Civic Engagement

Experience Enterprises

Experience Enterprises is a grassroots project focused on improving the economic and social culture of inner city communities. it is a creation of monthly events and workshops that target youth, but also engage the whole community. Each event will not only provide fun and entertainment, but also provide community service opportunities for youth, leadership development with hands-on experience, and educate the community... more »
Who are you?

Experience Enterprises is a youth led project of The 5th, Inc. The 5th is a youth motivational and educational group which focuses on getting youth exposed to various scenarios to help them discover, develop, and grow in their purpose in life.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

The creation of these monthly events and workshops will serve as a unifying tool to bring the inner-city community together. Youth are targeted because they are often overlooked to engage in community events and they are the next generation of leaders. The events will not only serve as opportunities to earn community service hours, but also educate them on the importance of giving back and being aware of social issues. This project is designed to help spark excitement about civic engagement.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

The report states that "early participation in volunteer activities promotes lifelong civic involvement." Because our projects are youth led, we believe youth will be more responsive to be involved before they reach age 25. The report also states "young adults in Miami-Dade volunteer at a lower rate than other major metros." With this project of promoting community service combined with a fun event and educational workshops, we hope to improve our county's percentage from what's current.

Please give examples of your project's success.

We put on Open Mic events to involve youth and bring awareness to social causes by partnering with Krave Art, PATH Hip Hop Program. We've partnered with The Opa Locka Community Development Corporation to participate in their Art of Transformation block festival where we showcased youth talent and spoke on the importance of being involved. We have also done workshops, sessions, and volunteered with Youth for Christ, First Priority, and the Casimiro Global Foundation.

Organization Name (or individuals name) The 5th, Inc.

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2 votes
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Civic Engagement

Youth Volunteer Engagement - Meaningful Opportunities for 5-17

HandsOn Miami has recently installed a Youth Advisory Council - a youth Board of Directors consisting of 14 teenagers representing 11 different schools across Miami-Dade County. Their goal for 2015 is to inspire, equip, and mobilize 500 of their peers (ages 5-17 years of age) in active and meaningful hands-on volunteer service to make Miami a better place by supporting local nonprofit organizations.
If accelerated,... more »
Who are you?

HandsOn Miami is a local nonprofit organization that is on a mission to inspire, equip, and mobilize people to take action to positively effect change on our Miami-Dade County community. We have inclusive opportunities to engage everyone in service.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

By focusing on developing meaningful youth volunteer engagement, we are helping to foster the next generation of Miami leaders who are well-versed and connected to Miami's challenges and successes.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Volunteer Rate - this project will result in the meaningful activation of a minimum of 500 youth volunteers (5-17 years of age). Combined, these volunteers will contribute 1,250 hours of service and directly benefit 10 local nonprofit organizations, schools, or governmental agencies.

Please give examples of your project's success.

This project's success will be measured by:

  1. Number of youth volunteers (5-17 years of age) activated
  2. Number of hours of service completed
  3. Number of agencies served
  4. Number of Youth Project Leaders Trained
  5. Surveys that show an enhanced understanding of the challenges faced by Miami-Dade County and belief that, as a youth volunteer, the volunteer has an opportunity to positively effect change within the County.

Organization Name (or individuals name) HandsOn Miami

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9 votes
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Arts & Culture

Opera Grows in Liberty City

Opera: an art form which involves all the arts- music, dance, visual, literary, all of the humanities wrapped into a beautiful dramatic presentation. Orchestra Miami wants to teach the children of Liberty City about the humanities by teaching the skills to produce, perform and present their own opera. All the kids participating in our program learn basic music- choral singing, percussion, recorders, handbells. They learn... more »
Who are you?

Orchestra Miami is a professional, non profiit orchestra which exists to build community and educate through music. Founded in 2006 by Arti Dir Elaine Rinaldi, we have brought free concerts and educational programs to thousands of people in Miami.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

Orchestra Miami is building an educational program of lasting importance for the children, as well as creating art for the whole community to enjoy. This program is an important part of the Miami Children's Initiative's Liberty City Renaissance, a Knight funded program, which uses the arts to give each child in Liberty City the tools and preparation necessary to be able to attend college.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

This project addresses both access and participation. By bringing opera to Liberty City, all residents will have access to attend a great performance for free, and all children will have the opportunity to participate. Additionally, Orchestra Miami will bring performances of its other children's programs to the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, so that the children and their families can enjoy and learn.

Please give examples of your project's success.

