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Entries in Philanthropy (17)

Sunday
Apr022017

Educational Tall Ship Sets Sail

This weekend, I celebrated the launch of the Matthew Turner, an educational tall ship build entirely from wood and constructed over the past four years entirely by volunteers. I was honored to serve on the board of directors of the Educational Tall Ship in its earliest days and it's a project with special importance to me personally. 

As a result of my volunteer service to the board, I was able to get to know Alan Olson, the visionary man behind the idea to build this ship to connect young people to the water-- “We want them to learn about the powers of nature, like the wind and the sea” -- I applaud his vision and success as an transformative force for future generations in the Bay Area. 

Watch this informative video about the project and be sure to see the ship near the Bay Model in Sausalito!

Saturday
Feb252017

A Visitor Center for the Presidio of San Francisco

This morning the Presidio Trust, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service celebrated the opening of the new Visitor Center at the Presidio of San Francisco. 

The Presidio of San Francisco is a 2.347 mi2 (6.08 km2) park and former U.S. Army military fort on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park is characterized by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate BridgeSan Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1962. -Wikipedia

"A Park for Evenyone"

Today's festivities were truly reflective of San Francsico's diverse communities, as the opening remarks declared that this is "A Park for Everyone." The schedule of activies began with an Ohlone Welcome Dance by the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, a portion of which is shared above and below. Other highlights included performances by the Loong Mah Dragon and Lion Dancers (portions of which are shared below); a ranger-led history walk, Buffalo Soldiers: Gone but not Forgotten; Latin fusion music by Peregrinos Cosmicos; and many other activities, including lawn games and whiffle ball!

Given all of the events outside and the beauty of the day, I didn't even make it inside the new Visitor Center. I'll have to come back and check it out another day!

Acorn Song honoring the plants and trees

Dragon Performance

Lion and Dragon Performance

Wednesday
Jan112017

National AIDS Memorial Grove 

It is with great pleasure that I share news that I have joined the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park as Director of Development. I am absolutely thrilled to return to the park where my career as a frontline fundraiser began at the California Academy of Sciences. In addition, my return feels like a full-circle homecoming, as I served on the Grove’s board of directors from 2011 to 2015, co-chaired World AIDS Day in 2012 and 2013, served as board secretary, communications committee chair, and I contributed significantly to the the strategic planning process during my years of service as a volunteer.

It's great to be back to a place that I adore and to an organization that has already contributed tremendously to my professional development. I'm also excited to spread my wings as a Development Director and to strengthen the Grove's vibrant culture of philanthropy. It's the 25th silver anniversary of this national treasure and I'm eager to apply my professional focus toward its next chapter of growth, inspired by the healing power of nature and the leadership of supporters and volunteers from across the nation. 

The mission of the National AIDS Memorial Grove is to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story is known by future generations.

The idea for the National AIDS Memorial was first conceived in 1988 by a small group of San Francisco residents representing a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic, but with no positive way to express their collective grief. The group selected the de Laveaga Dell in world-renowned Golden Gate Park as the site for their memorial, an area that had fallen into a state of disrepair and was unusable by the public due to poor funding in the park budget. A team of prominent landscape architects and designers volunteered countless hours to create a landscape plan that would be fitting as a timeless living memorial. Site renovation began in September 1991 and ongoing maintenance and improvements continue each year. The site is the location of the National Observation of World AIDS Day annually on December 1.

Landmark Designation

In October 1996, through the passage of legislation spearheaded by Representative Nancy Pelosi, President Bill Clinton signed the National AIDS Memorial Grove Act, which recognized and designated the site as a National Memorial of the United States; a status comparable to that of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Mount Rushmore, and the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, among others.

Civic Ecology

Since my early interest and involvement, I’ve been drawn to thinking about the Grove from the perspective of the emerging field of civic ecology, which recognizes that it’s impossible to separate humans from nature. Civic ecologists examine how people in urban environments are caring for—restoring and stewarding—local natural resources. However, civic ecology practices are not just about caring for nature; they are also about caring for neighborhoods and healing communities, particularly in the aftermath of disasters and tragedies. The Grove, in my view, is a perfect case study in demonstrating the transformation of a physical and spiritual landscape. The Grove reflects my view that as places are defined by special people; people are defined by special places.

