Mobilize.org: Making Civic Engagement a Priority for Millennials
Are you a young adult who's ever had the desire to make improve your community, inspire social change, or be a more active citizen? Good news. There's a megaphone designed specifically for you.
GOOD Maker has partnered with Mobilize.org to find millennial civic leaders (born between 1976 and 1996) in California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan to take part in the 2012 Mobilize.org Millennial Civic Engagement Summit in Charlotte, NC, from August 24-26.
Mobilize.org’s overarching mission is to help millennials identify and implement solutions to social problems. The organization, which was founded in 2002 by University of California Berkeley students who successfully halted rising tuition costs at UC institutions, still holds true to its founding epiphany: the realization that a group of young people working towards an important cause can make change happen.
“We believe that each generation is unique,” says CEO Maya Smith, who jumpstarted her career in civic action as the East Coast Coordinator for Rock the Vote when she was 17 years old. “As an organization founded and run by members of the millennial generation, we're particularly interested in how to leverage the unique characteristics of this generation—our size, our diversity, our technological savvy, our collaborative spirit—in order to address the challenges that our communities are facing.”
The upcoming summit hopes to discuss and tackle issues directly affecting millennials in light of the upcoming 2012 Presidential election, including dwindling voter participation and overwhelming piles of student debt. Participants will be able to network with other likeminded people, of course, but they'll also get to engage with elected officials from the local, state, and federal levels and propose strategies and solutions to address problems in their local communities. As there long as there’s an issue and idea for change, Mobilize.org will provide the network, funding, and training to ensure millennial-led civic engagement projects are set in motion.
The organization has funded a range of projects, from large-scale nonprofits like Team Rubicon, a disaster relief veterans service organization, to smaller-scale ideas like Foster Care To College, which focuses on building support systems for young adults leaving the foster care system for higher education.
Since its start in 2002, Mobilize.org has invested in 49 projects, invested over $175,000, and convened over 1,600 Millennials in person and over 22,000 online. After June 3, the organization will have distributed more than $200,000 in total to millennial-led projects.
From now until June 11 at noon PST, individuals or teams can submit their ideas online to spur young adult civic engagement online. The selected winner from each state will win an all-expense paid trip to attend the summit and a $500 starter fund to kick off the idea. Public voting will run from June 11 to June 29, noon PST. At the summit, participants will have the opportunity to vie for an additional $25,000 in funding. To apply, click on your state: California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan.
Photos courtesy of Mobilize.org