A huge thank you...
to everyone who joined us in person and in spirit at Franklin Street Policy Group’s launch party and shinnenkai! We’re jazzed to keep building this with all of you.
As we grow Franklin Street to expand our network of like-minded practitioners; find people and organizations that share common cause with our network of vanguard thinkers; and advance our program goals from talk to walk, we have three asks:
- Visit our website! Go to our “Connect with Us” page and request to join our community to receive invitations to our salons, scrums, and workshops; distillations from our experiences; and other updates.
- Tell your friends! Help us extend this vetted community of dedicated professionals by spreading the word to individuals and organizations you know who would be interested in participating in our programs, connecting us with great thinkers and doers we should include in the network, or introducing us to compelling potential speakers.
- Help us grow! We’ve launched our first ever fundraiser on Generosity.com. We’re kicking off a friends and family campaign with a challenge of $3500 in the next 35 days to jumpstart our 2016 goal to raise $35,000. We’re also seeking sponsorships, corporate partnerships, or philanthropic grants to help us cover our operating and program costs as we grow. We are grateful for any support that’s within your means and introductions to any organizations, institutions, corporations, and individuals that might be smart partners for us.
We had a fantastic turnout of more than 50 friends and supporters gather to celebrate a launch almost a year in the making and to kick off 2016 Japan-style with plenty of promises of collaborative work and rounds of drinks. We’re lucky to have so many smart, dynamic people in our lives and were ecstatic to finally have many of them together in one place, connecting across sectors.
The reason for our focus on “cross-sector” collaboration is that any real improvement or change – whether it’s urban renewal in East New York or post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan – only happens when all the players are at the table. You need the investment and energy of the business community to drive a thriving economy; the security sector to ensure a safe and stable operating environment; and the long-view, ecosystem expertise of the development community. And in New York, a global hub for all three of these sectors, there is no other forum that is accessible to collaboratively and creatively take on these issues, so we’re building it, together.
For those who couldn’t be with us in person to hear about what we’re building, you missed out on witnessing the two of us climb on chairs to speak to a room packed to almost Tokyo subway-car level and submitting your proposal for how to solve world peace (shout out to crowd favorite and crowned winner, Mellissa, for her solution: reparations from the British).
Our plans for 2016:
- Every other month, one of our members will lead our First Mondays policy salon to showcase their area of expertise and draw out cross-sector perspectives to their issue. Last December, Dana Watters led a discussion on post-war developments in the Balkans and how it is and isn't a comparable model for the Syria crisis. In February, Debi Spindelman will discuss the links between malnutrition, conflict, and economic development. We’ll also continue to share distillations like First Mondays: Final Thoughts from selected events.
- It was a major gamechanger for us when late last fall we received a community member scholarship from Civic Hall, a civic-tech coworking community in Manhattan’s Flatiron district focused on how technology can be used to further social and civic goals. In the spirit of our new homebase, we’ll hold a spring program around technology intersections.
- We have several projects and partnerships that are still baking, including one with a chief officer at a major American luxury retailer focused on sustainable business practices in frontier markets and a social impact partnership specifically focused on social enterprises with Serval Ventures.
And last but not least...
Along the way, we’ve had champions who went above and beyond to get us to this exciting next step and we couldn’t end this note without taking a moment to express our immense gratitude.
First, we are incredibly fortunate to have a core group of smart, gracious friends and loved ones who have consistently supported us intellectually, emotionally, and financially from the beginning.
Second, a huge thanks to Scott Smith, Director of Afghanistan and Central Asia programs at the US Institute of Peace and our former Columbia professor, who is an all around fun, smart, good guy who has been one of our most ardent cheerleaders and most willing guinea pig.
Finally, thank you to the entire Penn Social Impact House ecosystem, which supported Franklin Street with its summer social impact residency program last summer that resulted in a marvelously creative pivot that influenced how we planned our scrum workshops.
Thank you again for building Franklin Street Policy Group with us!
Miki & Carol