This year, September 6th is National Read a Book Day which, for us at FCP, begs the question: Isn’t every day “Read a Book Day”? As an office of voracious readers, book recommendations and article links fly between desks often. In honor of National Read a Book Day, the FCP team is sharing some of their favorite recent reads, ranging from memoirs, to collected essays, to nonfiction. Pick up one of these books to celebrate “Read a Book Day”, every day, because the time is always ripe to learn more, pique curiosity, expand horizons, and share perspectives.
Erin is Reading: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
In A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit defines the state of being lost as “when the world becomes larger than your knowledge of it.” With this, she strips the stigma from a word so easily characterized by a lack of direction and loss of control. Instead, she replaces it with connotations of empowered curiosity and actively wandering— “you’re going to get lost, and you’re going to be better for it. Go on … ”
It’s Solnit’s exploration of what it means to get lost on purpose that took me by the hand and pulled me deeper in. In her collection of essays, Solnit weaves together stories from her own personal history and relationships to tales of other “wanderers.” The narratives are as diverse in perspective as they are in their definition of disorientation. There are so many ways, beyond the physical sense, for a person to lose their way— and Solnit builds community in that.
The scope and scale of Hurricane Harvey is unlike anything America has ever seen. Many may feel helpless in the face of such widespread destruction, upheaval, and suffering. Our hearts are aching at FCP for people several states away, and we began looking for ways to help.
National disaster relief organizations may be the first that come to mind, and often do great work, but it is important to be an informed donor. This includes considering hyperlocal relief efforts, looking beyond traditional charities, and directing resources to marginalized communities that may get overlooked by other efforts. We gathered some of the best resources we’ve seen to respond to Harvey— nonprofit relief, easy ways to give, and organizations doing much-needed work.
- Round Up: Easiest way to give back to those in need? The modern-technology equivalence of giving your spare change. You can now round up your Lyft fare and donate the difference to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief.
- Support Local Government: The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund established by Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation and is accepting tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods.
Last month, Full Court Press had the opportunity to support our client and friends from US Ignite at their annual US Ignite Application Summit in Austin, Texas. The three day summit showcases some of the country’s most forward thinking devices and applications for the world’s smart cities.
The deluge of information exchanged at the conference was somewhat overwhelming, so Caitlin Scott from our team (@caityscott) broke it down into the three top highlights about the next generation of smart, connected cities built on ultra high speed gigabit broadband infrastructure. From where we sit the future looks collaborative, fast, and diverse.
Collaboration is Key
One of the many noteworthy panels at the US Ignite Application Summit featured technology officers from cities throughout the country. Each panelist had plenty of wisdom to share, but the pieces about collaboration stuck out in my mind.
Samir Saini, CIO of Atlanta pointed out that sharing and collaboration is a superpower among city leaders— I agree, and would argue that sharing and collaboration is a superpower all humans possess but often underutilize. Seattle CIO Michael Mattmiller added onto this by saying that municipal CIOs are now being asked by local mayors and other elected officials to creatively use technology to solve non-technological problems such as closing the digital divide, leveraging big data to better serve the community, and more.
It may feel as though CIOs are being asked to solve the most pressing and intractable problems of communities. By collaborating and sharing knowledge across municipalities, CIOs in all corners of the country can learn from each other’s best practices and crowdsource solutions to solve these seemingly daunting problems. The US Ignite Applications Summit served as an excellent platform for relationship-building, knowledge-sharing, and an opportunity for experts to convene and learn from each other.
The challenge: How can we communicate the efforts of multiple educational institutions working together to create pathways for students to college and career in one coherent story?
The lesson: sometimes people tell their own story best. When a project like East Bay Career Pathways is rooted in establishing relationships, building a community, and serving others, its narrative should reflect that by shining a spotlight on the people who made it possible.
In 2014, the East Bay Career Pathways (EBCP) consortium, led by the Peralta Community College District, was awarded a $15 million grant from California Department of Education to develop a network of K-12, community college, and workforce intermediary organizations. The work aimed to connect the groups to build ‘career pathways’ that would link high school and college-aged students with the skills, resources, and training needed to take advantage of opportunities to work in in-demand fields in their community. This work is particularly needed in the Bay Area, where growing prosperity has not been shared by all, and often overlooks local communities. As their grant work drew to a close, EBCP partnered with Full Court Press to find a way to tell this story and share their successes.