These leaders have been handpicked by the GOOD Global Citizenship Project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Starting today, August 19, 2013, a vacant storefront in downtown Los Angeles will be transformed into a laboratory of ideas on transforming struggling neighborhoods, on taking advantage of unused city space and on empowering at-risk children and teenagers so they escape a depressingly universal cycle of poverty, crime and violence.
The fellows participating in the GOOD Exchange fellowship are from South Africa, Ghana, Brazil, Mexico and New Zealand. Diverse local partner organizations include CicLAvia, Homeboy Industries, the East LA Community Corporation, the Watts Towers, the Santa Monica Farmers Market and the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project.
Together, they and many other organizations will brainstorm if the ideas that work in southern California can be adapted to the favelas of Recife, Brazil, and whether strategies for opening educational doors for girls in Ghana or rural Mexico can spark new ideas on reducing school drop-out rates here in LA.
“People often think of pioneering nonprofit efforts in faraway countries as charity work that, however laudable, has no application to their communities at home. One of the purposes of our fellowship is to upend that thinking and underscore just how universal many of our problems are, and how productive it can be to share ideas about solutions,” said Casey Caplowe, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer. “We want the best of what is going on in Los Angeles to inform projects half a world away, and vice versa. Our hope is that we can help entrepreneurial community leaders to take what they do and expand it on a global scale.”
The venue and the agenda for the week are themselves a microcosm of what the participants hope to achieve: fuelling the new vibrancy that has already taken hold in downtown Los Angeles by taking over an unused space, filling it with people and ideas and then sitting down – on the evening of August 22 – for an international potluck dinner in which everyone contributes recipes and ingredients from their home countries for the whole community to enjoy. (Fellows recipes available).
“Pop-ups are all about grabbing people’s attention, floating new ideas and sparking the community’s creative energies,” said Caplowe. “We are taking the pop-up to a whole new global level.”
The week will culminate on Friday, August 23 in a night of celebration open to the whole community. Several hundred people are expected an event that will be half interactive pop-up experience and half dance party.
The five fellows were selected from a worldwide competition, The Global Neighborhood Challenge, which is part of the GOOD Global Citizenship Project. They include Regina Agyare, who works to provide girls in west Africa with access to technology education; Bruce Good, who has a Name Your Hood project in South Africa designed to end the marginalization of communities that have suffered through apartheid and beyond; Kurt Shaw, who works with street kids in Recife, Brazil, to produce a digital news station; Maria Morfin, who helps to give a voice children in the small mountain town of Tepoztlan just south of Mexico City; and Coralie Winn, who has launched spontaneous art projects in spaces rendered unusable by the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Participating Los Angeles organizations will include Las Fotos, LA River Kayak Safari, 826LA, ELACC, Thank You For Coming, Walk [Your City], Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation, the Santa Monica Farmers Market, CicLAvia, Homeboy Industries, Community Health Councils, Lot to Spot, the Watts House Project, Girls in Tech, Trekking LA and the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Business Improvement District.
WHEN: This Week: August 19-23, 2013
WHERE: 460 S. Spring St. in the heart of downtown LA, just blocks from Pershing Square, Little Tokyo, and the Artists’ District.
ABOUT GOOD EXCHANGE:
GOOD Global Citizenship Project, funded by the Gates Foundation, is part of GOOD Worldwide Inc (good.is), which since 2006 has been an integrated media, thought leadership and community action platform. Our mission is to convene, connect, and empower the global community of people "who give a damn."