I just wanted to post a quick update on my idea for a non-profit organization to help provide power to those in need during times of crisis (the working title is Generating Hope).
While I had the idea to organize a group to help during future natural disasters, Wayne Trojanowski went out and actually took care of people during the current one caused by Hurricane Sandy. Wayne has been organizing his efforts through Facebook and you can find out more about what he is doing now, and his plans for the future, on the Gift of Giving Organization page. Wayne is holding a foundational meeting for the organization on December 30th in Mount Holly, New Jersey. He's been so busy helping people he hasn't had time to get around to formalizing things until now. What Wayne is doing is super awesome and I plan to be in attendance to see how I can help out and explore any opportunities for collaboration.
Over the past few weeks I've put the idea for the "Generating Hope" to a number of friends and colleagues and had an overwhelmingly positive response. The success of the Gift of Giving Organization (formerly Generators for Sandy) in the wake of Sandy proves that this is an idea that can work and a service that is widely in need.
I have spoken with a friend who is a lawyer and he has agreed to help with formalizing the organization and to file for non-profit status. He also had some great ideas for local collaborations to get things off the ground and running. We are also working to identify and handle any issues of liability that could arise while offering these services. There are a number of areas that could expose both volunteers and those receiving the service to risk (gasoline, carbon monoxide, driving, etc) and we want to make sure that those bases are very well covered through a combination of insurance and proper training.
While power is the core service that this group will offer I would also like to explore adding items such as heat, food, water, and loaner cell phones to the list of items that the group could provide.
I am still doing this by myself and I could really use some other people dedicated to making this work. My current goals are to get the organization established by the end of January 2013, build a web presence, and have the first organizational meetings in February or March of 2013. In the meantime, I will be scheduling meetings with local Police, EMT, and Fire personnel to get input on how this organization can fit into their existing processes.
I want to move slow and deliberately and try to do this right. More updates to follow.