SK in Organizations

GENERAL SOCIAL CAPITAL

Assist Social Capital was established in 2002 to help promote social capital building in Scotland.

SocialCapitalInc (SCI) focuses on increasing social capital in Woburn, Dorchester and Lynn, MA, and aims to expand elsewhere. An article by founder David Crowley, "Social Capitalism Begins at Home," explains the motivation for his approach, which is reaching more and more citizens.

WeAreWhatWeDo.org has an interesting and graphically arresting book, Change the World for a Fiver, that describes 50 actions that could help change the world. Almost half are social-capital friendly; the remainder are environmentally-friendly. For a list of the actions, click here.

National Name Tag Day? Borrowing an idea from Seinfeld, Joseph Porcelli, founder of Neighbors For Neighbors in Boston, has been trying to start an epidemic of name tag usage as a way of getting people to meet their neighbors and others who live in their city. In 2007, the Nametag Project resulted in 19,000 people wearing nametags for a day. Learn more about the Nametag Project here.

For a list of some general worldwide innovations in civic participation and effective governance, see Changemakers.net.

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WORKPLACE/BUSINESS/ECONOMIC

Some businesses now have a Chief Networking Officer (CNO) to manage their social capital. For example, Brainswork in Austria, OpenBC, NetBridges/TEN, etc.

BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) - Laury Hammel, BALLE co-founder, says that people crave the face-to-face encounters and connections that we experience when we shop locally. Hammel says that "studies show that when you go to a farmers' market, you have 100 times the number of conversations you have in a grocery store." (New York Times, "Making a Profit and a Difference," 10/5/06) Article also describes the community-minded White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia. White Dog Cafe founder Judy Wicks has said that we need to reinsert relationships back into business as they historically were. "We need to know who grows our food and bakes our bread and makes our ice cream, know who brews our beer, know who makes our clothing, and know who builds our house. These economic relationships form the traditional foundations of healthy and happy community life."

HUCTW (Harvard Union of Clerical & Technical Workers) - See chapter 8 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together for information on HUCTW's community-building efforts.

UPS (United Parcel Service) - See chapter 10 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Southwest Airlines' social capital building strategies are articulated in Jody Gittell's The Southwest Airlines Way (2005).

Information on local currencies - such efforts require the trust on the part of holders of the currency or scrip that others in the community will honor this.

Information on Freelancers Union.

Most of the micro-lending organizations that first started with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh utilize social capital principles of trust to other group members to make sure that fellow entrepreneurs repay their loans. Those micro-lending organizations have spread worldwide: to Latin America through Accion, and to the United States though Accion USA and through the efforts of others, like the U.S. government and various foundations.

Other groups are trying micro-insurance schemes to do the same thing for insurance that micro-lending did for finance. See for example: The MicroInsurance Center's evaluation of microlending for disaster protection.

eRideShare.Com offers a carpool listing service for commuters traveling in the same direction. It offers a way to save gas and build social capital with others. [iCarPool.com does similar things.]

Kiva connects venture capitalists with third-world projects through PayPal. For more information, see Nicholas Kristof's 3/27/07 New York Times article on Kiva and GlobalGiving, "You, Too, Can Be a Banker to the Poor."

Although it's not clear that this leads to more social capital, Zopa is a UK-based online peer-to-peer lending system, in which people who have money to lend are matched directly with those who wish to borrow.

Best Buy corporate experimented with a system where workers could completely set their hours, provided they get the job done. Independent studies found that, under this "Results Only Work Environment" (ROWE) program, productivity and morale soared. Hear an NPR story here (7/19/06).

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FAITH-BASED

Saddleback Church - See chapter 6 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together for information on Saddleback's strategies for community building.

The Christian Care Medi-Share Program, Samaritan Ministries, and the Blessed Assurance Bulletin in Lubbock, TX are examples of Christian cost-sharing groups in which many people join together to ease not only financial burdens like paying for healthcare, but also spiritual and emotional burdens.

Habitat for Humanity

Valley Interfaith - See chapter 1 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization

Mission Mississippi (also described in the Bridging Social Capital section below) organizes interracial events and helps spur interracial friendships to show the unity of people in God's eyes.

Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis has a "Roving Listener" (De'Amon Harges) whose job it is to talk with folks in each block, of every age, and find out their gifts, dreams and passions. The Roving Listener is supposed to figure out how to "get people up off the couch" and to pull people together who care about the same things, across their differences.

