Dan Pallotta’s goal “is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years.” Watch this video, and I assure you that your own ideas will be seriously challenged, if not changed outright, in just nineteen minutes.
“The nonprofit sector can play a massive role in changing the world for all those citizens most desperately in need of it to change,” says Pallotta, but “the things we’ve been taught to think about giving and about charity and about the nonprofit sector are actually undermining the causes we love and our profound yearning to change the world.”
The business section of Sunday’s New York Times had a great interview with Wolff Olins’ CEO Karl Heiselman; and as Karl is the head of an international branding firm, it makes sense that what he said about employing your strengths, producing good work, and selling yourself effectively would resonate with what I’ve been thinking about at Sheepscot. But honestly, it more than rang a few bells. It was a bit uncanny, really.
When Karl is interviewing a potential employee or getting to know a new client, he asks them to tell their tale: “The first thing I always ask is, ‘What’s your story?’ The way somebody answers that is a pretty good indication of what they’re all about.”
Right? Storytelling is the buzzword for all the folks who know what’s what in marketing, in business, even in meeting new people…basically it’s the catch-all skill that can be applied to all aspects of life. We’re all striving to get others to recognize, appreciate and maybe go so far as support or join in on whatever we’re doing.
So, chalk another one up to storytelling, kick myself for spending my childhood days playing in the mud instead of conjuring up tall tales, and move on to my favorite portion of Karl’s interview:
There were a whole bunch of things that, for a while, I beat myself up for not being. But when I said to myself, “Let me approach this as a design problem,” then it became really fun. I started to say: “O.K., if I’m designing this business, what would it be like? What kind of people would we work with? How important is money? What kind of work do we want to do? What do we want the culture to be like?” Those are really fun questions to ask.
Call it a life lesson.
Imagine your perfect world. Your perfect business. Your perfect job. Perfect life. Now, what things can you start doing to make your reality look like that?
Maryanne Hill moved to Government Camp eighty years ago from Forest Grove—her father had asthma, and the family physician prescribed mountain air. We met her at the house that sixty-plus years ago she helped build.
(“Its first winter was ’48-’49. I built it with the aid of two carpenters in 12 days. That was the year we had 14 feet of snow on the level, and I’d only got the roofing paper on it, and when spring came the roofing paper started leaking, and I had 40 pans, cans, bottles, catching drips, and I’d have to move my bed every once in a while.”)
Later, Maryanne joined us in town at the museum, where curator Lloyd Mussler collects and exhibits artifacts from winter and mountain sports, the Barlow Road branch of the Oregon Trail, local and natural history, and the surrounding national forest.
The blue-roofed lodge is also a haven for the local community, hosting meetings and lectures year-round. “Most communities have a school or a grange or a church,” Lloyd explained. “We don’t have any of the above. There was no public meeting place before.”
Former Portland Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey, photographed on Sauvie Island by Holly Andres for a campaign that Sheepscot Creative is directing for the Oregon Cultural Trust.
See all eleven of Holly’s incredible Oregonian portraits at Oregon Culture: a Field Guide, an interactive website that Sheepscot conceived and developed to support the Cultural Trust’s fundraising and advocacy efforts.
Other subjects include Cheryl Strayed, Susan Sokol Blosser, Dan Wieden, Bill Rauch, Esperanza Spalding, Cody Campbell, Tatiana Hargreaves, John Maier, Dan and Jeanne Carver, and Sam Johnson.
This is the story of a southern Oregon community that refused to live without its libraries.
In January 2007, Josephine County closed its libraries. Every branch shut down due to a lack of government funding. One day they simply locked the doors.
Eight busy months later, local community members officially formed a nonprofit, Josephine Community Libraries, whose mission is to ensure long-term operations of a public library system serving Josephine County. In December 2008, less than two years after closure, they reopened the main branch in Grants Pass.
Thanks to a small but dedicated staff and the tireless contributions of more than 200 volunteers working on the order of 2,500 hours every month, all four original branches once again serve county residents.
In 2011 alone, a quarter-million items were checked out to more than 25,000 library cardholders. Nearly 20,000 patrons used the libraries’ computers to access the Internet, browsed online reference resources, or took advantage of free high-speed Internet service. Thousands more enjoyed library exhibits and events.
Seven weeks after we visited Grants Pass to produce this video on behalf of the Oregon Cultural Trust, we’re honored to announce that Josephine Community Libraries is Sheepscot Creative’s newest client. In the coming months, we’ll be working with them to increase the number of library users in Josephine County and to raise awareness of free library services available to any and all county residents who seek to enrich their lives.
We thought we’d walked into a theater. Turned out that was just scratching the surface.
When our team set out to demonstrate the impact of arts, heritage, and humanities nonprofits on Oregon communities, we wanted to know, “Why does their work matter? To whom?” We wanted to see first-hand. And nowhere was evidence more amply supplied than on a remarkable corner of Southeast Portland.
The Miracle Theatre Group has staged entertainment since 1985—this we knew going in. Close to thirty years later, it’s grown into the Pacific Northwest’s premiere Latino arts and culture organization, with a touring company that brings original bilingual theatre productions and educational residencies to underserved communities across America.
Our cameras found Miracle in mid-September, gearing up for its annual (and much celebrated) Day of the Dead show. This year, it’s an original, creative collaboration called “Raíz” (or “Root”). Arturo Martinini, an Italian working in the U.S. for the first time, will direct.
It seemed perfectly fitting for a place whose mission is “to share the diversity of Latin America and advocate for global unity through theatre” to work with a European director on its signature show. As mainstage artistic director Olga Sanchez told us, “It’s about understanding your neighbors better. Ultimately what we’re looking at is the human experience.”
Brian David Johnson is a futurist for Intel. That’s his title: futurist. His job is to look ten or fifteen years into the future and figure out how people will interact with computers. Which is another way — Intel’s way — of asking, How will people live?
Installment #2 of Sheepscot’s video series for the Oregon Cultural Trust introduces The Washed Ashore Project, where staff and volunteers collect marine debris from twenty miles of beaches near Bandon and turn the refuse (mostly plastics) into incredible sculptures of giant sea creatures. It’s one of the most innovative and inspiring environmental education programs you’ll ever see.