David B. Crowley's blog

10 Year Results and Stories

Wow, it's hard to believe it's been over two months since our 10th Anniversary Social Capitalist Luncheon! One of the great things about it was the chance to gather stories and data from our ten years of community building. Like any big event, getting ready for it was a very busy period; yet it also afforded a nice opportunity to reflect on where we've been and what we've accomplished. I'd intended to post shortly afterward about some of the results we shared with our Luncheon guests...better late than never! Here's a summary of what we've done over the past ten years, by the numbers:Read more

8 Community Building Lessons from the Farm

Want to learn some good tips for engaging volunteers and building community at your organization? Perhaps you should spend a morning at a local farm like I did yesterday! We wanted to get better acquainted with Nina and Archie McIntyre after Nina had come to one of our events awhile back. They offered to show us around Wright-Locke Farm (which I'll call "the farm" throughout this post) in nearby Winchester, MA, where they are passionate volunteer leaders. We suspected that there might be practical ways SCI might be able to connect with the farm around volunteer opportunities and some projects we are doing related to healthy food and community building.Read more

SCI AmeriCorps by the Numbers, Part 1

An SCI AmeriCorps Member, Syed Zaman, working with youth.Happy AmeriCorps Week! This annual week that celebrates and highlights the vital role AmeriCorps members play in communities across America happens to coincide with our preparation for our 10th Anniversary Social Capitalist Luncheon. Therefore, we are in the process of aggregating some of our old AmeriCorps data and stories to share at the event. This is still a work in progress, but we wanted to share a few data points that give an idea of the impact SCI AmeriCorps members have had in the communities we serve:

*105 SCI AmeriCorps members have provided a total of 146,110 hours of service to Massachusetts communities.Read more

Can Technology Fuel Face-to-Face Social Capital?

Is technology key for building trust and social capital in today's world? That's a key point made in an interesting Fast Company article, "Community Revival: How Technology is Reconstructing our Shared Lives", by Nicole Skibola. She focuses on "Generation Yers"  significant desire to contribute, albeit in forms that might not be recognized by older generations. Skibola cites innovative projects such as Skillshare that helps people share their skills with strangers.Read more

Social Capital Matters

Since the economic downturn hit in 2008, I've found myself needing to justify our focus on building social capital more often. Many people seem to imply that while things like knowing one's neighbor and joining a community group might be nice, it is not as crucial as providing people in need with the material sustenance they need in difficult times. I've now had ten years of experience explaning that there is an important and well-documented relationship between increasing social capital and positive economic outcomes for individuals and communities. We need to see that building social capital versus meeting material needs is a false choice.Read more

Teaching 21st Century Skills By Practicing Them

Last week, Woburn Public Schools (WPS) Superintendent Mark Donovan stopped by the International Learning Center to meet the the student leadership team that is working with us to plan the WorldFest Woburn multi-cultural festival. These adult learners are recent immigrants from over twenty countries, participating in a wonderful program offered by the YMCA of Greater Boston.

During this meeting, we were exploring ways that the WPS students and their families could get more involved in the WorldFest event this year. Mr. Donovan embraced this idea eagerly, noting that there are now over 50 languages spoken at home by the WPS students. When I went to WPS over 20 years ago, I suspect I could have counted the number of languages spoken by students on my fingers. Mr. Donovan spoke passionately about how in our increasingly diverse communities and global economy, appreciation of different cultures and ability to work effectively across difference as a vital "21st century skill". That is for sure!Read more

A Super Message the Patriots Send

Everybody wants to tie their brand into the Super Bowl. I felt some obligation to think of a social capital angle we could bring to the big game. But clearly another Facebook or Twitter query, "So what or your plans for the game?" was not very interesting. I was inclined to pass on trying to articulate a connection between the SCI mission and the Super Bowl.Read more

SCI MLK Day Roundup

Martin Luther King Day is officially recognized as a day of service, and the operative phrase associated with it is  "A day on, not a day off". In his Drum Major Instinct sermon Dr. King said "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve." Keeping with this sentiment, today is officially recognized as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. So it's a busy day around the SCI network...here are some highlights, and if you are reading this morning, still time to get involved with something!

*Lynn Community Donation Drive A wide range of items needed by several local charties have been posted, and are being collected at several locations in the community. If you drop at Compare supermarket (owned by the family of our board chair, Alberto Calvo), they will match your donation.Read more

You can change the world in 2012

Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, recently asked people to share ways we planned to change the world in 2012. My response was referenced in Craig's follow-up piece, "16 People and Organizations Changing the World in 2012". I'd like to share with you some of my response to Craig.
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My Plan for Social Good 2012

When craigslist founder Craig Newmark asked people in this post, "How Will You Change the World in 2012", I knew I would need to respond. I wrote on a similar theme around this time last year, so appreciated Craig's nudge to set forth my plans again here.

1) Launching the National Civic Communication Corps: Created as a response to the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps enrolled 500,000 members at its peak, and the corps planted some 3 billion trees and created 800 parks nationwide (source: Wikipedia). What legacy could a 21st century CCC leave behind? We envision a national Civic Communication Corps through which:Read more

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