Project of the Week: Neighbors for Neighbors



How many neighbors do you know on your street?

When was the last time you did something together as a community?

Have you ever had to deal with crime in your neighborhood,
or known a neighbor in need but did not know where to start?

Well, if you lived in Joseph Porcelli's neighborhood of Jamaica Plain in Boston, you'd know lots of your neighbors, you'd have attended a community event in the last six months, and you'd know exactly what to do about crime because you would know your local police officers. If a neighbor needed help you'd know where to go for resources.

How is this possible? It's because they've leveraged the Ning.com social network platform as the new online social infrastructure for neighborhoods. Just like you invest your time and expertise here on GovLoop, they make it possible for neighbors to invest their good intentions to produce real and meaningful change for their neighbors.

THEIR HISTORY:

Neighbors for Neighbors is a Boston Based 501c3 nonprofit founded by Joseph Porcelli and neighbors in the summer of 2004. They originally set out to increase awareness about crime in their neighborhood, but soon realized that their neighbors wanted to meet each other, do activities together, and serve each other. To keep up the momentum they had created, they turned to technology so that everyone could share, create, listen and participate directly, without their intervention.

WHAT THEY DO TODAY:

Today, Neighbors for Neighbors is pioneering the new online social infrastructure for neighborhoods by operating neighborhood-centric, community-generated social networks. The networks serve as a soundboard for voices and a springboard for action. Unlike Facebook, Neighbors for Neighbors connects people who live, work and serve their neighborhoods, with the intention of bringing people together offline to do activities with and for each other.

Check out one of their networks: http://jamaicaplain.neighborsforneighbors.org Members have created over 140 groups ranging from running and reading groups to advocacy groups organizing for affordable housing. In the last year, they came together as a community over 500 times. Together, the've transformed public spaces, increased safety, and grown their collective grassroots innovation and problem-solving capacity.

Over the last year the've received national recognition as a Gov 2.0 leader for our work in connecting and building trust among residents and public servants such as police officers and program coordinators. We are even key partners in the Boston Police Department's Virtual Policing Strategy, as seen on www.bpdnews.com.

HOW WE CAN HELP THEM:

Imagine what would be possible if your neighborhood - and every other neighborhood in the world - had a network like theirs. What would you create and what problems would you solve?
They are not too far away from scaling their operation and we can help!

Please vote for them right now and every day this month.

With $250,000, they will hire staff to:

  • Sustain the Boston operation (currently we are run by volunteers and have no funding)
  • Meet the demand for and provide technical and operating support to individuals and municipalities who wish to replicate the NFN model in their neighborhoods
  • Convene the "Neighbor Movement" where individuals, organizations, and community technologists will share best practices and build broad support for neighboring.

We also suggest you follow them twitter @NeighborTweet. You can help increase their chances of winning by tweeting:

"Vote to help fund @neighbortweets online social infrastructure for neighborhoods http://pep.si/govloopnfn #pepsirefresh"

They are also looking to expand into cities and municipalities all over the country. If you'd like them to come to your city you can reach Joseph here on GovLoop.

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