We’ve formulated the trip along 4 guiding principles:
1) It will be about people, not politics.
2) It will be about inquiry, not advocacy. Optimism, not pessimism.
3) It will be about what’s working. Can do, not can’t do.
4) It will be cool and FUN.
America is more disconnected than ever. At a time when the American Dream is in need of reinvention, a deep divide exists both between urban and rural areas and the coasts and middle America.
We want to broadcast and give a larger platform to new American stories. We will uplift local voices that are reinventing themselves and their communities, build and nurture better “connective tissue” across and between rural and urban areas, and drive specific social innovation experiments.
From a rapidly changing national employment market that is increasingly focused on technology, a mass exodus from small towns and communities to city centers, and siloed echo chambers in our online lives, we are seeing a fractured American community. Instead of promoting a culture of open dialogue, listening, and compassion, we seek out those whose opinions mirror and validate our own.
In this age, a clear majority of Americans are united by financial difficulty and instability. Since the year 2000, the United States has lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs. The Great Recession claimed more than 8 million jobs. While the economy has benefitted from some recovery and millions of jobs have been replaced, up to 75% of Americans can’t afford a $700 financial shock.
In the face of political, social, and religious partisanship, we must stop talking and start listening to each other and to our most vulnerable communities.
Our specific goals over the next 12 months are to:
- Raise the profile and capacity of local small businesses, organizations, and community actors who are successfully responding and adapting to their local needs. We want to hear what is working and why to amplify successes, provide additional tools that are necessary for expansion, and inspire others to bring these solutions to their own neighborhoods.
- Connect high-capital sponsors to local initiatives that will invigorate rural America and funnel talent and focus into proven models.
- Bridge the empathy gap based on the concept of not talking over each other but listening to each other. We are not disparate because we have varying beliefs, we must remain united as members of one American community.
Phase 1 - Step into the Unknown (Fall 2017)
The bus journey kicks off! We will embark on a bus tour to visit a variety of communities. We will make 6-8 stops in approximately 12-18 days through the heart of the country.
Phase 2 – Consolidate our Insights (Winter 2017)
We will place a FUSE Corps fellow in each of the cities we visit to put into action a 12-month follow-up plan that will turn ideas into a living (and growing) organism. A manifesto, documentary, and storytelling handbook outlining our key findings and insights will also be produced and shared with the world.
Any other questions? Contact us.