October 29, 2008

Political Positivity

You want a little breath of fresh air among the hectic last week? Check out these amazing 6th and 7th graders from Atlanta.

I saw the original video a little earlier this week (thanks, Matt), but then recently found a CNN interview with the kids behind, "You Can Vote However You Like." The rapping starts at the 4 minute mark, but the whole interview is worth your 6 minutes. Promise.

Complete Lyrics:

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

(McCain supporters)
McCain is the man
Fought for us in Vietnam
You know if anyone can
Help our country he can
Taxes droppin low
Dont you know oils gonna flow
Drill it low
I'll show our economy will grow

McCain's the best candidate
With Palin as his running mate
They'll fight for gun rights, pro life,
The conservative right
Our future is bright
Better economy in site
And all the world will feel our military might

(Obama supporters)
But McCain and Bush are real close right
They vote alike and keep it tight
Obama's new, he's younger too
The Middle Class he will help you
He'll bring a change, he's got the brains
McCain and Bush are just the same
You are to blame, Iraq's a shame
Four more years would be insane

Lower your Taxes - you know Obama Won't
PROTECT THE LOWER CLASS - You know McCain won't!
Have enough experience - you know that they don't
STOP GLOBAL WARMING - you know that you won't

I want Obama
Stick with McCain and you're going to have some drama
We need it
He'll be it
We'll do it
Let's move it

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

I'm talking big pipe lines, and low gas prices
Below $2.00 that would be nice

But to do it right we gotta start today
Finding renewable ways that are here to stay

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
Iran he will attack
We gotta vote Barack!

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

"I can't rap anymore, I just murdered the alphabet."

October 23, 2008

Will You Join Us?

Dear Friends & Family,

Over the last year and a half I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of a horrible disease. My girlfriend, Kim, has a loved one who is living with Alzheimer's. It has greatly impacted her family and has quickly made passionate advocates out of us all.

Today, over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and with almost 80 million Baby Boomers approaching the age of greatest risk for this fatal disease, the need to find a cure is more urgent than ever.

In order to help in the fight, Kim and I will be participating in the Memory Walk to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer's disease. The funds we raise will go directly towards supporting the efforts of the Alzheimer's Association, the nation's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care. We set a sizable fundraising goal of $3,000 for Team Reminisce, but we are confident that with your help we can take big steps toward ending Alzheimer's.

Will you please consider partnering with us by making a donation? A gift of even $25 or $50 would greatly help the Alzheimer's Association do their work - work that has gained a new relevance for Kim and I. Your gift is very much appreciated, I trust that together we can help to end Alzheimer's!

The Alzheimer's Association has made it safe, secure and easy for you to donate online. Just click this link to visit the Team Reminisce Giving Page:


Thank you so much, we look forward to sharing the fantastic results of your generosity!

Sam & Kim

October 21, 2008

Marketing On The Mind

I'm a big fan of my marketing class. And I'm not just saying that because I know my professor reads this blog (Hi, Jen!). I truly enjoy learning how the principles of marketing and effective communication bleed into the nonprofit world. So, there.

Over the weekend, I read about social marketing and how to do it effectively. Here's a couple of videos and campaigns that I think do it pretty dang well:

1) The Partnership for a McCain-Free White House: A great mock-PSA funded by Move On done with The Partnership for a Drug-Free America in mind and tongue fully in cheek. More information here.

2) Help Sweden: "Turn the world around." More information here.

3) Knock It Off: Funded by the Ad Council and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), these videos and print ads urge young people to change the way they use the phrase, "That's so gay." More information here.

What about you guys? Have you seen or heard any other good examples of social marketing lately? Looking forward to seeing what you have come across.

"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service sells itself."
Peter Drucker

October 20, 2008

This Much We Pledge, And More

A little Monday inspiration:

“If by a ‘liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people–their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties–someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘liberal,’ then I'm proud to say I'm a ‘liberal’.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Do you realize the responsibility that I carry? I'm the only person standing between Nixon and the White House."
John F. Kennedy

October 8, 2008

Donors Choose!

A few days ago, I talked a little about the DonorsChoose Blogger Challenge. Well, I wanted to remind you that it's still going strong. So far we have raised $70 for the No Fear Shakespeare project here in the Phoenix area. But we need to raise $140 more to get those books to the 33 students eagerly awaiting the opportunity to take a big bite out of Billy's delicious poetry.

