“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
— - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

 

What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?

It’s no secret that American national institutions are in a very challenged state: from the widespread crony capitalism that has weakened Wall Street to the stagnation in Washington DC.  Globalization and technology have disrupted America, and while some people are doing extremely well in the new Era, there’s often an enormous “empathy gap” about what’s really going on in the middle of America.  

 

What is the vision?

We want to tell the stories of how America and Americans are reinventing their own lives, and working together to renew their communities and states.   In a media world dominated by cynicism, we want to understand how America can rediscover its true north. Our belief is that the answer won’t be some heroic leader riding in on a white horse, but rather an incredible collection of average Americans who are tinkering, entrepreneuring, and creating new ways of living and being from the bottom up.  

 

What is the long-lasting benefit?

We will also focus on how we can become a connective tissue to join groups of innovators together nationally to focus on collective action that we can take. One of our goals is to establish 10-15 Fuse Corps fellowships working with local and national partners who can then help drive local cross-sector collaborations around programs ranging from job creation to education to alternative energy projects.  In the same pioneering spirit as Lewis & Clark, John Steinbeck in “Travels with Charley”, and “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, a bus tour connects to a classical American idea of exploration and discovery.

 

Who will be on the bus?

We expect to have a lot of fellow travelers along the way, both people staying on the bus, as well as others who just want to join along for a day or two or more.  We will  have a web tool to make it easy for people to follow our route and schedule, and would love to meet and join with as many people as would like to be a part of the tour.  As for the core group on the bus, it will include Harold O’Neal, the pianist and innovator, Alexa Clay, the author + anthropologist, Peter Sims the best-selling author + social entrepreneur, and Richard Tait the entrepreneur and founder of Cranium. We are also working with a number of stewards helping to shape this initiative, including: Matthew Bishop (Globalization Editor, The Economist), Matthew Dowd (Analyst, ABC News), Henry Timms (Executive Director, 92nd Street Y), Jennifer Pahlka (Founder, Code for America).

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.