Upswell Day 3 / The True Meaning of Tribe.

Just like Day 2, Upswell opened and closed with music. Rather than the cathartic beat of a drum to start the day, musically-inclined (and evidently gifted) changemakers gathered to learn the ukulele with YouTube sensation Ukulenny. The harmonic strumming set a nice tone for the day ahead. Here’s a look at what happened next… On…

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Upswell Day 2 / A better way to live.

Starting the Day with a Bang As the sun hid low behind the skyscrapers of Downtown LA and rush hour quietly hummed in the streets below, the serenity of the early morning Public Square was suddenly disrupted with a loud BOOM. A beat later, another BOOM echoed out, followed by a melodic stream of clacks…

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Upswell Day 1 / Be Big. Be Bold. Be Loving.

After two years of planning, collaboration, and energy-building, it’s finally time for Upswell! Here’s a look at what’s happening on the ground in LA. Welcome to Los Angeles Wired into the DNA of Upswell is the idea of being immersive. What’s the point of being in a place like Los Angeles – a multi-cultural metropolis…

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Meet Maia Maiden!

Introducing yet another changemaker who will be joining us in LA this week from Minnesota! Maia’s a native of South Minneapolis and has been an active force in the dance community—in Minnesota and nationwide—for over 20 years. She leads her own production company dedicated to giving all performers and audiences an equitable and engaging platform…

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Meet Erica Valliant!

Dinosaurs and astronauts and cell labs! Oh my! Maybe that sounds like an unusual set design, but those are all fixtures in this Minnesota changemaker’s physical office space. Erica Valliant serves as community engagement specialist for the St. Paul-based Science Museum of Minnesota. In that role, Erica plays an integral role in ensuring that vital…

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Starting a marketing revolution at your nonprofit

Extraordinary organizations are reinventing their approach to marketing to make a bigger impact. Learn how to evaluate your nonprofit’s marketing weaknesses and redefine the role marketing plays in advancing your mission. Don’t miss the Upswell workshop, Starting a Marketing Revolution at Your Nonprofit, on Thursday at 4pm in Room K-Town, presented by Prosper Strategies. According to…

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Meet Matthew Roberson!

Matthew Roberson is yet another fantastic changemaker joining us at Upswell as a member of Independent Sector’s 2018 American Express NGen Fellows cohort! Matthew leads the Department of Athletic Regulation for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He’s also one of many changemakers who will be traveling from Minnesota to join us in LA. Get…

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Meet Rebecca Lechner!

A few changemakers we’ve heard from ahead of Upswell have highlighted some of their favorite things about the physical space they work in. Rebecca Lechner’s space might be our runaway favorite, because she and her Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance team work in the space where Janet Jackson made her fourth studio record in 1989! Changemaker…

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Meet Seyron Foo!

In addition to leading the public policy and government relations work for Southern California Grantmakers, Seyron Foo is also a member of Independent Sector’s 2018 American Express NGen Fellows cohort that will be joining us this week in LA. Or, more accurately, we’ll be joining Seyron this week on his home turf, since he grew…

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Upswell Podcast – Episode 8

Homelessness is among the most difficult and heartbreaking issues facing society today. On Episode 8 of the Upswell Podcast, we tackle this intractable challenge with two changemakers whose organizations are taking on the complexities of homelessness and making headway, slowly but surely. First we’ll talk with Delphia Simmons, Director of Passport to Self-Sufficiency at the…

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Transforming communities through the arts

Americans for the Arts, a sponsor of Upswell, is a nonprofit whose primary focus is to advance the arts and art education in the United States. They work every day to ensure that people have the tools they need to transform their communities through the arts. Their mission is to build recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value…

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Meet Jonathan Zaidman!

Jonathan Zaidman might be the first changemaker to share responses with us ahead of Upswell whose work has a primarily ecological focus. As Director of Replication for The Ecology Center, Jonathan gets to work on one of California’s last remaining protected farms in San Juan Capistrano. Having a base in Southern California is unique in…

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Meet Wray Clay!

Though she describes herself as “easy like Sunday morning” when it comes to relaxation, Wray Clay is a fierce advocate for children. Her belief in the importance of “getting it right early” suffuses every aspect of her work at United Way of Greater St. Louis, which is dedicated to improving quality of life. Wray will…

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Meet Shehla Mushtaq!

Shehla Mushtaq is the COO of the St. Paul-based collective Collectivity. That her organization has a multi-stakeholder approach to creating thriving communities mirrors her personal belief in the power of the collective. In her words, “So much good is happening…Every human being has a significant role to play.” We hope you’re as inspired as we…

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I swear? An Upswell Civic Saturday teaser

/ By Kurian Thomas / Are we showing up as our best citizen selves every day? What are our responsibilities as citizens of this country? I invite you to take a look at Sworn Again America, a project to revitalize citizenship that is related to Civic Saturday, a popular traveling civic ritual that will be…

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Meet Ellen Anderson!

This changemaker’s mold-breaking attitude in a red-tape world inspires us. Ellen Anderson will be joining us next week in Los Angeles from Minnesota, where she uses her digital media savvy in the halls of the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul. Ellen is a lapsed architect with a passion for finding ways to improve…

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Meet Rodney Prunty!

As the leader of United Way of Racine County in southeast Wisconsin, Rodney Prunty is driven and refueled by the people he meets, and the way that community changework transforms their lives for better. He credits his mother for instilling in him a sense of always aspiring for a better world. Along with United Way…

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Meet Pam Lange!

Pam Lange is a force in her community as a leader in education. She’s eager to meet new folks working in and outside of her area of expertise—for which she already has a lot to share in the way of knowledge an experience! But she’s also looking to draw from folks who’ve innovated and iterated…

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Meet Cassie Nguyen!

Cassie Nguyen is the founder of Spotlight On Hope Film Camp (SOH), a free program that gives cancer patients and their families the opportunity to learn about filmmaking. As a pediatric cancer survivor, Cassie has committed herself to making a way for those affected by cancer to express themselves. So far, SOH has served hundreds…

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A shared history of building community

/ By Stacy Palmer / As we get ready to descend on Los Angeles this month to learn more about social change at Upswell, I can’t help but think about the first time I attended an annual conference of nonprofit and foundation executives from across the country organized by Independent Sector. That was in 1988…

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36 speakers added to the Upswell lineup

We’re less than two weeks away from Upswell and we have another fresh set of speakers to introduce! This week, we added another 36 awesome humans to our great list of presenters who’ll open your eyes to new ways of working together to make the world a better place. Here’s the newest wave of of…

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36 changemaker Q&As, and counting!

