Announcement of Spring 2012 Grantees!

May 24, 2012

Kindle Project Fund of the Common Counsel Foundation welcomes our new and returning Spring grantees. With work that stretches across a broad range of awesomeness from government and corporate accountability, youth inspired movement building, whistleblower advocacy, seed saving, and music collectives, it’s a productive and inspiring time for our grantee community. Below you’ll find an introduction to each of our current grantees. We encourage you to visit their websites, support their projects, and continue to stay informed by checking back here and liking our Facebook page.


Agriculture Implementation Research & Education is working to cultivate as many fields and gardens with as many crops and as many people as possible in various communities throughout the Middle and Upper Rio Grande. For schools, service corps, and community groups we offer sustainable agriculture presentations, demonstrations, and workshops. To address our contemporary context of climate change and food insecurity, we also maintain a “living seed library” of locally adapted seeds for agricultural expansion and success.

Be Present, Inc. builds collective leadership for social justice through providing trainings and systems of support using the Be Present Empowerment Model®, sustaining a national network of activists, and creating partnerships with nonprofits engaged in the work of creating a just world. We support people from diverse backgrounds to be present in their lives – to be more effective leaders in creating well being within themselves as well as their families, schools, organizations, and communities.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit public interest law firm and grassroots organizing organization, assists people and communities to assert their fundamental rights to democratic local self-governance and sustainability, and to recognize the rights of nature.  Today, over 130 communities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia have adopted Legal Defense Fund-drafted laws.  Through this work, we have become the principal advisor to communities and municipal governments struggling to transition from merely regulating corporate harms to stopping those harms by asserting local, democratic control directly over corporations.

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) was created in 1977 in response to White House scandals. Our mission is to ensure government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers and empowering citizen activists. During this time, GAP has served as a lifeline to employees of conscience and has helped them release critical information that serves the public interest and the common good. Now in our 34th year, GAP has advanced to become not only the nation’s leading whistleblower support organization, but also an important government and corporate accountability organization both domestically and internationally. GAP’s change-oriented methodology includes representing whistleblowers, creating an effective advocacy agenda surrounding their concerns, and developing, then implementing, broad whistleblower protection policy reforms with extraordinary reach in the United States and abroad. GAP’s programs include: Environment and Energy Oversight; Food Integrity; Public Health and Safety; Corporate and Financial Accountability; National Security and Human Rights; and International Reform.

High Mayhem creates opportunities and events for underrepresented emerging artists. We present, document, and broadcast important creative art and music to our immediate community and the broader world via the Internet. We serve as a laboratory for creative minds to meet, develop, and collaborate to create and envision new and vibrant art and music. We pursue art a means to share experiences and connect people, trigger dialogue, and to awaken the soul and the spirit.

Honest Appalachia is a website and resource for whistleblowers in Appalachia who wish to reveal proof of corporate and government wrongdoing. Our mission is to use web-based technology to support and defend whistleblowers, journalists and other citizens in Appalachia as they seek to hold powerful institutions and individuals accountable to the public. The website, which was inspired by Wikileaks, is focused on local and regional issues in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Its efforts will focus on a broad variety of institutions, from coal and gas companies to banks and zoning boards to local and state governments. Honest Appalachia is operated by a team of freelance journalists, computer programmers and transparency activists in Appalachia and beyond.

Founded in 1985 to further public involvement in and control over environmental problems through the democratization of science, IEER provides policy makers, media, community/grassroots leaders with technical training and scientific/policy analyses on environmental, energy, and security issues. IEER contributes to campaigns to create efficient, renewable energy systems, clean up the messes we have made in nuclear weapons and power production, and promote a healthy environment.

MIX is a structure for interaction and collaboration among inspired individuals, entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses and organizations. Through monthly events that showcase talent and local resources MIX provides an avenue for personal contact and networking. Through innovative web tools, social media and micro- stimulus, MIX provides a mechanism for the development of ideas, businesses, and projects with corollary opportunities for promotion, recognition and start-up funding. The SMC (Saint Michael’s Corridor) Project is a previtalization effort aimed at creating an energetic, inclusive dialogue and pop-up visualization for the future of St. Michael’s Drive and the surrounding neighborhoods, institutions, businesses and organizations. The area in question represents the physical and population center of the state capital and yet is a blight of vacant mini- malls and dilapidated car dealerships divided by a traffic thoroughfare that limits quality of life, public safety and meaningful public usage. The project will engage Santa Fe-ans in the history of the area, the current challenges and the potential for revitalization. The goal is to emerge from a long-weekend visualization and festival event with key outcome projects in transportation, energy, public space, micro- and macro-financing potential and new zoning overlays.

The project is scheduled for September 20-23, 2012.

Planned Parenthood of New Mexico’s Santa Fe Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Project is comprised of four programs to deliver comprehensive, medically accurate sexual health information to youth in Santa Fe. The first part of the project is a multi-session in-class curriculum delivered to Middle School and High School students. The second program, our Middle School Girls’ Groups, combines more intensive, year-long education with service learning opportunities for at-risk youth. Third, our Nuestros Cambios workshops promote communication between adults and children about the difficult changes that occur during adolescence. Finally, in order to transform the discourse around sexual health, PPNM created a peer education program that trains motivated teens to be resources of responsible sexual health information for their peers. The goal of this programming is to empower youth to avoid teen pregnancy by increasing the number of adolescents and adults that have access to accurate sexual health information and providing more channels for youth to be involved with their families and community.

“Under the Radar”  seeks to record and share the principles, insights and skills demonstrated by youth and adults facilitating social healing under circumstances of extreme trauma, such as civil wars and gang violence. Based upon the experiences of grass roots change agents in places such as El Salvador and Uganda, “Under the Radar” hopes to cast light on the wisdom and courage of social healers who have also experienced the very same suffering they are trying to ameliorate.  They are the massacre survivors who return to rebuild their bereaved and shocked communities, the workers among gang violence serving fatherless pre-school children.  Unable to escape to safer or easier circumstances, these social healers must also find ways to renew themselves in the process. Yet, few of their experiences are recorded in textbook manuals or considered “best practices”. “Under the Radar” honors the wisdom of those who go about change without much fanfare but deep conviction.

United Roots (Oakland’s Green Youth Arts & Media Center), is a young, but important organization that is engaging and supporting over 200 low-income Oakland youth, ages 13-24, annually in socially innovative ways. Working out of a storefront in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood, United Roots provides youth leadership, arts, green jobs, sustainability, media training, career and workforce preparedness, and wellness services to youth that need it most, in way that are most needed. Our driving aspiration has been to offer one of Oakland’s first green youth arts and media centers where youth can envision a new world that meets all the contemporary crises, from the ecological to the economic, in the most creative and innovative ways.

The Yes Lab is devoted to helping progressive organizations and activists carry out media-getting creative actions around well-considered goals.