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:

Diverse Corps members fan out across the country to help ensure equal access to the digital information and resources that have become the lifeblood of our economy and crucial to our civic life.  As a result of this Corps, institutions like libraries and community centers are better equipped to engage 21st century citizens, thousands receive training in digital communications, communities have better civic knowledge and stronger civic cultures thanks to a richer array of online resources produced by more diverse citizens, and the digital divide closes dramatically.

This idea has been percolating for awhile, but we aim to launch the program in 2012. Partners in Chicago, Minnesota and San Antonio are joining SCI and Tufts University based CIRCLE here in the Boston area in submit initial proposals to launch the program in the fall of 2012. We'd love to hear from others interested in joining this effort--more background on the idea can be found in this post. This project has SCI spreading our impact beyond Massachusetts, but also will be an important part of how we deepen our Boston area impact in 2012.

2) Being the change: Gandhi's oft-cited quote, "We ourselves must be the change we want to see in the world," can be taken as simply meaning that we can all make a difference in the world. That is a part of the message, to be sure, but he's also reminding us how important is to start changing the world by working on ourselves and being a positive influence on those around us. I want to keep in mind that my most sure path to creating a better future is being the best father and husband I can be. To do that and be successful in my work, I need to make sure I do things that will energize me and those I am close to. So part of my plan for changing the world in 2012 means enough time spent exercising, reading, reflecting and the other things that will help me be at my best for my family and for my work in the world.

3) Linking food & community building In recent years, I've been linking my passion for cooking and enjoying good food with my interests in community building. The growing focus on eating local and connecting with community members who produce our food has a strong social capital benefit. We joined a local consumer supported agriculture (CSA) program for the first time in 2011, and were pleased to have our community open a thriving farmer's market, which is continuing through the winter. The market provided a chance to connect with producers and community members in person; and a group of us took the local food conversations online by blogging and Tweeting about recipes to use the items in our CSA bin. I had great fun with the "eat local" connections this past year, but I feel like we just scratched the surface of how local food efforts can bring us together. I look forward to diving deeper into linking local food and community building efforts in 2012.

Writing about my plans for 2012 has me very excited for that ball to drop in Times Square next week! I look forward to starting another year filled with exciting projects, people and possibilities. Thanks Craig for encouraging the post and I look forward to hearing about others' plans for changing the world!