7 Deadly Habits of the Holidays

Can I hang a 'Closed for the Holidays' sign around my neck? Too obvious?

It’s that time of year again, when budget and reporting deadlines are down to the wire and holiday party invitations are flying at you faster than you can whip up a batch of eggnog.

Now is the time to remember that your most important resource is YOU!

So take a deep breath, silence your phone and you may just keep your sanity for 2014.

Accommodation. It’s time to make peace with saying ‘No’. Friends and co-workers will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Bowing out of some things sets reasonable expectations for everyone. Saying you won’t …read more

Giving Tuesday: The Results Are In!

As we highlighted last year, was the first year of the Giving Tuesday campaign. Tom Watson at Forbes Magazine and Timothy Ogden of Stanford’s Social Innovation Review have voiced concerns about its effectiveness, which attempts to soften the excessive consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by reminding us all of the spirit of generosity that underpins the winter holiday season. Now that Giving Tuesday 2013 is over, here are some conversations that are bubbling around the internet:

Donations on Giving Tuesday are up by 90% through both Blackbaud and Network for Good, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. …read more

Building a Stronger & Better Community?


In times of significant neighborhood change, outreach and community building are going to be extremely important in ensuring that new neighbors are included in already established communities and that these communities capitalizes on the new human resource.

From my own experience, gentrification is not creating inclusiveness. In many cases gentrification moves lower-income residents to other neighborhoods which allows higher-income residence to move into new gentrified spaces which reinforces class lines.

Lower-income established neighborhoods may lack financial resources but oftentimes they have relationships with their neighbors. The Community Toolbox is an excellent resource for residents who want community change …read more

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

How to tell a story and enjoy doing it

A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain taken by A. F. Bradley in New York, 1907. http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/publications/siycfall_05.pdf http://www.twainquotes.com/Bradley/bradley.html See also other photographs of Mark Twain by A. F. Bradley taken in March 1907 in New York on Mark Twain Project Online. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We often use stories to illustrate a point we want to make. Storytelling is a time honored tool for passing on important information, and for demonstrating how we have come to a certain point in our lives. It can also be used to unite a community around a certain point of view. Storytelling is …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


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

Expanding National Service, It’s American

FEMA – 42581 – Volunteers in Service to America working in Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Civic involvement characterizes democracy in America; the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville was so struck by it in the 1830s that he praised American’s commitment to voluntary service in his book Democracy in America. Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations on American philanthropy holds true today. In 2011, the number of volunteers reached its highest level in five years, as 64.3 million Americans volunteered through an organization, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010. Americans volunteered a total of almost 8 billion hours, an estimated …read more