The True Life of Social Entrepreneurs - Part 3
Welcome to the third installment of True Life of Social Entrepreneurs! We’re here to present you with the nitty-gritty details and day-to-day triumphs of our amazing Echoing Green Fellows as they take on the feat of carving out their own paths to social change. Our 2007 fellows have reported back with their progress over the last few months, and we’re thrilled to present their updates to you! They’re all experiencing great things—milestones that mark important developments on a very long road. Collectively, they’re moving forward in pursuit of changing the world; along the way, each award, new relationship, revelation, or instance of impact is a cause for celebration. All of their successes are the result of a particular combination of guts, vision, and determination in the face of roadblocks and frustration. Take it from them—here are their voices, giving you the scoop on the rewards and challenges of social change.
Recent Milestones of Echoing Green’s 2007 Fellows
I recently came into contact with a group of 15 Equatoguinean refugees in the US. This opens up great avenues for advocacy work in the US. They have shown great interest and enthusiasm in the work that we propose to take on.
Emily Arnold-Fernandez - Asylum Access - San Francisco, CA
Refugees’ Right to Work Protected: five constitutional articles protecting refugees’ employment rights were adopted in plenary by Ecuador’s Asemblea Nacional Constituyente after Asylum Access’s ASELER project successfully lobbied assembly members in collaboration with several Colombian refugee associations in Ecuador. The new articles prohibit discrimination on the basis of migratory status and nationality, and will have a critical impact on the ability of Ecuador’s 80,000 refugees to rebuild their lives.
For the last 2 years, the grantwriting process has felt a little like shooting in the dark, despite the research and networking I do to get to know the feel of each foundation. But in the last few months I get the sense that our most recent funders will be with us for a while, if not as donors at least as advisors and "connectors." This is a nice place to be.
Adam Bucko - The Reciprocity Foundation - New York, NY
The Reciprocity Foundation partnered with Green Chimneys, a transitional living program for LGBTQ homeless youth, to host one of the first collaborative 'Design Your Future' speaker series. Nearly 40 homeless predominately LGBTQ youth were joined by professionals from ASCAP, Calvin Klein Home, Atlantic Records, MTV, and Girls Write Now. Youth were given the unique opportunity to gain industry insight and know-how from some of the best.
Nina Dudnik - Seeding Labs - Boston, MA
A local pharmaceutical company provided us with our largest donation to date of almost-new lab equipment. On one Saturday, several dozen undergrad, grad and community volunteers came together to pack it all onto pallets for shipping. Soon it will go to rebuild the labs of 5 biochemists at the University of Southern Chile that were destroyed by a fire this winter.
We were able to establish A Single Drop (USA) as a 501(c)(3) organization in the USA to be a fundraising source for ASDSW in the Philippines. It will also be the organization that will facilitate the replication of our model in Africa. We will be co-hosting an African Women and Water Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. We will be working with grassroots women from eight countries in Africa. The conference will focus on transferring appropriate technologies and facilitating workshops that will help them develop a microbusiness around the technology, as well as developing grant proposals for future funding. The conference is endorsed by Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate, and was the primary reason for the $100,000 ASD seed donation which will become an annual donation.
Diane Geng - Rural China Education Foundation - Shaanxi and Shandong, China
RCEF was one of the two winners of the 2008 GES-Global Giving competition in April and May. We came in second with US$8,275 and 116 donors. Additionally, as one of the two winners, we will be awarded US$3,500 of prize money.
I was recently asked to speak at a friendraiser for an organization that gave me a stipend for getting good grades while I was in high school--before this event I had never met anyone from the organization before; they were like angels in my life back then, invisible but so kind and generous, providing me with critical resources to help me buy food for my family. I spoke about how much their help had meant to me and how I was now trying to pay their investment forward by building my own schools. Even as I struggle to raise money for my own project, nothing made me happier than to get an email that said people were moved by my story and several made pledges. To be honest, it felt even better than getting pledges for my own project (and that feels really, really good :-). This experience reminded me that even as I focus on my own work, it feels right to lend my voice, hands and spirit to whomever can use them to make a difference in this world. I am never too busy for such things.
Sara Lam - Rural China Education Foundation - Shaanxi and Shandong, China
RCEF came in second in the Global Giving competition, raising $8275 from 116 donors in two weeks and surpassing our goal of $4000. Some of our volunteers got caught up in the excitement of the competition and constantly visited the site to check our progress. It felt like we were a contestant in the American Idol of nonprofits!
CentsCity was recently chosen as one of six companies for the first AlphaLab conducted by Innovation Works in Pittsburgh, PA. The AlphaLab is a business incubator that includes $25,000 in cash as well as office space and professional services.
Jessica Mayberry - Video Volunteers - Ahmedabad, India
A really nice moment came last month, when we finalized an arrangement with Current TV for them to air our community media. A dream for us is that community media could be sustainable through working with the mainstream media, and this is a first step in that direction. Current TV will pay us a sum that is equal to about 10percent of the annual running costs of a Community Video Unit. Therefore, my dream is that each of our Community Video Units will be able to re-cut all their films for Current TV, and thus become fully sustainable through sales to mainstream television. This would show both that community-produced content can get onto a broadcaster, and that we can conceive of a day when we will be fully sustainable.
Robert Mutsaers - GreenPower - Kiangurwe, Kenya
On the 11th May 2008 and under the Africa Lighting World Bank program, Gpower was awarded with 200,000 USD.
We held a National Summit in April -- about 100 of our advisors and supporters (including Echoing Green President Cheryl Dorsey!) came to D.C. to strategize about the Academy. It was a great way to energize our efforts.
New Year Baby just had its national broadcast on PBS recently. I'm already fielding a lot of phone calls and emails about the broadcast. My hope is that the national broadcast of the film will bring more attention, interest and support to Khmer Legacies. In fact, one of the reasons why I created Khmer Legacies was because I wanted to channel all the energy and interest in the film into something that would have a concrete and lasting impact on Cambodian families. Media can change the world. It's certainly the most effective way to change one's culture.
Matthew Sirolly - The Wage Justice Center - Los Angeles, CA
In addition to our regular work, we are currently collaborating on two different campaigns for worker justice: one in the carwash industry and one for day laborers. The carwash worker campaign (known as CLEAN – the Community Labor Environmental Action Network) is an exciting, first-of-its-kind collaboration between numerous labor, community, and environmental groups who are supporting LA-area carwash workers in their struggle for decent working conditions; we are one of the key members of the legal services committee for the campaign and have been helping to devise a strategic plan to ensure that all workers seeking legal assistance in obtaining unpaid wages will be able to get it. We are also collaborating with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network on a local campaign to combat the rampant wage-theft experienced by day laborers in the Los Angeles area.
We opened the BT Academy of Bembe this month and another Academy will open next week, meaning BT will now provide classroom space for over 1,000 students!
Was interviewed for Fellowship. Did not receive Fellowship, but was able to convince interviewers to lobby on our behalf for monetary gift. Found out later that we will receive monetary gift from organization due to persistence, passion, and importance of activities at The Wage Justice Center.
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June 18, 2013 at 01:30 PM
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