Hey there, folks –
It's craigconnects' 2nd anniversary already, and we've worked with some real good people in the last year to get stuff done. This year I'm also focusing a lot on vets and military families, and I've teamed up with Crowdrise to do a big campaign to raise money for these organizations, which will launch in a few months. I'd like to encourage any organizations working with vets and military families to get in touch with Crowdrise on how they can participate.
A few highlights of the good orgs and folks we've worked with for social good:
- I went to a really good conference and hackathon addressing Truthiness in Digital Media last year. While I'm not going to tell anyone how to do their job, I feel the country needs the news media to restore trust in their reporting, in large part, by doing lots of factchecking again.
- I worked with some good folks focusing on Voter Suppression issues to create an Infographic about Voter's rights, Think You Have the Right to Vote? Not so much! There are some bad actors that are trying to pass legislation that will keep eligible people from voting.
- Re: voting, I supported the good folks at Election Protection, Lawyers' Committee, NOI, and Ushahidi who developed and launched Our Vote Live to help people out if they encountered problems while trying to vote.
- And in this past year, I discovered that it's a new era of squirrel-based activism with the #Squirrels4Good campaign we did with the National Wildlife Federation, who really have their boots on the ground. I gave $1 for each use of the hashtag #Squirrels4Good, and donated $10K to NWF. Those squirrels really are urban survivors.
- Folks often email me asking for support with their campaigns. I tell 'em to email me the links to their posts, and maybe they should do ask their supporters to do the same. Here's a little post about how to easily share your posts for the most visibility.
- I've been quietly working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau including Liz Warren and Holly Petraeus, on stuff like customer service tech. They're for real, getting stuff done. The CFPB does stuff like protecting regular people from predatory financial institutions.
- We created a few memes to talk about current affairs:
What I think happens with memes is that they get into someone's brain as code, executes in one's brain, and then spreads the idea of the meme using the person as a host where it is spreads to other people (hopefully in an epidemic manner). Again, I'm speaking literally, which shows I read too much science fiction. But it's not all science fiction.
Other things that happened over the last year:
- A good friend of mine, Maria Teresa Kumar, Co-Founder and President of Voto Latino, and actress America Ferrera began a new media, grassroots campaign called America4America. The campaign's main message "Don't Let Anyone Scare You" is geared toward Latino Voters. The campaign is doing good stuff educating young folks about issues like voter ID laws and immigration.
- Okay, I was chatting with Reshma Saujani from Girls Who Code last year, providing modest social media help, and blurted out that "code is power." And I still think that it's true. Girls Who Code is a nonprofit that teaches under-served girls how to computer program.
- Speaking of women in tech, Allyson Kapin, craigconnects team member and founder of Women Who Tech, co-authored a book with Amy Sample Ward of NTEN called Social Change Anytime Everywhere. I wrote the book foreword and had a chance to talk nerdy about why nonprofits need to use social media and online channels to reach people.
- Last summer I wanted to help out with the massive wildfires that were blazing across Colorado and the people (and animals) there that needed help dealing with the damage. I committed a matching donation up to $5K to support the good folks at a local American Red Cross. They're doing the real hard work on the ground to help those in immediate need. Small gesture on my part, but it's something…
- I worked with the good folks at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to create an infographic explaining how CDA 230 really protects Internet speech.
- I've been teching across the globe, funding tech labs around the globe. Ranging from San Francisco to Kenya, a Beduoin village in Israel, to Haiti and India, and the Palestinian West Bank; this is a really big deal. It's important that people have access to the voice that they may not have otherwise.
- Hurricane Sandy was real serious. It caused a lot of damage across the East Coast including my hometown Morristown, New Jersey from downed power lines to major flooding. I did my small part with Crowdrise by matching $25K to relief organizations like the American Red Cross, Feeding America, AmeriCares, IAVA, and National Wildlife Federation, who have their boots on the ground and help people (and the little furry ones) out. We raised over $110K!
- I spoke at the Poynter Journalism Ethics Symposium last October. I spoke only as a news consumer, I just want news I can trust. The press should be the immune system of democracy, and needs to fulfill that role again.
- The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Sixth Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit was this past November. There were some real great folks there, and we raised some money for a good cause. My match of $25k was met during the event, and another donor matched $25k on Friday. A total of over $3 million was raised. The wounded warriors and their families have really stood up for us, now it’s time we stood up for them.
- I teamed up with the good folks at National Wildlife Federation once again to raise money for the furry little critters. I asked folks on social media to #Hoot2Give. Each time someone used the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, I gave $1 to NWF (up to $5k). In just a few days there were over 5k mentions and a lot of really cute photos of owls.
- I asked folks, how does the Internet give you a voice? I collected answers about how the Internet gives people a voice and shared them on Internet Freedom Day.
It was a really busy year. We're really looking forward to the years to come. I don't think of it as altruism, it just feels right and a nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do.