with social media (Invisible Children, Charity Water, Susan G. Komen Foundation) for inspiration and direction.

February 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently I entered a competition for Ideas for Impact. The challenge was this: Envision a business that can be consistently profitable in the New York City area, while creating meaningful employment opportunities for people who need a second chance in life. The business has to have room for plenty of laborers, be relatively low-skill work and have room for growth.

My idea was to create a green roof company called Second Chance Roofs that would serve the 5 boroughs of New York City. The company would not only create these roofs, but also maintain them. Because most of these workers would have already been trained, other green roof companies could contract out to Second Chance roofs for maintenance or larger projects they may not have the laborers for.

For larger roofs, there will be vegetation section that the employees of Second Chance Roofs could go in, collect the fruits, vegetables and herbs and sell them in different markets.

The idea would create immediate employment, allow these employees to move up in the company as well as in the field of green jobs, create an opportunity for the employees to learn about running a business (the market) and be sustainable in terms of the economy and the environment.

After that whole long spiel, what I am getting at is that I’ve put together a little infographic to explain the benefits of green roofs.

A picture is worth a thousand words

February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

  

I always thought the only thing good about February was the fact that it’s short. However, I have forgotten that February is the time of the judging of POY (Pictures Of the Year). As the results come out, I am constantly blown away by the talent that exists in the photojournalism field and the way these photographers are able to capture the world. I am excited to check in on each category as the judging continues through February. 

(The picture above won First Place for the Impact 2010 category and shows earthquake in Haiti)