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TECHNOLOGY

Meetup.com makes it easy for people to find others locally who share their interests and want to meet monthly. Software makes it easy to find a time and place.

Craigslist - See chapter 11 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia created collectively by users. The New York Times notes that since 2004, courts have used Wikipedia definitions in more than 100 judicial rulings. [Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, in implicit recognition of the difficulty of creating encyclopedias democratically, also launched Citizendium, which is staffed by experts. For more, read this blog entry.]

Second Life -- a virtual reality world, parallel to ours, in which millions of Americans live an alternate life through avatars. Politicians and businesses sometimes use Second Life to test out ideas and gauge social reaction. [Other massively multi-player online games include World of Warcraft, EverQuest, and The Sims Online, although Second Life is the only one almost exclusively created by the users themselves.]

Slashdot.org (a very interesting online posting for nerds that uses rules to enforce community norms of honesty and reciprocity, including enabling members to vote on the usefulness of each others' postings). A partial description of the design of slashdot moderation can be found here and a more thoughtful analysis of Slashdot's moderation system appears here.

iFind was an application developed at MIT to make it easier to locate friends on MIT's campus. The software enabled one to hide one's identification, but otherwise could locate people with a precision of about 20 feet.

Paul Resnick, one of the smarter folks thinking about the intersection of technology and organizing, believes that chapter-based/franchising projects may be the 'killer app' for organizing local communities through peer-to-peer chapters. Read his posting. Examples are the Princess Project, which organizes dress giveaways for inner-city girls that don't have resources to buy prom dresses, BarCamp, and PBworks.

Yahoo! Groups

LiveJournal

Evite (which makes it easier to invite others to social events), Sendomatic, or Eventful which enables users to search for local events and 'demand' an event, that may convince performers or others to offer it.

Flash mobs or smart mobs.

Amazon's Askville "enable[s] knowledge creation by allowing users ask questions that are then answered by other users in exchange for [building their] reputation within the system." (Described by Cameron Marlow on Overstated.)

CouchSurfing through which one can find others worldwide that might be able to offer one hospitality or that need hospitality, based on shared social networks and vouched-for individuals, and shared interests.

Various microblogging sites (tumblr, dopplr, Twitter) and a blog post about these technologies.

WorldChanging has a site devoted to how to make our planet more livable, but some of their actions and products focus on building stronger community.

MySociety.org has started some interesting projects including the PledgeBank, enabling one to commit to take a certain action if others do as well. MySociety is also trying some interesting e-democracy resources such as WriteToThem or TheyWorkForYou to make it easier for UK citizens to communicate with members of the parliament.

A community-driven reuse effort like FreeCycle.

There are several new efforts in the U.K. including UK Villages Online (to enable local communities to share information) and the BBC's iCan effort.

For an interesting ongoing list of things happening in the socio-technology space, see Saguaro participant Paul Resnick's thoughtful blog.

Collectively produced goods, like Linux software.

eRideShare.Com (mentioned above under the Workplace section).

The Giving Game was a game developed by a young person after 9/11 to map the impact of a good deed done to another, a la Pay It Forward (also called serial volunteering).

Netweaving aims to incorporate a Pay It Forward approach to networking. Bob Littell thinks of this as 'networking without keeping score', and connecting people in win-win relationships without thinking about 'what's in it for you'. He believes that this networking is contagious and ultimately will benefit all, including the Netweaver.

Uplift Academy, started by Tom Munnecke, is interested in how one can start patterns of infectious good internationally at low cost using technology. See Munnecke's opening presentation.

Microsoft's Zune MP3 player was originally poised to facilitate social interaction by enabling one to share music with other Zune users nearby wirelessly. But early reviews stressed some problems with this sharing software. And How the Zune Is Faring So Far With Consumers --- Microsoft's Music Player Faces Tough Odds in Battle Against iPod; Early Buyers Report Loneliness (WSJ, 12/12/06, p. D1, Anjali Athavaley and Robert A. Guth) reported that there were so few Zunes out there that users couldn't readily use the wireless music sharing feature.

CarePages enable communities to keep connected when someone in that social network is sick.

Community Mapping

Social Networking Sites & Software

Tagging Sites (where people can self-identify by what they link to). People can then find friends by shared links/likes/etc.

[see also other organizations under the Community section that use technology to link communities together.]

