Friday, May 15, 2015

Relaunch of Wishadoo! > > > OUR COMMUNITY GOOD


The content for this background section is taken from "First and Foremost, We Must Care," used as a way to introduce Our Community Good's current projects for those of you unfamiliar with my work, my intentions and my vision. The full blog post at the link expands upon what I have learned over the last 8 years with Wishadoo! (the Community Good Social Network), the creation of the concept of Caregiverism, and what I need in order to move forward and expand this work.

Currently, Our Community Good (a Community Development Social Enterprise) offers the following projects which support the movement toward more caring, sustainable communities and meaningful lives:

  Offering the space to connect and put caring consciousness into action as a community is why Wishadoo!, the Community Good Network was created eight years ago. To connect as individuals and as communities and networks and as a Caring Citizenry. Can you imagine the impact if Facebook, Ebay, Craigslist and other popular platforms were created with these express intentions? Wishadoo is a social network platform which combines all of these features and more, built upon a foundation of respect, integrity and care.

 Offering hope, inspiration and care-based solutions by sharing examples of Caregiverism is why the online Community Good Magazine was created. "Local Good" will be an exemplar for a community-based, community-owned "good news" multimedia enterprise.

*  Providing a truly comprehensive directory where one can find existing avenues of care and assistance, as well as find inspiring projects and ventures which are examples of Caregiverism is why the  Community Good Directory was created. 

All of the above projects currently exist – I am not speaking in hypotheticals. I am rebranding each separate project or division to have the Community Good label, to show that each puzzle piece is part of the Community Good family of initiatives.   

They are global projects, with an initial national focus (US), and each complement one another and are symbiotic.

In addition to fostering more caring, compassionate action, they serve the purpose of integrating the many fragments I perceive in community development work and activism (fragmentation and the resultant inefficiency is something which drives me a bit crazy). The projects and initiatives are in various stages of development, with Wishadoo! having achieved proof of concept over the last 8 years, through several incarnations. It worked so well that I now must hire help in order to continue. 

Other initiatives waiting in the wings under the Our Good umbrella have all been  designed to cultivate and support our evolution toward a caring consciousness and Culture of Care. 

I am currently exploring partnerships and funding opportunities for job creation to support expansion of my vision of Doing Good.

Please note that collaboration in support of other organizations, projects and endeavors has always been central to my intentions and vision. I am especially passionate about social enterprise, cooperatives, and women-owned ventures which foster the mission of cultural transformation. 


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(There are revenue-generating models for each individual project, with the intention for each to be a self-sustaining social enterprise, once initial funding for job creation [to support expansion] is raised.)


When people find their way to Wishadoo! (The Community Good Social Network), The Community Good Magazine, or the Community Good Directory, they will discover the other interconnected projects.  

If they first land at Wishadoo!, they will find a social network platform offering the tools to create more caring communities. Included in member activity is the sharing of content (similar to Facebook). They will see articles from the Community Good Magazine shared in their feed, inspiring discussion, action, and visioning. The member activity at Wishadoo! can also be the source of articles at the Community Good magazine, as well as the source of resources added to the Community Good Directory.

If they first land at the Community Good Magazine, they will find a free digital media resource with original and curated content intended to inspire, raise awareness, prompt discussion and solutions. They will learn about Wishadoo!, where we gather to have ongoing discussion about articles, projects and issues mentioned in the magazine articles. Wishadoo! is also where we connect to others with similar interests, expanding and deepening community. The organizations, agencies, projects and enterprises mentioned in the magazine articles are often added to the Community Good Directory.

If they first land at the Community Good Directory, they will find the first comprehensive resource directory encompassing social services as well as "good" finds, such as community gardens, cooperatives, community banks, and so much more. From here they will discover both Wishadoo! and Community Good Magazine.

See? It's all connected.


In order to move forward with these projects, all of which are still desperately needed in our society, I must have help. While volunteers and interns can supplement this help, I need a reliable team before I can consider relaunching. As mentioned earlier, Wishadoo! is a proven model; it worked so well that it became overwhelming for me, even with volunteers.

I have always envisioned creating job opportunities, especially for those who are homebound for any number of reasons, including those on disability who need supplemental income as well as homebound caregivers who also need extra income.

