“Inspiration, Passion, and Action”
Learn more about the innovative ways the 2012 In Harmony with Hope Award honorees are bringing change to America.
2012 In Harmony with Hope Award Honorees
Rafael Alvarez (Founder), Genesys Works, genesysworks.org
In 2002, business executive Rafael Alvarez created Genesys Works to create a pathway out of poverty. The program includes a summer intensive in soft skills and technical training to high school students. In the fall, the newly trained workers are placed into large Fortune 500 corporations to practice on-the-job training. School cooperative education provisions allow for internships to be combined with senior year academics. In a win-win proposition, the students are paid substantially more than minimum wage and the corporations pay less than the going rate for trained IT workers. This year, 1,200 seniors caught in a generational poverty loop that doesn’t provide access to living wages, started on their paths to professional careers in Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, and the Twin Cities. Expansion plans are on track for programs in cities across the country. Of special note, 75% percent of Genesys Works’ budget comes from earned income. [harmony page]
Maurice Lim Miller (Founder), Family Independence Initiative, fiinet.org
In 2000, Maurice Lim Miller founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) to develop strategies that increase the control and choice that low-income people hold in their lives, reinforce community and reward initiative. These new approaches for social and economic mobility use age-old strengths of self-determination, mutuality and choice. Over the past 10 years, in demonstration projects around the country, FII has partnered with 3,500 individuals—placing them in peer support groups that meet monthly andchallenging them to come up with their own solutions. FII incentivizes monthly reporting of data, which provides each family with small amounts of extra capital. By investing in their strengths and initiative, FII is able to deliver powerful, sustainable, and cost-effective outcomes: on average, participants report a 23% increase in earnings and a 240% increase in savings. [harmony page]
Gary Oppenheimer (Founder), AmpleHarvest.org, ampleharvest.org
Gary Oppenheimer conceived of AmpleHarvest.org, a nationwide campaign to enable America’s 40+ million home gardeners who grow food to be able to easily share some of their harvest with local food pantries, in 2009. At its core it’s a technology solution that connects, educates and empowers home gardeners and local food pantries. Food pantries are often tiny operations hidden from view with little virtual presence. By enrolling with AmpleHarvest.org, they become visible to home gardeners. In just three years, more than 5,400 pantries have been enrolled on AmpleHarvest.org and more than 21 million pounds of fresh produce has been delivered to enrolled pantries. The simple but effective solution moves information as much as it moves healthy fruits and vegetables to the 50 million Americans who don’t always know where they’re going to get their next meal. [harmony page]
About the Event
Performing Artist: The Thirstbusters
Mixing the sensitivity of jazz with the catchiness of pop/rock, The Thirstbusters’ sound reflects a unique blend of musical influences. Chase, Forrest, and Zach started playing music together in elementary school. When they met Ryan at Berkeley High School they decided to form a band. Today, they are spread out across the country, finishing their last year of college (except for Zach, who graduated this spring). Across the miles and the years, they have continued to collaborate; their efforts resulted in the release of their second CD this summer, titled Caught Between. The album features Finders Keepers, the song that won this year’s Elfenworks Social Justice Prize at the College Battle of the Bands.
Want to learn more?
Read more about previous honorees by checking out elfenworks.org/awards.