I did the math, and if only 14 of you give $10 we can completely fund this project. According to FeedBurner, there are at least 45 of you that read this blog on a daily basis. Sounds pretty easy to me. Click this link or take a look at the widget over in the sidebar. Either way, you are making a lasting impact on the lives of students. But don't take my word for it:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars /But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

October 7, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Friends and Colleagues of the Nonprofit Community,

No doubt you are concerned.

The current financial crisis has everyone in a tizzy, arguably no one group of people more than nonprofit managers and executives. Rightly so. The bread and butter of your respective organizations are the very people that have been and will be affected the most by the financial fallout. In all likelihood, these next few months and years will be an uphill battle for many organizations and maybe even see the end to a handful of hard-working, mission-driven groups with the betterment of our communities in mind. But I’m not here to coddle or console you, or tell that it will be alright. I have a little something different in mind. In my last two posts so graciously published here I highlighted my youthful optimism and my growing excitement for the career that is ahead of me, but today I want to leave with you an impassioned challenge: step up and shift the balance of power in our society.

The nonprofit community has continually played the proverbial part of the red-headed step-child in our three-sectored society. Always put on the back burner concerning legislation and news cycles, and so anonymous that many states have launched public awareness campaigns, so misunderstood that people running for high elected offices characterize community workers as not having “actual responsibilities.” This has to change, and it can. In fact, I believe that the nonprofit sector is uniquely positioned to gain the attention of our nation in a way never before imagined.

Wall Street is making people question the viability of the business sector, and the way in which our 110th Congress is handling this situation (and others, for that matter) isn’t garnering much public support, either. What better time than now is there for the nonprofit community to step up and shift the balance of power? For centuries, we have been the people that victims of natural disaster, domestic violence, joblessness, and homeless turn to. We have been the people that host after-school childcare, art shows, and theatrical performances. We have advocated for the rights of people who have no voice, and will continue until every voice is heard - including ours.

So with this, I challenge you. Instead of wallowing in the impending drought of individual donations, turn the tables and highlight the consistency and reliability of the nonprofit sector. Our great nation was built on the foundations of voluntary action and community organization. Let’s start acting like it.


“Trouble is only opportunity in work clothes.”
Henry Kaiser

PS - It’s important to note that the financial prudence nonprofit organizations is largely what has kept our sector thriving with such longevity. Since we can’t carry large amounts of debt, we have and will continually look for creative ways to generate funding when pressed. If only our colleagues in other sectors shared such a sentiment…

*Note: This post was originally published on the Nonprofit Congress blog.

October 6, 2008

Last Day To Register!

If you live in Arizona, but aren't registered to vote - do it today. Seriously. You can do it online, so you have no excuse.

"Half of the American people never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half."
Gore Vidal

October 3, 2008

Stealing From The Rich

From Wooster:

"Almsgiving is a duty unto you. Alms should be taken from the rich and returned to the poor."

Misrepresented By 'Misled' Article

On Wednesday, Jahna Berry wrote a fairly negative article about the state of Arizona State University's Downtown Phoenix Campus. In the article, "Phoenix Businesses Feel Misled By ASU" Berry claims that business owners are disappointed by the lack of student patronage and more or less accuses President Crow and Mayor Gordon of misleading the taxpayers who voted for a $220 million bond that built our campus. I have a few things to say:

1) Arizona State University has been in Tempe for over one hundred and twenty (120) years. The collegiate culture that exists there has been fostered for more than a century, while ASU has had a presence in Downtown Phoenix for a little more than three years. I remember something about Rome not being built in a day, but what do I know? In addition, we have been a 'residential campus' (as opposed to a commuter campus) for two months. Instant gratification, anyone?

2) I know for a fact that the two business leaders Berry quoted are not disappointed about ASU's presence downtown. Steve Weiss is a great friend of the Downtown Campus, and is more than happy to have us down here. In fact, the two showings of The Axe In The Attic a few weeks ago were sold out largely due to ASU students. This weekend, Steve is showing a film called Random Lunacy that's sure to be a riot. Please go support him and Space 55. The other business owner quoted in the article is Denise from The Silver Spoon (try the 'Scottsdale' - so good). She also owns a coffee shop called The Daily Grind, of which I am a proud card carrying member. Denise and I have had a handful of conversations about ASU's journey downtown, and she has been nothing but positive about the possibilities on the horizon.

