Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pix from Blogging Panel

Sooo, you know that blogging panel I've posted about a couple times. Well, A Fool's Wisdom has created a fun summary of the night in photos in a post called, "Tara Walks the Talk". Tara Hunt of HorsePigCow was one of the presenters.

Yup, that is a little pic of me up there.

Monday, March 27, 2006

How to Look Fabu at Any Age: A Little Tribute to My Grandma

Just got back from a weekend away celebrating my grandma's birthday. Doesn't she look great? I would tell you how old she is, but we're not allowed. I can tell you that her oldest daughter, my mom, is going to be 64 this year, so you can take it from there . . .

How does my Gram stay looking so fabu?
  • Positive attitude! Nothing gets this lady down.
  • Help out/focus on other people. She's always making someone dinner, or driving a friend to a doctor's appointment.
  • Be social. Don't isolate. Even though a lot of her friends have passed away, or are sick, my Gram is always joining new clubs and classes, and getting together with people.
  • Lotion, lotion, lotion!
  • Suntan lotion, suntan lotion, suntan lotion!
  • Exercise. She still lifts weights and walks on the treadmill.
  • Learn/try new things. We got her a computer several years ago, and she emails and instant messages with the family like a pro, even though she's never used a computer before. This weekend we got her hooked up on Netflix.
  • Don't tell anyone your age. If they want to think you are ten years younger than you are, so be it.
  • Refer to other people as "old people" (e.g. you have to watch out for "old people" when you drive).
  • Keep the romance alive. You're never too old for love. While we were at a restaurant for her birthday brunch, another man eating at the restaurant came over to check out the birthday cake we'd ordered for her. When she told him that she was going to take home the leftovers he said, "You can take me with you"!

Happy Birthday, Gram!

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Solution Salon

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights' Reclaim the Future program is hosting a Solution Salon Thursday, May 18th from 6-8 PM at the James Irvine Conference Center (353 Frank Ogawa Plaza, near 14th and Broadway in Oakland).

Even though this is a Bay Area event, I wanted to post about it here because it seems like a great model for other organizations and cities to follow. Plus, it is far enough away that if you want to come check it out, you can still book a plane ticket!

The Solution Salons will bring together top thinkers and doers in the country to talk about the keys to making Oakland a national leader economically, ecologically and socially.

Check out who is speaking at this salon:

Majora Carter
MacArthur "Genius" Fellow
Founder and Executive Director
Sustainable South Bronx

Paul Hawken
Author, The Ecology of Commerce

Geralina Fortier
Community Education Coordinator
People's Grocery

Van Jones
Executive Director
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Bruce Cox
Board President
Alliance for West Oakland Development

Come on over to Oaktown and check it out!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Blogs

As I was getting ready for this blogging panel I'm going to be on tomorrow, I started to think about the different ways that nonprofits can use blogs. Many of these blogs have been mentioned on this blog before or on NetSquared.

10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Blogs

1. To report back from an event or conference
Example: Patricia Jones, manager of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Environmental Justice Program, is blogging from the Fourth World Water Forum on the UUSC blog, Hotwire

2. To involve staff and take advantage of their knowledge
Example: The Walker Art Center's blog contains postings from art center staff and others describing recent and future community programs and educational information about exhibits at The Walker.

3. To involve volunteers and document their work
Example: The surgical volunteer staff who do reconstructive surgery all over the world for Interplast, upload posts to the blog from their worksite.

Example: The Urban Sprouts blog is written by one staff member and one volunteer.

4. To provide resources and information to constituents
Example: AARP's blog is an online resource for a variety of aging issues such as retirement security, health and volunteering.

5. To provide resources and information from constituents
Example: The Best Friend Network allows its supporters to create blogs around animal and animal adoption issues that they care about.

Example: NetSquared's blog is a community blog that anyone can post to about resources, events and information related to how nonprofits and NGOs can use the social web for social change.

6. To give constituents a place to voice their opinion
Example: Ann Arbor District Library System Uses a blog for the front page of their site. Library users can ask questions and make suggestions about library news, announcements and events in the comments of each post.

