Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This is their experience of the Constitutional Convention: Building Democracy 2.0

Winning this award was a major validation of our potential. However, unlike any award most of us have ever won, we were left with more questions than when we began. The expert sessions and numerous conversations we had with our peers throughout the weekend not only gave us great feedback but also really forced us to ask some important questions about launching our project:
  • What makes you so special? Why are you necessary?
  • What will people take away from you? How will you make a difference?
  • How are you spreading your message? What is your brand and marketing plan?
  • What would someone new to the field say about your idea? An expert?
  • Who are your partners? What existing organization can benefit from your vision?

Since winning we have been reflecting on these questions and taking positive steps in answering them:

  • We have reached out to YNPN to discuss possible collaboration.
  • We will be drafting our strategic plan with a consultant to address sustainability and project measureables.
  • We have outlined a new website and timeline for completion and launch.
  • We continue to solicit feedback from our colleagues in the non-profit sector regarding our proposal.
  • We have reached out to various Philadelphia based non-profits to explore fiscal sponsorship options in order to buttress our marketing and fundraising initiatives.
  • We are preparing an application for the Bread and Roses Future Grant aimed at start up organizations.
  • We are consistently growing our support base of non-profits, people under 30, and people over 30 who are eager to strengthen the non-profit community.
  • We have been doing extensive research on what issues are affecting millenials in the non-profit sector and are developing a rubric to assess organizations.

Who knew that winning would be this hard? Yet as we move forward we are excited about the possibilities and feel more confident in facing our challenges!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Young People First

It was fitting that the Democracy 2.0 Constitutional Convention was held shortly before the historic inauguration of a President whose mandate came from America’s youth. This is because the inauguration of Barack Obama represents not only an enormous opportunity and historic moment for our country, but because it represents the end of an era of purposefulness for young people in the United States.

For one special year, the lives of millions of young people were connected to the common purpose of renewing America by electing a new President—regardless of who their preferred candidate of choice was. If the engagement of young Americans in political life is going to continue, young people need new, powerful reasons to be in politics.

The Democracy 2.0 Constitutional Convention lent some momentum to the process. Talented, young people from across the country came together to discuss their ideas, plans, and opinions about how to build on what the youth movement has accomplished in the last few years.

Now, I’ve been thinking about how to get young people to transform their participation in the 2008 election into a powerful, independent voice for a focus on solving the long-term problems our leaders in Washington so frequently ignore. At Democracy 2.0, I found other inspiring Democracy Entrepreneurs with whom to trade ideas and forge alliances.

I was particularly moved by the efforts of Ana Hevesi, Jason Kende, and Pamela Tatz, who are pursuing a variety of initiatives aimed at reinvigorating civics education in the United States, both in and out of school. Projects like this brought home the importance of building for tomorrow’s youth movement, even as we are pursuing today’s objectives.

It’s not only the outstanding group of people who received funding at Democracy 2.0 that will help increase the momentum of the youth movement. It’s people like Jason Pollack of The Youngest Candidate, who’s inspiring and enabling thousands of young people across the country to run for office (www.theyoungestcandidate.com/).

I’m extremely grateful for having the opportunity to attend Democracy 2.0, and commit myself to pursuing collaboration with the amazing people who shared their ideas in Philadelphia.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Youth Civics 2.0

The Constitutional Convention: Building Democracy 2.0 Summit was a marathon of a weekend that provided a great return for everyone who invested in it and we at Youth Civics 2.0 – Ana, Jason, Pam and Jared – all feel very fortunate to have been a part of it. All of the attendees, especially those who prepared proposals for the Summit, will fondly attest to the packed nature of the schedule, which demanded efficient time management on all of our parts. Thankfully, the Mobilize staff displayed a keen awareness of the situation, a great deal of enthusiasm and a willingness to be of help, which was invaluable to the individual successes that took place, and the success of the Summit as a whole. The pitches and presentations, interspersed with advice from panelists, was definitely one of the most important of all benefits the Youth Civics 2.0 team gained from this amazing weekend. Getting help and advice on crafting our pitch and writing more effective proposals from those with experience in the field helped our understanding of our project mature in leaps and bounds. All of us also found it intensely inspiring to network, make friends and compete with other 'youth civics nerds' throughout the course of the weekend, as is clearly evidenced by the eventual composition of our team. In fact, the most rewarding part of the weekend was not the competition itself, but the sense that all of the ideas that were presented and all of the people involved were part of something bigger than their own projects – the sense that we all shared a common goal and that we were all, in one way or another, doing our best to bend the moral arc of history towards greater justice for our generation.

