APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
In order to continue to build a collaborative economy - one where individuals work together to facilitate innovation, entrepreneurship, and build distribution systems - Rebuild the Dream will serve as an aggregator of new technologies and information. The organization will work to connect startups to the capital and end-users they need. At the same time, Rebuild will help connect those early adopters to their local peers in the context of self-empowerment, community-building, and civic engagement. These, local collaborative groups of ordinary Americans will be called 'resiliency circles.'
Rebuild The Dream Innovation Fund's 'American Dream 2.0' initiative will scale and popularize 'shareable economy' tools by making them accessible to one million Americans. Although the existing examples of the shareable economy have been successful, more broadly applicable solutions are in the development pipeline. In order to bring startups and the shareable economy as a whole to scale, Rebuild The Dream will take the following three steps:
1. Direct capital towards 'shareable economy' tools
Start an American Dream 2.0 Venture Fund to advise venture capitalists on early stage start-ups and technological solutions. (In the beginning, the AD2.0 Venture Fund will focus on assembling advisors; in later stages it will acquire and allocate dollars to startup companies.)
2. Coordinate technologists
Create a leadership team that will host a mini-summit to plan and design outreach; Rebuild staff will identify and recruit leaders based on existing industry ties. The new team will then bring together, face-to-face in Silicon Valley, the best social enterprise minds, including the next generation of technologists aspiring to work for the common good. They will also create new or partner with existing platforms that connect those who need help in reaching their American Dream to those who can give help.
3. Consolidate end users
Work with their 500,000 members (this number will grow quickly) to create small, local resiliency circles of persons who belong to one of the five 'casualty groups.' Help these resiliency circles utilize shareable economy tools.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
The timeline for this commitment is as follows:
2011: Meet $2m matching grant. Hire a director to build a team both experienced in aiding the growth of online startups and also well-versed in offline organizing. Identify partners in the tech world; convene them; begin feasibility study for Venture Fund. Recruit partners from faith organizations, veterans groups and those serving populations dense with economic casualties. Create 'American Dream 2.0' curriculum, including audio-visual supports. Explore partnership with resilience circles (run by the Institute for Policy Studies) and other organizations that interface directly with the economically disadvantaged.
2012: Begin trials in spring, creating 100 small groups with a focus on veterans. Evaluate. Launch major effort to reach 100,000 Americans in July (veterans and non-veterans), on a date that Rebuild The Dream will declare 'American Dream 2.0 Day.'
2013: Incorporate appropriate new technologies. Scale effort to a total of 250,000 participants. Evaluate to identify areas of improvement. Note - the number of participants mentioned above and in the two paragraphs below is not simply the number of users that Rebuild will connect to these tools, but the number of people who will augment their income, reorganize their community around collaborative consumption, or otherwise benefit from the shareable economy.
2014: Incorporate appropriate new technologies. Scale effort to a total of 500,000 participants. Evaluate to identify areas of improvement.
2015: Incorporate appropriate new technologies. Scale effort to a total 1,000,000 participants. Evaluate entire initiative.
1. Feasibility study for American Dream 2.0 Venture Fund. This initiative will complete a feasibility study for creating an American Dream 2.0 Venture Fund. Such a fund could provide the capital by raising two funds: a 501(c)3 re-granting foundation and a mission driven equity fund. By recruiting high profile and savvy investors as part-time general partners, AD2.0 could gain access to hot new startups, some of which will achieve a healthy return on investment (Airbnb is now valued at over $1b).
2. American Dream 2.0 technologists: This initiative will create a community and a network of technologists, who are committed to using their genius for the common good.
3. American Dream 2.0 Curriculum: This initiative will create teaching tools and other curricula to assist small groups in understanding their personal problems in a broader context. It will also extol the virtues of the shareable economy. Lastly, it will tie into the Contract for the American Dream, creating a bridge to civic engagement.
Rebuild The Dream's approach combines personal responsibility with community action. It combines 'high-tech' tools with 'high-touch' community building. It calls upon Americans to be both good neighbors and good citizens. Rebuild The Dream believes that struggling Americans can not only get good jobs, but create them, too. Rebuild The Dream believes that rebuilding the American Dream will require the best from America's government - and the best from the American people.
The American Dream needs to be upgraded. The Great Recession didn't just wipe out eight million jobs. For many Americans, it challenged the belief that the United States is a land of opportunity, with economic security available to all who are willing to work hard. And just as ordinary Americans struggle to find jobs, corporations, entrepreneurs and public initiatives struggle to find effective and scalable solutions.
There are five 'new economic casualty' groups of the Great Recession: foreclosure victims, the long-term unemployed, jobless Millennials, returning veterans, and public sector workers facing cutbacks. Until recently, these mostly middle-class Americans were doing fine and saw little need to organize themselves for mutual support or for citizen action. But now, millions of Americans need both tools for change and communities of support - the mechanisms and allies required to rebuild the American Dream.
Rebuild believes that one effective approach will be to plug the members of these new economic casualty groups into the shareable economy. Rebuild defines the 'shareable economy' as one that connects high-tech solutions with the people that could use them most. The shareable economy relies on barter, gift, direct exchange and peer-to-peer loans. It has the potential to create a new American economy - one in which everyday Americans have access to additional sources of revenue, savings, and new career opportunities.
Examples of companies that function in the shareable economy include Airbnb, Kiva, and Culture Kitchen. Through Airbnb, anyone with a spare room can now earn extra money by renting out their space. Through Kiva, the poorest of the poor can now have access to the capital needed to start a small business. Through Culture Kitchen, immigrant women can now earn an income teaching others to cook in the style of their homeland.
But the impact of these shareable economy tools so far represents a fraction of their potential. In other words: the shareable economy pioneers have the tools, but they lack the numbers. The economic casualty groups have the numbers, but they lack the tools. Rebuild's 'American Dream 2.0' initiative will bring both worlds together.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities, Other
As a nationwide initiative, Rebuild The Dream Innovation Fund is seeking entrepreneurs and problem-solvers currently working on a local or regional scale to collaborate on implementing national job creation solutions. In addition, Rebuild The Dream is looking for nationwide programs to help increase its reach through unexplored avenues.
OFFERING: Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities, Other
Rebuild The Dream's nationwide alliance of over seventy partner organizations allows for groups to work together and speak with one voice. This alliance coordinates local and regional groups as well as nationwide initiatives, and Rebuild The Dream can help to quickly scale an organization through its media profile and network of partner organizations.