We’ve raised $10 million! Here’s a snapshot of what that looks like.

Today, we want to celebrate those special neighbors. You know who we’re talking about. In fact, you’re probably one of them! They’re the changemakers. The movers and shakers. The unofficial mayors of the block. Got an issue in the neighborhood? They know what to do, and they’re ready to help.

They’re the everyday folks who’ve raised over $10 million dollars on ioby to make positive change, and they’re just getting started! That’s right–neighbors like you have raised over $10,000,000 on ioby.

That’s a lot of zeros! We’re so incredibly excited to celebrate this milestone with you today, and we’re even more excited to see what you will get done next. We rounded up below just a few of the campaigns that brought us to $10 million dollars. Check them out, then, start your own project!

Continue reading We’ve raised $10 million! Here’s a snapshot of what that looks like.

A note from Erin and Jamie

Dear friends, 

Together, we’ve had front row seats to ioby’s founding and evolution. Many critical moments have changed the course of ioby’s history, none so much as ioby co-founder Brandon Whitney’s contributions. 

From the very beginning, Brandon was laser focused on building an organizational culture that fit our mission. One of the most important pieces of ioby culture that Brandon created was ioby’s Whole Person Policy, which states:

Each staff member, intern, volunteer, partner, and board member brings with them a rich variety of experiences, values, hopes, inspirations, stories, and challenges. By honoring that we are “whole people,” and by drawing on our individual qualities, we are better equipped to help others succeed.
And so:  We will honor the diversity within our team, and respect all individuals as equal members of a collegial community and as people with lives outside ioby. We will nurture our whole selves through pursuit of our own passions, knowledge sharing, fun, and active involvement in our communities.

Brandon, understanding that ioby was combining two worlds—grassroots activism and tech startup—both notorious for staff burnout, saw that this was a potential recipe for disaster. And so, he drew on the work of Parker Palmer and created this policy.

It has resulted in some of the most beautiful things at ioby, including a community of staff who share mutual love and respect for one another. 

Continue reading A note from Erin and Jamie

Our commitment to dismantling white supremacy

To our ioby community: 

The 400-year story of anti-Black oppression is central to American history. It’s a story of the theft and enslavement of human beings, of repeated cycles of racist policies like Jim Crow laws, redlining and voter suppression, of the weaponizing of the criminal justice and food systems, and of informal racism that white Americans are complicit in allowing to this day. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery are a part of that story and are four among far too many Black deaths at the hands of violent law enforcement. 

On May 25th, the death of George Floyd doused fuel on the embers of four centuries of inequality. Anti-Black racism is morally reprehensible, and it is not new. Racism and inequality show up in all aspects of our lives. We see it in our neighborhoods, housing, schools, businesses, food, health and transportation access. We see it in our ability to participate in civic life. 

At ioby, we know that residents know what’s best for their neighborhoods. We know that low-income residents, communities of color, and especially Black residents have been intentionally excluded from decision-making in their communities. And we know that when Black entrepreneurs dream up positive change to serve the public good, they will get less than 10% of all philanthropic funding. We know this because when leaders work with ioby to raise funds for their important work, they tell us all the places that have denied them funding. 

It takes powerful creativity to imagine a liberated society, and to fight for it. Black people have been doing this for 400 years. That’s why it’s important to not only fund racial justice work, but also to fund Black-led ideas. So I invite you to learn from these Black-led groups, many of whom have crowdfunded with ioby in the past and have been doing the work:

  • Tamir Rice Foundation is an Afro-centric center for youth in Cleveland to celebrate and learn about Black history and culture.
  • BlackSpace is an interdisciplinary collective who practices new ways of protecting and creating Black spaces in the built environment.
  • Kelly Street Garden is growing organic produce to share with residents of the Bronx, free of charge.
  • ATNSC is an urban retreat space in Cleveland for healing and creativity.
  • We Run Brownsville is a women’s running group in Brownsville, Brooklyn that promotes health and wellbeing, and encourages civic participation. 
  • Bank Black USA is a movement to encourage all citizens to transfer their funds from mainstream banking institutions to Black banks.
  • Detroit Hives built Detroit’s first-ever Motor City garden where they continue to promote wellness, community engagement, and justice through organic dope honey. 
  • Youth Design Center (formerly Made in Brownsville) is a creative agency that teaches young people in Brownsville, Brooklyn innovation, design, STEAM, and more. 
  • Shooting Without Bullets engages Cleveland youth through photography and artistic activism to shift policy, perspective, and culture.
  • Grow Brownsville has built an aquaponics farm to grow fresh organic produce for Brownsville, Brooklyn residents.  
  • 400 Years of Inequality is an educational initiative that amplifies the history of inequality in America.

ioby must be committed to the work of anti-racism to fully honor the fact that Black Lives Matter. As a white-led, multi-racial organization, we don’t have all the answers but we’re committed to doing the work. As of June 2020, we recognize that ioby is not a fully realized antiracist organization and that the journey of becoming antiracist is a never-ending one. We have made meaningful steps toward diversity, equity, and inclusion over the years, but we all recognized that it wasn’t enough. So, last November, we began a process of creating a Racial Equity framework with our board member Nadia Owusu. We invite you to hold us accountable to our commitments here. 

We stand in solidarity with the movement for Black lives. Each of us has a critically important role to play in dismantling the foundation of racism that our many institutions are built upon, and rebuilding our society together with equity at the center. Together, we can change our systems of education, health, environment, policing, city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block.  

In solidarity,

Erin Barnes
Co-Founder and CEO

What is mutual aid? How do you start a mutual aid project in your community?