Since February, we’ve been reaching out to some of our Upswell registrants and giving them the chance to introduce themselves to the Upswell community with a short Q&A. Many have taken us up on the opportunity, and with Upswell LA less than two weeks away, responses are still rolling in! We took stock of all…

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Upswell Podcast – Episode 7

When it comes to preparing community residents to be community leaders, ensuring that they have the skillsets needed for meaningful and gainful work is a must in today’s competitive environment. And sometimes life circumstances present residents with challenges that require a little extra help to overcome employment barriers. Episode 7 of the Upswell Podcast is…

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Meet Sami Reed!

We need positive people in this world. Sami Reed is definitely that, and we’re lucky to have her joining us in LA in two weeks. Sami is the founder of Elevate Corporate Wellness, a Long Beach-based organization that’s dedicated the holistic health of organizations—from the collective culture, to the individual humans that define that culture.…

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Meet Matthew L. Evans!

If you’re a wine enthusiast, you likely know that France’s Beaujolais Nouveau Day is November 15 this year. That coincides with Upswell. If you’re itching to celebrate France’s famous first wine of the season, you may want to join forces with Matthew L. Evans to organize an impromptu celebration, because he’s on a Beaujolais kick…

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Meet Jonathan C.W. Jones!

Jonathan C.W. Jones is one member of the sizeable contingent of Minnesota-based changemakers that will be joining us in Los Angeles in just a few weeks. For those who are uninitiated (as we were before reading Jonathan’s responses) in the Minnesota ritual of “going up north,” we guarantee you’ll learn something new from this short…

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Creating new and improved lives, piece by piece

/ By Tamieka Briscoe / In the city of Los Angeles where the homeless population is in excess of 30,000 – it is impossible to ignore one of the region’s most glaring issues. In 2006, artist Sophie Alpert took a trip to South Africa where she toured a social enterprise that helped train HIV-infected women…

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Meet Amira Resnick!

We have another LA-based changemaker to introduce to the Upswell community! While Amira Resnick has been working for the past three years on projects focused on promoting health for kids, she has had a rounded career trajectory that began with a love for cultural anthropology. At the root of her intellectual interest was a passion…

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Meet Tosa Two Heart!

Tosa Two Heart is a chagemaker herself who works alongside powerful changemakers every day. In her role at First Peoples Fund—located in Rapid City, South Dakota—Tosa supports the work and development of Native artists and culture bearers. Tosa shared about the inspiring breadth of First Peoples Fund’s support of indigenous communities, particularly through the profound…

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Meet Michelle Cho!

Michelle is the co-founder and executive director of Gladeo, a digital media nonprofit that fosters career exploration for students from diverse backgrounds. She harnesses the power of storytelling and technology to inspire, educate and empower underserved students to find and pursue their dream career. Check out this short video to learn more about Gladeo’s work,…

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Meet Beth Palm!

If you’re a new social entrepreneur in desperate need of resources to get up and running, Beth Palm’s website Social Good Impact is up your alley. Beth is a St. Paul-based social entrepreneur with an MBA and a penchant for disc golf. We love Beth’s enthusiasm for achieving true impact in the pursuit of a…

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Meet Katrina Mendoza!

Katrina Mendoza is an independent mother to three young activists, an adventurer, a justice activist, an organizer, a community healer, and an ordained minister. But that’s not all! In her day job, Katrina supervises health education and outreach at a community health clinic. Her clinic focuses on preventing and helping individuals living HIV/AIDS (especially in…

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Meet Tammira Lucas!

Dr. Tammira Lucas is the co-founder of Moms As Entrepreneurs (MAE). Tammira has a bold vision for helping people, and mothers in particular, in living their best possible lives. The demands on mothers are historically steep and their strengths and skills are an asset in any context. By offering entrepreneurial training, financial education, and the…

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Meet Kristin Feltz!

This Upswell registrant Q&A features one of California’s own. Kristin Feltz of Chlid360 made two specific points in this Q&A that we call get behind. First, through education, we can empower children to change the world. Second, and we quote, “a day at the beach is everything.” There are few statements so accurate. Check out…

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Meet Dwayne Marshall!

Dwayne Marshall serves as Senior Director of Programs & Partnerships at Atlanta-based regional association Southeastern Council of Foundations. That he works in support of an entire network of mission-minded grantmakers is unsurprising given his many passions. He touches on many of them in this Q&A, including voting rights, eliminating injustice in all of its forms,…

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Meet Cianti Stewart-Reid!

Cianti Stewart Reid serves as Vice President of Campaigns for Community and Youth Engagement at Truth Initiative. She joined Truth Initiative’s team in 2016 and has been igniting their grassroots strategy ever since. Cianti, like so many of the changemakers coming to Upswell that inspire us, is both passionate about investing in the next generation…

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Upswell Podcast – Episode 6

Our future depends in large part on supporting our young people with resources and experiences to develop into tomorrow’s involved citizens and leaders. Fortunately, many social good organizations focus on youth development. We were lucky to have three individuals join us on the Upswell Podcast whose nonprofits put the needs of young people in Detroit…

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Meet Amanda Scott!

In addition to leading the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors based in Alexandria, VA, Amanda Scott is a big advocate for the therapeutic power of knitting. At the basic level, knitting is Amanda’s way to check out, reflect, and process while creating something beautiful amidst the chaos of our everyday lives. We’re so…

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Meet Hillary Kempenich!

Award winning artist Hillary Kempenich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Kempenich is an engaged activist who uses her art both within and beyond her community to support what matters most to her, like access to the arts, education, social justice, and Native issues. We are so honored that she’ll be…

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Another 24 speakers on the Upswell lineup

We’re just three weeks away from Upswell and the wave of speakers is still growing and picking up momentum! We’ve added another 24 awesome folks to our great list of presenters who’ll open your eyes to new ways of working together to make the world a better place. Of special note to our next-generation leaders…

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Opening City Hall to build trust in cities

/ By Kristina Gawrgy Campbell / We recently caught up with Myung J. Lee, executive director of Cities of Service, who will be moderating an exciting session at Upswell LA on Thursday, November 15 at 4:00-5:30 pm, titled, “How Changemaking Mayors Are Building Trust and Community.” The session will offer participants an intimate setting to…

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Shifting the nonprofit healthcare paradigm

Nonstop Administration and Insurance Services, Inc., an Upswell exhibitor, is a business with a mission. Nonstop wants to turn how nonprofits and their employees view healthcare on its head, and encourage them to see employer-sponsored healthcare as an asset, rather than a burden. Be sure to check out their presentation in Upswell’s Public Square for…

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What the heck is an Immersive Arcade?

