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Vote for my group, no really, this is different

Kevin Jones May 23, 2011

I don’t usually post things like this to my SOCAP blog, but the serendipity of the way that something that our family has always been involved in and enjoyed has suddenly pushed its way into the ‘money and meaning’ space got my attention and I wanted to share it with you. It’s a voting thing, but this one is different. really.
Rosa Lee and I, and our kids, have this odd love for a youth activity called Drum Corps. Since moving to California 15 years ago we have become deeply involved with the 14 time world championship group, The Concord Blue Devils,  Our daughter, B.J., who many of you have met and who shared the welcome speech with me at the first SOCAP conference, was a flag carrying dancer in that drum and bugle corps for several years and attributes much of her ability to focus on and achieve a goal to what she learned there.
This year the Blue Devils made it to the final round of the Chase Giving Fund’s competition . In the “go for the highest goal” way that they do things, BD decided that if they won the $500,000 they wouldn’t use the money for their own benefit but would instead use it in partnership with a youth band organization in the developing world. The combination of the prize money with all the social capital, brand, skills, talent, equipment and other things that come with being a championship organization could have an amazing leveraged impact.
BD’s Executive Director, Dave Gibbs, is a pretty quiet guy, but when he visited the Field Band Foundation in South Africa and saw what they were doing to help kids there use music and marching to develop leadership skills in a poor area beset by the impact of an HIV Aids epidemic he knew he wanted to help. You can see more about this on the video they produced about both organizations.
For you to help, you have to go to Facebook – yeah, I know, I am asking you to vote, I’m sorry, but this is important – and go to the Chase Giving Fund’s page and vote for the Blue Devils. 
Why does BD’s effort stand out? As I look at many of the projects vying to win the Chase Giving Fund, they are all trying to grow bigger or use the money to underwrite what they are already doing.
The Blue Devils stand out in that they are not going to use the money to grow their own organization, but to transfer the money and their world class talents to people who need them more than they do. They want to use the money to  give to another organization, not grow their OWN impact or organizational foot print. I think the example of a relatively entitled non profit using its winnings for the benefit of another group is worth asking people to vote for. This is something different. It’s not win for us, it’s win for them.
 
A team has arisen at the Hub Bay Area to help use social  media to turn out the vote for BD, led by hub members Sylvia Ventura @sylviaventura and Liz Krueger @elizlk. We are competing against groups who lack BD’s social purpose but are connected to networks of 70 plus bands, so we have an uphill struggle. We are gaining momentum but we need help. If we don’t win this time, we will have learned a lot for next time, but it would be great to somehow mobilize enough support to let a truly distinctive approach come out on top in a popularity contest.
The Blue Devils have a lot to give. They helped my family. They helped my daughter grow and learn and achieve. I want to help them carry what they do globally. And to do that they need every vote they can get. Would you please consider helping them do that … And if they win, they’ll come play for us at SOCAP11. It will be worth it. They are amazing!
 

Impact Investing / Social Entrepreneurship / Sustainable Development
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