How the Internet Creates Possibility

ekcenter

Folks, I support the Ekialo Kiona Center (EK Center) and the Organic Health Response, and they’re creating real change. I get updates every so often, and I like to share the good work they’re doing. They seek to activate information technology, social solidarity, and environmental sustainability to turn the tide against HIV/AIDS across Lake Victoria (in Kenya).

The EK Center’s seen, first hand, how tech can turn a community into a global village, how a lizard in the security shed can shut everything down, and just how important local-global youth development is. This most recent update was about, both, turning a community into a global village and furthering development of youth locally and globally…

Pen Pals Meet via Global Broadband Connection

On the remote island of Mfangano, in the heart of Kenya’s Lake Victoria, a small but growing community center has emerged to support the residents in the area. Over the past 3 years, the craigslist Charitable Fund has helped support IT infrastructure at the Ekialo Kiona Center, in partnership with the Organic Health Response. 100% sustainably powered, this IT resource center has opened up a pipeline for Mfangano residents to access free and unlimited broadband Internet, the first of its kind in the region.

mfangano skype

Last week, this incredible resource allowed, for the first time ever, students on Mfangano Island, Kenya to meet their pen pals of 2 years in Minnesota, USA. On November 17th, Rutherford Elementary School in Stillwater, Minnesota held a school-wide assembly to meet their friends on Mfangano Island, Kenya. Students on both ends of the line were thrilled to finally see their friends from so far away.  As the Minnesota students filled into the gymnasium, students came up to the camera and vigorously waved to their friends.

A parent from Rutherford Elementary posted this last week,

You know when you ask your kids, “Did anything exciting happen in school today?” And they usually say NO. Well my 7 year old daughter’s answer yesterday was, “I got to see my pen pal over Skype. She lives on Mfangano Island in Kenya.” Followed up with, “That’s in Africa mom.” Because I was just staring at her speechless! SO cool!

skype

For the students in Kenya, this was their first time using the Internet to connect across the globe. “The kids couldn’t believe they were speaking to people in America!” Evelyne Magioki is a teacher at the Wakinga Junior Acadamy on Mfangano. “When the children receive the letters they realize that students in America are just like them.”

ek kids

Over the next year, students from Minnesota are helping to raise funds to support IT fieldtrips to the EK Center for their friends on Mfangano Island. With proper lessons in global communication, these kids will be connecting more than we can imagine!

 

How #GivingTuesday Raised Over $45million

Folks, I support #GivingTuesday each year because it’s the real deal. I got an update from Henry Timms… More data and stories are still coming in, but here are the highlights as they stand right now (more soon!):

  • Indiana University is estimating an overall 63% increase this year in online donations.
  • Early results from Blackbaud show a 159% increase in online donations from the first #GivingTuesday in 2012.
  • Network for Good processed more than double the donation total from last year.
  • 20,000 partners participated in all US states – partners included nonprofits, local business and corporations working to benefit causes they care about, student groups, etc.
  • There were over 40 local communities across the US (states, cities and counties) joined together in the spirit of civic pride. The Maryland Gives More statewide #GivingTuesday campaign, alone, raised $8.3 million for local causes.
  • There were over 6,700 global partners participating, with #GivingTuesday activities taking place in 68 countries from Armenia to Mongolia to Wales. There were 7 countries and 2 regions leading localized #GivingTuesday movements including Australia, Brazil (#diadedoar), Canada, Ireland, Israel, Latin America (#undiaparadar), New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
  • There were over 32 million Twitter impressions with 700,000 hashtag mentions. #GivingTuesday was trending no. 1 in both the US and UK.
  • President Barack Obama released a special #GivingTuesday message and Prime Minister David Cameron voiced his support. Other notable names who gave their support of #GivingTuesday range from Malala to Melinda Gates to Matthew McConaughey.
  • H.Res. 761 recognizing #GivingTuesday was introduced in congress this November. The #GivingTuesday resolution recognizes that philanthropy and charitable giving knows no party divide, as giving has the ability to transcend any differences of political ideologies and has the power to unite people across boundaries.
  • Every major religion participated with people of all backgrounds, religions, and ethnic groups celebrating #GivingTuesday.

