Been hinting at the launch of a new "community service" project of mine recently (co-authored/led by my buddy, Greg Wilson***, who has been instrumental in helping me figure out how to go 'virtual' on a professional level and prepare to be a new dad in the process).
*** You can learn more about Greg by stopping by his company's site or the companion "Gregs Guides" blog...especially if you're someone who is curious what a real estate expert sounds like who has taken on the mission of stepping on the toes of all the you-know-the-type-take-your-money-late-night-TV-gurus that pray on folks who want to make a quick real estate buck but ultimately only line the coffers of said guru. Greg's a business guy with a heart who doesn't want to see anyone taken advantage of, in otherwords!
"!2GT" -- or "12 Great Things" more formally -- has taken on the mission of doing "one great thing" each month to make Ft. Worth a truly great city/community. This is done by bringing together talented and passionate 20/30/40-somethings & professionals to put their networking-shoulders behind an inspired project that can make a impact of excellence on the larger community.
We've had a series of get-to-know-ya meetings over the last 2 months, but today was the first chance to:
- get serious about who was a founding member
- planning the background rules of membership and participation
- selecting the first few "one great thing" challenges (to use DK's phatgnat language as inspiration)
- begin to go public with marketing materials, our calendar, etc.
While the group has much to do in the next few months, here is the short-list of "one great thing" challenges we are commiting to between now and December (some will be completed; some will be in the final planning stages by Jan. 07):
- Small Challenge: Assist in fundraising for a member's pledge to take on an upcoming 3-day, 60-mile walk to raise money/awareness for Breast Cancer research. The "!2GT" team will also guarantee that there are fans yelling, screaming, and cheering her on as she hits mile 59, but also long before as she gets ready to take off on a life-changing experience. Timeline: 1-2 months.
- Medium Challenge: Help a man start a consulting business focused on first-time parents. Create a business plan, marketing materials, advertising, as well as provide consulting, mentoring, and initial clients for a man who works currently in an hourly-wage job to help create his own 'consulting' business to help first-time parents navigate the million and one 'baby items' they have to buy, register for, and figure out how to use. Timeline: varies; 2-3 months.
- Large Challenge: Staging a month-long photographic "Flickr Hunt" and 1-day/night "art gallery" here in Ft. Worth, followed by an auction to support the arts/kids/education. The vision is to launch a website/blog that will start giving our 'clues' that amateur photographers will 'solve', submit to us which we will then upload to to Flickr to caputre the entire collection. The 'clues' will be released for a series of weeks with photographers here in Texas, in the US, and around the globe trying to 'solve' them by taking inspired photos which will then be reviewed by a 'jury'. The most intriguing 50-100 photos that not only 'solved' the 'clue' but also inspire wonderous human response will be blown-up/printed, framed/mounted in a one-day/night 'art gallery' (with band, fancy foods, program, etc.), and auctioned off. Money will be used to donate to a selected not-for-profit that focuses on kids, arts, community, and education. Once we do our version1.0 this fall, we will re-launch it again in the spring by tying it to a huge 'gallery night' event here in town,...and also hope to inspire similar events to take place in parts elsewhere (hint, hint, hint!). Timeline: October 'launch'; 5 months.
- Small Challenge: Adopt a classroom (or school) to donate books for kids who typically do not have enough in their grasp. Timeline: TBA.
- Medium Challenge: Help save a community park by being bought up by developers. Potentail tie-in to a local middle school with the previous challenge of adopting a classroom/school. Timeline: TBA.
Photo to the right includes (L-R): Tim, Scott, Chad, me, Greg, Ratna, Daren, & Chris. Photo does not include other founding members who were not in this shot: Andrea, Jessica, Robin, Ray, and potential addition Tina who we hope will officially join when her PhD comps/disertation are complete later this winter.
Today's lunch meeting sealed the deal. The logo and branding materials are complete, the website domains purchased, founding members are invested (time, energy, money), and our calendar is beginning to fill with "one great thing" challenges.
By this time next year, we expect to have
- PayPal opportunities for folks to donate to worth challenges and even some fun gear with logos and such for you to buy/wear/stick on the back of your car,
- 'allies' in distant cities sponsoring their own chapters,
- a "9GT!" chapter on a few college campuses, and
- a formal board of directors and 501(c)3 status so that we can really begin to put our collective shoulders to the "do good" wheel.
If you're interested, send me an email and offer an idea or an inspired suggestion! The more then merrier, especially if you want to lend your shoulder!
In the meantime, I'll make a 'soft launch' announcement when the web site and blog are fully operational. Lots more fun to come...