It’s no secret that much of life as we know it has been altered by COVID-19. But even in the midst of uncertainty, one thing has remained the same: our neighbors’ commitment to supporting one another. We’re inspired by the powerful stories of people just like you who are putting together care packages, writing letters to fight isolation, organizing mutual aid to support each other, and finding other ways to share their strengths when and where they can. They show that even in these times, we’ll need to rely on one another more than ever before. 

So, how might you do that? With many of our original plans and projects on hold, how do we continue to offer care and strengthen our communities? You’re an expert on your own neighborhood, and you probably know best what kind of support your neighbors need. But one powerful and uniquely suited way to keep an eye out for one another is to start a mutual aid project. 

Continue reading What is mutual aid? How do you start a mutual aid project in your community?

Some important news from our Co-Founder Brandon

Dear friends,

I write with the hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. With the challenges that this global pandemic poses, the lives put in jeopardy and even our best-laid plans postponed, it can be a difficult time for change. But I wanted to share some important news with you: After working for over a decade to help build ioby to be where it is today, I’ll be leaving ioby this summer.

I’m confident that ioby is in more capable hands at both the board and staff levels than ever before in our history.

I believe in our mission and ability to achieve it as much as the day we founded ioby. I’ve spent the last decade of my life building this organization and it has been the greatest honor, privilege, and challenge of my career. And while this timing may feel odd right now, ioby’s Co-Founder and CEO, Erin Barnes and I have spent the last year planning this inevitable leadership transition. 

I’m incredibly proud of the way ioby has responded to the pandemic’s impacts, and it’s helped me to reflect on one of the values that I think is most important to us at ioby: listening to residents and centering their voices. 

Continue reading Some important news from our Co-Founder Brandon

We’re opening a new office in Cincinnati!

We’ve come a long way as an ioby community in the last decade. We’ve opened up offices in Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Memphis; served thousands of neighbors as they organized their communities; and raised nearly $10 million from everyday people like you. We’re so pleased to announce an exciting new chapter as we open our first-ever office in Cincinnati.  

As we shared in our Phase 0 process, we’ve spent quite a bit of time learning from and being in community with Cincinnatians. “Cincinnati’s civic infrastructure is strong and getting stronger,” our colleague David, Director of City Partnerships, shared after wrapping up his time in Cincinnati to learn from our neighbors there. “There’s a large and growing community of people and organizations who are hard at work, delivering timely and powerful resources to neighborhood leaders, artists, and placemakers.” All across the seven hills, neighbors are full of creative ideas to make positive change. We’re so excited to join Cincinnati’s vibrant civic community and be a part of the good works that neighbors are getting done! 

In the coming months, we’ll have more to share with you as we roll out new events and programs in Cincinnati (all online, for now). But right now, we wanted to introduce you to Leslie Rich—our very first City Action Strategist in the Queen City. Read on to get to know her better. We can’t wait to start working with you, Cincinnati.

Continue reading We’re opening a new office in Cincinnati!

How to Get Corporate Sponsorships When You’re Crowdfunding for Civic Change

What makes your community unique? Maybe it’s the physical characteristics of the neighborhood, like architecture or neat murals. Or maybe it’s the spirit of hospitality. Or maybe it’s your neighbors themselves that make it special. Chances are, local businesses are also a big part of your neighborhood’s identity—the shops that know you by name, and the cafes and restaurants that know your order before you walk in. They’re likely unique and one-of-a-kind, too!

If you’re organizing to make positive change in your community, whether you’re a nonprofit or just a group of neighbors with a great idea, local businesses can be a great partner to help you achieve your goals. One way to do this is by partnering with a local business or corporate sponsor to match donations to a fundraising campaign. 

Continue reading How to Get Corporate Sponsorships When You’re Crowdfunding for Civic Change

Matching funds available NOW for COVID-19 projects, wherever you are in the U.S.

Hi neighbors, 

We hope you’re able to find some peace in the midst of these challenging times. 

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen so many everyday people all across the country organize to support their neighbors and care for front-line medical workers in their community. It’s been heartening to see these generous acts of care, and we hope they’ve lifted your spirits too. As more and more neighbors continue to step up to take action we wanted to share a new opportunity to support COVID-19 response efforts in your own community. 

Wherever you are in the United States, when you crowdfund for a COVID-19 relief effort with ioby we’ll double your donations dollar-for-dollar up to $8,000. 

Continue reading Matching funds available NOW for COVID-19 projects, wherever you are in the U.S.

Women’s History Month: Celebrating neighbors uniting for gender justice

Women’s History Month is special to us here at ioby. For one thing, roughly two-thirds of ioby leaders and supporters, the folks who dream up big ideas and the neighbors who help bring them to life, are women! And for another, fighting against sexism is an important value to us, and it’s important to the many ioby leaders who are working to shape women’s history today. It’s a key part of the lens through which we see our work; a lens that looks keenly towards an expansive and intersectional vision of justice.

Honoring Women’s History Month to us is as much about celebrating the good as it is about continuing the struggle against sexism, so we wanted to share six ioby project leaders who are organizing their communities for gender justice. Many of them are still fundraising; we hope you’ll take the time to learn more about what these remarkable women are doing to get good done, and maybe consider donating to help them achieve their goals!

Continue reading Women’s History Month: Celebrating neighbors uniting for gender justice

An update from ioby on COVID-19

Dear ioby community,

I wanted to share some information with you about how the rapidly unfolding situation concerning COVID-19 will impact our work together at ioby. Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our community, and we know that these will be challenging times for all of us. In order to fulfill our role in ensuring our community’s health, and in order to continue to provide support to you, we’re making a few temporary changes to our work together. 

Until further notice, ioby will be transitioning ALL in-person workshops, trainings and events to an online format. This also includes all one-on-one in-person meetings. 

ioby will remain open with all staff working remotely until further notice. We will continue to be ready and available to support your projects via phone, email, and online. 

Continue reading An update from ioby on COVID-19