MIT alumni can help implement CoLab's award-winning “Make Climate a Top Priority for Action by Every Global Citizen and Organization.”
The proposal, “Make Climate a Top Priority for Action by Every Global Citizen and Organization” by Mobilize Now, won the Popular Choice Award in CoLab's 2015 Global Climate Action Plan contest. It references a number of MIT Climate CoLab project proposals that, when taken together, can powerfully act to help solve the Climate Change problem through radical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation, and adaptation. This proposal describes a way that MIT alumni can help promising, vetted CoLab climate change finalists and winners get their proposals funded and implemented.
At the CoLab proposal website page titled “Implement the 2015 award-winning Global Action Plan," Team Mobilize Now describes an innovative and powerful plan to match CoLab winners and finalists with funding sources, a plan that includes:
1) contacting all of the proposal “owners” (MIT’s term) to let them know that we will be helping them to raise funds for their projects if they want that help.
2) building and populating both a free standing web site and a crowdsourcing site, each listing all of the chosen projects.
3) encouraging owners to form projects at United Charitable if they do not yet have a valid way to accept funds.
4) organizing, with MIT's assistance, a conference of the finalists and winners we have selected (and others that we or MIT can identify) to get together for several days in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to work on plans together. MIT alumni who are potential funders will be invited to this conference, along with other potential funders, either to participate throughout or, for the final day, to listen to our proposals.
5) coordinating a Community of Practice that includes all participating projects to work together toward solution of the climate crisis.
6) adding to our pool of proposals, for our funding and implementing efforts, those proposals that will be selected as finalists and winners in the Harnessing the Power of MIT Alumni contest.
What actions do you propose?
1. Creating a web site to attract funding - MIT Climate CoLab will partner with our team, Mobilize Now, which will organize as a Corporation (B Corp or C Corp) for the purpose of implementing our MIT Climate CoLab Global Action Plan proposal, "Make Climate a Top Priority for Action by Every Global Citizen and Organization." We will create a web portal where MIT Alumni and others can find a full description of our program and a sub-site for each of our selected CoLab proposals. At these sub-sites each team that has proposed a project can mount a short "pitch" video to tell prospective funders about their project. Here is an example of that kind a short video -- "Climate Change is Elementary and the Green Action Card," which describes the Judges' Choice Winner in the 2014 Youth Action Contest.
Other projects may wish to send prospective investors straight to their website to take action or become a member before they see a "sales" video. This might be the case with Save Ohno, which won the Shifting Attitudes and Behavior 2015 contest with their proposal to "unleash the energy of millions by making climate action simple, relevant and fun."
Interested nonprofit foundations and/or for-profit investors can then click a link for that project which brings them to an extended description and a platform where they can make a contribution to, or investments in, their chosen proposal. Working with the Alumni Affairs office, we will send the information about this portal out first to all MIT Alumni so that they can have top priority for funding and for investing. This in-house action can be carried out prior to the conference described in action "3," below. This will give some MIT-induced momentum to the conference and the subsequent fundraising. Using a tagging system or algorithm that we develop we will (a) help different funders to find projects in which they might be interested and (b) help projects locate funders with interests that are complementary.
2. Insuring eligibility to receive funding - Team Mobilize Now will advise all prospective website participants (previous winners and selected finalists in MIT Climate CoLab contests identified in our project) to become eligible to receive funding, either by (a) incorporating as separate for-profit or nonprofit entities or (b) becoming sub-foundations of a fiscal nonprofit sponsor, such as United Charitable.
3. Conference - One action which would help to bring MIT Alumni and faculty to this project would be for MIT to partner with Team Mobilize Now to sponsor a one-time conference of winners and finalists to be organized as an Open Space Conference like the one we enjoyed so much at Crowds and Climate Conference 2015. Winners and selected finalists will meet for three days in Spring or Summer 2016 in topic areas to discuss the “pillars” of the program, generally organized in the same topics as the separate contests. On the last day we will reconvene and present our separate projects in a way that makes it clear (a) what needs to be done, (b) who is to do it, (c) where it is to be done, (d) when it will be done, (e) what resources will be needed, and (f) how a particular project coordinates with other projects.
On the last day each of our identified proposals can present their ideas as "pitches" to potential funding agencies. MIT will facilitate this conference by providing their name and the venue. We will work together to invite in all the funders MIT and Team Mobilize Now can identify from among (a) MIT alumni and (b) both from the nonprofit world and the for-profit world (including participants from UN COP 21). These potential funders and additional experts would have the option of working with us during the entire conference or just talking to us on the last day.
