Strengthening Community After Typhoon Haiyan

Residents carry relief goods past damaged homes in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.Bullit Marquez/AP Photo

With all of the news out now about the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan (called “Yolanda” in the Philippines) has wrecked in the Philippines, many people here in the United States and elsewhere have been asking how they can help. Many of the organizations you’ll find below are ones that have been featured elsewhere, but if you have any questions about the effectiveness of an aid organization, be sure to check with Charity Navigator! Charity Navigator has even put …read more

Sharing is Caring

Shared Economy

Living in today’s’ ever-connected world has its challenges and opportunities. There are hundreds of advertisers vying for our attention at every moment with ever more customized and sleek advertisements encouraging you to click over and consume. In this disposable age where people are told to keep buying items to achieve status, be happier, healthier and more organized there are people bucking that trend. They are the bartering engine driving the Share Economy. In the spirit of sharing, we thought we’d bring you 5 ways folks are making use of what they have to get more of what they need.

1. …read more

Surviving the Government Shut Down

 

With the government shutdown leaving many Americans feeling powerless and angry, community is more important than ever. America is built on the collective action of individuals working together to solve community problems and get things done. The shutdown fiasco offers the perfect opportunity for us to revive our legacy and come together, build relationships and bridge the service gaps that have emerged from this mayhem.

Per the Federal Government, below are some of the services that are affected:

Veterans’ compensation, pension, education, and other benefits could be cut off in the case of an extended shutdown. New applications …read more

Will you be ready if a disaster hits your neighborhood?

September is National Preparedness Month; will you be ready in a time of disaster? 2012 had a variety of disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the California Wildfires. How would you have dealt with these events? Federal and local government can only do so much to prepare us; they are the most proactive after the event has occurred. As a community it is important that we take collective action when disaster strikes.

Below are some steps to being ready:

1) Get the training you need for disaster. Disaster Ready.Org provides online training in being prepared. Their training is geared towards …read more

The Leader You’re Looking For Is You

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Today’s anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom has left me feeling…hollow. While I celebrate how far our country has come in the past 50 years, I lament that most remember this as the anniversary of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l to r, Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, and Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee / World Telegram & Sun photo by O. Fernandez. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America’s preoccupation with leaders and figureheads has done our nation a collective disservice. We remember the singular man …read more

Penalties for Charities: Government Oversight or Not

There has been a lot of conversation about charities that are not charitable. This conversation is forcing state governments to create regulations to ensure that charities are doing what they are supposed to be doing. For instance, the state of Oregon’s Governor signed legislation that would penalize charities that spends less than 30% on programs verses fundraising and administrative expenses and California has increased penalties for the misuse of funds by charitable organizations.

I am opening the floor for a spirited debate: Should our state governments provide oversight on charities’ operations or do you think that the …read more

The Merits of Slacktivism

One of the constant criticisms of the internet age is its role in the rise of Slacktivisim, actions that let people feel like they have made a difference, with little positive or even a negative impact. Slacktivists will change their profile picture, sign a petition, or tweet out a statement but are not willing to engage more fully in the cause by volunteering, donating, or getting out in the community.

While I am guilty of being frustrated by people who change their social media profile in lieu of meaningful engagement, I also think Slacktivism has its merits. In the right …read more

Co-Creating Community

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As a newcomer to Charm City, it’s managed to quickly capture my heart with its quirky neighborhoods and rich history. Being a transplant from the Midwest, Baltimore’s industrial past has easily made me feel at home. Like other metropolitan areas, Baltimore has been struggling during the economic crisis of the past few years and is turning to development to raise its profile. This neighborhood reinvestment is especially needed here as Baltimore City’s population has been declining since the 50’s. A loss of almost 35% of city residents has left Baltimore with numerous vacant homes and near-abandoned blocks.

Reinvestment to the …read more

A Problem that SHOULD NOT Exist

Our communities, government and the human population are becoming desensitized to the homelessness and the disenfranchised. Everybody deserves a place to sleep and something to eat. This video was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Messer and Nicole Malovany with the help of DePaul University in Chicago. Homelessness is prevalent in the United States and even more so in urban areas.

I live in Baltimore City and almost every day I see someone asking for change or food. If I have it to give I do. I watch others who will do the same and more often than …read more

Wealth Inequality: The One Percent & The 99 Percent

Wealth inequality in America is a major issue for those who do not have wealth. It is reported that 99 percent of American wealth is held by 1 percent of the American population. This wealth is generated through inheritance and capitalism. When someone inherits massive wealth, he or she has a variety of investment and capitalist opportunities that would not be available to someone like me. The more wealth you have the more wealth you can generate. True capitalist sell things by taking their wealth, buying equipment, materials and inventory, creating something, adding a markup price and begin distributing. …read more