June 27, 2008

Park(ing) Structures

Was anybody else outside last night? It was really nice out. Like ninety-three (93) nice. Hey, for these few months we'll take what we can get...

And with heat like this in our little concrete jungle, it's nice to know that there are people working hard to create spaces where it's comfortable to hang out in this heat. Spaces like the Downtown Civic Space Park, which will serve as the Downtown Phoenix Campus student union. The entire project is funded by a city bond that you (if you live here) voted for in 2006, so the space is open to everyone, not just ASU students.

The park will be finished in the spring of '09, but until then you can track construction progress with a "Dean's Eye View." We installed a webcam here on the 6th floor to get a good look at the park. Besides a live feed, the camera also takes a still shot every fifteen (15) seconds, so when it's all finished, we'll have a nifty little time-lapse movie put together.

The City of Phoenix also has a camera, but they only take a still shot every half hour. Not nearly as fun, but the different angle is worth a look. And if you want to see a mock up of what it will look like finished, check out these mock ups.

Hey, speaking of parks, the voters of Phoenix recently passed (overwhelmingly) a thirty (30) year extension of the Phoenix Parks and Preserves Initiative. It's only a one-tenth of one percent ($.001) sales tax allocation, but that little bugger has raised over $200 million to construct and refurbish the parks of Phoenix. This is all important because the City now wants to hear what you have to say about it before they make any final decisions in regards to where the money goes. They are holding a series of public meetings to hear from residents. For more information, call 602-262-6862.

Enjoy your weekend. It's supposed to get down to eighty (80) the next few nights. Break out the cashmere...

Cheers,
Sam
"I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center. "
Kurt Vonnegut

June 26, 2008

Deserving

This video has been running around for awhile now, but it is worth its own post. Not just a link. Enjoy.




(And for all of you from Ironwood High School; Yes, that really is Alan Greenspan (Class of '03) at the :55 mark.)

Cheers,
Sam
"We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"
Ray Bradbury
(In Fahrenheit 451)

Organization Time

I have so many links of so many stories I want to write about. But I'm done feeling useless. Done feeling stressed out about it. I've started to catalog them, and forward date the posts. I feel like I can breathe again. I don't think you know how much pressure you put me under, Constant Reader...

In the meantime, I have some news. There is now an official club on campus called ASU For Dan Saban. We have a blog, a Facebook page, and an email (asufordansaban [at] gmail [dot] com).

Looking forward to catching up a bit!

Cheers,
Sam
"Atheism is a non-Prophet organization."
George Carlin

June 19, 2008

Over 1,000,000,000

Thanks to Netflix, this is my new favorite show. Tina Fey is funny (read: understatement of the decade)...





Cheers,
Sam
"I believe that vampires are the world's greatest golfers, but their curse is they never get to prove it."
Tracy Jordan

June 17, 2008

Networking. Socially.

Intergenerational conversations have been all the rage lately. You know, trying to create and cross bridges between generations in the workplace. During these conversations, the term "social network" comes up at least fifty (50) times a minute. Ok, so it's not that much. But roll with me, here. My beef with the term is not its definition, it's the perceived definition (in some circles, we call this connotation).

For some reason, when people use the term, and hear the term "social network," they are thinking about things like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. But social networks are so much more, and they happen in so many places. In fact, one could argue that social networks have been around since the dawn of civilization. Or more accurately, social networks are responsible for the dawn of civilization. That's right. Tom didn't invent the concept. Social networks happen in your apartment complex, in your church, in your sewing circle, on poker nights, and in professional settings.

And hey, speaking of social networking in professional settings, you should think about coming to one or both of these:

1) The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Phoenix invites you to an evening with Herb Paine, Executive Director for the Arizona Humanities Council. Herb will be address the growing generational gap in today's workforce, specifically in the nonprofit sector. The event will take place at United Way's offices in Phoenix (1515 E Osborn RD, Phoenix, AZ 85014). More information and RSVP here.

2) IGNITE Phoenix, a non-traditional networking group that meets to support smart growth in our city. This month's meeting will be taking place Tuesday, June 24 from 5:30PM to 7:30PM at Chez Nous (915 Grand AVE, Phoenix, AZ 85007), with Amina Uben (owner of Chez Nous) speaking. More information and RSVP here.

So, this month consider kickin' it old school with some real life social networks...

Cheers,
Sam
"If Al Gore invented the Internet, I invented spell check."
Dan Quayle

June 16, 2008

No Mo' Joe

On Thursday (6/19), I and two hundred (200) of my closest friends will be at the County Board of Supervisors meeting to hold said community leaders accountable for the current sheriff's actions. After all, they are our employees, right? If you would like to join us, the meeting will be held at 205 W Jefferson at 9:45AM. If you have any questions, or would like any more information, feel free to email me at samuel [dot] richard [at] asu [dot] edu.

