Awesome Project: Wa’na Wanhi, “I am here.”

Davidica Little Spotted Horse is clear-eyed about the challenges that her community on the Pine Ridge Reservation faces.

“Our county is the second poorest county in the United States. We have an 80% unemployment rate here, and I can honestly tell you that if you went into any other town and 80% of people lost their jobs, it would mean chaos,” Davidica, a member of the Oglala Lakota, said. “Our reservation is something like two million acres in size, so it’s a really big reservation, but we don’t have very many resources like gas stations or stores.” 

Those challenges often hit young people the hardest—the community endures a teen suicide rate a whopping four times higher than the national average. But, she says, “I totally know that our people and our kids are super resilient and smart. They have hope. We all have an amazing love for the reservation, and for our territory and for our people. Most of the kids here don’t want to leave. They want to raise their children here, because what we do have is a thriving culture, tradition, family ties, the connections that make community.”

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That Wonky Stuff: Getting to know Cincinnati

We take our commitment to trust and to neighborhood leadership seriously; it’s a core part of why we’re in the world of crowdfunding for communities. At ioby, honoring that commitment starts before we even hire someone to open an ioby office in a new city or region through a process we call Phase 0

Phase 0 is sort of like a check in. It’s a chance for us to do our homework with meaningful research and to listen carefully to neighbors before we make the decision to open an office somewhere. We know that the alternative, coming into a community without knowledge, , can often do more harm than good–it might cause us to compete with local organizations for limited resources while simply duplicating efforts, ot productive for building a movement of positive change. By doing lots of listening and lots of research before making a decision, we can ensure that we develop a strategy that supports neighbors and makes a meaningful difference in a community. 

Recently, David Weinberger, our Director of City Partnerships, wrapped up Phase 0 research in one of our favorite cities, Cincinnati, and we wanted to share what he learned with you.

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Awesome Project: The Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante

Matt is a freelance journalist based in the Finger Lakes of New York. The steppes of Grand Staircase-Escalante are pretty far from home–over 2,000 miles, to be exact. And yet, it’s completely natural that he’s there. But he’s also a citizen scientist–a passionate amateur ecologist. 

That’s how his ioby project got started. 

“I had reached out to a researcher named Joe Wilson because he had published some really interesting work,” Matt said. After going back and forth about a story that Matt was working on, Joe sent one more email. “He says, ‘Hey, take a look at this map,’ which shows the number of bee species on the east coast versus just in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. And they’re roughly the same,” Matt said. 660 species in the Monument, 770 in the entire Eastern United States and Canada. 

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Double your donations in Cleveland

It isn’t often that have the chance to come together to explore what it means to be a community, and explore what it would take to make our communities stronger together. This past Sunday, the Common Ground convening offered the exciting opportunity to do just that. Organized by our friends at the Cleveland Foundation, neighbors across the Cleveland region came together to share a meal, and tackle a common theme; the environments that shape who we are.

It was a powerful, and moving, day–as our Cleveland Action Strategist Dawn Arrington can attest to. But it’s just the beginning. With generous support from the Cleveland Foundation, we’re excited to announce a new match opportunity to help carry the energy forward.

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Ten Year Stories: 78th Street Play Street

ioby was founded in 2008 in order to make it easier for local leaders to gain the funding, knowledge, and resources needed to make positive change on a local level. For the past ten years we’ve worked alongside more than 2,000 passionate, committed community leaders and have watched as small projects have turned into larger initiatives and collaborations have become movements.

We’re taking a look back at the past ten years to tell some of our favorite stories of positive neighborhood change. We want to know: what kind of things can start with a conversation, a neighborhood meeting, a few dollars raised?

For the last story in this series, we checked in with Donovan Finn and the Jackson Heights Green Alliance who have been fighting for more public green spaces in Queens, in one of the densest communities in the country. With ioby, the group crowdfunded the unrestricted money they needed to host events that invited people out to what started as a play street, and has since evolved into a city-supported park expansion. Read more about Donovan and the 78th Street Play Street.

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How to fundraise for your 501(c)(7)

If you spend a lot of time hanging out in the nonprofit world, like the ioby team, you’re likely familiar with the term “501(c)(3).” This is the Internal Revenue Service’s code for tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations like charities and foundations.

While you might not be as familiar with the classification 501(c)(7), chances are good that you’re a member of one. 501(c)(7) organizations are also tax-exempt (generally speaking), but instead of existing to serve charitable goals, they are “organized for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofitable purposes.” (Hence why they’re often called “social clubs.”) So, while the Red Cross, for example, is a 501(c)(3), the national women’s social group Theta Phi Alpha Fraternity is a 501(c)(7). Crucially, the 501(c)(7) organizations that you’re likely a part of are run for the benefit of members, and do not pursue a profit.

Other types of 501(c)(7) social clubs include:
– Amateur sports clubs
– Supper clubs
– Homeowners or community associations
– Country clubs
– Clubs for hobbyists, like model railroaders and gardeners

What’s crowdfunding got to do with 501(c)(7)s?

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How to throw an amazing block party

In communities across the country, block parties liven up our streets in all but the coldest, darkest months. Some might say that block parties originated in Manhattan during World War I, when residents roped off their block to sing songs and hold a parade in honor of their neighbors who had gone overseas to serve. But we’re pretty sure that even your town has its own special origin story for the neighborhood block party.

Wherever they got their start, block parties are hugely popular the world over, and now come in flavors ranging from kid-centric to faith-based to activism-focused.

ioby, too, has a block party hit to share! Neighbors have crowdfunded with ioby to bring people closer together, invite people to walk more, and just celebrate the beauty of being in a community together. Read on to get inspired by three awesome ioby projects with a block party element: each led by a visionary neighborhood resident, and each representing a different type of block party.

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Big news: Together, we’ve raised $6 million for community-led change

The work that neighborhood leaders do with ioby is sometimes tough to quantify.

Our work is about fighting against climate change, and creating more inclusive and equitable communities. It’s about making bringing our neighbors together and building stronger relationships between us. It’s about reinvesting in our democracy, and reimagining how we get things done together. And at the end of the day, our work is about people.

But along the way some numbers are helpful. We need to rally a certain number of neighbors to lend a hand to build a new fence for the community garden. And we need to raise a certain amount of money to buy the wood for that fence, and maybe some seeds too.

Today, we’re beyond proud to share that together we’ve raised over $6 million for community-led change since ioby got started. Nearly 2,000 leaders have rallied tens of thousands of our friends, neighbors, and families to get good done from hundreds of small towns and big cities across the nation.

Continue reading Big news: Together, we’ve raised $6 million for community-led change