Join us!

I invite you to join me in spreading the word about this national landmark: 'Like' us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, donate, volunteer, sign-up for updates, or find more information about how you can get involved on our website: www.aidsmemorial.org

Best of all, I invite you to visit the Grove and explore it for yourself!

Sunday
Mar232014

La chanson du bénévole | Song of the volunteer

La chanson du bénévole, Song of the volunteer, is the 2014 single from Restaurants du Cœur (known as the Restos du Cœur; "Restaurants of the Heart"), a French charitable organization that distributes food packages and hot meals to the needy.

The song features a variety of French celebrities singing as a group known as Les Enfoirés (French for "The Tossers" or "The Bastards"), and they perform annually in a charity concert. The single was written by Jean-Jacques Goldman and composed by Frédéric Château.

The organization was founded by the comedian Coluche in 1985. These annual songs by "Les Enfoirés" represent a strong tradition of French philanthropy and civil society.

Merci!

Saturday
Mar162013

Attention au Départ

The Restaurants du Cœur (known as the Restos du Cœur; "Restaurants of the Heart") is a French charitable organization that distributes food packages and hot meals to the needy.

It was founded by the comedian Coluche in 1985. These annual songs by "Les Enfoirés" represent a strong tradition of French philanthropy and civil society.

Sunday
Dec302012

2012: Year of the American Indian Summer

In most years, an “Indian Summer” describes a heat wave that occurs in the autumn that occurs in the Northern Hemisphere between late September and mid-November. In 2012, however, it could be argued that “Indian Summer” now means something more similar to the “Arab Spring” uprisings that arose independently and spread across the Arab world in 2011.

The “American Indian Summer” wasn’t similar to the “Arab Spring” in that it involved expressions of violence within revolutionary conflicts, but it was similar in its effective use of new media technologies in a variety of coordinated social movements.

2012: the year the American Indian Movement effectively used digital, mobile, and social media technologies.

It’s about time.

Researchers have noted the “digital divide” – inequalities in access to information and communication technologies, as well as inequalities in the knowledge and skills needed to effectively use the information gained from connecting. No doubt, there are geographic and generational barriers to connectivity in American Indian communities, complicating social fragmentation and other disparities.

However, recent events suggest that the American Indian Movement is dramatically different in the 21st Century: it’s no longer institutional, protected by trademarks, or governed by a Grand Council.

Now, it's that and it's digital, mobile, and social. It's open source and open to all!

Take, for example, the creative mobilizing efforts of the “Save Pe’sla” movement. Artists, celebrities, tribes, and people from many other social spheres, came together to purchase the sacred site by using various digital media projects, such as this video, spread via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms, most of which centered around the "Last Real Indians" website by Chase Iron Eyes.   

Or, how artist Aaron Huey raised awareness of the Lakota fight to claim the Black Hills in South Dakota, demanding that the government start Honoring the Treaties. He did so though a book, documentary filmTed Talk, mural project, and website, to name a few of his strategies.

Or even more recently, the #IdleNoMore movement in Canada has rallied behind a collection of digital, mobile, and social strategies that include a tweeted hashtag meme, flash mobs, and website – all mixed with traditional protest methods of road blocks, marches, and even a very real, human hunger strike – inspired by assertion that if "Aboriginal people did not speak out it would mean they "comply with [their] silence" on the most important issues to indigenous communities. The movement has grown to broaden the conversation, calling for treaty recognition, tribal self-determination, and policy reformation, among other important areas.

