David B. Crowley's blog

Leveraging Social Networks for Social Impact

Last week I facilitated a discussion on "Leveraging Social Networks for Social Impact" as part of the Boston Center for Community & Justice (BCCJ) Brown Bag Lunch Series.  The goals were to 1) present some general concepts about social networks & social capital; 2) share how SCI applies these concepts, especially how we train on leveraging social networks for social impact; and 3) discuss the implications of these ideas for the BCCJ network.

I promised to share my presentation and some of the key handouts with the group, and thought I'd post here to make them accessble to others interested in the subject matter.  If you only see this post, you will of course miss the interesting conversation we had, but can at least glean some of the key concepts from the presentation.  I've also uploaded one of the case studies we use to train on the subject, and our outreach planning tool.  Visit this overview page for more background on our work to "Develop Social Capitalists" through trainings and resources like these. Read more

A Gift of Music

NuPath, a Woburn-based agency that serves individuals with disabilities, is one of SCI's newest AmeriCorps host site partners.  These days, funders and others are often most interested in our numbers, how we are providing tangible benefits in this time of great economic need.  Yet this story, relayed by Jennifer Burns, an SCI AmeriCorps member placed at NuPath, reminds us of how a seemingly small action can bring great joy to someone.  Here's Jennifer's telling of how she was able to help a musician in-the-making: Read more

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Luncheon

Mayor Scott Galvin, Elaine Dougherty, HusbandWoburn residents and members of St. John’s Baptist Church enjoyed an inspirational Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Luncheon Monday at the Hilton Hotel.  Rev. Pearson of St. John’s opened by emphasizing the importance of cultivating a diverse network of friends as a first step to honoring Dr. King’s legacy.  Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin and Superintendent Mark Donovan were among the Woburn officials on hand to honor Dr. King’s legacy and the award recipients.  Elaine Dougherty received a Community Drum Major Award to recognize her work with the YMCA International Learning Center in Woburn.  MLK scholarships were presented to four graduating seniors.
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Translating Hope Into Action

I'm looking forward to speaking tomorrow at the annual meeting of the Greater Plymouth Council of Human Service Agencies & their Brockton counterparts.  The theme of the talk is "The Year Ahead: Translating Hope into Action".  I'll be developing 4 reasons for the nonprofit sector to be hopeful in 2010, and what we need to do to translate that hope into action.  I'll blog more on this theme a bit later, but for now I wanted to get this posted in part as an environmentally friendly way of sharing the presentation with the audience.  But also hoping that others coming across this online will be able to get some of the key points from the talk.

Here is the link to the presentation I'm sharing with the audience.  

'09 Goal Met, Thanks to Our Friends, and Their Friends...

First, the simple good news flash--we reached our year-end fundraising goal!  We wrote here on 12/30 that we still needed $1365 to reach our calendar year-end fundraising goal, and we surpassed that total by mid-morning on New Year's Eve.  Thanks to all who made a contribution to help us reach that goal!  As noted in the earlier post, this means that we will be able to maintain our current budget & program levels as we start the new year rather than needing to implement additional budget cuts.  We'll be able to keep having the kind of impact we've had over the past year.   Read more

Two Days to Double Your Year-End Donation to SCI

A year-end donation to SCI right now can make a big difference. We’re trying to raise the final $1365 we need to reach our fundraising goal for the year, and donations made to help us reach the goal will be matched by our Board chair.

Like most organizations these days, we’ve had to implement reductions to our already lean budget. We’re leaving a vacant position open, thus just 4 professional staff managing our community-building programs across 10 locations. This is possible with 18 strong AmeriCorps members, hundreds of volunteers and great community partners; but we need your help to reach our fundraising goal to maintain this level of programming.

Supporting SCI is an investment in the caring capacity of Boston area communities. There is both an immediate and long-term impact made by donations to SCI—you help us mobilize volunteers to meet the pressing needs of today, while helping to create the leaders our communities will need tomorrow. Read more

Keep us Connecting

Canned Food DriveYou can help connect people to the resources they need at this time when budgets are stretched thin and every dollar counts.

Every week, SCI connects over 5,700 residents in Dorchester, Lynn and Woburn with timely information they need to participate in community life and vital resources that can help in these tight times.  This week we're connecting people to a flu clinic in Dorchester; last week we recruited a volunteer to teach developmentally disabled adults how to skate; throughout the fall we've mobilized hundreds of food, clothing and toy donations as people respond to the needs they learn about through SCI.
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Ford Foundation's Ubinas on Measurement and Social Change

Last night I had the chance to hear Luis Ubinas, President of the Ford Foundation, speak on "Pathways to Lasting Social Change" as part of the Brandeis Heller School 50th Anniversary Speaker Series.  The format was conversational, with Mr. Ubinas being interviewed by Professor Andy Hahn.  This allowed for an interesting exchange on a wide range of topics related to philanthropy, social change and Ubinas' vision for the Ford Foundation.

Mr. Ubinas has been at the helm of Ford for roughly two years, after having spent most of his career with McKinsey.  I'd say we're fortunate to have him now in such a key leadership role in the philanthropic center, as he brings tremendous energy, strategic insight and critical thinking to the work. Read more

YourBrookline & Other Sites Taking Off

I was getting ready for a meeting in Brookline this morning, and thought I'd see what was new on the YourBrookline.org site.  I was pleased to see that roughly nine months after launching the site in partnership with the Brookline Community Foundation, the site seems very lively and showing promise for fulfilling its purpose of connecting community members to opportunities to participate in the community.    Read more

Trick or Eat & More Ways to Help on Halloween

Looking to sink your teeth into something more than candy this Halloween?  Here are 3 ways you can help Boston area communities on Saturday.

Trick or Eat Canned Food Drive:  Dorchester teens are gettting ready once again to coordinate the annual canned food drive initiated several years ago by the SCI Dorchester Youth Council.  The drive combats poverty and hunger in Dorchester as teens collect canned goods instead of candy treats as they visit homes in several Dorchester neighborhoods.  It helps out Dorchester food pantries during the holiday season when there is very high demand for food.  This idea has been spreading in a few ways--youth have replicated the program in other neighborhoods; and we just heard from a Cambridge resident who heard about this online.  This woman is now organizing a drive in her neighborhood and will add her collection to that collected by the Youth Council to increase the support for the Dorchester food pantries.  If you'd like to participate in Dorchester or organize something in your neighborhood, click here for more details and contact info. Read more

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