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Empowering People

Building the confidence and problem-solving ability of communities. Working closely with the demographics they serve, changemakers identify communities’ assets and build programs that are controlled by locals. In so doing, they encourage resilience and turn “victims” into problem-solvers. Some of these featured solutions work by teaching a community to expect more of itself, its leaders, and its government.

Empowering people

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Stories

RECENT STORIES

Chicago Teens Unveil Vision for Change and Public Safety in Their Neighborhood

Next City

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20 High School students enrolled in Territory, an urban design nonprofit, produced a zine and their own quality of life report for West Austin, where many of the students live. “They critiqued the city and institutions around them, and tracked threats to public safety posed by both a novel virus ...

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How Did These Students Get The City To Change The Name Of Douglass Park? They Built Collective Power And Didn't Back Down

Block Club Chicago

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Chicago students organized and, for the first time, convinced the city to rename a park in honor of Frederick and Anna Murray Douglass. The former Douglas Park was named after a Civil War era Illinois senator who advocated to expand slavery, and whose wife owned slaves. Not daunted by the city’s ...

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The Shared Spaces program: a crisis-driven experiment that could permanently change San Francisco's urban landscape

Mission Local

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The Shared Spaces program is a pandemic-driven initiative that increases outdoor dining space in commercial areas. The initiative made the permit process more user friendly and less expensive. Over 1,200 outdoor dining applications were approved in three months, which is more than the city approv...

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What Germany teaches the world in a crisis

The Financial Times

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Germany has weathered the pandemic with lower illness rates than its neighbors and a relatively strong economy thanks to leadership and responses that have evolved and helped the country thrive in the three decades since reunification. The author of the book "Why the Germans Do It Better: Notes f...

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In a career born in her own grief, violence recovery specialist works at a Chicago hospital in a city under siege

Chicago Tribune

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Since the 2018 opening of a trauma-care center near the neighborhoods most affected by Chicago's gun violence, the University of Chicago Medical Center's Violence Recovery Program has helped survivors and victims' families to address the emotional harm that can go untreated when only physical har...

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Unreasonable suspicion: When residents call police, who pays the price when bias shapes their concerns?

The Cap Times

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When the police got called to check on a "suspicious" Black man at the door of a house in a mostly white suburb of Madison, they held him at gun point until he convinced them he was there with the owner's permission. The resulting public outrage has turned into a search for solutions. While the c...

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Policing the Police 2020

PBS Frontline

Documentary / Over 15 Minutes

Revisiting Newark police reform six years after an earlier documentary, and after federal intervention, signs of progress provide hope in a year of unrest over police misconduct nationwide. Policies and training were overhauled, civilian oversight was imposed, albeit with limitations. Public trus...

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Latinx 'promotores' lead the way for environmental action

Bay Journal

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A leadership program in the Chesapeake Bay region gives members of the Latinx community to become change makers in the environmental movement. Since 2016, Chispa Maryland has produced more than 100 graduates from its “promotores” program, where they learn the basics of climate justice, advocacy, ...

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Put the Students in Charge

The Philadelphia Citizen

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Students at two Philadelphia schools are getting to know the ins-and-outs of the democratic system by actively participating in the operations of their schools. Students at Philly Free School meet weekly with faculty and staff where they help decide how to spend the school's money, if popcorn sho...

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Feminists Paper Paris With Stark Posters Decrying Domestic Abuse

The New York Times

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The feminist group Les Colleuses (The Gluers) has attracted about 1,500 activists and spread from Paris to other French cities, plus Belgium and Italy, with a message of empowerment that counters weak government responses to domestic violence and femicide with posters in public places decrying th...

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Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, and are credited to the following photographers:

Ra'ed Qutena, 段 文慶, Fabio Campo, City Clock Magazine, Justin Norman, scarlatti2004, Gary Simmons, Kathryn McCallum, and Nearsoft Inc

Photos are licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

Burak Kebapci and SCY.

Photos are licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) and are credited to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Conference attendee listening to speaker, Jenifer Daniels / Colorstock getcolorstock.com.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images

Photo Credit: Sonia Narang