I see these movements as the product of very real contributing factors, including:

  • Policy: The 2009 passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama early in his administration.  A portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designated approximately $7.2 billion in investments to expand broadband access nationwide, improve high-speed connectivity in rural areas and public computer centers, and increase Internet capacity in schools, libraries, public safety offices, and other public buildings.
  • Philanthropy:  people today - particularly social entrepreneurs and innovators - see that the commons can be more creative and nimble than political change via government policies, or developing solutions based on markets and profit margins. The Save Pe’ Sla movement was ultimately a fundraiser, for example.
  • Technology: hardware and software have dramatically improved as our phones have become smarter, increasingly light and mobile, and easier to use. The above referenced examples provide evidence to suggest that websites and widgets are dramatically improving creative connectivity through devices that are increasingly common and relatively affordable.  For example, I learned about Aaron Huey’s Documentary Video and TedTalk from a friend at a barbecue, later watched both on YouTube on my iPad and then promptly downloaded the digital illustration he used on his mural as my new desktop wallpaper.
  • Society: it’s clear that people now see the adoption of digital, mobile, and social media technologies as standard tools in our mobilization kit. People can and do use a mix of basic mobile devices, such as Androids and iPhones, basic social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to produce basic  digital with content such as images and videos, all delivered through basic digital media platforms such as YouTube and  Flickr. We consider the insights of bloggers and “posters” of all kinds, from status updates to manifestos. You can follow the hunger strike in your news feed.

Welcome to 2013 – join me in watching what will come in the year ahead for the new American Indian Movement and the digitization, mobilization, socialization of media from indigenous communities across the globe.

I'm reminded that these recent events all began after the Return of Pté San Wi, the White Buffalo Calf Woman in July. Could these events be the dawning of the Age of Illumination, the age when mankind walks upright and once again remembers his true relationship with Creator? In the words of Black Elk, "...the yellow for the south, whencer come the summer and the power to grow.

Friday
Dec142012

Building a Ship, Building a Community

For the past year or so, I've been serving on the Board of Directors of the Educational Tall Ship Project - a special project meant inspire people to celebrate and experience the rich maritime history of the Bay Area, learn about and preserve our delicate ecosystem, and provide life-changing experiential learning opportunities for youth of all backgrounds, now and for generations to come.

The mission of the Educational Tall Ship Project is to construct a historic and sustainable wooden tall ship for the San Francisco Bay Area. The project will provide on the water and shore-based experiential education for students of all ages, both during construction and after completion. Programs will focus on marine ecology, sustainability, teamwork, leadership and the rich maritime history of the Bay Area.

Our goal is to create the most environmentally sustainable working tall ship ever built. In fact, our goal is to operate on a completely carbon neutral basis. A few of our sustainable features include:

  • Construction: All construction methods, materials, and equipment for the project will be selected with attention to their suitability for design functions, esthetics and the environmental impact of producing these materials and equipment as well as what happens at the end of the use cycle.
  • Education: Our goal is to turn the construction project into a vibrant, interactive learning experience in which youth and broader community are inspired about learning and take ownership of their own education. The educational program will combine natural and nautical curriculum elements to empower the next generation of sea stewards.
  • Operation: Day-to-day operations are designed to minimize energy and water use with a waste management system that will repurpose, recycle and reduce waste. By using LED lighting, induction cooking and low energy navigation and appliances, we will use less than 50kWh per day. Producing and storing enough energy from just four to six hours of sailing can achieve energy self-sufficiency.
  • Propulsion: The ship will produce her own energy and propulsion needs through a state-of-the-art hybrid system using wind power to produce electrical generation. By combining technologies from the 19th and 21st centuries—skipping over the petroleum era—ETS will become a unique teaching tool that can inspire appreciation for past boat building designs while utilizing innovative technology solutions to construct a truly green sailing ship.

I am thrilled to report that the board, staff, and Sausalito community have agreed upon a construction site and the project is set to begin!  Learn more about our progress from the press release below.


Educational Tall Ship Project
Sausalito, CA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2012

Sausalito Planning Commission Approves Bay Area Non-Profit’s Plan to Construct First Wooden Tall Ship in Almost 100 Years

(Sausalito, CA) - Imagine the graceful lines of a wooden Tall Ship, an echo of San Francisco’s rich maritime heritage, tacking her way under the Golden Gate, appearing out of the fog under full sail like a 19th century ghost. On her decks and aloft are Bay Area youth of all backgrounds and abilities working and learning together, sailing her confidently, their faces bright with a sense of adventure and achievement.

