NYC’s networked change-makers

This past week I spent some time in New York hanging out with innovators in the networked social change space. Here’s a quick rundown of whom and what I came across.


Had time to get to know Faisal Al Mutar, who works with First, a word about Faisal. As an Iraqui atheist and founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement, Faisal knows a thing or two about the hardships of living in a closed society where one can be persecuted for one’s convictions.

The group he now works with,, is a fascinating 21st century response to human rights issues around the world. Set up as an anonymous social network, Movements allows dissidents from closed societies such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and China send out calls for assistance. These requests are typically for awareness raising, legal support or diplomatic intervention. The other community that has accounts on Movements is made of people in open societies (like myself) that have posted offers of assistance based on their skills.

One need not be a specialist to help dissidents through Movements. Simple editing, basic design or web coding and time spent spreading the word about little known human rights cases is all appreciated by the many people calling out for help. If you’d like to get involved, here is where you can sign up.


Also had a chance to drop by the offices of, an agency I had been admiring from afar for some time.  Jeremy Heimans, co-founder of, started this outfit. Purpose incubates social campaigns using the same movement-building model that successfully brought Avaaz to the 40+ million member point.

What is exciting and encouraging about Purpose is that they seem to have figured out how to run a shop (with a team of roughly 100) creating social movement projects that pull few punches. Beyond core funding from NGOs and some very progressive businesses, they also draw crowdfunding from grassroots supporters once their communities have reached critical mass.

They are notably behind Everytown for Gun Safety promoting gun control, #WalkTheWalk urging grassroots collective action on climate change, the All Out global LGBT rights campaign and We Mean Business, where businesses that make solid commitments to fight climate change call on their peers to do the same.

Featured Image Credit:
By hu:User:Totya (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


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