You settle into your swivel chair, don a virtual reality headset, push a button, and suddenly you’re far from LA. Maybe you’re feeding an elephant in Africa, breaking rocks in India, measuring the ice in Greenland, or testifying before Congress in Washington, DC. For 10 or 15 minutes, you’re not just reading about a problem…

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Upswell Podcast / Episode 5

In the realm of transformative changework, the future looks much brighter when we support our youth – particularly those who might not otherwise have important opportunities in their lives. With tight budgets forcing schools to make tough program decisions, we talk on Episode 5 of the Upswell Podcast with two changemakers who are working to…

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With Ozomatli, expect the unexpected

/ by Christian Clansky / We keep saying that Upswell is going to be different than any sort of event you’ve experienced before. You really will need to see how – and why – for yourself, but I’ve got a story to share that might give you an idea of what we mean. The story…

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18 more speakers you’ll meet this November

We’re another week closer to Upswell, and our lineup is still evolving. We’ve added another 18 awesome folks to our great list of presenters who’ll open your eyes to new ways to advancing your own mission, and working together with other changemakers to address today’s challenges and make the world a better place. With just…

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Ozomatli will get your body and soul grooving at Upswell

We’re thrilled to announce that Grammy Award-winning legends Ozomatli will be performing at Upswell Los Angeles! Ozomatli’s sound is as diverse as the city they call home. The LA-based (and globally inspired) band has perfected a wild and funky fusion, creatively mixing rock, salsa, reggae, hip hop, soul, and jazz with a socially conscious and…

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Savoring art of combinations at The Park’s Finest

Here’s a cool trick that creative thinkers use to generate great ideas: combine two existing things. That’s it. Sometimes, genius can be found at the nexus of two things that nobody had thought to bring together. For example, in 2000, the Japanese company Sharp combined a wireless phone and a camera for the first time.…

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What the heck is a Focus Group?

When it comes to changework, no matter how inspired you might be, you can’t just wing it. In the history of big ideas, none have changed the world before first being tested. And one of the most exciting things about Upswell is the potential to generate a big idea when such a diverse group of…

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Upswell Podcast / Episode 4

Challenges surrounding immigration are front and center in our country. The fourth episode of the Upswell Podcast explores how two changemakers – one near Detroit and one in Los Angeles – are working to advance social justice for immigrant communities in those two places. Our first conversation is with Hassan Jaber, executive director and CEO…

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What the heck is the Reflection Lounge?

There’s a lot going on during Upswell. As evidence, before even thinking about Workshops or any number of things going on in the Public Square throughout the day, your first-day schedule may already look like this: 8:30am-1:30pm – LA Inside & Out Tour 2-2:20pm – Main Stage 2:30-3:20pm – Workshops 3:45-4:15pm – Main Stage 5-5:20pm…

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Downtown LA Tour: A walk through women’s contributions to Los Angeles

Residents and tourists alike flood the sidewalks and streets of downtown Los Angeles any given day. With world-famous restaurants, museums, galleries, and other thriving businesses—the city’s center serves as a vital part of LA culture. The city of Los Angeles is complex—and so are its challenges. Nonprofits and foundations like The California Endowment, Downtown Women’s…

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Coloring and creating community together

You’ll be called upon to do a lot of things at Upswell. Forge new partnerships. Address big challenges. Exchange lessons learned. Examine best practices. Color on the walls. Wait, what? You heard right. You’ve gotta do something different to find innovative ways to address society’s toughest challenges. Something out of the ordinary. Something unconventional, maybe…

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Upswell Podcast / Episode 3

In order for the democratic process to work for all of us, it is vital that every voice and every concern is heard. On the third episode of the Upswell Podcast – themed broadly around public policy and advocacy – we talk with two changemakers who work to encourage that every member of their communities…

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Five Steps to Greater Social Impact

Do you feel excited when you hear the term “innovation,” or does it evoke feelings of uncertainty? For many it can simply remind you that your daily work leaves little time to consider new ways to increase your impact. If you feel the same way, you’re not alone. Many social impact professionals have full plates…

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Another 21 speakers you’ll meet in LA

If Upswell were a boat, it’s a wonder it hasn’t capsized under the weight of the rich programming and speakers we’re adding every week! As the Upswell lineup continues to expand, we’ve added another 21 awesome folks to our great list of presenters who’ll open your eyes to new ways to advancing your own mission,…

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Working together to clear the air on California Clean Air Day

/ By Tamieka Briscoe / Finding solutions to protecting the environment will be among the important challenges discussed when changemakers gather November 14 – 16 in Los Angeles for Upswell. And over 700,000 Californians are working to address that issue today – Wednesday, October 3 – by pledging to stand with the Coalition for Clean…

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Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative Community Tour: Empowering SELA residents

When ten separate agencies work together to support and empower residents in ten different municipalities and unincorporated areas – big things can happen. You’ll find out how this network of organizations is putting its collective muscle behind uplifting communities in Southeast LA during LA Inside & Out’s Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative Community Tour. The Southeast…

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Introducing workshops created by changemakers like you

Upswell is community-driven. When you get to Los Angeles this November, you’ll understand exactly what that means. Every aspect of the Upswell experience has been created, curated, and influenced by hundreds of diverse changemakers from across the country. For example, we put out a call for workshop ideas and received dozens of brilliant pitches. Everyone…

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Pasadena Community Tour: Crown of the Valley

The city where baseball legend Jackie Robinson grew up, a filming location of popular shows like The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Recreation, and perhaps best known as the home of the famed New Year’s Day Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl—Pasadena—nicknamed “Crown of the Valley,” is rich in history and tradition. Pasadena is…

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Leimert Park Community Tour: LA’s Black Greenwich Village

Leimert Park’s music and cultural legacy is so engrained, the sounds of music legends Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles, and insight of comedy genius Richard Pryor may spring to mind as you walk along the community stops of LA Inside & Out’s Leimert Park tour. Called “the black Greenwich Village” by Oscar-nominated director John Singleton,…

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What the heck is a Spark Talk?