We have had children enrolled in the program since September. Most of the children suffer from ADHD, and have trouble sitting still and focusing. Their first inclination is to act out rather than speaking in turn. In the 10 weeks since they began, we have noticed that the children are calmer, more focused and engaged. Some of the girls said that, upon putting on their ballet leotards, that this was the first time they felt beautiful. These are significant success in a very short time.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Orchestra Miami

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11 votes
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Education

MDC Single Stop Mentoring Program:Access, Retention, and Success

Miami Dade College (MDC) Single Stop program is a “One Stop Shop” for students to connect to social services, mentoring programs, and academic counseling. Established in 2010, MDC Single Stop program proactively works to assist low-income students to obtain a college degree. MDC and its partners provide necessary counseling and coaching for participants from pre-registration to graduation and job placement. The program... more »
Who are you?

The MDC Mentoring Program is an initiative that place students in a 2-year mentoring relationships. The program provides one-on-one academic support and career coaching that enable students to achieve a college degree and employment upon graduation.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

In 2009, 1,475 young adults aged out of foster care in Florida. Based on recent statistics, less than 50% will earn a high school diploma before they turn 22, most will experience homelessness and only 30% will be gainfully employed. Nationally less than 3% of former foster care youth your ever obtain a college degree. Through the MDC Single Stop Mentoring Program, MDC can expand its program to assist these young adults to obtain a college degree and career success.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

The strength of Miami relies on its residents. We must provide the opportunity for an education to all residents and implement systems to help our citizens to succeed. In partnership with Educate Tomorrow, an organization that promotes independence through education, MDC is working to close the gap of educational attainment for former foster care youth. Support from the Miami Foundation would help MDC to expand the mentor program to a silent and extremely at risk population in our community.

Please give examples of your project's success.

The MDC Mentoring program has traditional served our most at-risk population. Over the past three years, 343 mentor/mentee relationships have been established. For academic year 2013/2014, the average participant GPA was 3.0. 69% of the participants have a completion rate of 50% and more are on track to graduate this year. This past summer our mentoring program implemented an executive paid internship program which include permit job placement.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Miami Dade College

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66 votes
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Housing & Affordability

THE SCOTT HOMES COMMUNITY HISTORY CENTER

Affordable housing is not just about bricks and mortar. It is also about the important community ties it generates and sustains, as well as the heroic stories of its residents. These aspects are often lost amidst characterizations of those communities as impoverished, crime-ridden and dysfunctional. This project emerged from the August 2014 Miami JusticeHack (www.justicehack.com), a creative, collaborative workshop... more »
Who are you?

The Miami Community History Project, Inc. is a multidisciplinary group, comprised of former or current residents of public housing in Liberty City, academics, architects, planners, lawyers, and supporting community organizations.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

A major impediment to the creation, preservation and funding of affordable housing is the stigma arising from stereotypes of the communities living in that housing. This project is designed to counter those stereotypes & highlight success stories of the hard-working, struggling families that are an integral part of Miami’s history and social fabric. In addition, by being resident-driven, this project connects residents to professionals seeking to make Miami a more inclusive and equitable place.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Economic equitability and the preservation/creation of affordable housing. This project recognizes that an important first step in preserving affordable is combating stigma around it and increasing the visibility and understanding of residents. The Center can help generate support for the preservation and expansion of affordable housing, and also create a way for residents to be more economically integrated into Miami by validating their place as important actors in the greater Miami community.

Please give examples of your project's success.

This project builds on successes of constituent members of the Miami Community History Project, including academicians, attorneys, and staff and members of Miami Workers Center. Examples of successes include the Scott Homes Hope VI Agreement, which led to construction of hundreds of units of new public housing; the 2014 JusticeHack which was attended by over 130 Miamians and generated over 15 ideas; and scholarly presentations in Overtown on race and housing in Miami attended by over 300 people.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Community Justice Project, Florida Legal Services

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26 votes
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Economy

Sustainable Manufacturing in South Florida

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The existing approach to product development/manufacturing is in dire need of a paradigm shift. Resources and labor have been outsourced to such an extent that the carbon footprint associated with consumer products is through the roof. Not to mention legislation, companies and organizations are pulling together to demand a more eco-conscious approach to daily practices and protocol.

D Squared Engineering seeks to improve... more »
Who are you?

