Boosting Civic Engagement through Pro Bono Programmatic

Since its first pilot program organizing an electoral engagement project across four Chicago public schools, former U.S. congressman and education activist, Abner and Zoe Mikva, have been inspiring underprivileged youth to take action and get involved in the causes that matter to them through the Mikva Challenge. Now, after over twenty years of empowering students to speak out on the issues that affect them and their communities, the Mikva Challenge delivers real-life democracy education across five “Action Civics” programs in its hometown of Chicago, as well as Southern California and Washington D.C.

In Washington D.C., the organization’s Issues to Action program has been steadily growing one of its newest initiatives to foster civic engagement, Project Soapbox. Partnering with local educators from 25 DC schools, Project Sopabox helps over 2,000 students voice their opinions through citywide public speaking tournaments. As the latest city to join the challenge, these young activists are trying to grow the program and give more students the opportunity to receive training to think critically, research, prepare and present speeches around issues they and their adult allies face across political, civic, and business communities.

Here at Digilant Cares, we too encourage the Digilant and greater ispDigital family to speak up and bring forth projects that aid the causes they and their communities believe in, which is why we’re very proud to help elevate the voices of Mikva Challenge participants through pro bono programmatic.

Over a six week direct response campaign across Washington D.C. and surrounding areas of bordering Maryland and Northern Virginia, Mikva Challenge aims to increase fundraising for its Issues to Action program. Leveraging both video and display ads across desktop and mobile, Digilant will tactfully spread Mikva’s message at the right time, place, and with the right relevancy. Reaching out to young professionals that are passionate about the causes that program participants research and speak on, Mikva Challenge hopes to create more engaged citizens.

“Because I learned about civic engagement during high school, I know how to go about dismantling processes that are inconsistent with my beliefs on justice. I can have a civil conversation with someone who has a completely different perspective and rally on the one area in which we share common ground.”
– Mikva DC alumnus, Maya Branch

In an age of misinformation and a highly polarized political climate where civil discourse isn’t always so civil, and solutions to many of the world’s problems can seem far out of reach, it’s extremely important to educate the next generation on how to effectively communicate their beliefs and take productive steps towards achieving them.

This is exactly what Mikva Challenge D.C. is striving towards and as programmatic marketers we love to dive into the data and see that they have actionable metrics from last year’s program that prove it:

  • 87% of students believe they can make an impact in solving community problems (vs. 48% of students at start of year).
  • 85% of students believe they can express their viewpoints in front of a group (vs. 50% of students at start of year).
  • 91% of students know how to collaborate with an adult decision-maker to address their issue (vs. 56% of students at start of year).
  • Learn more about the measurable change and incredible lift on civic engagement Mikva Challenge has made across the country here

To donate, or to learn about other initiatives lead by the Mikva Challenge students, visit their site here.

Live in the Chicagoland, D.C., or Los Angeles Area and want to donate some time to help develop your city’s next generation of community activists? From volunteering, becoming a Mikva Teacher or a youth leader, or just spreading the word, you’re just a click away from taking action!

Spreading Awareness with the National Safety Council to end the U.S. Opioid Crisis

One in four Americans has been affected by the opioid crisis, but according to a poll conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC), 40 percent still don’t see it as a threat to their family. In an effort to decrease those affected and increase awareness of the crisis’ impact on communities throughout the country, Digilant has partnered with the NSC on their Stop Everyday Killers campaign. Although it can be a very difficult subject to broach, like any problem, it won’t get solved until it’s been recognized and addressed.

The campaign is part of a larger public awareness initiative that seeks to help educate people about the risks of using opioids and encourages people to explore alternative pain treatment. Centered around a powerful short film that brings opioid users face to face with those who’ve been affected by this drug crisis, the NSC’s campaign is highly impactful. It’s filmed inside of the Prescribed to Death Memorial, which opened its doors to the public on November 10th to remember the 22,000 people whose lives were taken last year as a result of the opioid crisis. Currently located in Chicagos’ Wicker Park with 22,000 faces printed onto pills along a wall, the memorial will be making its way to Atlanta, Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. in the coming months. However, the Digilant Cares U.S. Team wants to ensure that this message reaches as many people as possible. For this reason, Digilant has launched a two week a pro bono programmatic campaign in which 30 second clips from the short film will be nationally distributed across display inventory.

It’s particularly important that this campaign runs during the holidays, because of the feelings that this time of year can evoke for those at risk of opioid abuse.