Since returning to New York City and getting somewhat caught up on sleep, the Youth Civics 2.0 team has been strategizing and conferring with one another in order to facilitate the speedy and effective implementation of our projects' goals. In order to keep ourselves engaged and build on the experience with the grant-seeking process we gained at the Democracy 2.0 Summit, we have already submitted another grant application. This time, we applied to the Ashoka Changemakers-sponsored The Power of Us: Re-Imagine Media contest. Each team member has also been assigned at least one grant opportunity to initiate before bringing it back to the group. Thanks to friends and allies in the field – some of whom we met at the Summit - we are becoming heavily involved in other important events, like this past month's Youth Coordinators Conference in Washington, DC. Additionally, we are planning visits to New York City high schools and colleges to begin face-to-face outreach.

Constitutional Convention Building Democracy 2.0

From January 9-11 Mobilize.org, with 5 other organizations, hosted Constitutional Convention: Building Democracy 2.0. Millennials- young people like you and me!- from as far as California and Washington met in historic Philadelphia, participated in a Modern Constitutional Convention, and passed two amendments of their own to our founding document.

During this convention, teams of Millenials also competed and were awarded grant monies to make an impact in their local and national communities. Some products of these Millennials’ innovative minds are CivicSpark, a project to provide online legislative tracking services for local governments in the state of Washington, and School Board 2.0, an online platform to make school board meetings more accessible and transparent to the general public.

Constitutional Convention was a great success and marked only the beginning of what Mobilize.org will accomplish in 2009. Mobilize.org will continue to fill the year with dialogue, grant summits, Millennial policy change, and projects to educate, empower, and energize Millennials to move public policy.

We still have some Party for the Presidency t-shirts available! Get your t-shirt before it’s gone! Order your gear for your Inauguration celebrations! http://www.mystore.com/mobilize .

PS: During next few weeks you will get a chance to read one or two blog entries of the Grantees to follow up their progress and share their experiences.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Call to Service

Watch Mobilize.org Chief Executive Officer Maya Enista, Chief Operating Office Ian Storrar and Be The Change, Inc. Founder Alan Khazei talk about the importance of service in a video from the Chronicle on Philanthropy produced on Monday, the Martin Luther King Day of National Service

CPL New Leaders Program- Excellent Opportunity for Passionate Young Leaders

Do you know a passionate young leader who would be interested in being a part of progressive change this summer in Washington DC?

The Center for Progressive Leadership's New Leaders Internship Program is a paid ten-week summer program in Washington D.C. for young people from underrepresented communities across the country with a demonstrated passion for progressive change. Each New Leader is matched with a paid internship in a leading progressive organization in DC, including policy and research work, advocacy, organizing, media relations, and on-line communications. CPL New Leaders also participate in orientation and closing workshops, weekly trainings, coaching, and a variety of networking events, conferences and other opportunities.

The CPL New Leaders Program is for people who:

Are working to make their campus or community a better place

Are leaders in their classes or campus groups

Have volunteered or worked for a political campaign

Have led or been involved with efforts to raise awareness about issues on campus or in your community

Can't afford to spend the summer working for free

To learn more and apply, visit www.cplnewleaders.org <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2Bt2njBXBRnkHajP3%2FN74lIOMspOKXRY3>

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mobilize.org Receives Non-Profit Voter Spirit Award for 2008 Election

Announced yesterday, Mobilize.org received kudos for its efforts to creatively engage and register Millennials across the country during the 2008 primary and general elections. With programs, like Mobilize the Polls and their Sex and the City...With a Side of Voter Registration campaigns, Mobilize.org was able to find new ways to engage our generation in the electoral process.

"Nonpartisan youth organizations like Mobilize.org, the student PIRGs, Rock the Vote, Generation Engage and Voto Latino utilized both Web 2.0 and local outreach to register and inform young people across the nation, helping 3.4 million more citizens between the ages of 18-30 to vote on November 4th than did in 2004. Young people represented 60% of the overall increase in voter turnout from the last presidential election achievement (CIRCLE) - and have represented a steadily increasing share of the electorate over the past 3 elections. Way to go, youth organizations!"