And here’s an infographic from the Case Foundation about the successes of #GivingTuesday:

GivingTuesdayInfographic

Did you give this year? (You can still give over on CrowdRise’s #GivingTower Holiday Challenge…)

 

Developing Trust in 5 Minutes

gingrasRichard Gingras elaborates on Trust Project ideas about signals that may build credibility.

Here’s his 5-minute talk on trust, maybe indulge me and watch it:

Like Richard says, we’re trying to keep the focus on the community of editors, reporters, and publishers that is developing ideas to win trust. What do you think the best ways to develop trust are?

Special Thanks to Vets

0370-Roundtable-141011_large (2)

 

During Fleet Week, I took a brief tour on the USS Kidd through the Golden Gate and back. They wanted to do something special for the President, so they made this hat for him.

And, folks, I got a non-POTUS version of the hat so you can see what they look like up close:

craig hat

On board, I learned:

      • it’s a “ship” not a “boat”
      • UPDATE: chatting with a senior Marine, he tells me they call it a boat to irritate sailors
      • the ship floats in what they call “water”

Again, thanks to all the vets out there, for all that you do… (and you can also follow the USS Kidd on Facebook, maybe support ’em.)

 

What “New Power” Means for #GivingTuesday

churchill

History keeps getting itself made, and now and then, regular people get a chance at sharing power. Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms articulated this much more eloquently in Understanding “New Power”.

I’m pretty passionately committed to this for at least the next twenty years, have already been practicing it daily for the last twenty years.

Here’s my nerdly take on the thing:

Recently, we saw the British, American, and French revolutions each spread power around to different ends. In the UK and US, we got different forms of representative democracy, but in France, we got some rather unpleasant mob rule, later evolving into representative democracy.

For sure, in the US, democracy is increasingly centralizing toward a moneyed class willing to pay legislatures for results, that’s the whole Citizens United thing.

That’s also with Heimans and Timms call “old power”:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

Previous revolutions aspired to what these guys call “new power” and I’m very hopeful we can get there:

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

new power (2)

Power, as British philosopher Bertrand Russell defined it, is simply “the ability to produce intended effects.” Old power and new power produce these effects differently. New power models are enabled by peer coordination and the agency of the crowd—without participation, they are just empty vessels. Old power is enabled by what people or organizations own, know, or control that nobody else does—once old power models lose that, they lose their advantage.

This doesn’t say that new power involves no rules, like at the worst of the French Revolution. It’s not okay, for example, to “appropriate” (steal) anyone else’s stuff. We can, and already do better than that.

Anyone can share in this evolving power by participating, by making a genuine contribution, and there’re a lot of ways to do that.

One way that’s getting a bit of attention involves a new way to contribute to effective nonprofits, via CrowdRise and #GivingTuesday.

Everyone can pitch in, and work with each other.

This is just a start, helping people in the here and now, and getting ready for lots more.

Are you ready?

 

New, Free App Aids Military Families

MML in handMilitary families shouldn’t have to struggle to find information they need.

MyMilitaryLife, an app by the National Military Family Association, eliminates the stressful search by connecting families with credible and tailored information. With the new Military Spouses Advice feature, spouses can recommend resources and share their expertise.

Users have unique access to advice from fellow military family members. Spouses can also rate resources and provide reviews on programs and services they’ve used. MyMilitaryLife is free for both iPhone and Android devices.

Features include:

  • Customized to-do lists
  • Tailored suggestions based on branch of Service, location, and needs
  • User rating system for resources
  • Advice from fellow military spouses
  • Due date reminders
  • Notices of new programs
  • Emergency phone numbers specific to military family needs
  • Social networking features to share information

Please note: If you download this app from a smart phone, it’ll take you to the app store or Google Play (depending on the device). If you click from a computer, you’ll be redirected to the online version of the app. The only downside to the computer version is that it hasn’t been updated with the new feature above.

