Everything Counts: Growing Up at All for Good

It's happening, all around us, in subtle and significant ways. An Economy of Integrity is taking shape, built brick by brick, inch by inch, minute by minute. Ordinary people are choosing to forgo a lifestyle of consumption.
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It's hard to believe that 12 months already have elapsed since we launched All for Good.

A lot has changed in the world. President Obama passed health care legislation. Copenhagen yielded important progress on climate change. Haiti brought out some of the best impulses of the American people and citizens from around the world. BP squandered our collective patience and pushed America well "beyond petroleum" and (hopefully) past the breaking point of our addiction to Big Oil.

Yet, despite all the challenges, something has changed.

I see it in my students at UCLA Anderson who fill my class on Social Entrepreneurship to capacity. I hear it when people tell me how much they enjoy drinking Ethos Water or reading the GOOD.Is Blog. I know it when I learn about the growing popularity of the local chapters launched by Acumen Fund to engage its many supporters. I can touch it when my neighbor asks if I am going to upgrade in the fall to the new Nissan LEAF (maybe).

It's happening, all around us, in subtle and significant ways. An Economy of Integrity is taking shape, built brick by brick, inch by inch, minute by minute. Ordinary, pragmatic people are choosing to forgo a lifestyle of consumption and opting instead for an ethos of citizenship. We may find ourselves on Eaarth but people are mobilizing, responding, creating anew in ways that should inspire all of us. It could be as small as an occasional rideshare or a DonorsChoose birthday gift or as major as applying to the Peace Corps. Nonetheless, it is spreading as we speak.

To some, such small steps might seem like the starfish thrown back to the ocean. But I can see millions of these little guys flying back into those waters every day. Most know the insight of compound interest. I think there is a social parallel: compound impact. Little steps every day add up, especially at scale. And community engagement is infectious in the best way possible. Once you start, it's hard to stop. I imagine a world with less episodic volunteering and and sustained citizenship. That could be a lot of starfish.

I'd like to think that we are doing our very small part with All for Good.

Can we alone change the world? Hardly. Can we make a difference? Hopefully. But only if we are participating in the service ecosystem. Perhaps stretching the field in new ways but doing so in collaboration with the remarkable nonprofit organizations, impact-driving businesses and dedicated public servants that endeavor to strengthen local communities and support the causes on a daily basis.

To that end, we deeply value our partnership with the Obama Administration that enables serve.gov. But we know that we need to do more. We need to proceed with humility to augment the ecosystem, not work around it. We need to share our technology with other innovators, not keep it for ourselves. We need to leverage the social graph, not reinvent it, and empower others to help each other.

Based on these requirements, we are proud today to announce the launch of our Go Local campaign. We think Go Local is an innovative way to build upon our belief that everything counts and everyone matters. We want to share our world-class technology and 200,000+ service opportunities with the city halls and local leaders who are doing so much good in their cities and towns across the U.S.

Local is a big deal here at the 2010 NCVS. The Cities of Service campaign launched last September by Mayor Bloomberg is getting a lot of attention. Hats off to the Rockefeller Foundation for their support of this important effort. It's a very thoughtful program intended to catalyze a service effort and even fund "chief service officers" in local governments across the country.

We believe that Go Local might be a useful tool for participating communities and their constituents. Go Local allows a user to navigate through local versions of the All for Good API. With just a few clicks, an individual can download a unique version of the All for Good application, integrating our world-class database on a City Hall website, Facebook page, personal blog, etc. If a person does not see his or her community represented in our library, it's simple to use our wizard to create a brand new widget, customizing it with just a few clicks and making it available for anyone to see.

At a time when government budgets are strained, the needs of local communities are greater than ever. We hope that many people will take advantage of the Go Local program. If even a few of cities find that Go Local enhances their online presence and enables more people to serve, we will take that as a sign that our first year might have been worthwhile, but the best is yet to come.

Heading into the second half of 2010, there are many opportunities ahead of us. I hope that we will continue to grow -- more listings, more distribution and more developers. I hope we can strengthen our existing relationships and explore how we might bring more value to our partners.

In some cases, this might involve bringing content more exposure. Other times, we will attempt to share resources. In other other situations, we will share contextually relevant opportunities. Finally, we will strive to collaborate with the accelerating open source movement for social good, whether it's the pioneers at places like Mozilla Foundation, TechSoup, and Social Actions or with exciting new players like The Extraordinaries, OpenAction.org, and SocialVest. In fact, we might even take things to a deeper level with the right partner...

There is a lot to do in the weeks, months and years that lie ahead. As we scale Go Local and upgrade AFG, we hope that we can strike new relationships and deliver more value all the players in the service ecosystem. Look forward to keeping you posted on our progress.

Better yet, come join us on the journey.

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