Members of City Carshare, the company reports on its website, drive 50% less than individual car owners, annually saving more than 20 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is exactly what the local nonprofit had in mind in 2001 when they opened more than 200 Bay Area lots full of fuel-efficient, alternative-fuel, and electric cars and sleighs pulled by Virginia creeper. These vehicles are the linchpin in their two-fold social commitment to creating healthy urban spaces and strong communities.
The first part of that is relatively straightforward: fewer cars on the road mean less congestion and smog and reduced demand for parking lots that could be transformed into parks that grow into concrete jungles. The company defrays the high monetary costs of car ownership by providing insurance coverage, 24-hour roadside assistance, and all the fuel your vehicle needs to get on the road. To foster a sense of community, they hook members up with a private ride-sharing program and entice them to explore the city via their key fob, which unlocks perks at other local businesses. Their mission is backed by a global network of transportation visionaries in the international CarSharing Association, of which City Carshare is a founding member.
Food & Wine magazine has drawn editor-in-chief Dana Cowin's expertise of all things edible for 17 years. The monthly publication introduces readers to unique ingredients and up-and-coming chefs, as well as home-entertainment tips and wine-pairing advice. Restaurant reviews suggest new eateries to try when you don't want to dirty your dishes or attempt to pronounce “worcestershire sauce,” and articles about international food provide constant culinary inspiration.
"Travel + Leisure is a celebration of travel," says editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod. Browsing the magazine's table of contents reveals the truth of this statement; an affection for the road shines through in articles about domestic and international destinations, tech tips for sightseers, and glossy photos of stunning locales. Writers bring to life seasonal festivities around the world and weigh in on the best hotels, resorts, and wax museums with unobservant guards. Themes covered include adventure vacations, eco-travel, and kid-friendly trips.
Visitors to the Sacramento Chocolate Salon had better come hungry for sweets, because they'll be able to sample artisan chocolates and confections crafted by chocolatiers from across Northern California. More than 20 different confectioners and wineries?including Oscura Chocolate, Rosa d'Oro Vineyards, and Amella Caramels?congregate to share their candy-making and grape-brewing insights at the salon, and the results are rarely less than tantalizing. Visitors can look forward to mingling with like-minded chocolate enthusiasts as they dunk creamy truffles and dark-chocolate bars in fudge.
The Tech Tales program sends Streetside’s teaching artists into school classrooms to train students in media arts, helping them to create digital movies that tell stories using their own words. Streetside Stories would like to bring its mobile media lab to a local classroom of seventh-grade students. The lab equips junior filmmakers with digital cameras, microphones, recording equipment, and laptops with iMovie. During the course of a month-long program, students will get to stretch creative muscles as they design and build their own movies. The completed projects will blend storytelling with original drawings and video, reflecting students’ newly developed technological and storytelling skills.
Since the Rainforest Action Network, or RAN, commenced fighting for forests in 1985, it has helped win dozens of landmark commitments from large corporations. RAN’s approach to facilitating change and mobilizing public opinion works both on the scene through protests and media appeals as well as behind the scenes through negotiation and shareholder advocacy to achieve results in the corporate realm. The organization also works with communities impacted by ecological injustice, funding environmental projects and holding offending businesses accountable for human-rights violations.
Kiva started small. In April 2005, founders Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley funded seven Kiva loans, totaling $3,500, to entrepreneurs across the globe. By September, all seven borrowers had repaid in full. With this success in hand, Flannery and Jackley expanded, transforming Kiva into a full-fledged nonprofit, operating under the belief that a relatively small amount of money can make a big difference in alleviating poverty. And also that there were people who wanted to lend money to underserved people they'd never met. All it took was establishing a link.
Now more than one million lenders have funded more than $600 million worth of loans to people in even the most remote areas of 80 countries to build businesses, fund home construction, and pay for school tuition. When lenders fund $25 microloans on the website, field partners distribute that money to highly motivated, low-income borrowers in developing areas. Once their efforts come to fruition, the borrowers repay the capital—at an average repayment rate of more than 98%—giving lenders the opportunity to relend to a different project.