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NONPROFITS/ALTRUISM/VOLUNTEERING/VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS


L.A.'s Big Sunday (originally called Mizvah Day) promotes a day of service. Other large days of service are Austin's Clean Sweep and Philadelphia's MLK Day of Service.

HandsOn Network organizations (New York Cares, Boston Cares, Hands on Atlanta, etc.) try to make it easy for Americans with busy schedules to find interesting volunteer opportunities, often in teams.

Starting with Seattle (and the Seattle Public Library), a whole series of communities have attempted to build civic solidarity and chance interpersonal conversations through efforts where all residents of the city are encouraged to read the same book at the same time. Examples of this can be found in Seattle, Portland, and Chicago, to name only a few. Click here for a more general listing of these efforts.

Twin City Transplants and Metropolis St. Louis are two programs to try to integrate newcomers to the Twin Cities or young urban professionals to St. Louis.

A number of community foundations are doing things to foster social capital in their communities like the Winston-Salem Community Foundation's ECHO (Everyone Can Help Out) Fund, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Foundation for the Carolinas, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Denver Foundation, or the Grand Rapids Foundation. A good description of what community foundations are doing to build social capital can be found in Doug Easterlin's thoughtful piece "The leadership role of community foundations in building social capital" (National Civic Review, vol. 97, Issue 4, Winter 2008, pp. 39-51).

VolunTourism.org promotes trips that combine travel/tourism with volunteering. [Others are Globe Aware, Projects Abroad, Global Volunteers, Travel to Teach, i-to-i MeaningfulTravel, Cross-Cultural Solutions, Geekcorps, Visions in Action, and Idealist, to name a few.]

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EDUCATION/YOUTH/FAMILIES


Circles USA, formerly Move the Mountain Leadership, uses allies and social capital to help individuals escape poverty.

The Centre for Social Action, De Montfort University, School of Applied Social Sciences, in Leicester (UK) issued the Young People and Social Capital pamphlet (2006) that describes how UK youth utilize social capital to manage risk decisions and bring in new resources.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in Sept. 2006 launched Family Day: A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children.

GenerationEngage aims to get college-age youth (not in college) to be involved civcally.

William Woods University offers tuition discounts for those who pursue extra-curricular activities.

Philadelphia Experience Corps - See chapter 9 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Do Something - See chapter 7 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Youth Venture

A service organization called The LEAGUE engaged youth in co-opetition (friendly competition about who can be more cooperative) around service to community. Youth worked with coaches who embedded the service in learning about philanthropy. Service was quantified on a school basis and standings let schools know who was winning. The LEAGUE is now part of a larger youth service organization, GenerationOn.

National service programs, such as Citizen Schools, Jumpstart, City Year, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Teach for America, can also help build social capital at a community level.

City On A Hill Charter School (Boston)

Other mentoring and e-mentoring efforts (such as MentorNet and others).

An article on Families 2.0 describes various social capital building efforts among parents, including Baby Loves Disco, which has family-friendly mega-parties in cities across the U.S., and Moms Rising, which aims to build a social movement among moms.

Incarnation Camp. David Brooks described it in Slate as a Connecticut Camp that "takes kids from all over the New York area—some rich and some very poor—and integrates them, and gives them a place where they can develop lasting bonds....Mostly it's a place where children can step off the achievement treadmill and mature in the ways that really matter—meeting different sorts of people, confronting fear, facing hardship."

National & Global Youth Service Day, formerly National Youth Service Day, annually gets millions of Americans (and now global citizens) involved in doing community service, by partnering with government and non-profit groups.

Service learning: The Corporation for National and Community Service has a "service learning" efforts (Learn and Serve America). Many service learning projects (that integrate service into educational curricula) can effectively build civic habits and skills, and build social capital if they are team based. Useful resources on service learning can be found at the National Service Learning Partnership and the National Service Learning Clearinghouse.

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GOVERNMENT/TRUST/POLITICS

City of Portland - See chapter 12 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods, Neighborhood Matching Fund

Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program

KidsVotingUSA

Sustainable Seattle

Front Porch Alliance, Indianapolis (but no longer active)

For Clinton and Obama, a Common Ideological Touchstone (Wash. Post, 3/25/07, Peter Selvin) about their common roots of interest in Saul Alinksy-style community organizing. (Clinton turned down a job offer from him, Obama accepted.)

