January 22, 2013 By Sarah Rich
On Saturday Jan. 19, at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. -- called the Googleplex -- 300 thought leaders from around the country gathered at The Intersection, a conference focused on innovation and collaboration.
At this event, six organizations presented social action projects, all of which were included in the 10 finalists for the Gratitude Awards -- awards that recognize social entrepreneurs for their innovative efforts that focus on social action. The awards were established through The Gratitude Network venture philanthropy organization, which mentors and funds innovator social entrepreneurs in nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and hosts The Intersection conference.
Of the six projects presented at The Intersection, these three are the ones to watch this year:
This nonprofit organization, which won the 2013 Gratitude Award at The Intersection event, aims to help “young global citizens” get the support they need to succeed. Through partner organizations and mentors, the young adults involved in the program can design and carry out a range of social action projects, learn 21st-century skills and receive micro-grants to support their projects.
The foundation’s website serves as an online crowdsourcing platform, similar to sites like Kickstarter and Citizinvestor, so donors can help fund projects. People can also view projects in progress, including a brief description of what the project is, where in the world it’s taking place, how much funding has been raised and how much more it needs to be completed. The site then showcases the completed projects and the respective partners that were involved.
One project was completed in Niger, Africa, to help a school and community create awareness about drinking safe water. The group that carried out the project, called Water Circle, did not request funding; however, according to its project page, the group created an advocacy campaign and conducted fundraisers to help support the drilling of borehole wells in villages in Niger.
To help young minds learn math skills, Motion Math developed a suite of mobile games that the organizations calls “rigorously educational, stylish and awesomely fun.”
The organization's mission, according to its website, is to help children develop an intuitive mastery of math through a visual and physical understanding. The idea is to help children learn math as a stepping stone for other fields like science, technology and engineering.
One game available through Math Motion is called Hungry Guppy – designed for 3- to 7-year-olds -- to help with learning addition. The game, available on iOS devices, costs $3.99 from the iTunes store.
According to a study funded by a grant from the Noyce Foundation, fifth-graders’ fractions test scores improved by 15 percent after playing Motion Math for 20 minutes over a five-day period.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.