“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”

— Alexis de Tocqueville

 

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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.


Vision

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.

 

Scope

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.

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Our Plan

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.

 

Key Activities

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.

 

 

OTHER OPERATIONs

In 2012, the first "Operation" undertaken by the BLK SHP Foundation was to support a small group of innovators affiliated with the 92 Street Y in New York City as well as the UN Foundation to launch #GivingTuesday, the national day of social giving after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  The Foundation lined up a range of key influencers and supporters from the Foundation ecosystem – from social media mavens, to philanthropy leaders, to officials at The White House.  After that initial push, #GivingTuesday has educated millions of Americans about micro-donations, and has become a movement of its own, raising approximately $100 million this past year.

 

Henry Timms, aka "the Conductor," founder #GivingTuesday, Ace Hotel, December 2012

Henry Timms, aka "the Conductor," founder #GivingTuesday, Ace Hotel, December 2012

From the early days of #GivingTuesday, we relied on BLK SHP. We had very little time to launch this project (too little, some said!), but when the BLK SHP arrived, like some kind of social good version of the A-team, it was a huge support to our efforts. BLK SHP has an amazing capacity to influence some of the most influential people in America, and helped get this project off the ground, engaging everyone from the White House onwards.
— Henry Timms, Executive Director, 92Y and Founder, #GivingTuesday

BLK SHP helped to conceptualize, launch, and grow Fuse, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to empower local government with the innovative talent and approaches needed to respond to the nation’s most pressing social issues. Fuse recruits entrepreneurial professionals and provides intensive leadership development to prepare them for 12-month projects in local government working across various areas such as responding to education, healthcare, workforce, environmental and public safety challenges. By engaging a broad network of cross-sector partners, Fuse Corps ultimately works to catalyze cultural change in public institutions and to exemplify the potential of community-based problem solving.  Fuse is currently in 15 U.S. cities, and projects growing to roughly 50 fellows within the next 3 years.

A group of about 20 BLK SHP convened in London for "Operation to Number 10 Downing Street," to meet with senior innovation advisors and leaders in the UK government to discuss new ways to drive cross-sector collaboration, innovations, and social entrepreneurship.  BLK SHP  ranging from business executives to artists to a professor of innovation from Northwestern – visited with senior advisors to the UK Cabinet and government.  The Foundation shared leading trend information from America, and learned what programs were thriving in the United Kingdom, including visits to nonprofits in London that teach homeless people how to become chefs, as well as a nonprofit that helps alleviate housing shortages.  The Foundation found ways to support the social missions of those non-profits, and shared information regarding organizations in America doing similar activities.