Over the last year I have explored a variety of funding mechanisms and legal structures for Our Good (in order to make use of various funding mechanism)s, but I come back to where I was at the very start:  Raising funds via cooperative membership. From there, with a team in place, the revenue-generating models for each endeavor can work to be implemented, making Our Good a self-sustaining social enterprise, with both member-owned and worker-owned cooperatives in place.

  • Because Our Community Good is not a start-up, impact investors are nowhere to be found.
  • Because I am a woman, who is over 30, impact investors are nowhere to be found.
  • Philanthropic foundation funding is either unavailable because Our Good has a broad agenda, not niche, or it will take at least one year to be approved for said funding.

I envision raising the initial funding via cooperative membership for individuals. (I am also exploring business membership.)

First, please know that most of the tools at Wishadoo! will remain available to anyone who joins -- for free. Being a co-op investor would offer additional benefits (to be explained in my next communication) and a voice/vote.

While I anticipate membership being only $25/year (with funding for those who cannot afford that but wish to participate in the co-op), this initial seed funding will be for $150.  The ONLY reason I am doing it this way -- $150 instead of $25 -- is to weed out anyone who may want to disrupt this caring community. (Sadly, this type of disruption exists, which is why transforming online culture, given the influence of online activity, is a key area of focus for me.)

The minimum contribution of $150 provides co-op memberships; the investor can select the other 5 people to participate in growing the community, or donate the membership to the general fund offering free membership. Renewal will only be $25/year henceforth.

IDEALLY, I would like to raise at least $100k, and here is the breakdown:

$60k     -           (3) part-time administrative support positions, one for each project, @ $15/hr

$10k     -           IT upgrades and support; mobile app development for the projects

$5k       -           Expenses for one year (web hosting, domain renewals, marketing, legal)

$25k     -           I have bootstrapped everything for 8 years, but have been helped by several people who have 
granted me personal loans, and I desperately want to pay them back. Additionally, the IT team who has helped me all these years has done so out of the kindness of their hearts. I would like to be able to offer them $5k as a token of gratitude, even though they have no doubt provided at least $20k worth of services thus far.

Even though people can invest more than $150 (to provide for even more member|owners), less than 700 people would be needed to invest $150 in order to achieve the $100k goal…or 333 people at $300…or 200 people at $500…or 100 people at $1000. Or any combination thereof. I will structure the fundraiser accordingly.

However it manifests, the end result is relaunch of a much-needed service, job creation, and exponential expansion of a new type of community, one which values a Culture of Care and puts it into action. 

Before I create a fundraiser, I have created a survey to try to determine how many people may be interested in being part of this seed funding investment of the Our Community Good Co-operative. If you are someone for whom $150 (or more) is a reasonable expenditure for "funding good" -- and creating free membership/ownership for those who cannot afford this initial minimum funding amount -- please click this link to take the survey: 

Please share this with anyone you feel may be interested. 

 ~ Dena

Sunday, July 6, 2014

On Interbeing, Faith in Humanity, and Knowing that You Matter

Like so many things we see posted online, shared across social media and via email, I've recently seen yet another cycle of sharing regarding the Babemba or Bemba tribe of Africa, who make their home in areas of Africa including Zambia and the Congo. It speaks of a practice which is extraordinarily profound and touching.

Being a frustrated research librarian at heart, I usually explore the origin and legitimacy of a message and information before sharing. If the message shared is negative or accuses someone of some group or some group of being harmful in any way, I most certainly want to be sure the information  and message is correct. When it is a positive message, I personally don't care if there is factual evidence behind it; I am able to take the lessons within the message to heart without a need to have facts to support or affirm the wisdom in the message. In the case of the viral sharings referring to the Babemba tribe, I researched in order to give proper credit for the message, not because I questioned the validity of the wisdom contained within.  (From the myriad posts I sifted through, what I found is that this story is originally from the book, "Contact: The First Four Minutes," by Leonard Sunin, which is out of print.)

The results of my search were striking, though not surprising, and fairly indicative of how positive news and messages are often received. I would say half of the people seem to appreciate the clear, simple wisdom contained within and don't necessarily care if it is based in fact or fiction. Others condemn the message, and those who share it, as being false, fictional, ridiculous and assorted profane adjectives (it is the Internet, after all).  Because there are horrors taking place, specifically in that part of the world, many people refuse to believe there is also good. It seems to me that many people view the world as black or shades of gray.