A short amount of time to share a big bold idea. That’s a Spark Talk. Rather than a long-winded speech, a Spark Talk is a quick, ten-minute opportunity for a fellow changemaker to take the stage in Upswell’s Public Square to share a new way of thinking or a fresh approach. And what they say…

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Upswell Podcast / Episode 2

Next time you walk down the street, take a look at the people around. There’s one thing that you hold in common with every single person: all of you – all of us – are affected by the environment. For the second episode of the Upswell podcast, we’re excited to introduce you to two changemakers…

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El Monte Community Tour: Creating a seamless pathway, cradle to college

A bus station. Higher education. Healthier neighborhoods. They’re all connected to a unique effort to create a college-going culture, healthier neighborhoods, and sustainable social change, and you’ll learn how on LA Inside & Out’s El Monte Community Tour. Located east of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley, El Monte is the focus of…

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Eight new speakers you’ll meet in LA

We’ve added eight more speakers to our great list of presenters who’ll open your eyes to new ways to advancing your own mission, and working together with other changemakers to address today’s challenges and make the world a better place. With a little more than seven weeks to go, look who’ll be joining our dynamic…

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Mercado La Paloma Community Dinner: Global cuisine and community empowerment

Mercado La Paloma is known for its “vibrant treasure trove of internationally eclectic food,” but it’s so much more than that. It is a shining example that community revitalization can be successfully achieved without the displacement of residents. You’ll learn about this unique community experiment while enjoying delectable international dishes during the Upswell Community Dinner…

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Introducing the Upswell Podcast

All of the changemakers who will gather in Los Angeles at Upswell in November are addressing social challenges — like the environment, or youth development, or homelessness. But each changemaker is unique, and concerns or circumstances that are specific to the communities they serve may or may not make how they address their community’s challenges…

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Our dynamic group of Upswell speakers keeps growing!

We’ve added eight more speakers to our great list of presenters who’ll open your eyes to new ways to advancing your own mission, and working together with other changemakers to address today’s challenges and make the world a better place. With a little more than eight weeks to go, look who’ll be joining our dynamic…

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Meet Patty Hampton!

Q: What drives you, what you’re working on, and why you’re inspired to make the world a better place? PH: I am driven by transformative leaders that continue to have enough fight in them to make a difference in the organizations they serve. I am working on an app that will revolutionize how we engage…

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Magnolia Community Initiative Tour: Empathy at the core of improving communities and lives

Providing basic services for the thousands of children who live in some of LA’s most vulnerable communities is no small feat, but the Magnolia Community Initiative aims much higher. Their community-driven, multi-pronged effort, involving residents and 70 public and private organizations, provides holistic, wrap-around environments where children and their families can do more than survive…

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27 new speakers you’ll meet in LA

The days to Upswell are counting down to November 14-16 – when 1,500 changemakers gather in LA for a brand new experience that will help us rise together to meet today’s challenges. At the same time, our slate of speakers is growing – giving you more opportunities to meet and hear from presenters with new…

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Meet Tamera Luzzatto!

A fearless changemaker since her adolescent years, Tamera Luzzatto is now the Senior Vice President of Government Relations at The Pew Charitable Trusts. She is inspired by, and has high hopes for the younger generation leading the charge of tackling current social issues. We are excited to have Tamera join us at Upswell in November!…

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Historic Filipinotown Tour: Discovering hidden community gems

For a community that just received its official designation in 2002, Historic Filipinotown (HiFi) sure has a lot of hidden gems. You’ll have a chance to uncover those gems though a special version of the Hidden HiFi tour, organized by the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California and Public Matters for LA Inside and Out.…

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Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist Stacy Stout

Voting is open for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award winner through Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm PDT. All six finalists have amazing track records of collaboration and making a significant impact in the communities they serve. And they’re pretty incredible individuals, too! We’re giving each finalist the opportunity to tell you a bit more about…

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Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist Joseph McKellar

Voting is open for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award winner through Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm PDT. All six finalists have amazing track records of collaboration and making a significant impact in the communities they serve. And they’re pretty incredible individuals, too! We’re giving each finalist the opportunity to tell you a bit more about…

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Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist Quardean Lewis-Allen

Voting is open for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award winner through Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm PDT. All six finalists have amazing track records of collaboration and making a significant impact in the communities they serve. And they’re pretty incredible individuals, too! We’re giving each finalist the opportunity to tell you a bit more about…

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Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist Monisha Kapila

Voting is open for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award winner through Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm PDT. All six finalists have amazing track records of collaboration and making a significant impact in the communities they serve. And they’re pretty incredible individuals, too! We’re giving each finalist the opportunity to tell you a bit more about…

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Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist KeAndra Cylear Dodds

Voting is open for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award winner through Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm PDT. All six finalists have amazing track records of collaboration and making a significant impact in the communities they serve. And they’re pretty incredible individuals, too! We’re giving each finalist the opportunity to tell you a bit more about…

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Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist Loren Cardeli

Voting is open for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award winner through Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm PDT. All six finalists have amazing track records of collaboration and making a significant impact in the communities they serve. And they’re pretty incredible individuals, too! We’re giving each finalist the opportunity to tell you a bit more about…

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What will you ask our NGen Award finalists?

We know. The six finalists for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award are so amazing, it will be hard to pick just one winner. But before voting ends on September 20, maybe there’s a question you’d like to ask each one to help make your decision. Don’t miss the 2018 NGen Award Finalists Twitter Town Hall next Thursday,…

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Public Square Profile: Mallory Square

/ By Jackie Brennan / Each year, saying sayonara to summer is a bittersweet rite for many of us. We hope having Upswell on your horizon this November gives you a little something to look forward to as we head into the next few months. But for the meantime, we’re inspired to unwind a bit…

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Little Tokyo Tour: Little Tokyo, big deal

/ By Tamieka Briscoe / You’ve undoubtedly heard of the famous Hollywood sign, and the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. So it should come as no surprise that Los Angeles is home to many historic landmarks and neighborhoods. You’ll learn about one of LA’s most popular National Historic Landmark Districts on LA Inside & Out‘s…

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30 new speakers you’ll meet in LA

We’re just a bit more than two months away from Upswell. In November, 1,500 changemakers from across the United States – and you, we hope! – will gather in Los Angeles for three days of ideas and action. Now that we’re in the post-Labor Day homestretch, we’ll be sharing all kinds of big announcements. First…

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Lead with compassion: A multi-purpose tool for your leadership kit

/ By Amy Ferguson / Talk with Uvinie Lubecki and Anna Kawar at Leading Through Connection (LTC) and you will hear about their vision for a more “human kind of leadership” and how it can help us achieve personal resilience as well as improve organizational performance. LTC helps leaders apply compassion to strengthen the relational…

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Meet Michelle Serrano!