As a result of this conference we would get all “winning" solutions fleshed out with additional crowd-sourced input. Funders would become acquainted with particular proposals in their areas of interest and could begin discussion of concrete steps they can take to either (a) support these proposals themselves, or (b) help them obtain support by offering skill sets or contacts that they may bring to the table. We can start with this list of US based Foundations that have made grants on Climate Change in the past. That list would be supplemented with a similar list of investors with an interest in sustainable investments. Our team volunteers would manage the "Open Space" portion of this conference.
4. Continuation - Except for hosting the conference and agreeing to partner with Team Mobilize Now, MIT does not need to provide funding for start-up, administration, and continuation of this project. We can fund continued work and administration of the Mobilize Now team with a percentage of the investments and contributions described in action "2" above. In other words, team Mobilize Now would be incentivized to bring donors and investors to the table by making certain we receive a portion of the proceeds from our actions. This project to fund proposals could be a Corporation (C or B) independent from MIT Climate CoLab, or could be managed in partnership with MIT Climate CoLab, which would receive and redistribute these "royalty" funds. A suggested rate of return to Team Mobilize now might be 2% of investment funds and 5% of nonprofit donations. An attorney and an accountant will be consulted regarding financial arrangements.
5. Community of Practice - Based on the results of the conference described above, Team Mobilize Now would undertake to coordinate a Community of Practice to keep participants in selected projects communicating with one another. In managing this community of practice, we could coordinate with appropriate social scientists at MIT to insure we are up to date on this developing field of organization. As a continuation of this project, new proposals and revisions of existing proposals could be considered by Team Mobilize Now, in consultation with the MIT Climate CoLab, for inclusion on the web site and for possible assistance in fundraising in future years. In other words the system of using the collective intelligence of the entire Planet and crowdsourcing suggestions for actions to solve the climate crisis would be continued under this proposal; and alumni, faculty and students will be encouraged to bring new actions to the table to have these projects supported under the aegis of Team Mobilize Now.
We have already started trying out the Community of Practice concept during teleconferences held by members of Team Mobilize Now. So far, we have had excellent communications and sharing of information in ways that ensure all participants actually do get to participate. What we have found to be successful is (a) having an agenda but not one that is overly rigid, (b) rotating the opportunity to speak -- somewhat like what American Indians have done in the past with a "talking stick," and (c) respecting participants' time by starting and ending meetings promptly.
6. Crowdfunding - To permit individuals to invest in existing, vetted MIT projects that we will have selected -- and those we may decide to select in the future -- we will set up a parallel crowd-funding website at Crowdrise or another crowd-funding site. Each identified project will become a Team Member of the Mobilize Now Crowdrise Team. Participating project owners can put up a video and a plea on the site that will raise money specifically for their sub-project, with funds flowing through Crowdrise (which will take a percentage) and Mobilize Now (which will also take a percentage). That crowd-funding activity will permit individuals to make contributions or investments in the projects. Team Mobilize Now will manage that popular and novel fundraising activity, thereby earning revenues that will add to revenues that come from more traditional funding sources (i.e., from grants and investors). The same videos found at the Corporate website to promote projects could be used at Crowdrise.
7. Start-up Funds - Team Mobilize Now is truly a "lean startup." We have been meeting regularly since December 18, 2015, when our proposal was adjudged to be the Popular Choice Winner in the Global Action Plan contest. We have decided to put our winnings from the contest into the launch of this initiative either by using funds from winning to (a) organize as a nonprofit sub-project of United Charitable or (b) as a separate B Corporation. Those funds will also be used to build out the for-profit and the nonprofit web portals described above and to procure our lists of donors and investors. We have sufficient funding, in other words, to carry out our assigned roles in this process up to the point when funds begin to flow through the several channels described above. We could use MIT assistance and consultation, however, in some of the technical aspects of the launch of this enterprise from Sloan School of Management and from the Computer Science Department.
8. Continued MIT Alumni Involvement - Both in the pre-conference period, at the conference itself, and afterward in the report on the conference, MIT Alumni and current faculty and students will be asked to join any of our projects in any way they can to help with funding, staffing, implementation, and evaluation. Some of this involvement will include assigning students or interns to particular projects. Other volunteering efforts will help our project participants to determine where they are going to get the most return on their investments of time and capital. Alumni, faculty members, and students will be included as participants in the conference and in the community of practice which develops as a result of this process.
Alumni contact will be maintained for years to come with a "marketing" program aimed at alumni through alumni print and digital publications via (a) submission of articles and (b) purchase of ad space and click-through ads in print and digital Alumni communications. Our goal will be to keep the MIT name at the forefront of the Global Climate Action Project.