Many gatherings this holiday season are accompanied with stress, drinking, and isolation or reconnection with unhealthy relationships. In addition to generating awareness, the NSC has taken direct action to stop the unnecessary prescribing of opioids. Their new “Opioid: Warn Me” labels for insurance and pharmacy cards are serving as reminders for prescribers to discuss any potential pain treatment involving opioids before the patient decides on his or her preferred route of treatment.

A few additional statistics from this year’s NSC Survey on the crisis can be found below:

  • Nearly 60% of opioid painkiller users don’t know that sharing them is a felony
  • 1 out of 3 prescription opioid users don’t even know they’re taking opioids
  • Half of all opioid addictions start out with valid prescriptions

See the entire video below and find out how you can help spread the word this holiday season starting on social media using the hashtag, #stopeverydaykillers. To donate and help the NSC continue their vitally imporant work, visit here.

Making Strides for Men’s Health with Movember

As a well-established tradition at Digilant, it’s not a surprise to anyone in our Boston office when the end of October comes around and many men take out their razors to get their last clean shave in before the Movember Foundation‘s annual fundraising campaign begins. For those unfamiliar with Movember, growing out your facial hair for an entire month may seem a bit odd, but their’s a mission behind the mustache.

The Movember Foundation was established in Melbourne Australia in 2003 by two friends, Travis and Luke, who wondered why the stache had gone out of style. Inspired by a friend’s mom who had been fundraising for breast cancer, the duo thought that they’d support a good cause while attempting to revive the grooming style. They recognized that there’s strength in numbers, so they launched an email campaign with the subject line, “Are you man enough to be my man?” and recruited 30 other men to grow out their mustaches. Needless to say, it was a very successful test campaign, as the movement has since galvanized over 5 million “Mo Bros” & “Mo Sistahs” across 21 countries to get involved with the cause.

This year Digilant Cares U.S. created a MoTeam to raise funds amongst friends, family, and colleagues. We’re proud to say that the team managed to exceed its goal this year and these donations have also been matched by Digilant’s holding company, ispDigital. In total, over a thousand dollars will be put forth towards tackling physical and mental health issues faced by men. In addition to prostate cancer, Movember now helps fund testicular cancer research and treatment, supports mental health programs and organizes suicide prevention initiatives.

If you’d like to help the Digilant Cares team in continuing to raise funds for men’s health, visit our MoTeam here, or donate your time through events near you.

Gearing Up for Winter with Cradles to Crayons

There are currently over 300,000 kids in the Greater Boston Area that are living in low-income or homeless situations that face the risk of having to brave the winter without the clothing that they need to stay warm. The Gear Up for Winter initiative led at Cradles to Crayons Boston, wants to change this, so that no child is cold for another of Boston’s long and unforgiving winters. 
Since starting the new initiative, Cradles to Crayons (C2C) has already managed to help out 40,000 children and aims to help another 100,000 this season.

In an effort to help reach this goal, the Digilant Boston Office headed over to the Giving Factory on Wednesday to check, sort, and package donations brought in from all over Massachusetts. The first group was in charge of assuring that the donations were new or in new condition, so that the children receiving them would be proud to wear the clothing. Once reviewed, the clothing was brought into the outfit section, where volunteers created packages for both boys and girls from newborns to teenagers. Lastly, once these outfits and other winter essentials, like sweaters, vests, and socks, were organized, the sorting team assisted in placing the packages in the proper to be sent out in time for winter.

It was a great day and the Digilant Boston Team looks forward to continuing to help put together clothing packages with C2C as the winter approaches. With offices and local drop-off centers in the Greater Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago Areas, many of us can join the cause and make a difference in the lives of our communities’ youth this winter. Visit Cradles to Crayons’ site to find out more about how and where to volunteer or donate and keep up with the Digilant Cares’ Teams latest collaborations with C2C by following us on our Instagram.

Digilant U.S. Supports the Salvation Army in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the catastrophic category 4 hurricane that struck the Texas Gulf Coast this past week, The Salvation Army has jumped into swift action, providing relief to first responders and survivors. With nearly 50 inches of rainfall flooding the Greater Houston Area in only a matter of days, thousands of people have been displaced and response efforts will be needed for years to come as the community rebuilds. To help raise funds and awareness, Digilant U.S. is providing pro bono programmatic display advertising to the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey Response Efforts campaign.

