All posts by Noah Lumbantobing

Artists Lead! A new opportunity for changemaking through art

We’re excited to announce the Artists Lead! match program. ioby has partnered with our friends at ArtPlace America to support artist-led projects that create community change. Through Artists Lead!, artists using their skills to address local community issues can access up to $15,000 in match funds for every dollar raised through their ioby crowdfunding campaign. 

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A new toolkit to boost community health

Our communities have powerful and lasting effects on our health. Think about the neighborhood you call home. Are there enough sidewalks and bike lanes to ensure that you can get around safely? Is healthy food easy to access and affordable? Are there well-maintained parks and other open areas for you to spend time outside? 

From our physical environments to our social environments, there are lots of opportunities to shape the places we live and, in turn, shape our health and the health of our neighbors. But sometimes boosting community health can seem like a tall order. Where would one begin? 

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Meet our Fellows! Kicking off our Phase 0 in the South

In August, we looked under the ioby hood to share our Phase 0 process with you. It’s a powerful listening and trusting tool, and we’ve found that it is one of the best ways to see how ioby can best serve residents, including the possibility of opening new city offices.

This month we’re excited to announce our latest Phase 0 research project! It’s designed to help us take the next step in our journey, and understand how ioby can best support grassroots leaders as they bring their great ideas to life in towns, neighborhoods, and whole cities across the South.

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Get your donations matched in Pittsburgh’s Northside!

Pittsburgh’s Northside exemplifies so much of what we love about the Steel City. It’s that energy; the drive to just roll up our sleeves and get good done. And it’s easy to see why! Just take a look around the neighborhood, and you’ll see incredible changemakers like Rev. Eleanor Williams, and the neighbors at Angels in the Garden.

So we’re excited to kick off another season of positive civic change with the One Northside Crowdfunding Match, an opportunity to DOUBLE your crowdfunded donations in the Northside up to $10,000.

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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, not 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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