I am going to commit myself to working on a campaign this summer and fall. And not the one you might think. I'll be volunteering for Dan Saban, an American Lawman. Mr. Saban is running against Joe Arpaio, an Arizonan Embarrassment, for Sheriff of Maricopa County. A few things led up to this decision, but I think none more so than my deep-seeded pursuit of justice. But like I said, there are other reasons, too.

A few years ago, I worked on Howard Dean's campaign until he screamed. It was pretty much over for him after that. I also grew up as a Boy Scout, where civic engagement and always being prepared (read: keeping band-aids in my wallet) are highly respected. In tenth (10th) grade, I was able to go to Washington, D.C. with the Close Up organization. I came back with a tie full of little red and blue elephants on it, convinced that Conservatism would save the state of our Union. Three weeks later, after a ten (10) minute conversation with a family friend, I threw that tie away and have since been exploring liberal ideals. But like my good friend Stephen says, "Truth has a well-known liberal bias," so maybe it was inevitable considering my interest in non-fiction...

All that to say, I believe that a change is necessary in the Sheriff's Office. And I'm going to do something about it, hoping for change. Weird, right? Maybe Mr. Saban will pay attention to those 40,000 outstanding warrants on his desk, and heck, he might even shed some light on some shady dealings in Honduras and China...

Not that my endorsements have any clout in the real world, but you can consider this my official endorsement for Dan Saban. See you in November, Joe.

Cheers,
Sam
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

June 14, 2008

Fast Food

Here's a cool time-lapse compilation of the Downtown Phoenix Public Market swiped from my friends over at the Downtown Voices Coalition. I'm the one the blue shirt.




Cheers,
Sam
"I always wanted to be a farmer. There is a tradition of that in my family."
Bjork


110 Outside - Perfect Day For A Ride

It's going to be hot today. But it's still a great day for a bicycle ride to the baseball game. It also saves money on gas and parking...






Cheers,
Sam
"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race."
H.G. Wells

June 12, 2008

The Hill & The Hostel


Hanging out with Barack's staff in DC.


In Obama's office. I was in DC for this. A day I will never forget.

The second to last day of my trip to DC was probably my favorite. It was Lobby Day, and about one hundred (100) of us met with our respective local Representatives and Senators (read: their staff). We met with John Shadegg's office, Raul Grijalva's office, Jon Kyl's office, and Ed Pastor's office (pictured). And about now, you're thinking, "That's great, Sam. But why were you meeting with them?!"


I was pretty proud of this picture. Looks good, doesn't it?

Good question. We were on the Hill to build momentum and gain energy for proposed legislation tentatively titled the Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative (NCBI). Sounds like a lot of letters, and potentially boring. But I promise you this legislation is exciting, and could potentially impact your daily life in fantastic ways. Basically, the NCBI would set up an equivalent to the Small Business Administration. This is important because eighty-one percent (81%) of nonprofit organizations have operating budgets of under one million dollars ($1,000,000). And that means that any "back office" type work greatly diminishes the amount of money and energy an organization can use towards the furthering of their mission. So get excited.


Patrick and I in front of the Peoples' House.

On varying degrees, all four of the meetings we had were met with positive remarks. Understandably, Grijalva's and Pastor's people were most excited about it. And while the other meetings were productive, they were a little more reluctant due to all the hub-bub over PAYGO. The National Council of Nonprofit Associations is asking for $25 million fronted by the Government with another $25 million in matching dollars funded by private foundations. That might sound like a lot, but the Small Business Administration had a budget of $678 million last fiscal year. There is plenty of work left to do to move this bill further along the process, but the Lobby Day was a huge first step. Be certain that I'll provide you all the updates you can handle...


I had the bottom bunk. Top bunk was a guy from Latvia who just graduated from college.

After all of those meetings were over, I headed over to 11th and K streets, where my bed for the night was. It was my first experience in a hostel, and I was very pleased. Super cheap, great conversations with people from all over the world, and a wealth of information on local sights and eats off the beaten tourist path.


Is it sacrilege to call this Mecca?


Studio 4a production room. This is where the magic happens.

I was leaving the next day in the early evening, so I knew that most of my afternoon was going to be spent traveling to, and waiting at the airport. Before I left Phoenix, I made sure that I knew the tour schedule of the NPR Headquarters, and made my reservation. It was pretty cool to see where Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Talk Of The Nation are produced, but none of the three were on air when the tour happened, so no picture with Neil Conan...