Supporters of The Educational Tall Ship for San Francisco Bay (ETS), a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that is constructing the first ever sustainably built and operated “Living Ship” in North America, celebrated Wednesday evening after the Sausalito Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve their proposed construction site at Marina Plaza, 2330 Marinship Way. Members from the community, including site architect, Michel Rex, Director of Richardson Bay Maritime Association and Executive Director of Call of the Sea, Charles Hart, expressed their support for the project, but from the comments made by each member of the commission, it didn’t seem necessary. “What really impressed me was how very supportive each person was when they spoke about what the project will bring to our working waterfront”, said ETS Executive Director, Alan Olson. “Our goal has always been to make this a community project and we were all moved by the support expressed by the Planning Commission and the community members who came to speak”, Olson said.

The vessel will serve as an outdoor education platform for Bay Area youth serving an additional 10,000 students every year, expanding  existing on-the-water programs offered by “Call of the Sea” a Sausalito based non-profit.  The ship will incorporate old-world technology with a new sail  powered regenerative electric drive system. ETS will employ local, skilled craftsmen as well as apprentices and volunteers to implement the project. Expertise and supervision will be provided by the premier wooden tall ship designer/builders in the country, Tri-Coastal Marine of Richmond CA. The construction process will be open to the public, and volunteers from various backgrounds and age groups will partake in the building of this vessel to truly make it the Bay Area’s Tall Ship.

For More Information Contact:                 

Kimberly Kouri
Educational Tall Ship
60C Liberty Ship Way
Sausalito, CA 94965
415-608-2984
kim@educationaltallship.org

Tuesday
Nov272012

Giving Tuesday

I first heard about Giving Tuesday from Rob Reich, one of my former colleagues from the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and an advisor to the group that is trying to start this philanthropic movement.

The premise is simple: Giving Tuesday is meant to sit in contrast to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and to emphasize the spirit of gratitude and generosity that are much more a part of the holiday season than is consumerism.

On Tuesday November 27, 2012 charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

I am excited to see what can come of this idea, particularly because economic gains can be directly measured from Black Friday and Cyber Monday efforts. My hope is that this day will clearly demonstrate charitable gains to the nonprofit organizations working to improve the quality of life for people and planet.

My only criticism of the effort (I know - how can you criticize giving and generousity???) is that it seems focused primarily on financial gifts. As any good philanthropist knows, generous people can give time, talent, and (or?) treasure. There doesn't seem to be a strong service component, but I imagine the counter-consumer focus is meant to be felt relative to our bank accounts, as well as our hearts.

The site is filled with ideas, ways to get involved, and resouces. Check it out - AND GIVE!

Sunday
Mar182012

Encore un autre hiver: Again another winter

The Restaurants du Cœur (far more commonly and familiarly known as the Restos du Cœur; "Restaurants of the Heart") is a French charitable organization that distributes food packages and hot meals to the needy.

It was founded by the comedian Coluche in 1985. These annual songs by "Les Enfoirés" represent a strong tradition of French philanthropy and civil society.

Thursday
Mar152012

Big Bang Gala 2012: Illuminate

Explore the tastes, sounds, and creatures of the night at the California Academy of Sciences during the Big Bang Gala, a special evening benefiting the Academy's research and education programs. The evening features Ira Flatow, NPR science correspondent and host of Talk Of The Nation: Science Friday; Dean Kamen inventor of the Segway and many other inventions; Salman Khan, founder and one-man faculty of the Khan Academy; and Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google.

Big Bang Gala 2012: Party After Dark

April 19, 2012
8:30pm to midnight
For adults 21+

Tickets to the Gala are sold-out (!), but tickets are still available for Party After Dark, a post-dinner celebration featuring live music by Fitz and The Tantrums, late-night bites, and an open bar. Tickets for Party After Dark are $75 ($45 of each ticket is tax-deductible). For more information call 415.379.5411 or email events@calacademy.org.

Join me!