Are you one of the new breed?

Something positive is happening that is noteworthy.
A recent church newsletter describes “vigilante volunteers.” Canada has a population bulge of people ready to make donations and volunteer their time.
What a note of hope for all social service causes!
But they are different. “Vigilante volunteers” expect to have input into how their money will be used, and into the goals toward which they will help work.
Depending on how directly their views and concerns are addressed, they will give or withhold their contribution.
This makes service institutions more accountable. It also complicates their tasks. Still, greater personal involvement helps bridge the gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged people everywhere.
Here is a related positive change.
Recently, I helped the staff of Chicago Metropolis 2020 prepare for an important executive council meeting.
This non-profit organization spearheads a series of new initiatives for “smart growth” in the Chicago region. Among them are more public transit, affordable housing in and revitalization of run-down areas, attracting new business and jobs to those areas, better schooling for inner-city residents, and much more.
It is a huge, long-term project. It pulls together and gives impetus to many agencies that already are working on some part of the “smart growth” concept.
The executive council is more than 25 business, industry, church, and local government leaders. All are influencial, thoughtful, and action oriented. Their time is valuable.
It was obviously important to be very well prepared for the half-day meeting at which they would make input to and confirm goals and action plans
Their pre-reading included an article about a “civic entrepreneur.” From any walk of life, this person “forges new, powerfully productive linkages among business, government, education, and community.”
The purpose is “to restore civil society–the arena between the market and politics; the pioneering institutions, relationships, and individual initiative to advance the commom good.”
Civic entrepreneurs have five common traits. They:
•see opportunity in the new economy;
•demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit, ideas, actions;
•provide collaborative leadership to connect the economy and community;
•are motivated by broad, enlightened, long-term interests; and
•work as teams, playing collaborative roles.
Civic entrepreneurs find ways to make things happen rather than reasons why they cannot. They are challenged by “how-to” questions, and delight in getting results. They mobilize resources, work well with others, and persist.
Most important, civic entrepreneurs think it’s in their best interest to bring about positive interdependence between business vitality, educational and health services, physical infrastructure, spiritual care, the natural environment, and the tax base.
The authors describe how civic entrepreneurs work with others. That was important learning for the staff and executive council of Chicago Metropolis 2020.
If you are interested in the article, contact
I believe “vigilante volunteers” and “civic entrepreneurs” are examples of a new spirit in community and regional development, in Northwestern Ontario as much as elsewhere.

Posted in Uncategorized