7. To give constituents support
Example: March of Dimes' Share Your Story blog allows families with children in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to share their experiences with one another.

8. To create the media coverage constituents want

Example: When the men accused of murdering Gwen Araujo, a woman they beat, bound and strangled after they discovered that she was biologically male, went to trial, the Community United Against Violence decided to use a blog to document the trial.

Because many of CUAV's volunteer bloggers were more knowledgeable about issues such as the trans-phobic tactics that were being used by the lawyers, they were able to address many issues that the mainstream media missed. The blog also kept people informed during the second trial, when media coverage had diminished, and eventually drew attention to the trial when the blog got news coverage.

9. To give constituents the power and tools to create change
Example: Human Rights Watch doesn’t have a blog, but specifically offers RSS feeds of human rights news to supporters so that they will blog about human rights issues.

10. To reach potential donors
Blogs are not replacements for paper newsletters or e-newsletters, they are an additional way to reach a certain audience. Check out these stats from an article entitled, "Blog Readers Spend More Time and Money Online." I added the bold.

Fifty million Americans, or 30 percent of all American Internet users, visited a blog in the first quarter of 2005, according to a new report from Comscore, and sponsored in part by SixApart and Gawker Media. Traffic increased by 45 percent from the first quarter of 2004.

The average blog reader viewed 77 percent more pages than the average Internet user who doesn't read blogs (16,000 versus 9,000 for the quarter), the report found. Blog readers average 23 hours online per week, compared with the overall Web user's average of 13 hours.

Blog readers are 11 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have incomes of or greater than $75,000
. Similarly, blog readers are 11 percent more likely to visit the Web over broadband either at home or the office.

Blog readers tend to make more online purchases. In the first quarter of 2005, less than 40 percent of the total Internet population made online purchases. By contrast, 51 percent of blog readers shopped online. Blog readers also spent six percent more than the average Internet user.

According to an NTEN survey of nonprofit techies, 20% said that they published a blog and 20% said that they didn't (but they want to). Don't you want to get yours up, before they get around to it?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Do * Good Magazines

I have a new favorite magazine, Ode: For Intelligent Optimists. It has been around since 1995, but I'd never read it before. It has a couple downer pieces, but overall it is filled with great articles about serious problems with hopeful solutions like EcoLeo, a Brazillian company that buys sustainably harvested wood and raw materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and sells them to "green" architects and designers, or the Memstill which desalinzes water using residual heat from industrial plants, or MobileActive, a network of activists and campaigners using mobile phones for civic engagement, or the European Court of Human Rights.

I like Mother Jones, I even worked there for a couple years, but geesh it's depressing. I used to read UTNE reader, but then they had too many Psychology Today type cover stories like, "Your Secret Self," and "Embrace Your Feminine." Another magazine I like, but that does have a lot of "mushy" articles, is Imagine: Creating a Meaningful Life. It sorta mixes articles about self-help with articles about social change. They had a good one recently about a company called Global Girlfriend, an online fair trade store that sells products that benefit women's human rights, and that are made by women's non-profit programs and cooperatives.

Yes!: A Journal of Postive Futures, can be a little less positive than its title proclaims, but it has some good stuff too. Their last issue was all about the 10 most hopeful trends of the last 10 years.

I'm also waiting for my sample copy of a new magazine that I heard about on Treehugger called Shift, "a lifestyle magazine that focuses on the exploding environmental movement through a pop culture lens." Sounds like it'll have lots of pics of celebs arriving to the Oscars in their hybrids. Fun!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Be a Blogger for Human Rights

I came across a Joi Ito post today about how he's joined the board of WITNESS, an incredible nonprofit that helps other nonprofits and NGOs to use video to document, create educational materials about and advocate against human rights abuses. You can read case studies of how their videos have made a difference here.

Anyway, he mentioned that he set up a Typepad blog for Witness' Director, Gillian Caldwell to document her trip to Sierra Leone with Angelina Jolie to deliver recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to the government.

