David B. Crowley's blog

Applying Social Capital Principles to Food Allergy Issue

Around the time our son turned one, we learned he was allergic to eggs, nuts and dairy. This news was overwhelming at first, coming around the time he was just getting going on solid foods. We gradually became experts in reading the fine print of food labels, and have found enough good things for him to eat. Now, as he's in pre-school, there are new sets of challenges as he becomes more independent and curious about those things other kids are eating that he can't.

We'd become accustomed to having to pack Brendan's food to any event we might go to, but the thought crossed our mind--wouldn't it be nice for him to be able to run up to the table with other kids and safely get a snack? Wouldn't it be nice to have the chance to connect and share with other parents dealing with the same issue?
Read more

Town Sees Value of Local Bakery

I found this recent story from the Boston Globe to be an interesting example of how people value locally owned businesses, both for the product they provide as well as the space they provide to connect with their fellow community members.  The town of Colebrook, NH, came together to keep open this bakery, Le Rendez Vous, when its owner couldn't get his Visa renewed initially.  The town had suffered their share of recent economic hardships, with plant closings and the like, but decided to make a stand on behalf of the bakery.   Read more

MyFallRiver.org Launched Today

We're just getting back from a press conference announcing the launch of the http://MyFallRiver.org website, the latest SCI community portal to be rolled out.  Our partners in Fall River have assembled a good, diverse group of community organizations to serve as sponsors and launch team members.  This broad initial participation seems to bode well for the success of the project.

Marcia Picard of Fall River Children in Balance commented at today's press conference announcing the site that she'd been involved in community work for some 30 years, and has been involved in countless resource directory & coordination of services projects.  She's enthused to be involved in a web-based initiative that won't become dated upon completion, as is often the case with print directories!

A companion site, the Fall River YOUth Zone funded by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, was also announced at today's press conference.  A full press release about the new sites can be downloaded below.

Civic Engagement & Social Change Events This Week

I'm doing a workshop on Wednesday with Dave Weed of Healthy City Fall River at the Southeastern Mass. Civic Engagement Summit, a regional event at UMass Dartmouth, inspired in part by the statewide Civic Engagement Summit SCI and many other groups put together during the fall of 2007.  Now that http://myfallriver.org, one of our new network community websites is up in running, we find ourselves in Southeastern Mass. quite a bit.  You can learn more about the event here:  http://www.umassd.edu/engage/cce/summit.cfm

Thursday evening, I'll be joining a panel & community dialogue session on Social Change hosted by the New Prosperity Initiative at the Boston Public Library.  Should be an interesting conversation, feel free to join us!  Details in the attached press release.

Social Innovation Ideas for D.C.

Andrew Wolk, founder of Root Cause & the Social Innovation Forum, is seeking ideas to take to Washington, D.C., for a discussion on the social innovation portion of the new Serve America program that was recently signed into law. Here are my ideas for Andrew to bring to the D.C., you can share yours on his blog too at http://andrewwolk.com/.

Fund growth, not start-up. We are not lacking for nonprofits out there, of course; the Social Innovation Fund presents a great opportunity to grow what works. Giving significant, flexible dollars to grow promising solutions makes more sense than encouraging anyone with an interest in nonprofits to start their own.
Read more

Earth Day Reflections on Social Capital

The general concept of social capital can apply to far flung networks. Four years of living together at college certainly built up social capital among my seven college roommates, despite being scattered across the country today. To a lesser degree, some social capital resides with my hundreds of "friends" on social networking sites like Facebook.Earth Day served as a fitting reminder for me that at Social Capital Inc. our concept of social capital is inextricably linked to the importance of place.

My early morning Earth Day walk, helping me connect to nature and place, reminded me of how our work is in many ways staking a claim that place still matters in this digital age. People and place are at the heart of SCI's efforts; we are about nurturing the relationships of people in a particular. Facebook friends (unless they are from Woburn!) can't help take care of the pond I walked this morning or the schools where our son will be educated. Read more

Brewing Social Capital in Britain

Sunday's Boston Globe had an interesting piece about how many Conservatives there are rallying around efforts to save local community institutions such as the corner shop, market, and yes, the neighborhood pub.  (The creator of Cheers knew the value of social capital--isn't nice to go to a place where everyone knows your name?).  They are focusing on the important roles these local businesses plays in creating a sense of community.  They also see the moral value of community is not as polarizing as some other issues that might focus on.

Bowling Alone author Robert Putnam has spent a good bit of time in Britain consulting with government leaders there who are quite receptive to the importance of social capital.  The importance of these local businesses and their ties to social capital certainly resonate here in the U.S. as well

What can you do before 9 a.m. to save the planet?

OK, so by the time I'm posting this it will be past 9 a.m. But I was up early this morning, reading Tom Friedman's provocative Hot, Flat and Crowded. I won't try to recap the dire, hard-hitting facts he presents about the rapidity of global warming; rather, I encourage you to read the book.  Actually, he prefers the term "global weirding" to suggest the real significant impact of an average rise in global temperature is not that it's always going to be hotter, but that we will experience unsettling climate changes and much more severe weather...see Hurricane Katrina as exhibit A. He reinforces the message Al Gore is delivering--I had a chance to hear him talk this fall--that we need decisive action now to avoid potentially catastrophic climate change by mid-century.Read more

Proud to be American

My Facebook status update today simply says that I am "proud to be American".  A bit more to this update than my typical "I need a cup of coffee" or "I am making ____ for dinner".  

I mean quite a few things with this update.  I always appreciate our country and system on Inaugural Day, when I reflect upon how fortunate we are to witness the peaceful transition of power in a world where so much violence surrounds the vying for power in the absence of a constitutional democracy.

Yesterday at Woburn's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon, keynote speaker Jackie Jenkins-Scott commented on how so many fellow African American leaders and friends of hers who came up during the civil rights movement assumed that an African American president would not be seen in their lifetimes, but perhaps that of their grandchildren.  The fact that we have moved faster than so many had anticipated toward such a milestone certainly makes me feel good about how far we have come as a people. Read more

Youth propel push toward volunteerism

Today's Boston Globe article "Youth Propel Push Toward Volunteerism", cites further evidence that youth are volunteering in record numbers.  A recent Corporation for National Service study suggests the number of young volunteers has roughly doubled from a year ago. This growing move to serve seems to be one factor laying the groundwork for the increased voter participation among young adults in the recent election.   
Syndicate content