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Attention Philanthropy 2009

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At Worldchanging, one of our three main missions is to practice attention philanthropy.

Attention philanthropy is a gift of notice. In a noisy world, deluged in advertising, overrun with PR flacks and crowded with the superficial, one of the biggest barriers to success for a small, good idea or noble enterprise can simply be getting noticed in the first place.

Attention philanthropy is all about shining a light on good work that's worth supporting. It is grantmaking that deals in access, rather than cash (though because many funders, journalists and changemakers read Worldchanging, the pattern is that notice on Worldchanging often leads to more media coverage, funding and networking opportunities for the people and groups we note).

Over the past few weeks, we have reached out to our network of friends and allies around the world, inviting them to become guest grantmakers. Many of them responded by giving the gift of attention to a person, cause or resource they think deserves more attention than it gets*.

This week, we are presenting their "grants" – pithy spotlights of people and projects around the world -- in five days of concentrated attention philanthropy. We're pleased that the result reads like a globally sourced catalog of some of the sharpest innovators and cutting-edge institutions that you may not yet have heard of.

Here's your chance to do a simple, good thing. If the work you find on these pages inspires you, learn more. Visit their websites, contribute to their projects and, above all, help us spread the word far and wide.

And if you'd like to contribute an attention grant of your own, please click here.

Check back each day from July 6-10 as we add to the collection!

These are the grants we have published so far:

Company: Preserving Local Industry through Innovative Design

Aron Chang: A New Plan for Suburbia

InSTEDD: Bringing Life Saving Tools and Technology to All

Baba Wamé: Award-Winning Work to End Human Trafficking

A Catalogue of Extinct Experience: Renewing Our Disappearing Connections to Nature

Growfood.org: Networking a 21st Century Food System

Gwynne Dyer's Climate Wars: Now a Radio Series

Ji Lee: Creating Mind-Bending Design for New York's Urban Landscape

Cause & Affect: Magnifying Impact for Social Action

Ashley Murray: Wastewater is a Resource

Bright Neighbor: New Tool Helps Neighbors Build Better Communities

Youth Networks: Climate Action Networks Expand Globally

People's Grocery: Building Food Security From Within

KickStart: Solving Poverty with Business Opportunity

PDOT, Alta Planning and Design and Bike Portland: Growing a Bikeable U.S. City

Village Bike Project: Distributing Bikes and Education Across Africa

Crossroads Cafe: Providing Job Training and Darn Tasty Sandwiches

Engineers Without Borders: Improving Communities With Technology Solutions

The Research Channel: Offering In-Depth Access to Leading Institutions

Geoff Lawton: Developing a Permaculture Master Plan

Electric Bicycle World Tour: One Person Can Send a Loud Message

Urban Echo: Art Project Displays Thoughts and Imaginings

The Inkanyiso Sustainable Systems Team: Providing Access to Renewable Energy

"Why New Coal?": Film Questions India's Dependence on Fossil Fuels

Inclusive Planet: Planning Internet Access for the Differently-abled

Software Carpentry: Open Source Site Offers Courses on Basic Development Skills

The Uptake: Collaborative Online Citizen Journalism

Ashoka: Continuing to Connect Social Entrepreneurs Globally

Shamo Thar: Creating an Action-Based Model for Teaching

Off the Mat, Into the World: Linking Personal Development with Social Change

Living Cultural Storybases: Using Technology to Preserve Cultural Diversity

Joost Bonsen: Boston's Venture Catalyst

zAmya Theater: Bringing Homelessness Center Stage

StartingBloc: Building Connections Between Social Innovators

Environmental Volunteers: Filling the Gaps in Science Education

A Feast of Great Links: David Holmgren, Chris Watkins, Alexander Laszlo and more...

Masons on a Mission: Enabling Safer Cooking in Mayan Communities

Ask the Planet: Introducing Children to Biomimicry through Music

FilmAid: Informing and Entertaining Refugees through the Power of Film

B-Cycle: Plug-and-Play Bike Sharing for North America

David MacKay: Sustainable Energy -- Without the Hot Air

B'Tselem's Video Camera Distribution Project: A Non-violent Way to Fight Back

NedaNet and Anonymous Iran: Websites Providing Anonymity for Protesters


Photo credit: Flickr/HeideHo, Creative Commons License.

*Although we gave our grantmakers free reign to select almost any project that inspired them, we did require that they limit their submissions to projects in which they do not have a financial stake.

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