While searching for examples of other women using blogs to document human rights abuses, I found Human Rights Watch, an NGO that investigates and exposes human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.

One of their calls to action, is to be a "Blogger for Human Rights":

If you are a blogger, you can use your bully pulpit to stand with the victims and activists to prevent discrimination, uphold political freedom, protect people from inhumane treatment in wartime, and campaign to bring offenders to justice. You can expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. You can challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.
They provide RSS feeds about human rights issues classified by region, country and theme, and e-mail newsletters in several languages. They also ask people to tag post about human rights with the tag " human rights." Finally, the site directs bloggers to the Electric Frontier Foundation site for tips on how to blog anonymously, if necessary.

So sign up for those feeds, and start blogging for human rights!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Lately I've been thinking about getting a dog or cat and have been spending too many hours surfing Petfinder , a database of homeless pets. As part of my surfing, I came across the Best Friends Network, a nonprofit network that allows animal lovers to become members, join and create online communities around animal-related topics (i.e pet rescue and reunion of animals from Katrina), participate in discussion forums and create blogs.

Blog topics can range from Adoption Ads that Really Work II by Elizabeth Doyle, to Cathy's Journal: Post-Katrina thoughts, to a blog where members can post questions in the comments for animal communicator, Lauren McCall.

The site also has two campaigns going on: one to find dog trainers to work with Katrina animals with serious behavioral problems, and the other to raise money, recruit volunteers and find homes for 1,000 bunnies in Reno, NV as part of The Great Bunny Rescue!

Don't you have room for just one little bunny?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Women Helping Women: My First Giving Circle

Last night I went to my first giving circle using the Dining for Women model, and it was pretty inspiring. What I didn't realize about Dining for Women, is that they research and choose the organization that will be receiving the funds from that month's gatherings so that all of the Dining for Women groups meeting across the country are donating to the same thing. This month's organization was the Village Enterprise Fund. Because the Village Enterprise Fund's administrative office is in San Carlos, CA, about 25 miles from San Francisco, we were lucky enough to have VEF's Development Director, Barbara Lamb Hall, there to chat with us and to show us a quick PowerPoint presentation.

Here's how VEF works. They offer $100-$150 start-up grants to businesses in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. For example, VEF gave a $100 grant to Flora Khaombi who was struggling to provide food, clothing, healthcare and education for her two grown daughters and her grandchildren. All Flora said she needed was enough money to buy a 50 kg. bag of maize for resale. Flora got four other women to create a business group and with that grant they were able to start a business that sells vegetables, maize and tomatoes. In addition to the start-up funds, grant recipients also receive business training and long-term mentoring.

75% of VEF's businesses last 4 years or longer.

VEF also offers $300 follow-up grants to recipients of start-up grants to help them grow and expand their businesses, and loans of $5,000-$20,000 for community-based businesses such as a truck for famers to be able to drive to key markets, or a bakery at a secondary school.

61% of the business owners are women.

Each business that VEF funds directly improves the lives of at least 15 people.

Barbara also told us about two other related projects.

Project Baobob, an organization that provides free education in business skills for Kenyan youth, and Kiva, a web-based organization that allows individuals, like you and me, to make microloans (rather than a donation) to individuals via the Internet. The thing that is so intriguing about Kiva is that the people featured on their website are real people who need a microloan and because Kiva has low overhead and does fundraising offline, every dollar you loan to that person goes to their business, and you get your money back.

I am looking forward to our next giving circle and learning about more ways that women can help women.

Big thanks to Kris Wolcott and Kristen Byrne for organizing the event!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Going to Be on a Blogging for Business and Nonprofit Panel March 23rd

If you live near Silicon Valley, come check out a panel I'm on: Blogging for Business: An Insider's Look at How to Use Blogs at Your Company, Business or Nonprofit produced by the Alliance of Technology and Women.

