BENEFITING: Citizen E
EVENT DATE: Nov 05, 2016
Help me launch Citizen E, a new nonprofit project I am founding and chairing as a volunteer. Citizen E will call upon, search for, & support citizen entrepreneurs who take responsibility for a corner of their world.
I have set a goal of $15,000 for the first search (with a stretch goal to raise $25,000 for the first 2 Citizen E searches) to be used for grants for citizen entrepreneurs.
While running Global Green (GG) and serving on multiple nonprofit boards, I saw the need and opportunity to develop a call to action to inspire, recognize and support individuals--what I call CItizen Entrepreneurs--who take responsibility for a corner of their world. The idea is to give those who are working hard as a teacher, a doctor, a social worker, small business owner, or any profession to go beyond volunteering and donating money to nonprofits to more directly engage in a specific effort/project to improve their community.
What is Citizen E?
What is Citizen E? A Citizen E, or citizen entrepreneur, is someone who takes responsibility for a corner of their world (e.g., a project in their backyard, whether literally or in their neighborhood, at their kid's school, or in their city), loves their family--humanity--and loves their home--their community, and planet Earth.
Citizen E aims to inspire, encourage and support those who are concerned about defining challenges of our time (e.g., climate change and impacts on our communities, poverty and lack of access to healthy food, violence against women, etc.) to not feel overwhelmed, rather that their efforts can make a difference by focusing on a corner of their world while connecting the dots to bigger issues. Citizen E will call for, identify, and/or support those that can't spend the time--nor have the privilege--to be a 'social entrepreneur' (e.g., running a nonprofit, etc) yet want to go beyond. It is also as an antidote to what we normally celebrate in our society, and aims to make have Citizen Es to be heralded as we do the "new establishment" in Vanity Fair or the world's richest individuals in Forbes 400.
What is a Citizen E?
A Citizen E, or citizen entrepreneurs is someone who rejects media and others defining themselves solely as consumers, reclaims their role as citizens, and goes beyond volunteering and voting to take responsibility of a corner of their world. Citizen Es call upon the entrepreneurial spirit the can do attitude and American can-do attitude while giving back to their community in each their unique way while building on the ideas and successes of others. The idea also was to make the environment just a core principle of anything we do and consider impact upon our natural world, depletion of resources, reducing GHGs, etc as a standard operating principle. To help explain what is a citizen entrepreneur, here's a video we did at GG (we are working on a new one for the launch).
Can you give me an example of a Citizen E?
Here's the first CItizen Entrepreneur we selected (and who embodies it to a t), Cassie Parsons a chef--who is pictured to the left--who wanted to help the low income neighborhood near her restaurant grow food she could buy and help them earn money/create jobs. You will note when she was recognized and given the $3,000 (we offered $1,000 initially, had 130 submissions, and individuals made unsolicited to increase the grant for the winner, all of which helped her build the first farm), she said she wanted a network of urban gardens -- a year later she had 7!
Here's a short talk I gave where I included the concept in a broader presentation at TEDxWomen, and talk about Pam Dashiell, someone I think also embodied the meaning of Citizen E.
How will Citizen E identify Citizen Entrepreneurs?
Citizen E will issue regular searches that call for a Citizen E that aligns with different defining challenges or issues, or geography. Individuals will nominate someone they know or themselves.some size Citizen E will post each submission that meets certain criteria on-line, and then select a group of finalists for public voting. Citizen E will evaluate each finalist and their project further along with public voting to select 'winners' that will receive support in various forms for them and their project.
What will Citizen E do to help CItizen Entrepreneurs?
The search will include a prize in the form of a grant (e.g., seed funding to launch an idea and/or completion funds for a project on its way) to a Citizen E for their project along with possibly other forms of support in the future (e.g., technical assistance, a mentor/partner, amplification via on-line partner, etc).
What are the plans to launch Citizen E?
The first Citizen E search will have a soft launch on November 5 at a Citizen E event (we will also celebrate my 50th while we're at it!). Four nominees will be recognized and a initial Citizen E prize will be granted. Each will at least get $500 for the project, and the winner $1,000.
Soon there after, the first on line search started. After reveiwing all the on-line entries, 10 finalists will be selected and in early 2017 the top 3 Citizen E's will selected announced to receive grants and potentially additional support.
NOTE: Donations to Citizen E are tax deductible as of November 4, 2016. Citizen E is a nonprofit initiative with interim fiscal sponsorship provided by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. Finally, a big thanks to Global Green USA for supporting my idea and putting $1,000 toward the first citizen entrepreneur search in 2012. The board was gracious to allow me to carry forward the work to call for, search for and reward citizen entrepreneurs, or what I will now call Citizen E.