The Craigslist Foundation San Francisco Gathering, Part 2
Toward the end of 2009, the Craigslist Foundation began a series of discussions around their plans to focus the foundation’s efforts on strengthening communities, with some emphasis on neighborhood-based communities. This began with a meeting at The Case Foundation in Washington DC, which included Michael Smith, Kari Dunn, Cindy Gallop, Jessica Kirkwood, Marsha Semmel, Michael Karpman, Rhonda Taylor, Ron Carlee, and Siobhan Canty. They “chatted about the need of organizations with libraries of unpublished case studies and ideas, connecting local changemakers with the big picture of systemic change, bringing essential info to people at exactly the time they need it most, and using storytellers to communicate long (or boring) case studies in more entertaining and inspiring ways.” (see How Can We Build On One Another’s Successes?)
In the second meeting, at end of January 2010, they gathered twelve more friends in San Francisco “for a different take on the conversation: Beth Kanter, Chris Gates, Craig Newmark, Frank Schulenburg, Gwyneth Borden, John Lyman, Kate Stahnke, Matt Garcia, Pamela Wheelock, Peggy Duvette, Rob Miller, and making it all amazingly fun was our facilitator Allen Gunn. Here, we talked a lot about the importance of people over information, how to reach those who aren’t online, what motivates people to tell their success stories, which organizations have already been doing work in this area, and what audiences might be most in need of improved information flow.”
A week later, they posted their “theory of change”: that “that place-based communities and neighborhoods must be strengthened if our society is to flourish and our democracy advance — and that Craigslist Foundation can play a catalytic role in assembling the talents of key partners and collaborators capable of offering people in communities the tools and resources they need to take greater responsibility for where they live, work, and play.” (see Catalyst for Community Vitality)
In this article, they also said “this translates into a role for us in convening successful organizations and people across all sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy — to work intentionally and together toward building stronger local communities and economies.” A month later, on March 9, Craigslist Foundation announced that it was going on the road to learn more about “how people build stronger neighborhoods and what prevents others from joining in the fun.” They hosted small group discussions in Washington DC, New York, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Austin, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon in March and April.
I was part of the seventh and last of these meetings, posted photos of participants and their ideas, and transcribed their post-it notes below. Also in this meeting: Aaron Goodman, Ali Williams, Amelia Kolokihakaufisi , Anne Marie Engel, Bruce Richard, Clint Mitchell, Ka Yun Cheng, Karen Kwok, Kathie Lowry, Kristarae Flynn, Terri Forman, Maura Mccarthy, Nick McClintock, Patrick Flanagan, Peggy Simmons, Toby Leavitt, and Winston Dong.
To keep track of the discussions and to create “a place to listen to the community, share some of our ideas, highlight cool projects we encounter, and generally keep the community up to date as our programs are developed”, CLF created the lab at craigslist foundation, and a uservoice forum that asks people to submit and vote on answers to the questions: What stops you from impacting your community? What has worked well for you?
Things I know that I wish I could share with leaders in other communities
- I didn’t get a good snap of this, sorry (see pic), so the way it reads to me is this: How do you break down barriers to regorible thaking? (i.e. minimize appepridics of competrif nit & cissided resources)
- Illegible/illegible mentoring
- I don’t wish, I share
- The adventure of education abroad
- How many options there are for raising money
- How to create concepts that are large scale, inventive, and sizzling in getting people in cohesion faster
- I know good ways of getting people of very different backgrounds together, as equals, so everyone walks away changed
- How to facilitate community action/impact of people averse to talking to institutions and developers
- It’s really important to take care of yourself and your staff
- I know some outside-the-box ideas for group facilitation
- Cultural competency/ sensitivity resources
- How many resources are available pro bono/gratis
- A list of friends in the media who support causes
Things I wish I could find out from leaders in other communities
- [Can’t read this one (see pic). Looks like it has something to do with egrets. I’m probably wrong]
- What’s working for ya? What have you tried that turned out to be a dead end?
- How to reach the most number of people using the least amount of effort
- How can different communities unite?
- How do you rally support for your cause, especially how to stand out in a sea of voices?
- What are important things we need to know about your community?
- What issues are other communities dealing with that may be something of interest to me?
- How a small org can successfully approach a big org with a new collaboration idea? Especially if the idea is not already on their priority list?
- How to recreate the best of community in a place like SF that is very independent, lots of people in & out?
- How can an org’s strength support my org’s weaknesses, and vice versa (meaningful collaboration)?
- How can neighboring communities work together to better the lifestyle and working conditions of those living within the community?
- Things I wish I could find out from leaders in other communities
- Legal assistance to help challenge EIR decisions without the whole CEQA process
- Financial assistance for planning projects & design charrettes
- How do you engender shared accountability for community change that is sustainable?
- The rationale behind political decisions
- How do you handle conflicts with superiors or co-workers
- Who is supportive of my mission?
- What are the future plans for art/music education improvement.
- How to effectively reach a wide cross section of the community
- What works, what doesn’t work
- How’d you do that?
New online services that could make my community a better place
- One-stop website linked from the City’s official website that lists resources (food banks, health law clinics, youth services etc)
- Ways for at-risk youth to easily communicate
- More online resources for at risk-communities
- Site that helps logs (visually) problems to help get them fixed
- Some central site for the City & County of SF that would help direct inquiries, and help departments communicate with each other
- Website that catalogs and documents what is at risk in development
- A website that shows each person living in Park Merced as a person, and their dwelling
- A way to help educate people about the communities connecting between Park Merced, Park Fairfax, Park la Brea
- Accessible online information organizing structure
- Who do I talk to to get what I need
- Who is trying to accomplish the same things I am
- A website that aggregates proven methods to build community in neighborhoods, in bit size, actionable bits
- Who needs what resource?
- A portal for local people to access up-to-date demographic information
- Place that provides a full calendar listing of volunteer events, school issues, economic + community events
- Basic spot to find all things in the community
- Aggregate the small events (bake sale at church, reading at Laundromat, by geography)
Websites I use when I need info
- Association of Fundraising professionals
- California virtual university
- Diversity works
- The cultural landscape foundation tclf.org
- Websites of foundations
I’ll hyperlink these, eventually