This is a guest post by my friend Joseph Porcelli who runs a Boston based non profit called Neighbors for Neighbors. And he needs your vote.
How many neighbors do you know on your street?
When was the last time you did something together as a community?
Have you ever had to deal with crime in your neighborhood, or known a neighbor in need but did not know where to start?
Well, if you lived in my neighborhood in Boston, you’d know lots of your neighbors, you’d have hosted an event in the last six months, and you’d know exactly what to do about crime cause you would know your local police officers. If a neighbor needed help you’d know where to go for resources.
How is this possible? It’s because we’ve leverage the Ning.com social network platform as the new online social infrastructure for our neighborhoods. Just like you invest in your businesses to earn fiscal capital, we make it possible for neighbors to invest their good intentions to earn social capital.
My name is Joseph Porcelli, and I’m the founder and Chief Executive Neighbor at NeighborsForNeighbors.org. I’m writing today to ask for your help in sharing our social infrastructure model with you, so that you too can communicate and collaborate with your neighbors and public servants like we do.
My hope is you’ll be inspired to vote for us to win $250,000 to fund our operation as we are competing in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.
Neighbors for Neighbors is a Boston Based 501c3 nonprofit I founded with my neighbors in the summer of 2004. We originally set out to increase awareness about crime in our neighborhood, but soon realized that our neighbors wanted to meet each other, do activities together, and serve each other. To keep up the momentum we had created, we turned to technology so that everyone could share, create, listen and participate directly, without our intervention.
WHAT WE DO TODAY:
Today, Neighbors for Neighbors is pioneering the new online social infrastructure for neighborhoods by operating neighborhood-centric, community-generated social networks powered by Ning.com. The networks serve as a soundboard for voices and a springboard for action. Unlike Facebook, Neighbors for Neighbors connects people who live, work and serve their neighborhoods, with the intention of bringing people together offline to do activities with and for each other.
Check out our pilot network http://jamaicaplain.neighborsforneighbors.org
OUTCOMES THEY’VE PRODUCED:
Our members have created over 140 groups ranging from running and reading groups to advocacy groups organizing for affordable housing. In the last year, we came together as a community over 500 times. Together, we’ve transformed our public spaces, increased safety, and grown our collective grassroots innovation and problem-solving capacity.
Over the last year we’ve received national recognition as a Gov 2.0 leader for our work in connecting and building trust among residents and public servants such as police officers. We are even key partners in the Boston Police Department’s Virtual Policing Strategy, as seen on BPD News.
HOW YOU CAN HELP US:
Imagine what would be possible if your neighborhood — and every other neighborhood in the world — had a network like ours. What would you create and what problems would you solve?
We are not too far away from scaling our operation and you can help!
Please vote for us right now and every day this month.
With $250,000, we’ll will hire staff to:
Sustain the Boston operation (currently we are run by volunteers and have no funding)
Meet the demand for and provide technical and operating support to individuals and municipalities who wish to replicate the NFN model in their neighborhoods
Convene the “Neighbor Movement” where individuals, organizations, and community technologists will share best practices and build broad support for neighboring.
You invest in technology to build financial capital and we invest in technology to build social capital. By helping us you’re helping yourselves, your families, and your neighbors.
Please vote to help fund our important work!
I also suggest you follow us twitter @NeighborTweet. You can help increase our chances of winning by tweeting – Vote to help fund @neighbortweets online social infrastructure for neighborhoods http://pep.si/shoenfn #pepsirefresh
Thank you, neighbors from all over,
Your neighbor in Boston.