Category Archives: Events

How to Build a Better Bureaucracy: An Honest Conversation

To kick off our program “Better Bureaucracies: Three NY institutions, three collaborative approaches,” social impact designer April De Simone asked audience members to raise their hands if they had positive associations with the word “bureaucracy.”

If any hands went up, they didn’t go very high.

“This afternoon, we’ll try to shed some light on what’s going on in a few New York City bureaucracies,” she said. “So if we ask that question again at the end, maybe we’ll get a few more hands.”

Continue reading How to Build a Better Bureaucracy: An Honest Conversation

Memphians share stories of transformation at ioby Memphis convening

ioby’s Memphis  convening (and the kickoff of a national series, with events coming up in Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York) took place on Saturday afternoon, January 28th at the historic Clayborn Temple! With a crowd of 75-plus ioby leaders, community partners, project donors – and engaged Memphis residents who were new to ioby as well – we dug deep, reflected, and shared experiences with each other about the challenges, motivations, and triumphs of working to make positive local change.

Read the Commercial Appeal article  


Clayborn Temple

We are grateful to ioby board member, five-time ioby leader, and planning equity advocate Naomi Doerner for framing the day with her own personal remarks about what has brought her to the work of race, inclusion, and urban design. And Playback Memphis made the day come alive with their extremely powerful listening and performance technique that lifted up the voices of the amazing neighborhood activists in the room.

We closed the day mingling, chatting, sharing more about our stories and building relationships over delicious food from local caterer LUNCHBOXeats.

Special appreciation to the Playback Memphis troupe, the staff team at Clayborn Temple, ioby project leaders Jacqueline Shotwell and Jennifer Shorter, Naomi Doerner, our partners at Livable Memphis, and Choose901 for their support. And – Without the openhearted participation of all of our attendees, none of the learning and connection would have been possible!

Read stories from ioby Memphis in our Memphis Impact report


Ask Action Corps, a new lunchtime webinar, starts December 20th!

Our new lunchtime webinar series, Ask Action Corps, is focused on addressing the challenges leaders sometimes encounter on their way to making positive change. The series is a conversation with ioby Action Corps (beta), our recently-launched initiative to connect project leaders with a network of experts for advice, support, and resources to help implement projects.


Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 5.50.12 PM

Cathy is the leader of several ioby projects around open space in Memphis and will bring questions about navigating regulatory hurdles when working with City government. In addition to talking about Cathy’s case study, Ask Action Corps will be an opportunity for you to talk with an expert in real time. So bring your questions about how to effectively make change in your community!

Ask Action Corps
Tuesday, December 20th
1:00 – 2:00 EST.
Admission is Free but RSVP is required

Learn About Crowdfunding for Green Schools and Food Justice!

New to ioby? New to crowdfunding? Trying to decide whether our platform is right for your idea?

Our introductory webinars give a  basic introduction to crowdfunding with ioby, including our top tips for successful campaign planning, proven grassroots fundraising techniques, case studies of successfully funded projects, and Q&A.

We currently have two topic area-specific intro webinars scheduled for December 9 and December 14.
Don’t see what you’re looking for or have questions?  Contact us at

Growing Resources: Crowdfunding for your Green School Project

Wednesday, December 9th

4:30 – 5:30  PM, EST

Sign up


Gathering Resources for Food Justice: An Introduction to Crowdfunding

Monday, December 14th

6:00 – 7:00 PM, EST

Sign up


Want to learn more but can’t make these times? Drop us a line at

BEHOLD the mighty powers of our ioby benefit Superheroes: Justice! Mobility! Play!


ioby’s biggest party of the year is on Thursday, November 5, at Brooklyn Brewery!  Early bird tickets, available until October 1,   are going fast – snag them before it’s too late!

buy tickets button

We hope you’ll join us as we party the night away in honor of   some of this year’s most amazing leaders.  Speaking of….

 Behold the awesome powers of our ioby benefit Superheroes:


Tanisha Douglas and Caitlin Gibb,  both creatives  trained in the Sadie Nash sisterhood model, founded SOUL Sisters Leadership Collective,  a  youth organization  that aims to interrupt cycles of poverty and violence by empowering young, at-risk women of color. T he collective,  founded on the pillars of social justice, healing, leadership, and the arts, is in  its  first year of work in New York and Miami.  Of the inaugural class of young female leaders, Caitlin says,  “They’re really inspired to uplift their communities. They all have different stories, and they’ve all certainly had struggles. They’re very powerful young women.”