Michelle Serrano, Associate Director at Playworks Southern California, has always found joy through helping others, so it’s no wonder she’s chosen a career where she helps bring safe and inclusive play to children through specialized school recess programs. Playworks believes that play is a basic human need, and we are thrilled to have Michelle joining…

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Voting is open for the NGen Leadership Award

We’ve considered applications for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award submitted by 70 outstanding emerging changemakers. Our also outstanding Selection Advisory Group helped us narrow the list down to six amazing finalists. (It really wasn’t easy.) Now it’s your turn to vote for the 2018 award winner! But before you vote, you probably want to meet…

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Public Square Profile: Zócalo of Mexico City

/ By Jackie Brennan / Although Zócalo is only the second largest public square in Mexico, it is one of the 250 largest public squares in the world. And it is almost certainly the original from which all subsequent public spaces in Mexican society drew influence. Prior to the Spanish colonization of Mexico, Zócalo was…

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Meet Ryan Ginard!

For a number of reasons, Ryan Ginard is the type we’re excited to have turning out for Upswell. How many folks do you know in the philanthropic space who work on a live podcast that marries Southern California politics and craft beer? To boot, we can almost hear his Australian accent through his writing when…

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L.A. Kitchen Tour: Reclaiming food and lives in Los Angeles

/ By Debra Rainey / Imagine a 20,000 square-foot processing kitchen where donated fruits and vegetables are chopped, diced, pureed, and juiced before being composted. That’s L.A. Kitchen. Now imagine that huge operation in an even larger 60,000 square foot incubator space with more than 50 other production kitchens, many of which are women- and…

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Arts District/Industrial Corridor tour: Environmentally friendly opportunities for community residents

Conjure an image of a decaying railroad depot surrounded in all directions by rusty industrial warehouses. Doesn’t sound too inviting, does it? Now picture a thriving arts district where creatives, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit changemakers, and service providers collide to create a vibrant community full of fresh starts for residents, energized by a hyper-local green economy.…

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Meet Aleda Gagarin!

Aleda Gagarin is based in New York but looking forward to taking a deep dive into the issues facing Los Angeles and beyond. Aleda is the Director of Development at Foundation Center, a nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge about philanthropy in the U.S. and around the world. Aleda…

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Public Square Profile: Ancient Agora of Athens

/ By Jackie Brennan / Upswell blog veterans will by now recognize our “What the heck is…?” series—a collection of 101-level posts designed to prime changemakers on the core elements of the Upswell experience. Those same loyal readers, noting the Ancient Agora of Athens on prominent display atop this piece, would be forgiven for thinking…

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Meet Susan Schmidt!

Susan Schmidt, president of the Kansas City-based Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, has worked in public service since her teen years and has never looked back. Her organization’s mission is to strengthen the social sector with a talented, prepared workforce. Susan will be joining us at Upswell in November! Q: In a few sentences, tell us who…

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Cardborigami: A pop-up solution to reshaping the LA homelessness crisis

/ By Tamieka Briscoe / The image of a cardboard box has been inextricably associated with urban homelessness for decades. Enter Tina Hovsepian, a Los Angeles native and architect with a desire to combat one of the city’s most devastating challenges—and who responded in 2007 with a simple, cost-effective defense: Cardborigami. Cardborigami, a nonprofit startup,…

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Meet Robert Fersh!

Robert Fersh is the President of Convergence, an organization based in Washington, DC that he founded in 2009. We’re inspired by Fersh’s passion for bringing people together who, despite having drastically different points of view, manage to come up with solutions that go the distance to incite meaningful change in the world. Robert is going…

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An Upswell celebration of Angela Glover Blackwell

/ By Debra Rainey / Changemakers from across the country will gather at Upswell in Los Angeles, November 14-16, to move boldly toward our common goal to make positive change, improve lives, and create a better world. We’ll also honor one exceptional leader whose life’s work has exemplified the lofty ideals that we’re striving to…

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What the heck is the American Express NGen Leadership Award?

/ By Debra Rainey / Our community of changemakers is chock-full of emerging leaders doing amazing work in neighborhoods across the country. So imagine how difficult it is to identify and recognize one accomplished changemaker whose work makes them a leader among outstanding next-generation leaders? Take our word for it, it’s really tough. But, each…

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Meet Apple Sepulveda!

Apple Sepulveda is a pediatric occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She also serves as Interim Chair/Vice-Chair of 2020 Mom, an LA-based organization dedicated to maternal mental health, that is no stranger to the Upswell blog. Previously, we have shared Q&As with 2020 Mom Board Chair Kiley Krekorian Hanish and Executive Director Joy Burkhard.…

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Meet Jim McCorkell!

Jim McCorkell is founder and CEO of College Possible, a nonprofit organization that helps promising low-income students prepare for college and graduate from college – and he’ll be joining us in November at Upswell! Jim grew up as part of a low-income family, and his parents were unable to finish high school or attend college.…

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Creating dinner experiences and new community relationships

As you might expect, Carola Secada’s experience in planning multiple community dinner experiences throughout LA for Upswell changemakers has been interesting, inspiring, and sometimes overwhelming – all at the same time. More than “just dinner,” she’s working to provide Upswell attendees with community experiences that reflect LA’s vibrant range of cultures and food offerings, and…

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“Build-a-better” changemaker workshops

/ By Debra Rainey / Upswell is for changemakers, but what are you trying to change? The world, of course. But that’s a pretty tall order. What if you could spend 60 to 90 minutes changing yourself – your outlook, knowledge base, skill set, toolbox, or network? Could you leverage those changes in pursuit of…

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Design your spot on the Upswell schedule!

It’s hard to overemphasize the opportunity we have in front of us. In November, 1,500 diverse changemakers are coming together in Los Angeles. Or, to put it another way, we’re all going to have access to tens of thousands of years of knowledge, experience, success, and even a few failures. Upswell is being built to…

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The real deal on the best of ‘real LA’

/ By Debra Rainey / Vera deVera has made some surprising discoveries as she’s visited various LA communities and talked with community and organization leaders and residents to identify neighborhoods for the “LA Inside & Out” immersion tour. “First, I love being a tourist in my own city! I was born, raised, and have lived…

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The “inner lab” of American democracy

/ By Mohammed Mohammed / Take a moment and think back over the past few years. How have you been spending your Thanksgivings? A recent paper published by Science magazine indicates that we spent significantly less time sharing the 2016 Thanksgiving dinner table than we did in 2015, using data collected from ten million devices across…

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Empathy at the heart of faith-based and social justice changework

Upswell is about turning empathy into action — harnessing the insights and experiences of changemakers to positively impact the communities we serve. But what about the community’s insights and lived experiences? In the rush of life, do we unintentionally lean toward a “bias to action” — designing solutions without fully understanding the challenges and needs…

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What the heck is LA Inside & Out?