Regardless if you’re in the app or online, you can enter as a guest. As a guest, you can view content, but you’ve gotta create an account to add content.

Folks, it looks like a good attempt to provide milfams with the resources they need, but we need military spouses and family members to enter info on programs and add reviews for this to be effective.

Everyone, thanks!

Okay, I’ve gotten a big surge of support in the last few days, like fan mail and social media stuff.

That means a lot to me.

It all relates to two different but related areas:

1. Standing up to find trustworthy news. Like I say, a trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy.

factcheck

The Trust Project is the pointy end of the spear on the news professional side. Unfortunately, I might fulfill that role on the news consumer side. (I don’t like that.)

2. Standing up against untrustworthy reporting attacking my community. My stuff is mostly very quiet, long term, since I’m in way over my head, but I’m committed for at least a twenty year period, and to be relentless. As a nerd, it’s hard to learn, and I’m not very patient.

3. People tell me I looked really good and was quite the gentleman. I guess they’re right, but I really am a nerd; we don’t take compliments well.

But a nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do.

Tis the Season to Give Back

crowdrise

Folks, I believe that it’s really important to give back to our communities. One way to do that is to participate in CrowdRise’s #GivingTuesday Holiday Challenge for nonprofits. I’m giving $50K to go toward the winner of the Challenge, and together, with the other donors, there will be $250K in prize money.

CrowdRise has been working hard to make this Challenge and #GivingTuesday bigger then past years. One way they’re doing that is by creating a Giving Tower. It’s going to be a hologram tower. Each time someone donates, a brick is added to the tower. You can actually download an app and point it at a dollar bill to see how the tower’s growing. Here’s a little more about it:

The Giving Tower Holiday Challenge is a great way for organizations to rally their supporters, raise money for their cause, drive engagement, get lots of exposure and, most importantly, raise money for their cause (note intentional repetition). The Challenge is friendly fundraising competition launched by craigconnects, Fred and Joanne Wilson, and MacAndrews & Forbes. It’s designed to help you raise awareness and lots of money for your year end fundraising.

Here’s more about the Challenge this year:

  • The Challenge starts on November 25th and there are going to be huge grand prizes, plus lots of Bonus Challenges. The campaign is always amazing and last year, charities rallied to raise over $2.3m for their causes.
  • There will be $250,000 in prizes this year. The organization that raises the most will receive a $100,000 donation to their cause. Second place will win $50,000, third $25,000, fourth $10,000 and fifth place will receive a $5,000 donation to their cause.
  • There will also be multiple opportunities along the way to get extra cash donations in the form of Bonus Challenges. Folks, we’re talking an extra $60,000 in Bonus Challenges.
  • The good folks over at CrowdRise are hosting a webinar on November 20th at 3pm ET to walk you through everything about the Challenge, please Click Here to register.
  • So far, there’s more than 500 charities signed up, and plenty of time for you to sign up, too.
  • The Toolkit will tell you everything else you need to know that I may have forgotten.
  • Use the hashtag #GivingTower to continue the conversation.

Looking forward to getting this Challenge started, more to come…

Why I Support Vets

Photo Credit: U.S. Dept of Veteran Affairs
Photo Credit: U.S. Dept of Veteran Affairs

Bottom line: if someone volunteers to risk taking a bullet to protect me, I should stand up and help out.

This might date back to my mid-teens, towards the end of the Vietnam war. I saw returning vets getting treated without respect. At that time, I knew that was wrong, but couldn’t articulate it.

Maybe seven years ago, I was at a lunch, sitting next to a guy from the Iraq & Afghanistan Vets of America, IAVA.org. Finally, it clicked in, that this was the right way to support regular people who gave up a lot to protect us, and that includes their families.

Now, I’m on the board of IAVA, and am involved with a lot of vets and military families groups, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (I’m their official nerd-in-residence).

What are some reasons you support vets and military families?

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