By some measures Cleveland has one of the most expensive transit fares in the country. Even so, in 2015 the Regional Transit Authority—the agency in charge of Cleveland’s public transit system—proposed a 25-cent fare hike along with a 1.3% reduction in service. It was the latest in a series of tightening squeezes on riders to plug a yearslong decline in public funding for the system. “Since 2005 our transit fares have doubled while bus service has been cut by over 25%,” Chris Stocking, the treasurer and co-founder of Clevelanders for Public Transit, said. “Clevelanders are paying more and more for less and less service. We basically just said enough is enough.”
Around the same time of the fare hike proposal, funding for a collaborative that had been advocating for public transit alongside a slate of other environmental justice issues had run dry. That left a potential gap just as riders needed advocates most. So Chris and a group of volunteers decided to step up to keep fighting for public transit, bringing to life Clevelanders for Public Transit (CPT).
Continue reading Awesome Project: Clevelanders for Public Transit
The phrase “digital divide” is often used to describe the disparities in technology access between different groups; like the divide between young and old, urban and rural, and rich and poor. Naturally, the digital divide can influence many aspects of our lives, like where we get our news, what opportunities we can access, and the kinds of jobs we qualify for.
When it comes to community organizing and fundraising for neighborhood projects, digital divides can come into play in several ways. ioby works with people and organizations of all different kinds, all around the country; many of them have had to come up with smart ways to bridge (or work around) the technology gap as they crowdfund for community projects. We’re glad to share some of their most successful tactics here. Continue reading 4 Ways Communities Can Bridge the Digital Divide
The internet has revolutionized how we reach and communicate with each other, and it’s changing how we interact with government and politics. Recent surveys have found that Americans are becoming more politically engaged. With more options than ever for connecting, and growing interest in how we are governed, there’s never been a better time to start a movement—starting right where you live.
But wait—does that sound daunting? Do you wonder how you can make a difference when you’re not rich, famous, or in government? Are you thinking, “What do I know about how to start a movement?!”
We hear you! Movements aren’t built in a day, and they require time, effort, and funding to build momentum. But you’re one of the top experts on what’s going on in your community, and how to make it stronger–alongside your neighbors–and ioby exists to support YOU.
For the past decade, we’ve been working to grow and support a movement of resident changemakers in doing good, wherever they are. Since 2008, we’ve worked alongside more than 1,750 passionate, committed community leaders and have watched as their small projects have turned into larger initiatives, and as they’ve have grown into movements. Continue reading How to start a movement
When the temperature drops, the daily drudgery factor can shoot up. Those of us in colder climes are about to start shoveling sidewalks, de-icing windshields, and spending 15 minutes lacing boots and buttoning coats before we can so much as step out the front door.
But not all winter activities are such a grind. When daylight retreats, it sets the perfect tone for huddling up, sharing ideas, and working on shared goals together—preferably over a plate of warm cookies.
Here are a few great examples of winter activities, brought to our attention by ioby friends and leaders, that make the most of cooler days and nights—and make neighborhoods better places to live, work, and play. Continue reading Winter activities that build community
Fighting for racial justice can be daunting. We know it can sometimes make you feel like tearing your hair out, because sometimes it makes us feel that way too. But like you we at ioby remain firmly committed to racial justice. We’re also committed in our belief that everyday people can play a BIG role in tearing down systems of injustice, especially because we’ve seen so many people do it; people like Samaria Rice, Amanda King, and Leah Lewis.
Many of the resident leaders we work with live in neighborhoods that have endured decades of structural racism and other forms of oppression, from redlining to police violence. And when you’re faced with such tremendous structural racism, coming together to build something positive using your community’s collective resources can help reclaim power and be an act of healing. Continue reading How to fundraise for racial justice projects
The work of community organizing is complex, difficult, and vitally important. It is also something that anyone—even those of us without degrees, special training, or loads of experience—can take part in, wherever we live.
The twenty-first century’s most famous community organizer so far might be former president Barack Obama, whose experience in the field helped make it cool for a new generation of changemakers. Saul Alinsky, known to many as the founder of modern community organizing, helped low-income communities across the U.S. band together to improve living conditions in their neighborhoods, offers another example.
But while the luminaries of community organizing deserve their due and have helped move the needle on critical issues, equally important is the community organizing happening in your neighborhood. It may not make front page news, but it’s just as important. It’s local, it’s grassroots, it can bring meaningful change to people on their own terms, and you–yes you–can do it! And ioby is here to help. Continue reading Why asking for donations is community organizing in disguise
You could say the concept of crowdfunding is as old as civilization itself—or, at least as old as money. The act of pooling assets to achieve a common goal is nothing new. (Fun fact: did you know the Statue of Liberty was a crowdfunded project?)
In the past 20 years or so, crowdfunding campaigns to launch new businesses, pay for medical expenses, and support charitable missions have become as popular as venture capital meetings and bake sales. The internet has revolutionized individuals’ and organizations’ ability to drum up funding for things people care about, and for that, we thank it. But crowdfunding is not a one-trick pony whose only talent is raising cash. Continue reading Crowdfunding for Advocacy and Organizing
By ioby Co-Founder Erin Barnes
Over the last ten years, I’ve had the privilege of leading ioby’s growth hand-in-hand with my co-founder Brandon Whitney, our Board of Directors and our incredible staff. During this time we’ve served as a platform, a resource, a convener, and a community for more than 15,000 resident leaders across the country. And we’ve shared in their struggles and their victories. We’ve been with them in solidarity as kids learned how to ride bikes, as vegetables grew, as roofs got repaired, as students got new backpacks in September, as libraries went mobile, as hammers and drills were shared, as crosswalks were painted, as murals went up, as tampons were given away, as community histories were spotlighted, and as statues came down. More than 1,500 projects have been implemented, and with every single one, we have always known, “This is important.”
Continue reading The Powerful Work is Local
This spring, we published the ioby Racial Justice Toolkit: a collection of resources designed to help anyone take action for equity, wherever they live. Have you given yourself a chance to check it out?
To complement the Toolkit, we’re highlighting some of the great racial justice initiatives taking place in Cleveland, Ohio these days, with an emphasis on the great people behind them, and some of the complexities of their work. Cleveland has a robust racial justice movement that’s rooted in many decades of history, and it’s growing stronger by the year. We’re proud to support local leaders in Cleveland as they take their city’s legacy to a new level.
Continue reading Six racial justice organizers real talk about burnout
Racial justice work is hard.
There are many good approaches to addressing the historical and systemic injustices faced by people of color, but they all involve difficult tasks. Whether you’re bringing community agriculture back to a marginalized neighborhood, facilitating a multicultural public art project, mounting a national educational campaign, or any other initiative, there will be personalities, logistics, and budgets to deal with. There will be difficult conservations, delays, and disappointments. Sometimes, there will be burnout.
Continue reading Meet the ioby leaders healing Cleveland’s communities through racial justice work