Don’t get us started about the many benefits a community garden can bring to your neighborhood. From increasing access to fresh produce, to encouraging outdoor exercise and social interaction, to improving air and soil quality, to reducing crime, the list of perks is quite long.
What gets less press are the problems many community gardens face, from theft to toxic soil to culture clashes. That list is fairly long, too!
But before you leave your shovel in the dirt and run off your plot forever, see if you can find some help and hope in our roundup of…
Continue reading Why community gardens fail & how yours can succeed →
If you and your neighbors have been working on a project to improve your community, the idea that you should turn your informal group into a formal nonprofit has likely come up. That’s understandable, since there are good reasons for some groups to do so.
But for other groups—especially small ones just starting out—incorporating can be unnecessary, even counterproductive. In some cases, it can be such a drain of time and money that it actually deprives communities of the very services the group is working to provide!
Continue reading 501(c)3 or informal groups? Why going nonprofit is not always good for grassroots groups →
In December, we posted about ways to find out who owns vacant lots in your neighborhood. One reason we thought ioby readers might be interested in this topic is that so many of you lead the charge to turn vacant lots into active amenities like community gardens. So cool!
The first step in this endeavor is usually to find out who owns the land you’re eyeing, which can take some digging. Below, we outline the next steps many ioby Leaders have told us they’ve taken to turn the empty lot on their block into a flourishing green oasis.
Continue reading How to turn a vacant lot into a community garden: A primer →
If you walk around any city or town in America, you’ll see them. If you have one in your neighborhood, you’ve certainly wondered how it came to be there. If you’re like many in our ioby community, you imagine all the great things you could do with it.
Why, it’s the ubiquitous vacant lot!
Continue reading “Whose land is this?” How to find out who owns vacant lots in your neighborhood →
Nonprofit arts organizations help people express themselves and build community to create new ways of looking at the world. In order to do this well, arts groups need to juggle many priorities, from planning programs to spreading awareness on social media to enlisting volunteers – and of course, there’s FUNDRAISING. At ioby, we think crowdfunding can be an important tool in every nonprofit’s toolkit, and arts nonprofits have been some of our greatest fundraisers.
Continue reading 10 great crowdfunding projects for nonprofit arts organizations →
When Namira Islam had just finished law school and taken the bar exam four years ago, she paused for breath, and went online to check in with her friends and communities. She had thought about the ways in which she’d felt discriminated against during her life – both as a Bangladeshi immigrant in America, and as a non-Arab in the Muslim community – and found herself drawn to the dialogue on exclusion happening on Twitter.
Continue reading AWESOME PROJECT: MuslimARC is coming home to Detroit →
Samoy Smith grew up in Detroit, with a Jamaica-born mother who wasn’t comfortable letting her venture far from the family’s tight-knit Jamaican community. It wasn’t until a school friend invited Smith to her church’s youth group one weekend, during middle school, that she really saw just how fulfilling it could be to build one’s own diverse “chosen family,” to accept invitations from neighbors and then extend them right back out to the next person.
Continue reading AWESOME PROJECT: Creating a multi-generational green space in Bagley, Detroit →
Hey urban planners and city officials!
Are you working with a local community on a planning process? Hosting a public community meeting to gather input or feedback on a plan is a familiar part of the task. But if you’ve been doing this kind of work for a while, you’ve probably attended (or even, yikes, led) a community meeting that’s gone horribly wrong. There’s no worse feeling than being in front of a room full of angry people when you’re trying to build trust and work together to improve the community for everyone.
Continue reading Hosting a Community Meeting? Avoid These 5 Mistakes! →
Time banks are an amazing way for communities to share using time instead of money as currency. The time bank movement is helping neighbors all over the country shift us away from economies based on consumption to economies based on relationships.
The concept is simple:
1. You spend 1 hour doing something for someone in your community
2. You earn one “time dollar” that goes into the time bank.
3. You spend your time dollar having someone do something for you and then
In this video, we present some simple tips and steps to starting a time bank in your own neighborhood.
This video was produced by Good Eye Video, in partnership with ioby and The Center for a New American Dream.
New Dream’s Get2Gether Neighborhood Challenge (happening right now!) encourages neighbors from all over the U.S. to start new ways of sharing to build and transform communities, and timebanks are a great way to start!
Visit our Vimeo page for more great videos on making change in your neighborhood.
At ioby, we often support emerging leaders with new ideas. And although many ioby projects are innovative, totally fresh ideas or use leading edge technology, many of the concepts of doing ioby work are quite old.
The tools for building community–talking to your neighbors, supporting local businesses, volunteering–haven’t changed much in centuries. Our case in point for today comes from ioby leader Justin Moore (we also awarded him a Hero In Our Backyards Award in 2012 for his work in reimagining vacant space). Together with his mother, Justin started Urban Patch, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to making the American inner city better, and they’re starting Mapleton on the North Side of Indianapolis, where his grandfather, Albert Allen Moore worked at the Flanner House.
Below is an except from a brochure on Fundamental Education, circa 1954, developed by the Flanner House, thanks to the digital records at IUPUI.