The radical act of knowing our neighbors, and what you can do right now

To our ioby community:

With so much pain, fear, anger, and divisiveness in our country right now, we want to restate and affirm what our work together is all about, and why it matters more than ever.

ioby was founded because Americans don’t have nearly enough opportunities or common spaces for neighbors to come together to know each other as we should. We believe that getting to know our neighbors, and working together to solve problems, is a transformative act of healing. Our work is, and always has been, rooted in an inclusive, participatory, positive, shared vision for the future.

In the last week, we have received a massive influx of new ideas for neighborhood change from across the country. We know that Americans are hungry to be a part of something positive. If you, like so many others, feel that this is the time to take steps toward positive change in your community, we’d love to hear about it! Tell us your idea and we’ll be in touch right away to help put your dream into action.

ioby is a community with endless good ideas. Here are a just a few of our favorite ioby projects happening right now, specifically focused on bridging communities and supporting neighbors across difference. Please consider supporting these amazing leaders with a donation, or by signing up to volunteer:

Project Extra Hands, Cleveland, OH: This nonprofit organization helps senior citizens living on their own to care for and maintain their homes and properties. This fall and winter they are connecting local high school students with senior citizens to build relationships and recognize that the stereotypes they may hold of each other are inaccurate and they have a lot to gain from each other. The $3,500 they are raising will help bridge the gap between two generations and provide seniors extra hands to do projects such as landscaping, raking leaves, clearing debris, and power washing.

Dinner, peer support and conversation with Haven, Jersey City, NJ: A team of parents, social workers, public safety professionals, educators, and public defenders are creating the first adolescent respite center in Jersey City.  The center will provide teens and families experiencing intra-family conflict with community-based services and short term voluntary residential as an alternative to homelessness and criminal justice involvement.  This group is raising $6,000 to provide youth support groups which build community, support and skills by cooking and eating together.

Urban Orchard, Memphis, TN: This is a community collaboration led by the Midtown Mosque, AMIN Center and other groups interested in improving city neighborhoods. The Urban Orchard will be a place of beauty and peace that includes fruit-bearing trees to offer fresh organic produce to a low-income blighted neighborhood in the Klondike area of Memphis. The orchard will be planted on a purchased vacant lot that was once filled with trash and weeds. The $1,210 raised on ioby will go toward topsoil, fifteen fruit trees, and Tree Gators.

Christmas Tree Lighting at Springfield Park, Queens, NY: Volunteers in the neighborhood around Springfield Park will be celebrating the holiday season with hot chocolate, cookies, and gifts for neighborhood kids in need. The $2,000 raised in this campaign will purchase warm coats and other winter clothing, which will be given away at this festival, while also celebrating and bringing attention to an underused community open space.

You can check out all of the awesome projects currently funding on ioby here.

ioby Leaders, donors and volunteers are critical agents of change in our country. We’re honored to be a part of the visions you have for your block, your town, your city. We know how hard it can be to do the patient work of bringing neighbors together to create an inclusive space for change and participation; we thank you for your dedication and doggedness.

As we work, we continue to return to our values for guidance. You can read our principles here.  

One last note: With low voter turnout, language that polarizes and blames, and many people feeling their voices haven’t been heard, there are real and legitimate questions about the strength of our democracy. This is why we need to remind ourselves:  Democracy is not just about voting and protesting; democracy is also giving, leading, doing, and inviting others to participate in building the social and physical fabric of our society. The neighbor-led change we support every day is civic engagement. If we work together, we can — and will — heal and shape the future of our communities.

We’re so grateful to have you in our community.


The ioby team


ioby staff 2016