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ioby Party In Our Backyards

Announcing ioby’s FOURTH annual Benefit: November 13th

Calling all community activists, all tactical urbanism fanatics, all environmentalists who believe that combatting climate change starts right at home, in our own backyards…

You’ve been hard at work, so you know firsthand that there’s nothing more rewarding than fighting the good fight – but who can keep going without sharing a beer now and then with like-minded citizens, optimists, and change-drivers? Who doesn’t to kick back now and then, and celebrate in the company of inspired peers?

This year marks our fourth annual ioby benefit, and we can’t wait. Thanks to an all-star list of sponsors this year, and thanks to YOU, the evening is shaping up to be a great time.

Teaser: Kombucha Brooklyn is prepping growlers and getting ready to tap some delicious elixirs (possibly jasmine) for us – all donated from the bottoms of their fermentation-crazed hearts. And the sustainability gurus at Williamsburg-based egg restaurant will be donating all kinds of brunchy deliciousness; check in later this week for the menu. Last but not least, the event space has of course been graciously donated by our longtime friends at Brooklyn Brewery.

So, to recap: Come join us at Brooklyn Brewery on November 13. Expect to reenergize with fellow activists and forward-thinkers, fuel up on Brooklyn brews and kombucha cocktails, and leave with more hope than you brought in. That’s crowd resourcing, baby.

November 13th Benefit Sponsor Highlight: Egg Restaurant

This just in: the hors d’oeuvres menu for our November 13th benefit – generously donated by Williamsburg’s amazing Egg Restaurant – is to die for.

Wrap your brain around this: Newsom’s Country Ham-wrapped roasted butternut squash, on toothpicks. Plus devilled eggs with beet chips, and marinated leeks with pecan romesco. Drooling yet? Oh, also: farro salad with apples, almonds and kale, mini biscuits (mini biscuits!) with fig jam and Grafton Farm cheddar, and (can you even handle it?) smoked trout toasts with arugula.

We love Egg Restaurant. They do farm-to-table and sustainable/ethical sourcing for real, and they’ve been doing it since way before it was cool. They’ve got their own farm upstate, and make a point of visiting the other farms they buy from. They often invite their providers – fish mongers, most recently – in to Brooklyn to lecture on their sourcing and methods, trade notes with Egg staffers, and enjoy a “family meal.”


Chef Evan Hanczor and founder/owner George Weld pour hours of consideration into each sourcing choice they make, truly. Lately, for example, they’ve been on the hunt for locally grown russet variety potatoes. “We’ve done a lot to try to find people in New York, which used to be a huge potato growing state,” says Hanczor. “We’ve been able to switch all of our potatoes for French fries to local potatoes, but we still use potatoes from Idaho for hash browns. We’re always on the lookout for a lead.” And that’s no joke: when Weld was upstate at Egg’s restaurant recently, he stopped by a farmers’ market, happened to spot a box with the name of a potato farmer on it, and immediately took a picture to send to Hanczor. “Maybe this guy has some!” he wrote.

That kind of diligence is all the more impressive when you consider what a busy year it’s been for the restaurant. First, they grew out of their tiny, well-loved North 5th Street space in Williamsburg, and moved around the corner to North 3rd. Now they’re hard at work on the final edits of a forthcoming cookbook titled Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For. The book should be out sometime in April.


For Weld and Hanczor though, sustainability goes far beyond the food itself. It’s hugely important to them that Egg be not just a good place to eat, but also a good place to work. Even before Obamacare went into effect, they offered health insurance to all employees, as well as paid time off. They’re adamant, too, about keeping staffers to 40-hour work weeks, rather than forcing overtime as most New York kitchens do.

That mini biscuit with fig jam and Grafton Farm cheddar sounds even better now, doesn’t it? November 13th, Brooklyn Brewery, 6:30pm. Come and get it.

4th Annual ioby Benefit Sponsor Shoutout: Mobile Commons

In today’s world of smart phones and hyper connectedness, text messaging is emerging as a new communications frontier in financial inclusion, in health, in social services – in so many of the threads that strengthen our social fabric. Text campaigns can get people to the polls, to the doctor, to a hot meal at a homeless shelter, to volunteer opportunities, even to the support kids need to help them stand up to bullies, and more and more organizations are starting to tap into that power.


Which is why we’re thrilled to announce that our November 13th ioby benefit (tickets here) is being sponsored by Mobile Commons, a Brooklyn-based firm that offers a self-service solution for managing mobile and text messaging campaigns. Mobile Commons is the big leagues: it was the lead mobile strategist for the Obama 2012 campaign. It managed to get New Yorkers out to the polls even in the chaotic aftermath of hurricane Sandy, when no one knew where to go queue up. Along with dozens of for-profit organizations, Planned Parenthood, the MTA, The Ad Council, and the New York City Health Department have all been clients. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

We’re particularly excited about a few of the campaigns being run right now by Mobile Commons’ clients. There’s The Ad Council’s oral hygiene program, which uses text messaging to engage parents in fun brushing challenges, ultimately aiming to ensure that kids brush for a full two minutes, twice a day. Best of all, parents don’t text into the void; they correspond directly with “Joy,” a carefully crafted persona and oral hygiene helper.


There’s also The Ad Council’s financial literacy program, developed in partnership with the American Association of CPAs. The campaign’s finance persona, “Ben,” texts tips, quizzes, and resources to young adults aged 25-34, nudging and empowering them to save money and to plan for their financial futures.

And then there’s the National Cancer Institute’s fascinating SmokeFreeTxt program, which uses text messaging to connect smokers with the support, resources, encouragement, and timeline management they need to help them quit. Amazingly, the quit rate among teens who used SmokeFreeTxt was double the average teen quit rate of about 2-3%.

Mobile Commons’ CTO and Co-founder Benjamin Stein sits on ioby’s board, and advises nonprofits on how to best use technology. We’re so grateful that he and the Mobile Commons team continue to have our back, and look forward to watching the partnership grow.