Ade Neff founded Ride On! Bike Co-op in Leimart Village in South LA to empower his community by providing hands-on education about bicycle repair and maintenance. Ride On!, the first co-op of its kind in South LA, aims  to help community members learn how to effectively fix their own bikes and become self-sufficient cyclists in a neighborhood where  limited mobility  has long taken an economic and social toll. Says Ade, “If you know how to fix your bike, you’re more apt to ride.” As part of the recent Great Streets Challenge Grant, Ade’s second successful ioby campaign, Street Beats, will use music and art to  envision a safer and more vibrant Crenshaw Blvd.



Daniel Peterson is founder and director of  Project Backboard, a Memphis-based nonprofit that makes basketball courts safer, more inviting, and more fun in order to inspire and strengthen communities. “Having our town’s courts renovated when I was in high school really changed the trajectory of my life,” he says. “If you make even minor improvements that draw people out of their cars and off their bikes and out of the house and into the parks, then you start getting that social interaction that strengthens community ties.”  

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the awesome power of these amazing Superheroes!

buy tickets button

Video: Our favorite day of the year

If you know us, you probably know how much we love  it when neighbors get outside and hang out together.

Add in  urban parks and green spaces, urban hiking, collaborative, art, awesome dance, and  more, and you’ve got Hike the Heights!  The 11th annual roving street party (funded on ioby!)  took place last weekend, and boy was it  amazing.

But maybe it’s best that we show you instead of tell you. Check out our little video, and mark your calendars for  June 4th, 2016. We’re not even kidding, we already did.


Oh, and check out some of our other videos on our Vimeo page!

Grassroots Grantmakers & ioby team up for On the Ground in Brooklyn

We’re happy to be working with our amazing friends and collaborators  Grassroots Grantmakers, on an On the Ground convening of grantmakers and changemakers  this fall.

We think a lot about how small actions and small amounts of money can aggregate to make a huge impact – that’s crowdfunding in a nutshell, after all. Grassroots Grantmakers is also deeply rooted in this idea, supporting  ” place-based grantmaking approach that focuses on strengthening and connecting resident-led organizations and their leaders in urban neighborhoods and rural communities.”

on the ground brooklyn

In October, along with Grassroots Grantmakers, we’ll be convening funders, leaders, and practitioners  from around the country for 2015’s On The Ground gathering here in Brooklyn, NY.  We’ll speak with ioby project leaders and others in the  “Deep Roots” to talk about how grantmakers can support their important work. We want to start and continue meaningful   conversations  to explore:

  •  How small-scale projects can spur real democracy and build power in low-income communities and communities of color
  •  How online fundraising can build equity and resilience
  • How small-scale movement-building can strengthen communities on the local, regional and national scales
  • What the citizen-led, citizen-funded project model means for the future of philanthropy and  grantmaking

Stay tuned for more details on this  exciting convening, and please visit  Grassroots Grantmakers to learn more about their  work.

Come Hike the Heights with us on June 6!

Mark your calendars, folks – Saturday,   June 6 is the eleventh annual Hike the Heights celebration! For those who haven’t participated in years past, Hike The Heights is a big, awesome, community-building, parks-celebrating, enviro-stewardship-promoting party that takes place every year in gorgeous Washington Heights.

This is hands-down our favorite New York City summertime event and we’d love  to have some company!   Our gung-ho ioby crew will be meeting at 10:00 AM   at 110th  Street and Central Park West, right at the entrance to Central Park.  Come join us; we’d love to share the trail and get to know you!


The day begins as  hikers and neighbors take to the “Giraffe Path” from various   start-points and embark on various hike lengths   – and ends with a massive potluck when everyone finally gathers up at Highbridge Park’s Sunken Playground. Delicious food, local arts, music, dance, and oodles of neighborhood pride. Hike the whole darn thing or just a little bit of the path – or come just for the party! Last year’s celebration featured an awesome local middle school marching band, rock climbing tutorials (courtesy of REI, who sent trainers and equipment), and an interactive Capoeira performance that had everyone from toddlers to grandmothers up cheering and groovin’.

Whitney Skillen, Columbia MPH candidate and one of this year’s Hike organizers (along with her co-chair Celeste Russell, and City Life is Moving Bodies (CLIMB) directors Lordes Rodriguez and Mindy Fullilove), says that Hike the Heights has played a transformative role in how New Yorkers think of their   parks. Picture your own local park on a recent sunny day… you practically had to give your firstborn for blanket space, right? Well, unbelievable as it may be to those who know only the New York of today, fifteen years ago, many of our parks, including Highbridge, were so dangerous and rundown that residents just didn’t use them.

