16 People and Organizations Changing the World in 2012

I recently invited people to share blog posts explaining How You Will Change the World in 2012 for the new Social Good Blog Series I launched earlier this month. Changing the World requires planning and it’s important to think about what problems really need solving. I wasn’t sure what kind of response I’d get to this call for big ideas. You all didn’t disappoint.

I hope you enjoy reading some of these ideas as much as I did! I’m sharing a taste of what people shared here and a link to each person’s post so you can read their full reflections.

  • Intimate and personal conversation is a powerful means for revealing the truth. Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn and MomsRising, shared her idea for a citizen’s movement to create real change. “When I watch our leaders and media, the focus seems to be primarily on our political differences… Perhaps we could help lead the leaders out of this destructive political bickering we find ourselves engaged in again and again, despite the earnest desire many have to find common ground. Perhaps here in our local communities with 6 people of good will who hold different view points, we can begin to discover how we can have a meaningful conversation that will help us exit this hall of mirrors.” Check out the rest of Joan’s post to learn more about her Living Room Conversations project.
  • Jim Moriarity, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation, shared how Surfrider which is comprised of 250,000 supporters and 84 chapters across the U.S will Change the World in 2012 by protecting the coasts through engaged activism and by scaling effective ideas across a connected learning network. “A network becomes stronger, more valuable and more potent when it consistently learns from itself,” said Moriarity.
  • A thought-provoking question is often the best conversation starter. Rabbi Josh Feigelson thinks that we are forgetting how to ask universal questions that matter to all of us regardless of our religious beliefs or socio-economic background. “In 2012, I want to change the world through better conversation. I want to help college students create the space for conversations that matter. I want to help diverse groups of people find commonality by embracing their diversity,” said Feigelson. So here’s what he’s doing: Rabbi Feigelson is leading a national project with his colleague Sheila Katz called Ask Big Questions which is housed at Hillel International. The program will be on 13 college campuses and will bring thousands of college students together for these kinds of conversations which will take place in person and on social networks. Read the rest of what Rabbi Feigelson has to say about asking Big Questions. I think he’s on to something here.
  • David B. Crowley, President and Founder of SCI Social Capital Inc. thinks we need a National Civic Communication Corps to ensure everyone “equal access to the digital information and resources that have become the lifeblood of our economy and crucial to our civic life.” His organization is launching the National Civic Communication Corps in the fall of 2012 with partners in Chicago, Minnesota and San Antonio. Read David’s plans for the Corp.
  • We face a lot of challenges on issues of Women’s Rights. Caroline Crosbie, Senior Vice President at Pathfinder International, shares why she feels 2012 is The Year to Change the World for Girls and Women.”How do we address all of those needs, from skilled birth attendants to HIV care, education to unsafe abortion, early marriage to family planning? I believe 2012 is the year we’ll start to make radical change on all of these issues.” Read how Caroline hopes to scale Pathfinder’s successes and lessons learned.
  • Creating lasting change requires personal commitment. Sahmie Sunshine Wytewa challenges the community to make a personal commitment in our own networks, in a post on Inspiring Women Towards Leadership. In 2012 she hopes to “provide opportunities for women to nurture their talents, restore confidence, and guide and inspire each potential leader to share their experiences with one another.”
  • Changing the world is serious business, but sometimes the most helpful thing to increase your community’s impact is to have a little fun. Lesley Mansford, CEO of Razoo.com, says that she remembers when fun was at the center of charitable giving like local bake sales or community potluck dinners in her post Joy (of Giving) to the World in 2012.  “My goal for 2012 is to bring some of that analog joy to digital fundraisers; to bring the sense of togetherness, accomplishment, and yes, the sense of FUN back into giving,” said Mansford.
  • When you are working on a lot of exciting changes it can help to keep a list. Claire Diaz Ortiz, the head of social innovation at Twitter and author of Twitter for Good shares her list with us. She’s got a lot on her plate for 2012 including writing a new book, hosting a Twitter for Good Unconference, raising funds for her organization Hope Run, supporting Global Citizen Year wherever she can. If you’ve read Twitter for Good, you know she spends nearly a whole chapter diving into the way that Global Citizen Year has used Twitter. And for good reason. Read more from Claire.
  • Even though it’s been a tough year for folks with all of the human rights abuses happening in Egypt and Syria and record foreclosures here at home, Susan Gordon, Director of Nonprofit Services at Causes remains hopeful for 2012. Why? because  over the past year, she’s seen passionate activists use their tools on Causes for real, off-line impact. For example, Eric Ding funded his first cancer research study from donations through the cause he started from his med school dorm room. In 2012, the Causes team hopes to take this to a whole new level. You can see a sneak preview of their new pledge feature at www.causes.com/itcanwait. You can also read more of Susan’s post here.
  • Susan Marenoff, President of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, shares her vision for the museum’s future in a post about Inspiring Our Youth in 2012 and Beyond. This year the museum will welcome Enterprise, the first Space Shuttle Orbiter, continue it’s educational programming, and inspire youth to be curious and think big.
  • The Unites States has a lot of room to improve when it comes to global education and David Potter, Chief Development Officer at iEARN-USA, shares his vision for global education in his blog post, America’s Educational Exceptionalism. David writes about the collaboration model of the Connect All Schools consortium. In David’s mind, “if we set a goal in 2012 to internationalize education for all US students, future generations of Americans will be outward-looking, locally and globally engaged, multilingual, and empathetic.”
  • Wayne Parcelle, Executive Director of the Humane Society of the United States wants to change the world for animals in 2012. One of his big goals is to increase the adoptions of homeless pets and end the abuse of dogs at puppy mills. Read more about Wayne’s goals on his blog.
  • Bessie and Claude DiDomenica over at Secretary of Innovation, share their ideas about building bridges and making connections by sharing “the beauty and diversity of life as a reminder that everything is part of the Web of Life.”
  • Microfinance and peer lending services are an interesting model for alleviating poverty. Daniel Kreps wants to help low income communities through a Community Development Banker Corps. Read more about Daniel’s social enterprise idea.
  • Jim Lair Beard wants to convince people to take more action on the ground in his post Frying Pan. Check out his ideas about how Change Will Not Be Downloaded.
  • Moritz Bartl is taking an interesting approach to changing the world in 2012 with his Hackerbus project. He’s going to be visiting hacker and maker spaces across Europe, doing interviews, and promoting Creative Commons and open data. Happy Trails, Moritz.
Thanks to everyone who submitted their ideas. I hope you share your own plans to change the world in 2012 with us in the comments. Thanks for all the good work that you do!

