As founder of grassroots design-build nonprofit Archventures in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Stephen is an experienced builder with sawdust running through his veins. He’s also his group’s marketing manager, development director, public relations evangelist and webmaster – all rolled into one. One of his jobs is to tell the world how Archventures is working for its community.
“We’ve been very busy recently,” Cote says. “But I spend the bulk of my time with a hammer in my hand – I don’t have a lot of time left over to increase our visibility in the community.”
Created just last year, Archventures helps design and build structures and improvements for nonprofits around Boston – ranging from courtyards to entryways to garden sheds – and provides hands-on learning opportunities for architecture and urban design students.
Archventures uses pro bono services from an array of local architects and builders, and uses volunteer labor wherever it makes sense. The group can get beautiful, environmentally sound projects executed for a fraction of commercial prices. But he still has to buy supplies, and for that he needs dollars.
“We’re doing the best we can,” Cote says. “I just wish people nearby knew how important their support can be – for local organizations like ours.”
Stephen’s problem is a common one. Neighborhood nonprofits and community organizations are often working the hardest, doing more with less, and having the greatest real impact in local communities. But when people think of whom to support – especially during the holidays – they think of well-funded nonprofits like the American Red Cross or Susan G. Komen Foundation. Local organizations get bypassed.
The internet changes all that. That’s why we started Cauzoom: to help cause-related organizations use new technologies to connect with support and advance their mission. The cause-related space may be one of the last industries to be transformed by recent technological innovations – but when it happens, the result will disproportionately benefit local causes.
Boston takes care of its own. Everyone knows that. And now the power of social media and the internet makes it easy to support our neighborhoods in new ways. This holiday we’ll be leading a campaign to focus on supporting local causes, and we invite the rest of Boston to join us. We eat local and shop local – shouldn’t we support local causes too?