The campaign aims to increase donations to support the work of the Salvation Army’s national network of trained disaster staff and volunteers deployed throughout Texas, providing food boxes, bottled water, cleanup kits and comfort kits. Staff and volunteers are also serving at emergency shelters and staffing emergency operations centers. “Every team being deployed in Texas can provide food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care to those impacted by this weather event,” said Lt. Col. Ronnie Raymer, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army in Texas. “We’re uniquely positioned to provide support and relief to Houston and communities along the Gulf Coast.”

The Salvation Army has deployed 78 mobile feeding units that each can provide up to 1,500 meals per day, along with two field kitchens that each can serve up to 15,000 meals per day, serving survivors. As of September 4th, The Salvation Army has served more than 234,629 meals, 172,200 drinks and 170,585 snacks and has counseled 10,341 individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Digilant U.S. is humbled to be able to lend its services to help expand relief efforts for the those affected by Hurricane Harvey and encourages anyone who can to join. There are many ways to contribute to the cause, starting with a donation. In addition to monetary donations, the Salvation Army is accepting clothing and other goods via free at-home pickups or at the nearest drop-off area in your location.

To donate $10 dollars to the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey Response Efforts today, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY or text STORM to 51555.

Working experience during a month at Digilant

We are very happy and proud to say that Marta Amigo from la Fundación Down Madrid has been working as an intern with us during the month of May.

Marta is a nineteen-year-old young girl who is in a special programme that gives youngsters the opportunity to help within a work environment. Marta surprised us all showing great communication and organizing skills. During the month of her internship she helped across every department in different issues.

Every morning when she arrived to the office she organised all chairs and tables in our meeting rooms, and she charged the printer with paper. Then depending on the day she had different tasks:
– Account department: She helped organising and printing purchase orders.
– Financial department: She organised all 2016 and 2017 invoices in alphabetical order.
– Marketing: She helped filling in the PR tracking excel spread sheet.

We have been very happy to have her as part of the team in the Digilant Madrid office. The work she´s been doing here has been of great help! After this great experience, we will absolutely repeat next year with another Kid of Fundación Down Madrid. Why don’t you try it too?

Digilant Cares Marta Amigo

Digilant Boston helps Cradles to Crayons on the Back to School Campaign

For the second year in a row, the entire Digilant Boston team gathered at the nonprofit Cradles to Crayons to support children in need.  The staff grabbed shopping carts and packed items for specific children who needed clothing, toys, boys, coats, boots, and more.
10 Digilant employees participated in the Cradles to Crayons Backpack-a-thon event on Boston’s City Hall Plaza.  Along with more than 700 other volunteers, the Digilant team packed 35,000 backpacks for students in need.  The backpacks were filled with books and school supplies, such as pens, markers, folders, and notebook, and each child also received a hand-written “Well Wish Note” with a message for the start of their school year.  Digilant was proud to sponsor the Cradles to Crayons Ready for School program and be a part of the Backpack-a-thon event.

Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth to age 12, living in low- income and homeless situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. They supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.

Digilant Cares Collaborates with Cradles to Crayons

Digilant Cares Boston collaborates with nonprofit Cradles to Crayons to support the NPO effort to help local children get ready for school.  Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. They supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.

Digilant has chosen to partner with Cradles to Crayons specifically on their Ready for School program.  Cradles to Crayons commissioned a study to gain a better understanding of the impact of Ready for School on the children who receive Cradles to Crayons’ backpacks.

Fast Facts about Cradles to Caryons’ Impact

97.7% of parents said the supplies provided will help their children to do homework
95.9% of parents said the supplies will make their child more excited to go to school
93.7% of teachers said the supplies helped students to complete their homework
“There is a student in my class who is from a single parent family. They are homeless and the student was happy to get a backpack and supplies like everyone else. This student would not have had anything on the first day like all of the others. Thank you.”              – Teacher

With more than 300,000 children from newborn to age 12 living in low-income and homeless situations in Massachusetts, the need for Ready for School is very real.  This is why Digilant is proud to be supporting the cause on a number of levels.

In additional to providing a $5,000 donation that will allow Cradles to Crayons to purchase backpacks and school supplies for more than 300 local children, Digilant is engaging on two volunteer opportunities and hosting a collecting at our Boston office for clothing and books for children in need.  Digilant will participant in the Cradles to Crayons annual Backpack-a-thon event in August, where 10 of our staff members will join more than 600 other volunteers and special VIP guests to pack 35,000 backpacks just in time for school to start.  In September, the entire Boston office will spend the day at the Cradles to Crayons “Giving Factory” where they will sort, inspect, clean, and package clothing, books, toys, and baby equipment.

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