I learned so much, met scores of amazing people, and have a storage closet full of stories and experiences because of my week in the Capitol City. Thanks for reading along, and living vicariously through my trip!

Cheers,
Sam
"The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see."
G.K. Chesterton

June 11, 2008

The Hump Dump | June 11th, 2008

This marks my one hundredth (100th) post. That's a lot of rambling. To celebrate, I'm going to throw myself a party. Just kidding. Why would I do that? Someone else is going to do all the work. Or I'm not really going to celebrate it. Haven't decided yet.

One thing I have decided though, is that I'm going to catch up. My friend Adam says he's about four (4) days ahead in posts. I'm about eight (8) days behind that. I haven't even finished up writing about my DC trip, I have a really cool idea brewing about Doctors Without Borders, and then there's all these current events. One way bloggers catch-up a bit is to do something called a "link dump." This is where, instead of lengthy post of stuff they came up with themselves, they will just post a conglomeration of links they have stumbled across and are collecting dust on their bookmark bookshelf. Some of you might argue that most of my posts integrate this technique with my gratuitous linking. To you, I say, "::silence::."

I have some dumping to do. And it's Wednesday, also known as (aka) "hump day", so I concocted a clever title.

The Hump Dump

Animated street art by Blu. It's about a seven (7) minute video, but worth every second. Sent to me by my cousin Matt. Pretty fun stuff.

The big-cactus-bloom-in-the-sky has already won awards. Boston area artist Janet Echelman designed the thirty-eight (38) foot tall sculpture that will be part of the new Downtown Civic Space, which is part of the Downtown Phoenix Campus of Arizona State University. Authorities are already on the lookout for David Ortiz jerseys...

The Phoenix Suns Charity gave over $1 million last year to the community, including a $100,000 grant to Valley of the Sun YMCA to continue a $4.3 million renovation of its Chris-Town facility. Oh yeah, and we have a new coach, too.

Last year, the IRS received over 85,000 applications for new nonprofit organizations. I'm a big fan of minimalizing duplication, so that wasn't a very exciting number for me. The good news, however, is that the ASU Lodestar Center is partnering with the Lodestar Foundation to offer a $250,000 Collaboration Prize. If you know of any two organization like have like-minded interests and could serve their communities better by joining forces, here is a great opportunity to fund that conversation.

The Morrison Institute will be holding another edition of Forum 411: Engaging Arizona's Leaders today. The topic is Immigration: From Global to Local to Kids, and is produced in collaboration with Community Outreach & Advocacy for Refugees (COAR). The event is today at 4PM.

I've talked about it before, but I am a big fan of the responsible use of technology in the Nonprofit Sector. Things like embracing Web 2.0, using New Media to be more effective message-bearers, and exploring Open Source programs and operating systems to cut down on administrative costs and increase efficiency. Well, check this out. Oxford Archeology has recently switched all of its servers over to Ubuntu, and transitioned into using the Open Office software package. The effect? A 20% decrease in IT costs over the last two years...

Hump Dump, Out!

Cheers,
Sam
"I am who I am because of who we all are."
Meaning of the Zulu word, Ubuntu

June 10, 2008

Maybe This Is A Timely Idea...

I had lunch today with Staci of the Children's Angel Foundation about Phoenix Copper Bikes. I am pretty certain (and hopefully you are, too) that this idea is pretty solid. However, I want to make sure more than the idea is solid before we roll it out for real. So Hugo and I met with Staci today to go over the basic idea and proposal to see where are, where the holes are, and to see where we need to go.

During our conversation, the idea that this is a "timely" concept came up. With gas prices so high, the economy in such a bad place, etc. It had never really occurred to me. My car gets pretty good gas mileage, so I'm not hit that hard by the current jump, and I don't make enough money to be affected by the economic pressures that are making the news. Peanut butter and jelly are holding pretty steady on the market lately. Plus, I like riding a bike because it makes me feel good, and it provides an easy option for exercise. Not because it saves me some good money. But I guess more people are switching over to being pedal pushers for that exact reason. Like this guy.





Cheers,
Sam
"Our culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second."
Edward Abbey

June 9, 2008

Messaging On The Mind

I enjoyed every part of my trip last week to Washington, DC. But I was most excited about my time with Bill Toliver and the marketing workshop. I ran across this video today on Katya's blog and was reminded of that session.



Cheers,
Sam
"Baby Boomers have more to offer than nostalgic stories of milkmen and black & white television, and Millineals have more to offer than tips on texting with one finger and the best way to set up a facebook account."
Samuel I. Richard

June 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

11:00AM - My luggage is in New Orleans, but I'm in Phoenix. Guess my bags didn't want the trip to be over quite yet...

