Imagine, close your eyes and think of your community, your neighborhood. What does it look like. Imagine walking the streets, looking at the broken playground at the elementary school down the block, the vacant lots riddled with weeds. You remember the elderly woman in the blue house that hasn’t been painted in years. Does she even live there anymore? Is she even alive? Imagine inside the local middle school where you know there are children that have fallen behind, but could catch up with just a little extra help – but won’t get it and in turn will drop out … forever handicapping their future.
What you see on your walk through community is a reflection of what is happening everywhere here in America. We are seeing epidemics of opioid use and loneliness. We continue to ravage our environment to the point where we are fast approach the point of no return; all at a time where our government has abdicated its responsibilities – instead choosing to engage in a full-on partisan death match. Everywhere around us help is needed … everywhere. Our institutions have become as much a liability as they are an asset, government included. Public policy of austerity and the ‘survival of the fittest’ is always looming on the horizon. Resources available five years ago have or are in danger of being severely cut. Schools are now more concerned with budgets than they are with children. Local beautification efforts have become nonexistent. Food banks are full of patrons, but food on the shelves … not so much.
But what if it didn’t have to be this way. What if we decided not to wait for the “man on the white horse” to come riding in to save us: and when they didn’t we just cower in the corner and complain. What if instead we decided to do something about it, regardless if our so-called institutions and so-called leaders were on board with us.
Welcome to Community 3.0.
Community 3.0 is a network of community members and merchants, people like you who want to change the status quo. These are people who want take back control of their towns and neighborhoods by doing the things that need to be done. No longer can we assume the government and other institutions will automatically be there. And even if they are – will they act in our best interests? It’s up to us to look out for ourselves, for our friends and for our neighbors. It’s up to us to take responsibility and maximize the resources we have. And our most effective resource is ourselves – our expertise, our talent … and our caring.
Empowering ‘Main Street’ and Local Business
Community 3.0 connects businesses to its customers to solve its communities problems directly. We’re using our local businesses to bring back the concept of the ‘Front Porch’ civic gathering concept. The ‘Front Porch’ allows us to reclaim the priorities of our neighborhoods and our communities. It allows us to organize and take action directly, not wait on the sidelines while traditional institutions may or may not act.
By signing up with Community 3.0 businesses will have access to the bleedingEDGE Loyalty Engagement Platform, featuring programs that reward customers for their patronization – through a dedicated point system and event-driven communication. The more they spend, the more points they earn, the more that can be used like money. Customers will also be kept abreast of special deals, special events and whatever else might benefit them.
Revitalizing Your Community and Solving It’s Problems Yourself
But that’s only half of it. Each business involved with Community 3.0 will sponsor “solution” projects designed to help their community pick up the slack. These can range from organizing a clean-up effort, to fixing a playground, to even spearheading a high school mentoring or apprentice program. And by being a Member you can get involved with whatever “solution” fits your strengths and fits your desires. In this time when there seems to be more problems than solutions, maybe we can even the score. Whether it be finding a way to enable your small business to compete with big box national chains, or make sure that your child’s education is as good as your was, or even keeping the neighborhood park from getting overrun by weeds … maybe there’s a solution. And maybe, just maybe, Community 3.0 and your involvement is that solution. But central to any solution – with or without Community 3.0, is you, your neighbors and your friends. They don’t lie in Washington D.C., or in your state capitol, or especially on Wall Street. The power lies with you. Our goal is to connect and empower those who often feel left out and not acknowledged in traditional hierarchies and norms.
To get a full understanding of the philosophy and strategy behind Community 3.0, please read through the “Permission” series. The four pieces below outline: the illusion of the superiority of hierarchy; the need for a community norm of permission; how our new civic structure may be found in nature; and how we can implement it by improving our individual, collective and environmental health and well-being.