3) Arizona State University is not solely responsible for the lack of traffic that business owners are experiencing. Conversely, if business was booming it wouldn't be entirely credited to ASU. From what I've read recently in the news, it seems as though our economy as a whole is having some issues. Light Rail construction didn't help matters, but the excited anticipation of its opening shows no signs of waning. Oh yeah, and that decades old stigma that there is "nothing to do downtown" is still alive, well, and unwarranted. As the Republic's downtown beat reporter, Berry is most likely fully aware of how these issues are affecting business in the area. But yeah, let's blame ASU.

Ok, that's all I got. Here's what the big boys had to say:

With the nation’s economy and the world’s financial markets in turmoil, it is a particular pleasure to bring you some good news. Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus has enrolled 40% more students for Fall 2008 than were originally forecast as part of the bond proposal to build the campus.

This fall, the Downtown Phoenix campus has enrolled more than 8,431 students. There will be almost 5,000 students taking classes on the campus from around the university. Combined with ASU faculty and staff, continuing education students, participants in some of the more than 2,000 campus-based seminars and events the university hosts each year, and other visitors, we expect almost 7,400 people will come downtown each weekday this fall as a direct consequence of the university’s presence here.

At the start of only its third year of operation, the university and the city, working together, have achieved some major milestones. The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism opened for business in August in the nation’s most advanced facility for teaching and research about digital media. Taylor Place, a brand-new residence hall, also opened its doors, adding 540 students to the number of people who live and work downtown. And later this fiscal year, KAET/Eight, Arizona’s premier PBS affiliate, will move its operations downtown to the same state-of-the-art facility housing the Cronkite School.

At the time we proposed building a university campus in Downtown Phoenix, we knew that we needed a diversified portfolio of carefully selected assets to build the kind of vibrant, high-energy environment that would enable us to compete and prosper. Some of these assets are already completed, such as new residential developments, while others are opening just when we need their economic boost the most: the new Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, the final phase of the Phoenix Convention Center, and our METRO light rail line.

The depth and breadth of our current economic concerns have only served to underscore the foresight of these projects and the wisdom of the voters of Phoenix in approving the bond proposal to build the campus. The trust and commitment from all—students, ASU faculty and staff, City employees, business owners, neighborhood residents—to making this campus one of the fastest-growing, most successful start-up operations in the history of higher education shows what we can do when we work together for our mutual success. We thank you for your role in this effort and look forward to reporting more good news in the future.

Phil Gordon, Mayor, City of Phoenix
Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University

"We journalists make it a point to know very little about an extremely wide variety of topics; this is how we stay objective."
Dave Barry

October 2, 2008

The DonorsChoose.org Blogger Challenge!


Had a little hiatus, but I'm back. And just in time to tell you about DonorsChoose and their Blogger Challenge! I've partnered with hundreds of other bloggers to raise funds and awareness for our public school system. DonorsChoose works to connect philanthropists (that's you) with teachers in need of a little extra funding to better impact their students' lives.

I have chosen two (2) Arizona projects. Here are their descriptions:

1) No Fear Shakespear

I want my students to understand not only the language of Shakespeare, but also the message. Reading and discussing Julius Caesar last year was one of the most rewarding experiences for both my students and myself. Unfortunately, I realized during the unit that my students were in need of more ways to understand the language. The "No Fear" translation aided not only my struggling students, but also my higher level ones.

Having 33 copies (a class set) of No Fear Julius Caesar books will allow me to push my students further in their understanding of Shakespeare's language and relational commentary.

Many students in my classes have never finished a book, let alone a Shakespeare play. Your help will ensure that every student in my classroom will not only read, but also comprehend one of the most amazing works of Shakespeare.

2) Live Theater In ASL: A Raisin In The Sun

I teach deaf and hard of hearing high school students at a residential school for the deaf. A high percentage of my students are Hispanic or Native American.

Many of my students are economically disadvantaged. Many of these students see their first live theater performance via my class. Having a copy of the book allows them to be fully prepared for this experience.

Prior to the performance not only will we read the book but we will also watch a movie of a taped performance. With a trip to a live theater performance as bait, these students are highly motivated to read a complex and difficult text.

Your help will enable students to prepare for a live theater performance by reading this marvelous classic text.

Please join me in bringing literature and art to these two Arizona classrooms. A donation of even $10 will make a huge impact. Please visit this site and take action. See you soon, promise. Feels good to be back in the saddle.



"Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind."

Henry David Thoreau