What I propose is that we consider "What If?"  What if the message is based in truth? What if the story itself is a factual representation of a practice of another culture, not even the Babemba tribe?  What if more of us could put this practice into action, regardless of the origins or validity of the story? 

What if we choose to have more faith in Humanity and believe that a more compassionate, mindful, peaceful way of being in this world is possible, if only within our own small circles, at least at first?

What follows is the more comprehensive version of the viral message I have seen:

In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he/she is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe, regardless of age, begins to talk out loud to the accused, one at a time, about all the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his/her lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy is recounted. All positive attributes, good deeds, strengths and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. No one is permitted to fabricate, exaggerate or be facetious about his/her accomplishments or the positive aspects of his/her personality. The tribal ceremony often lasts several days and does not cease until everyone is drained of every positive comment he can muster about the person in question. At the end the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person symbolically and literally is welcomed back into the tribe.

Can you imagine if this were put into practice in other cultures?  No, really -- can you?  It would create a drastic transformation in our societies.

Another tidbit which often accompanies the Babemba message, though not necessarily attributed to them (often cited as being a South African saying), is this:

Shikoba Nabajyotisaikia

Nabajyotisaikia is a compliment said to mean: “I respect you, I cherish you. You matter to me.”

In response, one replies with "Shikoba," which means, "So I exist for you."

I adore that. I absolutely adore that. To know that we matter in this world, and matter to those around us, is perhaps one of the basic needs and desires each of us has in common. To be acknowledged as existing…to be seen and heard…is often all we are really seeking in our day-to-day lives. To tell someone that they matter to you can be a tremendous gift. To hear someone say that you matter to them is a blessing.

Another term more people are becoming aware of is Ubuntu, also attributed to the Banta peoples of the South African region. It is difficult to translate into English but one way it is explained is simply this: 

Ubuntu is the essence of being human, our interconnectedness.

Archbishop Tutu:  “Ubuntu speaks of the very essence of being human. When we say someone has Ubuntu, then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, 'My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.' We belong in a bundle of life. We say, "A person is a person through other persons."

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.”

Nelson Mandela describes it as:

"A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn't have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?"

Regardless of the origins, translations, myriad attributions or factual elements, all of these messages contain a a simple truth:  They speak to our interconnectedness -- our Interbeing -- what I personally embrace as my one Absolute Truth.

I'm honored to share such messages as they cycle through these interwebs.  J

I wish you Ubuntu and Shikoba Nabajyotisaikia!

And I sincerely want you to know that YOU MATTER in this world.

Thank you for reading.

~ Dena

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Let's get TEAM USA to help animals here in the US!

I'M ASKING FOR YOUR HELP IN SHARING THIS GRAPHIC and accompanying message. It's a long shot but we can try to make it viral, right? 

This idea came to me about an hour ago after reading yet another post about athletes adopting Sochi strays (which is wonderful!). I'm trying to get helping sharing it in the hope that we can actually get someone's attention -- someone who may be able to propose this to Team USA PR/community development people. If you're on twitter or other social media and can perhaps bombard any individuals or groups...rescue groups, athletes, celebrities or put this idea on the table for consideration for TEAM USA, I would greatly appreciate it. 

Maybe our Olympic athletes can be leaders in the realm of animal welfare and get other Olympic teams to follow in more compassionate footsteps. Unfortunately, it's often easier to engage human beings to have compassion for furry friends rather than fellow humans. Many of us are tackling that as well, but for now I'm asking for your help in supporting this idea by simply sharing this. 


Wishadoo! on Facebook:

Wishadoo! on twitter:

Wishadoo! on Pinterest: 

We're getting ready to relaunch Wishadoo! as a community-owned cooperative, with more of a focus on building the community itself rather than promoting the individual tools available to put MEANINGFUL compassionate action into practice.  I can tell you now there will be a deepening to it all, with a strong focus on Interbeing|InterconnectednesI|Interdependence, not just humans but the Earth and all beings.

With Gratitude,

Dena | About Me