The Common Interest (started in Idaho) aims to forge centrist common ground on important political issues over the more extremist views of special interests and partisan politics. In their first year, 3 out of 4 initiatives were passed.

Vets4Vets helps link Iraqi vets together and get them involved politically.

Drinking Liberally is a chapter-based progressive group that meets in bars and discusses politics.

There are various efforts afoot to try to increase citizen participation in government or the quality of decisions reached:

  • Citizen's jury [Wikipedia definition here] where a group of random members of a community meet to hear evidence from experts and ask them questions about an important policy or community issue and then after hearing all the evidence and deliberating, reach a collective decision about the right action. Juries do not increase civic participation more broadly but probably lead to more informed decisions that are more immune from lobbying and political influence.
  • Deliberative democracy, and deliberative polling (started by James Fishkin). See also Deliberative-democracy.net.


Think Vermont (part of Vermont's Dept. of Economic Development), in their 2007 Growing Vermont's Next Generation Workforce Report, evaluated the factors that drew college graduates to communities, with social capital being one of 6 asked about. It wasn't the highest factor, but 83% of college students surveyed said that social capital was important in very important in their decision of where to locate.

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COMMUNITIES/NEIGHBORHOODS/CRIME

Miner County, SD

Social Capital, Inc. is working to increase social capital in Woburn, Dorchester, and Lynn, MA, and plans to expand elsewhere. For a description of what motivated David Crowley to start this effort, read his piece "Social Capitalism Begins at Home" (National Civic Review, Winter 2005).

Tupelo, MS - See chapter 5 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative - See chapter 4 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Lawrence CommunityWorks has undertaken to enhance community organizing in poor, majority-Hispanic Lawrence, MA by strengthening social networks. An interesting case study on their efforts highlights their approach: the multi-door Family Asset Building efforts and NeighborCircles; the case study also uses network terminology, such as in LCW's focus on community 'weavers', 'bridgers' and activating latent ties, and discusses the 'horizon' of the networks.

NeighborsForNeighbors (NFN) is a group in Jamaica Plain (a Boston, MA neighborhood) to build more local social capital, both for crime-fighting purposes and other uses. They are looking to expand to other Boston communities and then potentially more broadly. NFN sponsors social activities, has launched a community tree planting effort and are now trying to start an epidemic of name tag usage as a way of getting people to meet their neighbors and others who live in their city. Learn more about the Nametag Project here.

Front Porch Forum is based in Burlington, VT, but its ideas could very well spread elsewhere.

In Colombia cites on holidays and Sundays, they have ciclovias, closing the roads to automotive traffic and opening them to walkers, bikers, rollerbladers and others in a major community building activity. In Bogota alone, they close almost 70 miles of roads.

Online neighborhood groups include i-neighbors, e-Neighbors.com, rBlock, NeighborhoodLink.com, MeetTheNeighbors.org, and Craiglist (although this last site works at the level of community, not city block).

Through Restorative Justice programs, victims and perpetrators of crimes work through together the appropriate way of attempting to make the community whole through restitution, community service, etc.

National Neighborhood Day

CreativeTampaBay is initiating a series of community conversations in their World Cafes on how to increase local social capital.

Raytown, MO (in the Kansas City area) has developed a strategic plan for community building, called "Raytown Reaching for Tomorrow," where “social capital” development through neighborhood groups is a key component. For more information contact Tim Truesdale, community development director for Raytown, (816) 737-6059.

Project for Public Spaces has resources, case studies, tools, lists of good public spaces, etc. See for example this discussion of what makes for successful public spaces. One of their criteria is social capital-related (Sociability) and others are "Access and Linkages", "Comfort and Image", and "Uses and Activities".

It's not precisely about social capital building, and the motivation can be more self-centered, but the local currency or community currency movement (e.g. Ithaca Hours) can effectively build stronger local links among citizens.

Leadership Philadelphia has started a Pay It Forward, Philadelphia project in 2005-2006 to try to both use grassroots civic change and civic leadership to create an epidemic of trust. An editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer and column by Jane Eisner describe the project. For example, they have sent out 2 million notes with electrical bills to encourage Philadelphians to get involved in Pay It Forward. They have also started the Connector Project to map the individuals in Philadelphia that knit the community together.

Community Foundations: Various community foundations are doing things to build more local social capital, which you can read about in the non-profit section.

