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Every 10 years we count.
Take 10 minutes out of your day and fill out your 10 question census form. You know, the one you received in the mail a few weeks ago? I sat down to do mine this weekend and it only took me 5 minutes and was super easy. The U.S. Census Bureau is encouraging everyone to mail their forms in by April 1, this is really no joke.
It is vital that every person gets counted for the 2010 Census. Every 10 years as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the Census determines the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funds each year. According to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, for every person not counted, our region will lose more than $11,500 in federal funding in the next decade. Why would we leave that money on the table when our state and region is in such financial turmoil?
Some of the things that the Census determines:
- boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts
- locations for retail stores, schools, senior centers, hospitals, job training centers, new housing developments and other community facilities
- funding for infrastructure like bridges, tunnels and other public works projects
Many nonprofits, businesses and government agencies are getting involved in spreading the word about the importance of being counted. Some groups like the SF Chamber of Commerce are even challenging other cities to see who can have the highest participation rates.
The Census Bureau has been working on the 2010 census since 2000 and has an amazing multi-media site full of interactive videos, photos and details about the census and the importance of being counted.
For example, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves explains how people can view 2010 Census mail participation rates of their communities and compare them with the rates of other areas around the country.
Won’t you please take 10 minutes, fill out 10 questions and be counted?
Your community will thank you.
Blue Avocado has a great newsletter for the nonprofit community, and they have a great article by Bay Area community activist Brenda Crawford, discussing how she’s gotten “old and wise” and plans to use her long career in community activism to convene and strengthen her local community.
At Craigslist Foundation, we are passionate about the type of work that Brenda is undertaking and believe strong communities and neighborhoods are the cornerstone of civic society. During Boot Camp, you’ll find lots of ideas and resources for building consensus among community members and strengthening neighborhoods.
I love that she writes, “my younger self might say I’ve gotten soft and tired. No: I’ve gotten old and wise.”
Craigslist Foundation has a new home and some fabulous new neighbors. Last week, we moved our offices to Market Street into a shared space with liveBooks, a design company that produces award-winning custom and pre-designed websites. Not only is the new space beautiful and spacious but liveBooks threw a welcome happy hour in our honor on Friday which was a blast. Thank You liveBooks!
We have been busy unpacking and getting our cubes jazzed up. Send us your ideas on how we can make our cubes more personal. Here is a photo album about our move on Flickr including (a la craigslist) pictures of a desk set that we are selling and a free mini-fridge that we are giving away.
As community builders we are excited to be part of a new neighborhood which is part of the Central Market Community Benefit District. The neighborhood is definitely changing and new development seems to be occurring daily. Here is a recent SF Examiner article about the alley behind our new offices. Best of all there is great food nearby including the delicious Tu Lan and the new, tasty ShowDogs. Yum.
I have been glued to my computer reading the latest news about the 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 and am overwhelmed with sadness about the situation.
NBC News Correspondent Kerry Sanders called Port-au-Prince “the saddest place on earth.” To see a good video from the Red Cross about the situation go to the allforgood.org home page or click here: Earthquake in Haiti
The situation is horrendous and after looking at the pictures and reading about the extent of the devastation, it is hard to know when the suffering will end. President Obama called for a “swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives”. Governments from around the world, including the US, are sending support in the form of rescue teams, food, supplies and money. Many relief organizations have created special funds to get much needed cash to organizations, like the Red Cross, who already have relief workers on the ground.
Kudos to craigslist for their quick response in setting up a page with helpful resources about additional worthy organizations that you can support and creating an earthquake forum for people to post questions and share information about the relief response.
Facebook and Twitter are playing a big role in getting information out and also mobilizing relief donation efforts as well as a coordinated effort from cell phone providers to have people text “HAITI” to 90999 to automatically donate $10 to The International Red Cross. Your cell phone company will add it to your bill. I did it tonight and it was super easy and I hope that more people will join this campaign. Jeffrey Nelson, Verizon Wireless spokesman, who called it “the biggest day in the history of mobile giving in the U.S.” As of this morning according to the State Department, over $3.8 million has already been raised through the campaign.
We at Craigslist Foundation are encouraged by the power of communities to come together and help not only support communities in crisis but also work together to rebuild and avoid the man-made problems that make this situation so much worse.
I think that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it best on NPR last night to the people of Haiti “we are with you”–I just hope that we can get there in time to save some lives and to continue helping the Haitian people to rebuild their community after the immediate crisis is over.
Earlier this year we teamed up with The Phoenix Project to look at the state of service learning. For those unfamiliar with service learning, it’s where a service project is integrated with classroom learning. This was a great opportunity for us to get a glimpse of how young people are actively engaged in strengthening their communities, and how their universities and professors are supporting those efforts and relating them to academic study.
We wanted to learn more about not only participation levels but what’s working and what’s not in service learning among three groups of participants: students, university faculty and staff, and community organizations.
