With all of the negative news about Russia, it is great to have a story to share about how a Russian NGO, Vera Hospice Charity Fund, is helping children with severe neuromuscular conditions obtain individual medical ventilators. By using Global Giving, a crowdfunding platform to raise funds, it means that more children are able to be home with their families instead of being cared for in hospitals.
During our March NGO Counterpart Exchange, funded by the U.S. State Department’s U.S. -Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program, the Foundation organized a meeting for the delegation with Global Giving. The Russian NGO leaders were all very interested in learning how they could use Global Giving’s platform to raise funds worldwide. We are very pleased that Vera Hospice Charity Fund was one of the first to seize the opportunity.
Vera Hospice Charity Fund has been helping terminally ill children in Russia for many years and is well-respected for its work. Please take a moment and look at their campaign and share it with others. It is a deserving project.
The Jackson Foundation is committed to the development of a healthy civil society in Russia. We are pleased that a program that we initiated has successfully connected U.S. and Russian NGOs in this meaningful manner.
Angelina Snodgrass Godoy, the Helen H. Jackson Chair in Human Rights and Director, the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights at the Jackson School, has continued to forge links between the Jackson legacy and current human rights concerns. With Foundation support, the Center has sought to build partnerships with organizations that will extend its reach.
Angelina greatly values what practitioners can add to a student’s education about human rights, so the Center has made it a priority to bring that real-world element into its work. One delegation sponsored by the U.S. State Department consisted of visiting human rights advocates working in the area of human rights and the environment. This exposed the students to discussion about environmental sustainability and rights in several different countries, as delegation members interacted with students about using a human rights lens to view environmental injustice and challenges.
The Center’s partnership with Landesa, an organization promoting international land rights for the world’s poorest families, is another showcase for on-the-ground human rights activity. The Center has built an ongoing relationship with Landesa, taking advantage of visiting international land rights practitioners to bring them to the University and talk to students in formal and informal settings. These events, begun a few years ago, have been so successful that they have been repeated annually, so that Landesa Fellows now routinely visit the Center in the fall. Other faculty members have taken advantage of the visiting Fellows to bring them to talk to classes that relate to land rights, such as poverty, population, women rights, human rights, and Asian studies.
We are proud of our connection with the Human Rights Center and pleased that it has found ways to reflect on Senator Jackson’s legacy by engaging contemporary human rights in innovative and meaningful ways. I’m certain that the students are benefiting from the links with policymakers and other advocates at the frontlines of human rights work worldwide.
In early August, the Jackson Foundation will partner with Seattle CityClub for the second time this year to present its latest Civic Boot Camp series. The day-long program targets young adults and new arrivals to the city and is a fast-paced course into local history, culture, and politics. The Jackson Foundation supported the program to help CityClub engage new populations into the civic life of our community, and, in so doing, to promote some of the values that Senator Jackson embodied.
During the day, Civic Boot Camp visits key historical and civic institutions, hears from civic leaders in the region, networks, develops participants’ civic skills, and gives them tools to design their own personal plan for civic engagement. Diane Douglas, Executive Director of Seattle CityClub, says “the partnership with the Jackson Foundation is a natural fit; Civic Boot Camp was envisioned to start conversations, build knowledge, and ignite civic action. This program has done just that.”
In the spirit of Senator Jackson, Boot Campers gain an in-depth appreciation of the history around an issue in our region and have the chance to practice civic leadership skills. CityClub provided the historical curricula and the Jackson Foundation provided the civic tools to activate people’s inspiration into action.
While the core curricula of each Civic Boot Camp program is to instill in its participants the knowledge of how civic leadership and participation shapes our community, CityClub narrows down the discussion around a chosen theme. In May, Civic Boot Camp focused on”Local/Global Seattle” and highlighted the history of the “American dream” across King County as it relates to equity and demographic change. As part of a panel luncheon discussion, participants listened to civic leaders in South King County working to support civic health in immigrant communities and answered difficult questions about how to achieve equity across our community.
In two separate days in August, Civic Boot Camp will take place along Seattle’s downtown waterfront and will focus on the history and politics surrounding the downtown waterfront development plans. Participants will get a guided tour of waterfront sites from a local historian from the nonprofit HistoryLink, visiting the Pike Place Market, Olympic Sculpture Park and the Port of Seattle, and as at all Boot Camps, learn about philanthropy, social services, and opportunities for civic engagement in the region. A panel discussion will feature representatives from the Mayor’s Office, the Pike Place Market Foundation, and the Port of Seattle.
Throughout each day, the Foundation’s publication The Nature of Leadership helps Boot Campers identify ideal civic leadership traits in the leaders with whom they interact, and importantly, in themselves as public citizens. Participants wrestle with hard questions to evaluate their own civic engagement strategies: “How do you seek out partnerships to solve problems? How do you learn from others? What do you do in your community to build trust and motivate others?” With the Senator Jackson leadership story before them, participants have a valuable resource to explore their own civic engagement goals.
Sharing civic stories and learning about our community’s past is integral to the Civic Boot Camp mission. Christina Billingsley, CityClub’s coordinator for the Civic Boot Camp program, notes “The partnership with the Jackson Foundation and CityClub has provided an innovative platform for newcomers to the region and young people to get connected, appreciate our past, and become better informed about their own political choices and civic involvement.” The Foundation and CityClub hope Boot Campers will continue the conversations started here and translate this knowledge to improve civic health across King County. The Jackson Foundation is proud to be part of this effort to engage young people, new immigrants, and diverse populations into the heart of civic life in the Seattle community.