D Squared Engineering is a small team of engineers specializing in efficiency optimization coupled with a passion for eco-conscious initiatives, and with over 40 years combined experience providing innovative solutions.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

Taking a holistic approach to efficiency optimization allows us to target not one, but four key platforms - the creation of "green collar" local jobs, the utilization of regionally-sourced raw material, the implementation of a local manufacturing facility, and the establishment of sustainable product alternatives.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

The fist point addresses the offering of diverse jobs within our community. This project will not only bolster manufacturing efforts for South Florida, but also provide the sustainable foundation necessary to cultivate a formula for perpetuity in technical job openings.
Second is the growth of a Miami-based company such as D Squared - highlighting the opportunities available and support of local markets that aid in bolstering local business success.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Miami-Dade County will become a leader in the use of sustainable packaging materials and composites to replace existing alternatives.
Schools will have the opportunity to participate in training programs focused on green tech, local companies can rely on sustainably manufactured products that cary not only environmental benefits but also competitive pricing, and the County will take a leap forward in battling the "brain drain" Miami has experienced.

Organization Name (or individuals name) D Squared Engineering

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45 votes
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Economy

Revive the Apprentice Model in Miami

We are growing a new pathway for professional success in Miami. According to recent studies, Miami is the hardest city in the country to find a job. Young people go into debt getting college degrees, to then find themselves underemployed or unemployed, working most frequently in entry-level roles where they learn from the lowest ranking managers in a company. That's a backward way to build a vibrant talent force.... more »
Who are you?

Shaila & Kane, friends from the tech/startup space. Since launching in 2012, we have been named Echoing Green Fellows, Forbes 30 Under 30, & Next Leaders of the Future. Enstitute has been featured by CNN, Fast Company, and NYTimes.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

We are building a new pathway to economic success in Miami. We retain and develop top young talent, offering them outstanding professional development, access to powerful networks, and mentorship from our city's top economic leaders. We support businesses in Miami by offering them smart, ambitious, young talent who we develop over the course of their apprenticeship. We also retain that talent, as 90% of our apprentices complete the program with a full time job offer from their host company.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

The Our Miami report highlighted a 2.5% employment growth rate in Miami in 2013. While that is promising, some peer cities had stronger results. (Houston has a 3.3% rate). Small businesses in Miami are growing into larger businesses at a .46% rate, while peer cities like Chicago boast a .78% rate. We seek to improve these statistics by helping talented young people get incredible jobs locally and by supporting the leaders of Miami businesses to accelerate the success of their enterprises.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Most importantly, 90% of our apprentices complete the program with a job offer from their host company, with an average starting salary of $50,000. Over 85% of our host companies have referred another company to be a part of the program. Several of our CEOs contended that taking on apprentices is one of the most impactful leadership decisions they made this past year.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Enstitute

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58 votes
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Education

Finding Affordable Paths To-and-Through College

Many college-intending students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, encounter a range of personal and financial obstacles during their post-high school summer that can lead them to change or even abandon their college plans. This phenomenon, known as “Summer Melt,” affects 20% of low-income college-intending young people from urban school districts nationwide—up to 40% for prospective community college students.... more »
Who are you?

uAspire works to ensure that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to and through a postsecondary education. Last year, we helped students access nearly $23 million in financial aid.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

Removing the financial barriers to college is a key solution to ensuring that students have access to a quality education, thrive academically and can contribute to the local economy.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

This project addresses education. uAspire is committed to reaching the day when all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential by graduating from college, regardless of their families’ financial resources or college experience. Eliminating cost as a barrier will lead to higher rates of enrollment and graduation, helping more students attain the economic promise of an affordable college degree that will break the cycle of poverty in this and subsequent generations.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Our Summer College Connect Program results show a substantial positive impact on college enrollment. Students who receive proactive summer support from uAspire enroll in college at higher rates than their similarly college-intending peers who do not receive outreach. Across all uAspire sites, Summer College Connect has resulted in an 18-25% statistically significant decrease in summer melt.

Organization Name (or individuals name) uAspire Miami

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4 votes
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Environment & Public Space

Family Programs at Fairchild

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Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden offers several innovative programs to engage children, families and the community in the exploration of the world of tropical plants and ecosystems. These fun, interdisciplinary, and interactive experiences focus on a diversity of themes including edible gardening, plant and pollinator relationships, biodiversity as well as habitat and resource conservation in South Florida and beyond!... more »
Who are you?

