Category Archives: Uncategorized

For us, By Us: Uplifting the Black Autism Community

When Josselyn Okorodudu’s son was diagnosed with autism at the age of five, she remembers experiencing a world of devastation and loneliness. Six years have passed since then, but during that time Josselyn has worked to carve out a space for her son Kai and other members of the Black Autism Community. “Now that my son is eleven and I have more space to consider what is going on in my community, I really felt compelled to reach back a hand to those parents who just learned of their child’s diagnosis. I know those parents feel just as isolated and lost as I did, so I wanted to help build a space for all of us.”

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Kofi Thomas Fundraises an Ecosystem of Change

When Kofi Thomas was volunteering at The Peoples Garden in Bushwick, an elder told him about a nearby piece of land that was being used as a trash dump. That space, now called the Good Life Garden, has grown into a green space, a hub for community gathering, and a place for celebration and joy. “When the project started, I just thought we were gonna grow some food. It’s been a lot more than that,” says Kofi. 

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ioby Announces Four New Members to Board of Directors

ioby’s Board is composed of many standout individuals. Each member brings a unique background and perspective to the table as they guide ioby forward.  Together, the Board members and their specialties form one of ioby’s greatest strengths. “Every nonprofit’s Board is a critical part of the governance structure,” says ioby CEO and co-founder Erin Barnes. “At ioby, we’re lucky that our Board of Directors are enthusiastic ambassadors of our work. They are expert advisors in everything ranging from community development to the arts, technology, and finance. They additionally work as trusted partners with our staff in co-creating our ongoing Racial Equity and Inclusion work.”

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What’s NEXT at ioby: A Conversation with ioby Product Owner Helen Poon

ioby’s Product is an essential part of our work serving project leaders across the country. The Product consists of our online crowdfunding platform and all other digital services which are tailored to meet the needs of ioby Leaders, ioby project donors, and the ioby staff who support them. 

Both ioby’s online Product and offline services are built around our principles of equity and inclusion. These principles, based on 6+ years of feedback from ioby project leaders, exist to keep our work grounded as we grow our organization and our work. 

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Erin Barnes: Reflecting on this moment, and starting in our own backyards

Dear neighbors, 

I can’t describe how meaningful it is to be an Obama Fellow and learn from President and Mrs. Obama in these tumultuous times. The protests in support of the movement for Black lives have been incredibly inspiring, even as the state repression that follows is horrifying. It’s laid bare the brutality of our racist system, but it’s also reminded many of us that racism permeates deeper than our police and criminal justice system; we see it in our housing, our parks, our schools, our neighborhoods, and our healthcare system. 

With this national uprising in mind it was a tremendous honor to be able to ask Mrs. Obama last week the question that is most on my mind right now, and perhaps on many of yours, too: How can we use this moment when so many of our eyes are wide open to fight for racial justice in all aspects of our lives? 

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How to perform a needs assessment for your community during COVID-19

Are you looking for a way to help your neighbors, but not sure where to begin? Figuring out what your community needs might sound like an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be–we promise! At ioby, we believe in the power of everyday folks (just like you) doing small things to create big change. That’s why we’re here to support you at every step along the way!

Recently, we interviewed some ioby neighbor leaders about how they organized for change in response to COVID-19—check out the full webinar here—and they had valuable insights to share. We’ve incorporated some of their lessons into three different approaches you can take to determine what your community needs right now. While all of these are important parts of the process, any of them makes a great first step!

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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. 

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Ways to Donate to COVID-19 Response and Relief Projects

Taking a look at the news, and in our communities around us, there’s no doubt that there are lots of clouds overhead. But there are also lots and lots of silver lining—and they’re helping to lighting up the sky with hope! We’re so inspired by the heartwarming stories of people who are giving their time and resources to uplift others. Students are translating COVID-19 information, people are hosting birthday parades, and robotics teams are helping kids stay active. Each story is different, but their message is the same: we’re all in this together. People are looking for ways to help, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Many project leaders are turning to crowdfunding to finance the great work they’re doing and to help fund and provide support to each other in the wake of COVID-19. If you’re looking to make a difference by donating to a grassroots effort, ioby is a great place to start! We rounded up a few places to give you a head start in exploring, and supporting, neighbors that are making a difference in neighborhoods across the country. 

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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.

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3 crowdfunding projects that honor Black History Month, plus 3 tips to start your own project!

As we celebrate Black History Month this February at ioby, we want to celebrate the fact that Black History is a living history. It’s something to look back on to learn from and take pride in, but it’s also something that lives today—something to build on and to grow. Something that’s happening right now! Our neighbors are showing us the way to do that. 

This year, we want to lift up the incredible work that neighbors are doing to honor Black history, celebrate Black culture and Black people, and fight back against anti-black racism. We’ve highlighted a few projects that are working to strengthen bonds in their neighborhoods and that are moving us all toward a more just world. Many of them are still crowdfunding, too! If you’re feeling inspired, we’ve also pulled together a few of our best tips for starting your own project that fights for racial justice.

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