I have a lot of stories to tell and wrap-up to do, but I need to get settled a bit here back in the land of the Hundred Degrees. Happy Friday, everyone!

Cheers,
Sam
"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."
Maya Angelou

June 3, 2008

Promised Pictures

6:00PM Here's some pictures from earlier this morning when the Arizona Delegation discussed our priorities and action items for the next year. What are those? Glad you asked.
  1. Speak With One Voice
  2. Promote Collaboration And Networking
  3. Increase Public Awareness
  4. Promote Accountability
  5. Connect With Resources

I'm probably most excited about number three (3) and number (5). There are plans to put a National Public Awareness Campaign together. You know, print ads, video ads. Some clear messaging that shows we really are a legitimate sector of society. I'm pretty stoked about Connecting With Resources as well because I'm all about the responsible use of technology - including the formation and launch of the Entry Point Project.

Ok, my stomach is grumbling. Off to a reception, which I'm learning is Washington Speak for free food and wine...

Cheers,

Sam

"Government of the people, for the people, and by the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln

Another One On The Blogroll...


4:00PM Sitting in the conference room here, waiting for the Lobby Day prepartion event. After this, every "official" conference event is over. Later tonight, there is a reception at the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest, and tomorrow we get to meet with our local Congresspeople.


I have a few things I'd like to share from our morning and lunch sessions, but this is about ready to start, so it'll have to come later. For now, I'll just introduce you all to a new friend. I met Rosetta Thurman today, and found out that we are fellow bloggers (pictured above). I like this camera thing. After I bounce back from all the money I've spent away from home, I think it might a pretty responsible purchase. The one I'm using I stole from my sister. But she got to use my car in return. Pretty good deal, if I say so myself.


See you soon!


Cheers,
Sam
"We are One Voice."
The Nonprofit Community

Monday Wrap-Up, Tuesday Wind-Up

9:00AM The first morning speaker of today is just starting right now, but so am I. The time change and long flight caught up to me a little bit, and the wake up call I received did not, in fact, wake me up. But I have a full day ahead of me nonetheless.


The first thing we'll do today is meet as State Delegations. An extremely important piece of this gathering is what we take away from it. And while that emotional high, summer camp-type feeling is always fun, the NCNA has the clear and focused vision to provide "National Voice, State Focus, and Local Impact." So while we are meeting with friends, colleagues, and co-laborers from across the country, our charge is to take the knowledge we know have and repackage it for our respective situations back home - wherever that may be.


We are meeting this morning as the Arizona Delegation, but we had a much more informal gathering last night at B. Smith's, located in the Presidential Suite of Union Station (pictured). Fantastic food with a Southern touch. And the desert was delectable. We ordered one of each off the menu, and created our own carousel. Take a bite, pass. Take a bite, pass. If we weren't the last ones in the restaurant, we probably would have been kindly asked to leave.


I feel like there is so much more to say, but I have to get going to the next session pretty quickly here. So here is just a few things that I might to get to expand on later.


1) ASU won game one (1) of a best-of-three (3) series at the Womens' College Softball World Series last night (3-0). It could end tonight.


2) Something else might end tonight.


3) I have met a ton of great people before, during, after, in, and out of these breakout sessions. One of the most intriguing, however, would have to be Susan White. Susan is the Senior Writer and Editor of Weyo (it's missing an accent on the 'e' - pronounced WAY-yo). Meaning, "see them" in Haitian Creole, Susan and her newly formed team want to see the nonprofit community a little clearer, and a little more often in print. After enough of dreary, depressing news, Susan collected a group of people interested in bringing good news - and news of those doing good - to a much brighter light. Check out their website for a little deeper dive - very clean design.


4) If this conference was over today, I would be satisfied.


5) I might want to live here when I'm all grown up. Sorry San Fransisco, I feel like I'm cheating on you...


Cheers,

Sam

"So much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it."

June 2, 2008

Craigslist For Nonprofits




This is Darian, Exec. Director at the Craigslist Foundation.


Adrenaline (n) - A hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla that is released into the bloodstream; a response mostly related to being at the Nonprofit Congress.


5:45PM I am just leaving the "Craigslist ForNonprofits" breakout session. I can't express how excited I am about this opportunity for the sector (or "community" as Flo expressed earlier today. Just a little less than ten (10) years ago, craigslist.org became craigslist.com When Craig started this whole thing, it was a NPO 501(c)(3). But then they started making a little bit too much money ($81 million with 28 employees. Do the math). After some paperwork, Craigslist became a for-profit entity and the Craigslist Foundation (Helping People Help) emerged.