We believe MIT alumni will find many ways to be involved in this project once that is available to them as an option. For instance, we are creating a huge matchmaking opportunity to programmatically identify ideal matches for grant-making institutions and social investors with Climate CoLab proposal winners. A relevancy score for a particular grant, for example, could be an immensely helpful initial vetting tool for the organization providing it. An MIT alumnus could bring critical insight to the formation of database tagging and algorithms behind this score. Many other discrete needs can be generated to involve any number of alumni in their interest areas or specialties, all pointing toward the creation of a process that works effectively to help with the overall mission to "Make Climate a Top Priority for Action by Every Global Citizen and Organization."
9. Key Deliverable - In the first year, we expect to see funded at least one of the 25 projects that were part of our global plan -- the plan that was a finalist and won the People's Choice award in the 2015 CoLab global plan contest. That global plan was judged to be feasible and to have high impact -- keeping global temperature rise at no more than 2 degrees Celsius -- which is our goal (https://www.climatecolab.org/contests/2015/global-climate-action-plan/c/proposal/1324201/tab/EVALUATION).
Twelve of our proposed projects constitute low-hanging fruit. They can be implemented largely by volunteers at low cost. We expect that all those projects will be funded and initiated within five years if we are successful in getting even moderate support from one or more of the following:
a) MIT alumni, as described in the present proposal.
b) Contributors we have already recruited. (https://www.climatecolab.org/contests/2015/global-climate-action-plan/c/proposal/1324201/tab/TEAM)
c) Foundations we have identified that fund environmental projects (https://www.dropbox.com/s/07yckb50cgw39pc/MIT%20Global%20Climate%20Action%20Project%20Working%20Document.docx?dl=0 )
d) Wealthy families and individuals (one of whom has already agreed to fund our costs for incorporating as a nonprofit organization)
In contrast to the 12 low-hanging-fruit projects mentioned above, it will surely take more than 5 years to get funding for all of the 13 long-term and/or capital-intensive projects we proposed in our global plan. Even so, that is not a daunting factor for us as evidenced by the fact we presently are taking on a project that will require a long-term approach. Specifically, we are taking action to bring it to the attention of COP 22 attendees (and especially host-country Morocco) that a resolution should be passed that all nations should end subsidies to fossil fuels companies.
10. Promotion of Concept - Once this project is available for support by accredited investors, nonprofit foundations, and ordinary citizens, we will invest in a publicist to bring this project to the attention of the media at all levels. We will make ourselves available to (a) appear on TV talk shows and radio shows and (b) speak at conferences and in other venues where we will discuss the many ways that people everywhere can help us to attain the goal of a total mobilization for climate action. We will write press releases and letters to the editor and will focus particularly on online publicity through social media. Publicizing the system we create will be one of our primary investments at the outset and a continuing mission as additional sub-projects are added under the Mobilize Now umbrella.
11. Advisory Team - Advisors to our winning project included Bill McKibben, Michael Dowd, Peter Joseph, Margaret Klein, Ezra Silk, Harriet Shugarman, Kat Haber, Robert Castellino, Rolly Montpelier and Ed Fallon. We will solicit their assistance in finalization of the ideas and in promotion of the overall concept and the specific steps we are recommending.
12. Action Team - Team members who have been active participants in this project include Dave Finnigan, who has been a professional public speaker since 1976 and has attained the highest earned rank of the National Speakers Association, Certified Speaking Professional. Dave has made hundreds of presentations on Climate Change, interpreting scientific findings for everyone from elementary students through senior citizens with the overall philosophy that we can solve this problem; and we must get to work, do it right, and do it now.
Another member is Tom Manaugh, inventor, author, internet marketing professional, and web design specialist.
Dylan Husted is a social-tech entrepreneur in his 3rd year of undergraduate education. He has received significant attention for his startup, SaveOhno.org, from sources such as BostInno, TechDay, Web Summit (40,000 attendee conference), Innovation Showcase (TV Program), and Babson College.
Said Majdi is a senior-level business and engineering management professional. He is a recognized expert in technologies, applications and market strategies for the intelligent transportation systems and renewable energy industries.
13. Business Plan - Team Mobilize Now is working separately from this document on a business plan for our work together with the following sections:
· Mission statement and vision statement;
· Description of our company and the service we plan to provide;
· Description of how our service will be unique, including its unique partnership with MIT;
· Market analysis discussing "green businesses," and where we fit in;
· Description of our management team and needs in management;
· Description of our technical team and our tech needs;
· How we plan to market this service both to MIT Alumni and beyond;
· Analysis of our company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats;
· A cash flow statement;
· Revenue projections;
· System for maintaining connection to MIT and vetting new ideas;
· Executive Summary.
14. Additional documents - We appreciate the template that is provided here which permits us to continually develop our proposal in a common work space that each of us can access. In order to permit us to continue to work together on our plan, we have established this link for a Word document that we will continue to develop. In that document one can see material that will be used in creating supporting appendices with details about our business and marketing plans.