For changework, local context is essential. You can’t make a real difference unless you immerse yourself in a community – building relationships with the people living there, exploring the intersections of ideas and action, and experiencing firsthand the innovations, obstacles, and diversity that shape a community. And you can’t get that context from a simple…

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Is VR a storytelling game-changer for nonprofits?

/ By Robert Jones / Attendees of our fourth Upswell Lab, held in San Francisco, were intrigued by a hands-on demonstration showing how nonprofits can use virtual reality, or VR, as a powerful storytelling tool. VR promises to have a prominent role at Upswell LA, so we sat down with Susanna Pollack, President of Games…

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Perfect weather for a social experiment!

/ By Christian Clansky / If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, you know that the city’s weather is unpredictable. You might carefully plan a day full of outdoor activities – maybe a stroll in Golden Gate Park, some parrot-watching on Telegraph Hill, and a boat ride out to Alcatraz – only to be foiled…

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David Brooks: Challenging us to strengthen the ties that bind

/ By Debra Rainey / When your thoughtful and thought-provoking opinion pieces and books attract praise and criticism from the left, right, and the middle – you must be doing something right! And we’re lucky that David Brooks will be front and center on the main stage to challenge our opinions and assumptions at Upswell…

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Upswell should feel like winning the Stanley Cup

/ By Christian Clansky / Thursday, June 7, 2018, was one of the best nights of my life. I also think it was one of the best nights of a lot of peoples’ lives. And, not so coincidentally, it was the night I began to truly believe everything we’ve been saying about Upswell. A little…

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The art of building connections

/ By Pickett Slater Harrington / You may recall that Detroit holds a very special place in the Upswell story. In late May, the changemakers who inspired Upswell in the beginning gathered again for an Upswell Lab. And it was great to be back together. More than 40 changemakers from community-based organizations, nonprofits, and foundations…

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Meet Sara Brenner!

Sara Brenner is president of Community Wealth Partners, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm that partners with foundations and nonprofits to solve social problems. Sara will be joining us in Los Angeles in November at Upswell! She is passionate about partnering with people to rethink what is possible and to dramatically change our world for the…

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Carola Secada: Concocting tasty connections at Upswell LA

/ By Debra Rainey / Upswell is about making and building meaningful connections with changemakers doing great things in the social good space, and what better way to do that than over a great meal? During Upswell’s Community Dinners, you’ll “meet well while you eat well.” You’ll have the opportunity to go out into LA…

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Meet Monisha Kapila!

Monisha Kapila, founder and CEO of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco-based nonprofit, ProInspire, will join us at Upswell in Los Angeles this November. Monisha has been recognized as an American Express NGen Fellow and holds a number of other sector accolades. She founded ProInspire in 2009 to help individuals and organizations achieve their potential for…

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What the heck is the Upswell schedule?, Pt. 1

You’ve heard that Upswell is going to be a new kind of experience. But what does that even mean?! The short answer, of course, is that you’ll have to join us in LA this November 14-16 to really understand. But that’s not a satisfying response! Don’t worry, we’re not trying to be mysterious. If there’s…

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Vera deVera: Your ultimate “LA Inside and Out” tour guide

/ By Debra Rainey / Upswell is about imagining new approaches to difficult social challenges. It’s about fresh, innovative ideas that are working in local communities, and envisioning whether they just might work in the community you serve, too. You’ll be able to do just that at Upswell during LA Inside and Out – “immersion…

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Four Upswell lessons from ‘The Last Jedi’

/ By Christian Clansky / It’s May the Fourth – the biggest Star Wars holiday of the year – and, for some inexplicable reason, we don’t get the day off work. So, I’m going to turn work into a celebration of Star Wars instead! I’ll say up front that I am a massive Star Wars…

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Mastering the future

/ By Marie LeBlanc /  On April 24, we hosted the second Upswell Lab, again in our Upswell 2018 home base, Los Angeles. This Lab built on the conversations that we started in February about the urgent issues facing Los Angeles today (read more about it here). We heard from changemakers across LA that the…

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For this museum, community is the “Main” thing

/ By Robert Jones / At The Main Museum in downtown LA, Allison Agsten and her team are building something more than a collection – they’re building a community. Just blocks from Skid Row, The Main Museum in downtown Los Angeles offers a haven of peace and beauty that can seem a world away from…

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“Trust” us, Mike Alvidrez thinks differently about housing

/ By Robert Jones / At the recent Upswell Lab in Los Angeles, it was easy to forget that thousands of homeless men and women were huddled on the sidewalks for blocks and blocks in every direction. On the second-floor terrace of the Star Apartments, birds chirped, bees buzzed and breezes fluttered the blue-striped market…

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Bedouine: Finding inspiration in wandering

/ By Jackie Brennan / Syrian-born Azniv Korkejian was sad to leave Saudi Arabia for the United States at the age of 10, when her Armenian parents unexpectedly won a green-card lottery. The displacement left her with a sense of wandering that followed her through her teens and 20s, as she and her family moved…

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Recognizing one transformative leader from a community of changemakers

Upswell is all about building a community of changemakers to make real change happen in communities. So what better place to honor an emerging changemaker from our community who has demonstrated transformative social impact through collaborative leadership? The nomination period for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award is open through Friday, May 25. For the last…

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California and the Racial Leadership Gap

/ By Kristina Gawrgy Campbell / We recently caught up with Building Movement Project’s Co-Director Frances Kunreuther to talk about their latest report, California’s Race to Lead: The Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap in the Golden State. Their first Race to Lead report, which looked at the sector’s nationwide data on the leadership gap based on…

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Oh, the places you’ll go! (Without a car)

/ By Robert Jones / It’s no secret that Los Angeles is a car-crazy place. But if you’re flying in for Upswell and don’t want to pay $42 a day to park your rental car at the InterContinental, does that mean you’ll be “stuck” downtown or paying expensive Uber fares? Thanks to Metro, the answer…

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Breaking the ‘DAMN’?