Hopefully launching in fall '08, the Craigslist Foundation will be launching a version of the classic Craigslist site that will be tailored to the Nonprofit Community. Full of user-generated and peer-reviewed content, Project Entry Point will be more or less a clearinghouse for all things Nonprofit-related. Everything from how to start an organization to board governance will be on the page.


And I am honored to be on the Beta Tester team. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this. So much happened today, I'll do a little wrap-up tonight because I'm presumptuous enough to think you care enough to read it...


It's three (3) back in Phoenix, but it's almost dinnertime here in the District. Man, I'm hungry.


Cheers,
Sam
"Seek first to collaborate, only then to lead."
Bill Clinton

Marketing Is Fun!


4:00PM Just finished up a session with Bill Toliver from The Matleline. Fantastic stuff. So good that I asked him for the slides. So a futher breakdown is forthcoming, I'm still digesting. But the main message - formulate all messaging and story-telling around your value system, don't cater or comprimise those values to make money from a specific demographic sector.


In other words, if you are the Humane Society, don't put a direct marketing campaign into circulation with a picture of a dying dog. Why? That will only attract a small fraction of the people you want to reach (7% according to Bill). Instead, play to the fact that sixty (60) percent of homes have pets - and learn why. By doing that, the Humane Society increased the rate of response on their direct mail campaign by thirty (30) percent. Pretty decent, I'd say.

A session titled, "Craig's List For Nonprofits" is up next. See you soon!


Cheers,
Sam
"A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel."
Robert Frost

Lunch Is Over - Off To More



2:00PM - Ok, so I'm not as good behind the camera as Kelli, but I'm learning, ok? Back off.
Lunch just ended with small snipets of wisdom from Flo Green, Michael Weekes, Frank Lopez, Sheri Brady, and Rick Cohen. A fantistic group of people with a broad range of experience and wisdom to share with everyone in attendance.






This is Kim Fellner. We had a great discussion about intergenerational conversations. A couple big takeaways: 1) This "crisis" of a huge leadership shift (due to a large influx /outflux of Boomers) can be averted with responsible dialog and 2) the issue of intergenerational relations is a real issue, not something that can be neatly packaged in sterotypes and humorous quips.


Also, don't forget that materials from workshops are available at the Nonprofit Congress website. Heck, even if you aren't here in DC with us go check it out. You might learn something! :)

Ok, off to a breakout session titled, "Can Marketing Create A Movement?" My sister would be proud...


Cheers,

Sam

"Riots are the voice of the unheard."

Martin Luther King, Jr.


First Session

10:30AM I'm sitting here with my new friends Kate and Kristy at the Growing Nonprofit Leadership Through Intergenerational Conversations. Steve Bauer from the national American Humanics office and Kim Fellner are going to lead us in dialog. Kim just wrote a book titled, Wrestling With Starbucks: Conscious, Capital, Cappucino. I'm looking forward to this. Notes to follow soon...




Kristy, Me, and Kate (Picture by David Jay from Volunteer Match)

It Begins In DC

7:30AM - The computer that I'm working on says that it's 4:30AM, and it's a little scary. Completely riding on adrenaline. This week is going to be fun. I feel like I miss San Fransisco already. That city might have to be my home some day. But for now, I'm in the Capitol City.


Shower, suit, then breakfast. See you soon! But first, a little wrap-up from the weekend.





Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Burroughs all hung out here.




This is where they all hung out. I sat in the same chairs as Alan and Jack. Crazy.



This is the bike that I borrowed from Jonny. Go buy shirt or something.

This is my home for the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

Cheers,

Sam

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked."

Alan Ginsberg

June 1, 2008

The Night In Captions


The San Fransisco Street. Sorry, couldn't resist. Don't get it?



I said I love this city, right?


La Trappe is one block away from the famous Lombard Street.

Found this billboard on the way to dinner. Yo quiero street art.


Delicious Italian food. In Little Italy. Makes sense, right?

Our waitress was even Italian. I'd say that's pretty "autentico" - if I could pronounce it.



Took forty-eight (48) hours to see a police officer. Posed for a picture to prove they exist.




Live salsa band was playing when we showed up. So we stayed the rest of the night.

Today I fly out of San Fransisco, but not back home. I fly straight to Washington, D.C. on an overnight flight. I leave the City By The Bay at 9:30PM tonight, and land in the Capital City at 5:35AM tomorrow. I have this little bottle of that 5 Hour Energy stuff. I think I might try it...

Cheers,

Sam

"Dawn: When men of reason go to bed."

Ambrose Pierce