Some community Internet sites aim to spur social capital in geographic areas by posting articles written by citizen journalists and having community bulletin boards, such as FresnoFamous, Greensboro101, OneKCvoice, and multi-city sites like Backfence.com, and YourHub.

The World Bank has a video about Roca, Inc.'s experience in Building Social Capital Through Peacemaking Circles (although sound quality is not that great).

The Minneapolis Center for Neighborhoods offers convenings, tools that high increase neighborhood capacity, a clearinghouse for sharing best practices on civic engagement and information on neighborhood-friendly policies.

NCORP (National Council On Readiness and Preparedness), a non-profit, has formed ReadyCorps to involve citizens in localized emergency preparedness, whether for terrorism or natural disaster.

Nourishing "Nuestras Raices" -- "Our Roots" in a Troubled Old City (Neal Peirce, 5/4/06) highlights a Hispanic urban gardening group in Holyoke, MA that is generating income for poor Hispanics and building social ties and trust. Other recent Neal Peirce columns available here.

The Barnard General Store (Vermont's oldest operating store, founded in 1832) hosts its Karmic Cafe each Monday evening in the summer. Local amateur or professional chefs cook their favorite international dishes. The store rearranges shelving to accommodate 24 people; some come with friends and others come to meet locals.

An interesting blog post by Bill Sherman about how an individual with an excess of green tomatoes turned them into an opportunity to build social capital with neighbors.

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ENVIRONMENTAL

Tree People uses neighborhoods to collectively care for the planting and caring for of urban trees.

Urban watershed systems or more information here on urban watershed programs that link citizens together in order to collectively retain more of the water in urban areas from storms.

eBird.org, a program run out of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, uses a citizen-collected database to monitor what is happening with various bird species; there is a Massachusetts version of this called the Mass Audubon eBird program.

Charles River Watershed Association, Charles River Water Quality Monitoring uses a citizen-collected database to monitor water quality.

Mass Water Watch Partnership lists Massachusetts-based citizen efforts to monitor watershed quality and New England Regional Water Program lists New-England based citizen-monitoring efforts and the Cooperative Extension Service has a listing of programs U.S.-wide.

The Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere program had the Southern Appalachian Volunteer Environmental Monitoring (SAVEM) program to provide citizen-based monitoring of the ecosystem.

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NEW URBANISM/MIXED-USE HOUSING

HOPE VI is an interesting project of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop mixed income neighborhoods in the sites of former run-down neighborhoods. The sites have some subsidized and some market rate units and try not to have any differentiation from the exterior as to which units are which. They are developed roughly on New Urbanist principles (walkability, space for interaction, etc.).

Congress for the New Urbanism

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THE ARTS

After School Matters, formerly Gallery 37

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange - See chapter 3 in Putnam/Feldstein's Better Together.

Roadside Theater

Cornerstone Theater

Swamp Gravy

Freestyle Union/Artist Development Institute (started by Toni Blackman)

The Baltimore Museum of Art and Cleveland Museum of Art are doing things to bring the community into their museum and the museum into their community. See other examples of what museums are doing here.

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Project Row Houses

Village of Arts and Humanities

Elders Share the Arts

The Social and Public Art Center (SPARC)

For a description of other community-based arts efforts, see the Community Arts Network. In addition, New Creative Community (2006), by Arlene Goldbard, has lots of examples.

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LEISURE/MEDIA

Missoula Carousel

The Work Foundation, in partnership with the BBC, has a description of the intersection of social capital and public television called "Watching Alone."

Hedrick Smith's Seeking Solutions (1999) discussed approaches that seemed to be working on issues like stopping teen violence, confronting hate crime, and building community, and coupled this with community dialogues.

HBO's Legacy program (2001) discusses a poor family and their struggles to get off of welfare. The MacArthur Foundation helped fund the distribution of the show to community-based organizations (like churches) around issues raised in the film.

High Impact Television and the TV Race Initiative aim to produce rich character dramas that spark public discussions.

Pew Center for Civic Journalism

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SOCIAL SUPPORT

Alternatives, an organization that builds bridging social capital between 600 individuals with developmental and psychiatric disabilities in Central Mass and the surrounding communities.

The Council on Quality and Leadership issued a Social Capital Index (Spring '06) on the extent to which organizations are strong on bonding (linking people with disabilities together through services and support) or bridging (facilitating the inclusion of people with disabilities into the broader society).