“The main goal was to bring life back to the parks,” says Skillen of the Hike’s original mission. “They were in total disrepair. They were a breeding ground for crime and drug use, and CLIMB thought that if there was a way that community-members could re-engage with their parks and take back ownership of the parks then the city would realize that the parks were important and bring them back to life. And that’s kind of what they’ve done over the last ten years. Trails have been repaired, benches have been repaired, basketball courts have been repaired. It’s a nice place to be now. Getting the community behind the parks is what really did it.”

Hike the Heights leaders have for several years now raised funds on ioby:  this year they’re  aiming to raise more than $14,000  for their best party yet!  We love this  event so much that we admit to having a giraffe-shaped place in our hearts year-round. So if you’re not already hiking with a particular group, feel free to round up (and sign up!) a cohort from your school, church, biking club, book club – or come walk with us! As Skillen wisely says, “this type of work is true public health practice.”

Secrets of Crowdfunding Success: Join Us for a Webinar!

New to ioby? New to crowdfunding? Trying to decide whether our platform is right for your idea?

Our introductory webinars give a  basic introduction to crowdfunding with ioby, including our top tips for successful campaign planning, proven grassroots fundraising techniques, case studies of successfully funded projects, and  an opportunity for you to ask questions.

neighborhood projects

We offer a general webinar, “Secrets of Crowdfunding Success,” that is geared toward anyone with an interest in crowdfunding for neighborhood projects.  We’ll be  conducting this webinar three times in coming weeks:

  • Thursday, May 28th  @ 12:30 – 1:30 pm EST
  • Wednesday, June 3rd @ 5:00 – 6:00 pm EST
  • Tuesday, June 9th @ 9:00 – 10:00 am EST

Click here to register for one of our introductory     webinars.

Crowdfunding webinar

We also regularly offer introductory webinars in major topic areas such as parks, safe streets, and community gardening.

We’re offering   Crowdfunding  for Parks Projects on Wednesday, May 27th  @ 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

Click here to register for our “Crowdfunding for Parks Projects” webinar.

If you’re interested in finding out more about crowdfunding for neighborhood projects but can’t make any of these times, or want to ask specific question about your idea, feel free to contact us at

This Saturday: Celebrate spring at Chenchita’s Community Garden, Harlem

It takes a village to raise an urban garden, and Chenchita’s Community Garden up in Harlem is no exception. Season after season, they partner up with not only dozens of local residents, but also a network of awesome local organizations, including Five Borough Farm, Urban Innovations and the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, Harlem Grown, Total Equity Now, the Oberia Dempsey Center, the New York Public LibrarybookBgone, Word Up! Community Book Shop, and Def Poetry Jam.


So many good citizens are pitching in to help make the garden a gorgeous, restorative community center and outdoor classroom. But this weekend, the garden’s organizers just want everyone to come out, kick back, get a little sunshine, celebrate, and get excited for the harvests soon to come.

This Saturday, come one and come all to Madison Ave and East 112th street, 11am to 4pm, for a big old celebration. Expect a poetry reading from Urban Innovations artists, some mural-painting, the installation of a brand new Little Free Library (lumber donated by the DOT, books donated by the NYPL), and lots of merrymaking.

What is there to celebrate? Well, last year was a green year for the garden in the other sense of the word, too. We’re talking about moolah. Organizers earned a Citizen’s Committee grant, as part of the Love Your Block initiative, to beautify the garden. And we at ioby are proud to have been a part of the picture, too; Chenchita’s organizers raised money via ioby for a new shed/classroom (the old one had warped and broken down over the winter), easily blowing past their goal of $780 to $962 given. The new shed is in the works; check it out this Saturday.

“The idea is to connect people to the garden and have a celebration for getting the grants, for getting all this funding, for all the projects that we’re going to bring back. It’s springtime, it’s Earth Day,” says Stephanie Wong-You, one of the garden’s community organizers, and Coordinator of Community support at Job Path.

One of the things Wong-You loves most about Chenchita’s is the openness it inspires. Some community gardens, she says, can seem private, or inaccessible. Not this one. “The main organizers there, Angela and Pamela,” says Wong-You, “they’re incredibly dedicated and incredibly welcoming. Anybody passing through is welcome to join or to volunteer or try some mulberries in the summertime. Every time I visit there are always people passing by and asking where Angela is.”

And since locals really feel a part of the garden, they contribute. “A lot of the local stores will donate cardboard boxes and vegetable scraps for the compost,” explains Wong-You. “People will tie things to the fence, or just stop by when the see Angela and drop off compost. Everyone who passes by waves to whoever’s in the garden.”

So grab your compost scraps and come on out this Saturday. Looks to be 64 degrees and sunny!