We’ve shared a bit about our service learning conversations and what we learned at http://craigslistfoundation.org/servicelearning.html. We hope it contributes to the evolution of service learning.
Yesterday, Craig and I spent the morning with the great folks at St. Anthony Foundation in the SF Tenderloin.
Inspiring and important community building work going on there! Their Tech Lab is a great model. They are helping bridge the digital divide and enable those in need with some very valuable online time and instruction (from volunteers like Ann). Ann was impacted by Washington Mutual workforce downsizing back in Feburary and decided to look for a rewarding volunteer job during this year of transition. She feel in love with the St. Anthony Foundation and has been teaching basic computing classes for months. When Craig and I stopped by, it was the first day of a new class term and the room was at capacity — filled with smiles.
Their biggest need is for additional bandwidth to service the 37 workstations and hundreds of guests flowing through their doors. They’d love for someone like AT&T or Comcast to step in.
For those of you who enjoy success stories, Francis Aviani (SAF Communications/Media Manager) shared this great one with us.
Sonny’s life came to a halt when he was sentenced to serve eight years in a federal penitentiary. When he was released the entire world, and especially the Bay Area, had changed dramatically. Technology had taken over the way groceries are purchased, the way apartments are found, the way appointments are made, and the way jobs are applied for. When looking for resources he was invariably told “go to our website”. When waiting for responses he was asked for his email address. Yet he had never used a computer, nor did he know where to gain access to one.
Sonny heard about the Tenderloin Technology Lab at the halfway house for recently released inmates where he lives. The Tech Lab, a partnership between St. Anthony Foundation and San Francisco Network Ministries, offers free computer classes and drop-in computer access where Sonny is one of the 250 students whom the Tech Lab serves each month.
He was intimidated at first, and with no previous computer experience Sonny did not know how or where to begin. It was Sonny’s hope that his 3G welding certification would be his ticket to solid employment and a smooth re-entry to society. Before he was incarcerated, the housing boom was flourishing and welders were in high demand. After his release and after calling 127 iron shops without a single call back, he knew he needed a new plan, and his success in the non-institutionalized world depended on it.
“It’s a big jump for anybody; in a small sense it’s pretty frightening because you don’t know how to use it, and everything is so computerized now its overwhelming. But with a few of the teachers here, step by step we’re slowly going through it, and if you have any questions, ask they are more than willing to help you.”
Developing new skills to access basics such as employment and housing are essential for the recently incarcerated to find consistent shelter and food. The chances of a successful re-entry into society are very slim, with almost no rehabilitation programs available to prepare for their release. California’s recidivism rate is 70%; the nation’s highest.
Within a month of attending Tech Lab classes Sonny learned to search for employment online, built a résumé and cover letter, opened an email account to send employment inquiries, was offered two interviews, and secured employment. Without access to new computer skills and technology and the personalized attention and encouragement of Tech Lab staff, none of that would have been possible.
“I believe if you are trying hard and looking for the right thing and you put your nose to the grindstone, it’s going to come for you, and if you use the resources available. I just happened to get lucky. Real lucky.”
At Craigslist Foundation, our mission is to connect people to the resources they need to build stronger and healthier communities.
As part of that mission, we like to let you know about a few Bay Area events in October that you may want to check out:
October 22-23 – BizTech Day in San Francisco
October 29 – 2009 Marin Nonprofit Conference in San Rafael, presented by the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin.
One of the reasons we like the AllForGood application so much is that it’s such a match for what we do: connecting people to ways they can strengthen their communities. AllforGood is really one small part of a cultural shift that’s been brewing for a while. The news tells us the economy’s bad. People see their friends, and unfortunately themselves, being laid off. Prices have been rising. The environment is stressed out. People wonder: what can I do?
The answer is simple: do something – but it’s not always as simple as a slogan like that. People get stuck on how to get started and whether they’ll actually make a difference. What organizations can they hook up with on their cause of choice? Which of their friends wants to join them? Does it matter if they’ve never been an active player in their community before? This gap between wanting to be involved and actually being in action is what AllForGood is helping with online, and what we’ll be helping with on Saturday at Boot Camp.
It’s great to see that President Obama is making this movement “official” by encouraging us all to get involved this summer through United We Serve and serve.gov (whose listings are powered by AllforGood).
If you’re near the San Francisco Bay Area, a great way to kick off this summer’s efforts is to join us at Boot Camp this weekend. It’s a huge gathering of not only folks who have gotten into action and made pretty spectacular change, but also people just like us, people who are psyched to get involved and just need a little knowledge and a turbo boost to help us get started strengthening our communities.
The Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University has announced the call for applications for the 2009 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. All US-based 501(c)3-registered organizations are eligible.
Applications and more information are available here. Submissions are due by July 1 at 3pm PDT.
If you have questions about the application or award process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.