Here are the other panelists' blogs:

Robin D. Stavisky of New Venture Marketing (Moderator)

Paul Rosenfield General Manager for QuickBooks Online Edition. This is a link to the QuickBooks Online Edition Team Blog

Tara Hunt of Riya.com and the HorsePigCow blog.

John Earnhardt, Senior Manager of Policy Communications for Cisco Systems in the Office of Worldwide Government Affairs. He started Cisco's first company blog and is its main author.

I think I'm the nonprofit part of the title (:

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Big Vision Podcast 2: Interview with Viet-Ly Nguyen

I put up my second Big Vision podcast on Sunday. It's an interview with a former co-worker of mine, Viet-Ly Nguyen, who is a teacher with Streetside Stories. She talks about her work at Streetside and as an arts educator.

A side note about using Gcast for podcasting. I still like it, but it was only when I loaded in my second podcast, that I realized that the cute little player that you see in the right hand column of my blog only shows whatever the newest podcast is, so to see older ones, you need to go to my Gcast page.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Donate Books: Help Rebuild New Orleans' Libraries

So You Wanna Be a Domestic Goddess passed on info. this week about the New Orleans' Public Library's call for for any and all hardcover and paperback books for people of all ages. The staff will assess which titles will be designated for its collections. The rest will be distributed to families or sold for library fundraising.

Books can be sent to:

Rica A. Trigs, Public Relations
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112

According to the NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) site,

If you tell the post office that they are for the library in New Orleans, they will give you the library rate which is slightly less than the book rate.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Art, Social Change & Young Women Bloggers

This week Beth Kanter and I finished our week being mentors for the Young Caucasus Women Project. Last Sunday each of us wrote a post to answer the question, “Who is your favorite artist (visual, dancer, performer, writer or musician) and why?” Here is Beth's post and here is mine. During the week the young women in the program from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia wrote their own posts answering the question, we commented on their posts and they commented on each other's posts. On Friday our mentor cycle ended and a new one will begin with a new mentor blogger tomorrow (Sunday). The project will continue through the spring and into early summer.

I am pretty sure all of the mentoring positions are taken for this project, but Ore, who was one of the mentors for this project, is going to be starting a similar project for young Nigerian women. If you are interested in getting involved you can email her at oreblogging@yahoo.com.

While writing my mentor post last Sunday I got to thinking about how artists use art for social change and accumulated a bunch of links for related projects, programs and organizations that I thought I'd share:

Change Me: The Power of Imagery to Create Change. This is a project of the Getty Museum. (I know I read about it in someone's blog this week, but now I've forgotten whose so my apologies for not giving a blogger out there credit for the find). Anyone can submit an image that inspires them and that they think will touch or affect the person viewing it. For every submission the Getty gets, they will donate $10 to Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria.

California College of the Arts' Center for Art and Public Life "The Center for Art and Public Life creates community partnerships using the arts to address issues of social justice, diversity, community development, and education. Our programming is woven across disciplines at California College of the Arts and serves the diverse populations of the San Francisco Bay Area."

Institute for Social Ecology: "A ten-day program for artists, performers, activists, and media makers who wish to create and examine socially engaged art and media projects."

Film Your Issue This is a contest being sponsored by MSN Spaces, MSN Video, MSNC.com, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and mtvU. They are looking for 30 to 60 second "issue films" (live action or animated) made by United States residents ages 18-26. I think we're going to see more and more corporations getting getting in on this action.

WITNESS: "WITNESS uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. By partnering with local organizations around the globe, WITNESS empowers human rights defenders to use video to shine a light on those most affected by human rights violations, and to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools of justice."

Fifty Crows Social Change Photography "FiftyCrows Foundation aims to bridge the gap between venues and distribution mediums for documentary photography, and encourage public dialogue on the issues raised through the photography."

Art Into Action: "Art Into Action is an international program of the Natural World Museum (NWM) designed to actualize sustainable culture using art as a catalyst to inspire, educate, and engage the public in environmental awareness and action."

If you know of more cool projects or individual artists using art for social change, I'd love to hear about them. You can put the info. in the comments or email me at britt AT brittbravo.com.