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's mission is to save tropical plant diversity by exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

Family programs educate children and families about the importance of local plants and ecosystems, and their role in conservation and sustainability. Engaging children in a positive experience in nature is a crucial step to making Miami a more sustainable urban environment. While planting an edible garden, making a recycled craft, providing habitat for pollinators, or meeting a real scientist, these programs provide tools, instruction and inspiration to apply in their homes.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Family programs at Fairchild will directly advance environmentally sustainable practices in Miami-Dade. Designed to educate and inspire families to recognize the importance of local ecosystems and their direct impact on conservation and sustainability, programs offer hands-on activities in recycling, gardening and promoting native ecosystems. Families leave with an improved appreciation for sustainable practices.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Family Programs at Fairchild are offered to 45,000 members and 300,000 visitors on an annual basis. Since this program began in September 2014, approximately 200 South Florida families have participated on a monthly basis, with an increasing number of repeat participants. Verbal feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and demand for additional programming is evident. A written survey is under development to formally incorporate feedback into future expansion.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

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3 votes
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Civic Engagement

Sant La Fellows: Next Generation of Civic Leaders

Sant La Fellows is a community leadership fellowship program that targets Haitian-Americans in South Florida. We will choose Fellows who have demonstrated a passion for volunteering and community involvement. The 12-month program will deepen their understanding of ethical and efficient leadership, community-building, Haitian cultural heritage, civic participation, philanthropy, and it will connect them with leaders heading... more »
Who are you?

Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center serves as a central intake, screening, case-management, and coordinating and referral resource for Haitian children and families in Miami-Dade County, and we've been doing so for 14 years.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

The project will create civically engaged community leaders. The Fellowship will insist on teamwork, accountability, shared responsibility, and honest reflection, four components that are important for the stabilization of the Haitian community. When the present community leaders inevitably hand the reigns over, we want to ensure that those receiving the reigns are fully prepared and completely understand the challenging but worthwhile task ahead of them.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Sant La Fellows addresses the young adult volunteer rate. We will cultivate young Miami residents who will address the needs of the Haitian community. In order to successfully accomplish those tasks, the Fellows will also have to become engaged electors.

Please give examples of your project's success.

The success of Sant La Fellows will be measured by the number of young Haitians who: are ready to lead; invest their time and talent in South Florida’s civic life; are able to raise awareness of the successes and continuing obstacles in the Haitian community in their social circles, including social media; invest their dollars into the community’s causes.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center

Voting

2 votes
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Environment & Public Space

Sea Turtle Education and Outreach

Each year with grant funding the Miami-Dade Sea Turtle Rangers are able to provide outreach services to local schools to teach students about the importance of conservation and endangered species. Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s Sea Turtle Awareness Program requests support from the Sea Turtle Grants Program to implement the proposed Sea Turtle Youth Awareness Project aimed at providing... more »
Who are you?

Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s Sea Turtle Awareness Program

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

The proposed sea turtle education will promote the understanding of the biology, health, life history, and habitat needs of Florida’s marine turtles and the protection and conservation of these species among our community’s youth via multi-media presentations and innovative hands-on activities.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Environment & Public Space: Environmental Sustainability is crucial to the long-term feasibility of urban development, especially in coastal communities such as Miami. By Teaching Youth about the wild coastal species they are able to learn conservation through their compassion for animals.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Project staff documented that last year’s outreach was given to 1,400 students at forty-three different title one schools.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Crandon Adventures

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15 votes
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Education

The Miami Greenhouse Project

The Greenhouse Project is a program of NY Sun Works dedicated to improving K through 12 grade Environmental Science Education in urban schools. We use hydroponic farming technology with integrated curriculum and professional development to educate students and teachers about science and sustainability. The science content of our program is conveyed through the lens of hydroponic urban farming and addresses topics in biology,... more »
Who are you?

NY Sun Works is a non-profit organization that envisions a generation of environmental innovators, empowered to create solutions to global resource challenges. See how we’re growing by visiting www.nysunworks.org

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

The environmental challenges confronting the next generation require a sophisticated understanding of how science can be applied. Implementation of the Miami Greenhouse Project Program in Miami-Dade K-8 schools will be a critical step in providing students with the necessary knowledge and 21st century skills to tackle complex global issues, especially those related to climate change.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Our programs capture the interest and engagement of all students, including groups underrepresented in STEM fields such as females and minorities. Our cross-disciplinary learning addresses science and sustainability, nonfiction reading, writing, math and social studies by connecting subjects through critical thinking practice. Sun Works helps students thrive academically by offering an interactive tool for engaging science learning in a safe environment that invites exploration and discovery.

Please give examples of your project's success.

In five years, Sun Works has implemented The Greenhouse Project in 17 schools in the NYC area, with 14 more in development. We have produced a comprehensive Science and Sustainability K-8 curriculum that utilizes our hydroponic systems to cover common core and state mandated standards in science and other disciplines. We have trained over 100 teachers, and we directly impact over 4,900 students in public schools each year. To learn more about our projects, visit www.nysunworks.org/projects.