/ By Jackie Brennan / Given that we do a regular profile on some of the most exciting artists from LA’s music scene, we knew this was coming. We thought we’d prime the pump with some names of LA musicmakers you maybe haven’t heard of, and for several weeks, we did. But events from the…

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Turning the table over

/ By Jackie Brennan / In the final month of 2017, many will recall TIME’s break from traditional form in its choice of Person of the Year. For only the 11th time in the 90-year history of the designation, the magazine’s Person of the Year was an unnamed group of people. With a moving and…

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Upswell co-chair talks agency, belonging, and change

/ By Dan Cardinali / As CEO of The California Endowment, Dr. Bob Ross has helped to revolutionize the way America’s most populous state thinks about the health of its citizens and communities. Even in the midst of a 10-year, $1 billion campaign known as “Building Healthy Communities” — a campaign that has notched no…

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Meet Kiley Krekorian Hanish!

Kiley Krekorian Hanish will be at Upswell LA with another “early bird” registrant – 2020 Mom Executive Director Joy Burkhard, Both Kiley and Joy joined the first Upswell Lab in Los Angeles in February. Kiley is Board Chair at 2020 Mom, a doctor of occupational therapy, and founder of the Return to Zero Center for…

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Blake Mills: Pushing the envelope. Contesting dichotomies.

/ By Jackie Brennan / For many Fridays, we’ve brought you profiles on LA musicmakers who either inspire us for how they channel the essence of their home region, or have made a deliberate commitment to using their platform to elevate issues. On the surface, our pick for this week’s music profile is a purveyor…

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Meet Beth Rubins!

Beth Rubins is the grant writer for Vegas PBS with more than 13 years in nonprofit fundraising. Prior to her role at Vegas PBS, she was the director of grants and program support for Communities in Schools of Nevada. A long-time resident of Las Vegas, Beth believes her social work background is critical toward her…

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Meet Eric Weinheimer!

Eric Weinheimer is the president and CEO of Forefront, Illinois’s membership organization for nonprofits, grantmakers, public agencies, advisors, and allies. Eric led the organization’s rebranding three years ago from Donors Forum to Forefront to emphasize putting the members and their impact front and center for the people of Illinois. “The name Forefront will hold our…

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Thundercat: LA’s adaptive spirit à la bass

/ By Jackie Brennan / Think of Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner as the bass-playing counterpart to tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington, who we shared about back in March. Like Washington, Thundercat is an LA musicmaker. Also like Washington, Thundercat was part of the studio crew that Kendrick Lamar tapped to help him on his acclaimed 2015 studio…

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The first wave of speakers!

/ By Jackie Brennan / Telling tough stories. Giving life to movements. Creating wow! moments. We know this first batch of Main Stage speakers is on-point because they embody the spirit of Upswell. We could extol their virtues ad nauseam, but we think the basis for our enthusiasm will be self-evident once you see who…

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Tarana Burke: Giving life to the #MeToo movement

/ By Debra Rainey / Upswell will shine a bright and critical light on systems of oppression, racial inequity, and structural violence, and celebrate the work of those in the struggle to end them, like Tarana Burke — civil rights leader, social justice revolutionary, founder of the #MeToo movement — and a featured speaker on…

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Erik Wahl: Creating “wow moments”

/ By Tamieka Briscoe / Another year, another conference. If you’re anything like us, you’d rather watch paint dry than attend the same old, same old mundane meeting of the minds. Well, color us excited! Because recently added to the mainstage speaker lineup at Upswell is international graffiti artist and best-selling author, Erik Wahl. If…

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Lisa Ling: Telling the stories that often go untold

/ By Kristina Gawrgy Campbell / Throughout her career, Lisa Ling has been a champion for telling the stories that are hard to find on the cover of newspapers or through your daily news alerts. As an award-winning journalist, Lisa has traveled around the country and world to document everything from the toll of prescription…

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Meet Loren Riemer!

We dig Loren Riemer’s vision for a better world, and not just because she diffuses essential oil in her day-to-day workspace. Loren is an Austinite who serves as vice president of development operations for a Texas-based org called Upbring. In her Upbring role, Riemer is part of a team that works across the state of…

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View on a run toward the future

/ By Debra Rainey / Imagine being homeless, hopeless, and having someone say: “Here’s a pair of sneakers. Take an early morning run with me. You might just turn the corner to a better life.” Sounds crazy, right? Well, you can virtually watch someone do just that, as they run along the streets of LA’s…

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Quetzal: Using art to advance social change

/ By Tamieka Briscoe / As planning for Upswell and building our community of changemakers continues, we’ve found inspiration in artists within and outside of the Los Angeles area who are using their talent to bring issues to light. Inspired and informed by global grassroots movements, Quetzal—a bilingual Chicano rock band from East Los Angeles,…

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Meet Gene Takagi!

Chances are, if you’ve been involved in nonprofit policy or legal work, you know Gene Takagi. Gene is an award-winning nonprofit lawyer who runs Nonprofit Law Blog, a resource for all of your favorite nonprofit legal topics — like how to deal with fiscal sponsorships, maintain effective collaborations, and understand the role of social enterprise.…

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Meet Erin Risner!

From a young age, Erin Risner knew she was attracted to a broad range of issues—enough to have a constant fear of missing out. Heeding the wise advice of a parent though, she found a way to beat the restlessness by following a professional route that has taken her through nonprofits, tech, and social entrepreneurship.…

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Thinking panoramically at the InterContinental

/ By Christian Clansky / Remember the last time you sat in a windowless conference hall, squeezed into a row of uncomfortable chairs under the dull hum of underpowered florescent lights, and thought to yourself, I FEEL ALIVE! I’M BURSTING WITH ENERGY AND READY FOR ACTION! Our bet is that you probably haven’t had that…

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What the heck is the John W. Gardner Leadership Award?

The award and its celebration event will be a high-energy part of Upswell, but more on that (and an important April 2 deadline!) in a minute. First, you might be wondering: Who the heck was John W. Gardner? Great question! John Gardner was a distinguished American statesman, academic, nonprofit leader, civil servant, author, and community…

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Meet David Kietzman!

One of the most powerful tools in the changemaker toolkit is storytelling. As managing partner and chief engagement officer of Momentum Solutions, David Kietzman and his team help changemakers tell stories that matter. And David’s own story is a fascinating one. He’s taught art in Central America, led nonprofits, launched a giving circle, lectured at…

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Meet Joy Burkhard!

Joy Burkhard, Executive Director of 2020 Mom, registered early for Upswell. She also joined other changemakers in February for our first Upswell Lab in Los Angeles to discuss how LA’s successes and challenges could inform a national gathering of changemakers. Learn how she’s tackling maternal mental health disorders – and how she hopes Upswell will…

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Meet Ryan Easterly!