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BRIDGING SOCIAL CAPITAL

Mosaic Partnerships has an interesting effort to increase bridging social capital. It began in Rochester, NY in 2001 and has spread to Greensboro, NC. A description of part of the Rochester, NY effort, called Bi-Racial Partnerships and launched by the Mayor's Office, can be found here. Mosaic Partnerships can be contacted through Idea Connection Systems (in Rochester) at 585.442.4110 (the director of Mosaic Partnerships is Dash Douglas). They launched a program in Milwaukee in September 2006.

Hinges of Hope, an initiative of Billy Shore's Share Our Strength project, aims to build links between wealthy and successful Americans and areas of poverty that are both depressing and hopeful as a spur to getting these successful Americans more involved in these areas.

Public Conversations, which helps promote dialogues across differences, issued a guidebook in 2006 called "Fostering Dialogue Across Divides." They welcome your feedback on how to make this First Edition better. [Although not put out by Public Conversations, another useful document for bridging social capital is the Concord Handbook.]

Mix It Up Day promotes once a year having school children step out of their comfort level and having lunch with people of different social groups.

This article from Everyday Democracy (formerly the Study Circles Resource Center) talks about their efforts with Diversity Groups.

Crossing 52 (in the Winston-Salem area) was a multiracial group that aimed to build bridges through art, Supper Clubs, and other initiatives.

The Hodge Podge Supper Club aimed to bridge racial and class differences in Duluth (MN) and Superior (WI) by holding "bridging" dinners at local restaurants.

Mission Mississippi (also described in the Faith-based section above) organizes interracial events and helps spur interracial friendships in order to live out God's pronouncement of 'love thy neighbor'.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Forum 35 had a Two By Tuesday program to try to get people to meet with someone of a different race, class, etc. regularly for a period of time.

Reuniting America aims to encourage more transpartisan dialogues across differences in America.

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DISASTER RELIEF

Community Partners has published the much-acclaimed "From Chaos to Community," highlighting their experience about how best to revitalize community and social capital and do community organizing after disasters. The booklet was developed in response to the lessons learned after the Altadena fires in California in 1993. The booklet was widely circulated after Katrina, and the Lakewood Organizing Group followed its guidance quite specifically.

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GENERAL INTEREST/OTHER LINKS

Pay It Forward Movement. Based on the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, this website tracks groups and projects where people do important good deeds for 3 other people and ask each recipient to do 3 important good deeds in turn to others. If each recipient complies, the number of good deeds grows exponentially: 3, 9, 27, 81, 241, etc. Two summaries of this book for middle school and younger children can be found here and here. And as discussed in the Community section, Philadelphia has a city-wide effort to use Pay It Forward to increase local trust.

Nonprofit organization MyGoodDeed founded 9/11 Day to commemorate Sept. 11 as a day of doing kindness to others. These are bottom-up, individual-inspired projects like 500 teenagers shoveling snow for homebound-seniors or a Boston couple putting quarters in expired parking meters around the city that day.

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation (in Venice, FL) kicked off a $500,000 a year civility campaign in Fall 2007. See Gulf Coast Community Foundation's Because It Matters website.

It's not clear whether it is a sign of social capital weakness, but PostSecret exhibits postcards of things that people don't feel comfortable telling others about themselves.

Various technologies exist in our current low social capital environment to give the appearance to others that you have friends and are engaged. These include FakeYourSpace.com (to buy more friends on MySpace), PopularityDialer (a free service enabling you to have five prearranged calls from a phony boss, man, woman, etc. to make yourself seem popular or be able to exit a meeting), PeerPressure (a project of WeMakeMoneyNotArt that has developed products like a beeper for your cellphone that gives others the impression you are receiving IM or incoming calls, or Positive Printer that prints out all exclusive invitations from your e-mail on a networked printer to make yourself seem more popular).

The Extreme Kindness movement encourages random acts of human kindness, as does The Human Kindness Project.

For lists of interesting things happening in social entrepreneurship (some social-capital-friendly) see Changemakers.net (started by Ashoka), Fast Company magazine, GOOD magazine and Ode magazine.

"Activism Isn't Just for Kids" (Business Week, 10/16/06 by Toddi Gutner) explains efforts to spur venture philanthropy to help Baby Boomers become social entrepreneurs.

Uplift Academy, started by Tom Munnecke, is interested in how one can start patterns of infectious good internationally at low cost using technology. See Munnecke's opening presentation.

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