Organization Name (or individuals name) NY Sun Works

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21 votes
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Housing & Affordability

Free Dorms for Homeless Students

Homeless Students have it tough. Some are fortunate to receive scholarships and as such are able to continue their studies at colleges and universities around the country. Unfortunately most colleges and universities close their dorms for summer and winter recess. When this happens homeless students end up on the streets. Not only are homeless students impacted by this unfortunate matter, but other students suffer as... more »
Who are you?

Tina Cornely is the former Director of IT of the Guggenheim Museum & the former Ops Director of the MAM. She currently is the Founder & CEO of Bridging Humanity, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching the less fortunate how to become self sufficient.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

Miami is blessed because our community provides free housing and/or affordable housing for low income individuals. Homeless Students who are trying to better themselves and are going to college need the same courtesy. This project will raise awareness about this overlooked matter and help create a safety net for these vulnerable kids.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

For starters it is enhancing the quality of life of homeless students who are attending FIU and also helps make sure they have the tools and their basic needs met so they can focus on their studies.

Please give examples of your project's success.

We have partnered with FIU to help raise awareness about the status of their homeless students. In addition to this partnership we have also reached out to homeless liaisons in 23 different states. We are also coordinating our efforts with the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his team so we can collectively address this matter to make sure that colleges and universities around the country have at least one dorm left open and/or make arrangements so these kids have a place to stay.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Bridging Humanity

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20 votes
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Economy

Kiva Zip Miami

Kiva Zip is a crowd-lending platform that enables financially excluded small entrepreneurs to access loan capital. These entrepreneurs are able to crowd-fund a loan of 5 to 10K with 0% interest on our platform. Through our platform more than 35,000 lenders from around the world have lent to entrepreneurs in the United States. In addition to the financial capital, our borrowers also connect with thousands of lenders who... more »
Who are you?

Kiva is an online lending platform that has provided over 600 million dollars in loans to small and micro entrepreneurs globally through crowd-funding. Kiva is the winner of the Economist "No Boundaries" Innovation award.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

In the US, capital access is one of the principal obstacles to small business growth. Yet, daily banks reject an average of 8,000 small business loan applications. This project brings financial capital to small entrepreneurs who can't typically secure a loan. Kiva does not use traditional methods of credit evaluation to assess credit worthiness. Rather our borrowers use their social capital to qualify for our program. This allows us to reach the most financially excluded populations.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

First, one of the goals identified in the report relates to job opportunities. Based on our survey, we have found that 50% of Zip borrowers were able to use the funding to employ an additional employee. Second,
the report indicates an above average # of startups in Miami. Typically startups struggle to secure the business loans necessary to scale or succeed. For this very reason our loans are available to startups in order to provide the financial access they would not otherwise secure.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Kiva Zip was a pilot project started in 2011 focused on addressing the needs of small US entrepreneurs who were struggling to secure loans. Since it's inception, the program scaled dramatically providing nearly 4.9 million in capital to over 5,000 borrowers. These loans have been crowd-funded by 35,000 lenders from 180 countries. Furthermore, we impacted the most financially excluded populations with the majority of funding supporting women and minorities from low-medium income backgrounds.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Kiva Microfunds

Voting

60 votes
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Environment & Public Space

Protecting Miami-Dade’s water supply and green space

The main water resource for all Miami-Dade citizens lies just below our feet in the Biscayne Aquifer. Yet, there are a number of threats to the quality and quantity of this water. Sea level rise and existing water management operations threaten to contaminate our drinking water with salt water. Urban sprawl and other land use changes remove open space needed to replenish the aquifer and provide refuge for humans and... more »
Who are you?

The Everglades Law Center is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to preserving the natural landscape of Florida. For almost 20 years, we have advocated, negotiated, and when necessary, litigated to protect Florida’s special places.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

This project will promote actions to combat effects of sea level rise county-wide, and particularly help protect our water supply and open space in the southern portion of the county. These actions will help ensure that the county remains a place where people can live and prosper.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

This project seeks to protect the most basic right of our citizens: clean water. It looks to place more land in public ownership that will both protect our water supply and allow citizens access to green space. This project seeks to keep Miami-Dade’s environment sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change.

Please give examples of your project's success.

Miami-Dade County will implement new programs to protect our water supply, including the acquisition and management of environmentally endangered land that will replenish the aquifer. Miami-Dade County will maintain existing protections for our wellfields. Salt water contamination from private entities will be minimized and mitigated. Miami-Dade County will work in conjunction with the South Florida Water Management District to plan a restoration project for the protection of Biscayne Bay.

Organization Name (or individuals name) Everglades Law Center

Voting

17 votes
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