In considering the social sector’s most valuable resources, diversity could easily be at the top of the list. The varied experiences, skills, and identities that changemakers carry with them might just be the key to solving our most complex challenges. Ryan Easterly – the very first changemaker to arrive for the very first Upswell Lab…

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Nonprofit insights by way of the “Vanderpump Rules”

/ By Katie Jones / When my friends and I head to LA for Upswell, we’ll be sure to check out happy hour at a little restaurant called SUR (short for Sexy Unique Restaurant). SUR is the set for the Bravo television show called Vanderpump Rules. I have been thinking a lot about this odyssey…

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Los Angeles: A geographic oddity

/ By Tamieka Briscoe / Home to nearly 4 million people, Los Angeles is well-known for having a diverse population. A lesser known fact is that the geographical distribution of Los Angeles proves to be diverse as well. With temperatures averaging in the low 60s during the winter months when many of the major Midwest…

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Kamasi Washington: Reviving West Coast jazz with every lick

/ By Jackie Brennan / Kamasi Washington and his band came up in the LA music scene by playing sets on the DJ night and goth club circuit. Today, the fusion tenor saxophonist is widely considered one of the vanguards of Los Angeles’s resurging jazz community. His debut studio record—a 172-minute tour de force, recorded…

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“We have an Upswell!”

/ By Marie LeBlanc and Christian Clansky / Last week in Los Angeles, as the first Upswell Lab attempted to wrap up, an enthusiastic buzz echoed through the Center at Cathedral Plaza. While it was quite clear that a two-hour Lab might not be long enough (more on that shortly), it was also obvious that…

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What the heck is an Upswell Lab?

A phrase you’ll hear a lot is that “we’re building Upswell from the ground up.” So, what (the heck!) does that mean? One thing that it definitely doesn’t mean is that we’re just winging it. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a starting point, we have a wealth of information – from in-depth interviews, zany…

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Upswell LA’s host city takes the gold for data use

/ By Debra Rainey / Which city recently won the gold for use of data to help improve the lives of its residents – and also happens to be your destination city for Upswell LA? Yes, the City of Angels, Los Angeles, was the only city to receive a gold certification in January 2018 from…

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Los Angeles’s Downtown Women’s Center

/ By Robert Jones / Practically every city in America has a homeless problem, but nowhere is it more concentrated or more visible than in the 54 blocks of Los Angeles known as Skid Row. Experts say there are upwards of 10,000 people sleeping on the street here every night – the entire population of…

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The Milk Carton Kids: The wit is strong with these ones

/ By Jackie Brennan / If you reach for studio material from Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale looking for something new, you might be disappointed. The two-man act known as The Milk Carton Kids doesn’t feign to be anything new. After all, they play folk music. By Ryan’s own admission at the 2013 Newport Folk…

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Scrambled eggs with a side of history

/ By Robert Jones / If you’re flying from the East Coast to attend Upswell LA, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll be wide awake at 4 am in the Pacific Time Zone. But don’t worry, the perfect cure for insomnia is just four blocks away. The Original Pantry Café touts itself as “LA’s 24-hour icon.”…

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Meet Regeanie Corona!

Years from now, when we look back at how and why Upswell surged into existence, we’ll be able to point to people like Regeanie Corona as the reason. Regeanie, founder and CEO of California-based nonprofit Advancing the Seed, was both one of the first changemakers to sign up for Upswell and a high-energy collaborator at…

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What the heck is the Common Good?

The “common good” is generally defined as what is good for all people. Point to any time in the history of human existence and we have often fallen short of true common good for all. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. In fact, that is the very essence of civil society – a group…

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Creative destruction and the search for a sector narrative

/ By Robert Jones / Drew Ferguson spent approximately 100 hours pouring himself into a three-page narrative about the nonprofit sector and its value to society. Then he watched, unfazed, as 15 sector leaders in Los Angeles tore it apart. After all, this kind of creative destruction was always part of the plan, and finding…

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What the heck is Human-Centered Design?

Have you ever come across a product or service that made you say, “Wow! That really works for me?” The reason why we feel this excitement when we encounter a well-designed product or service is because it was probably made with the end user in mind. This design method is known as Human-Centered Design—or HCD—and…

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How we found the Upswell look

/ By Christian Clansky / Once we landed on the name Upswell, we knew the bar for the brand had been raised quite high. We would need a brand environment as energetic and moving as the name. It would have to be engaging, memorable, flexible, energetic, on-trend, evocative, consistent, emotional, lasting…basically, we knew we needed…

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The story behind the name

/ By Christian Clansky / In the early days, before Upswell was Upswell, we knew that if we were going to be successful at reimagining the idea of a conference, we would need a name to match that ambition. It would have to be exciting and energetic. It would have to put changemakers in the…

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What the heck is a changemaker?

So, what IS a changemaker? Well, it depends on who you ask. President Bill Clinton used the term “changemaker” to describe his wife Hillary Clinton’s public service achievements immediately following the 2016 Democratic National Convention – causing a media storm. Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, was…

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Priscilla Ahn: A “La La Land” voice you should hear

/ By Debra Rainey / Los Angeles is the setting for Upswell LA, scheduled November 14-16. LA is home to many things – sunny days, “star-filled” nights, movie-making, and many of the recording industry’s hottest and emerging artists. As planning for Upswell LA continues, we’d like to introduce our community of changemakers to some of…

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What the heck is Upswell?

When you put something new into the world, there are bound to be (more than) a few questions! So, welcome to our What the heck? series, where we’ll give you short overviews of new concepts, terms, program elements, etc. To kick things off, we’ll start with a question that’s not so easy to answer. What…

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Facing a brain drain? Here’s how one community is fighting back.

/ By Robert Jones / If the presidential election of 2016 did nothing else, it put rural America’s “brain drain” on the public radar. Seemingly overnight, reporters and political pundits started connecting dots they had long ignored: In small towns and unincorporated places, middle-class young people were moving away for college and never coming home,…

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Upswell begins with humans

/ By Christian Clansky / Think about the word conference for a few seconds. How does it make you feel? Does it open your imagination? Does it pique your curiosity? Does it give you energy? Does it stir your soul? Does it make you feel like you can truly change the world? Our hunch is…

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Meet the first changemaker to register for Upswell!

Melissa Mendes Campos knows an innovative new approach when she sees one! She was the first person to register for Upswell LA! Melissa is a partner at La Piana Consulting, a nonprofit consulting firm that works to improve leadership and management practices throughout the sector for greater social impact. Her job requires creative thinking and…

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