0 thoughts on “16 People and Organizations Changing the World in 2012

  1. Great list.
    One person, with the help of others, can make a difference. My single focus is to fight for the privacy rights of US voters and consumers.
    In 2011 I helped lead the online fight against HR 3035 (the mobile phone robocall bill) that would have allowed robocalls by BUSINESSES to your mobile phone. This was a bill promoted by the extremely consumer unfriendly Debt Collection industry.
    In three months the bill was dead, gone, and buried.
    We used both on the ground feet on Cap Hill AND online activism to defeat the bill. Here is a great summary of how it all went down > http://www.slideshare.net/POPVOX/hr-3035-slideshow
    At the start, no one thought we had a chance.
    In 2012 I will continue my fight for the right of American voters to receive privacy protections from Politicians at The National Political Do Not Contact Registry (www.StopPoliticalCalls.org).
    But.. my newest venture is to transform citizen communication with politicians by giving voters their own voice. Literally.
    ReverseRobocall.com allows voters to send their own recorded message to congress, state and local politicians AND lobbyists with the click of a button IN THEIR OWN VOICE.
    For the first time the public can hear, in voters own voice, what they think about issues.
    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Co-Founder ReverseRobocall.com
    CEO and Founder StopPoliticalCalls.org
    Founder Privacy Camp (@PrivacyCamp)
    Founder #PrivChat on Privacy on twitter


  2. Craig,

    You are a constant inspiration! Your depth of motivation and connectivity “for the good” can only come from one place….an awesome heart.
    This list is incredible. It inspires us all to keep moving forward with our own social causes while providing a real connection to others who are doing the same.
    While our family is currently facing some tough medical issues, it has not stopped me from continuing our plan to create jobs in Merced County via a NFP educational organization utilizing local volunteer skilled professionals and local youth groups working side by side to learn real life skills that can translate into future job options.
    My motto is “you can move mountains, even if it is only one grain of sand at a time.” While the first quarter of 2012 will see our family focused on health interventions and subsequent healing, it will also provide me with more down time to continue planning and planning and planning… holding tight to the belief that all will be possible, in it’s time. Who knows? Maybe we will make your list next year!
    Thank you for all you do to help the lives of those who have served, and those in need. You and everyone on this list are an inspiration!


  3. Thanks, Craig, for the mention of iEARN’s initiative to connect every school in the US with the world somehow by 2016. We all know that having 21st century skills (global competence, technical literacy, ability to work collaboratively in teams, reading/writing and critical thinking) are imperative for success in all careers. We now must ensure that ALL US youth have the opportunity to gain them, not just those privileged enough to travel abroad. In addition to enhancing careers, a citizenry with global perspectives and connections can contribute to a more peaceful planet as we interact with others around the world with respect and empathy.

    Ed Gragert


  4. Craig,
    Thank you for the acknowledgment of my blog and of Frying Pan News. You do great work and I’m especially appreciative of the work you do with The Center for Public Integrity. We can never have enough facts in our discourse. All the best for The New Year!
    Jim Lair Beard


  5. Hi,
    I’m working on a non-profit that will bring peace between animal rights activists and meat companies. Something which has been incredibly difficult (to get people to focus on solutions, not on fighting) but is slowly gaining speed. I didn’t see where to post about our missions to you. Will you be doing this again, or where is the area to submit our organizations?
    Humane Meat USA


  6. Hi Craig,

    We’re inspired by your post, belatedly, to share how we’ll change the world in 2012. We’ll use your submission form, as you mentioned to Sarah, above, but we wanted to let you know that even though you posted your original challenge a month ago, you continue to inspire others! Thank you.

    J. Marlow Schmauder


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