2015 Innovation Grants Program Award Recipients

American Library Association

While many associations, including the American Library Association, currently utilize some form of crowdsourcing for specific aspects of their work—conference program selection, for example—crowdsourcing (where services, ideas, or content are collected from a large group of people often connected via the internet) and crowdfunding (where a project is funded by a large group of people, again, often online) have not been used extensively to expand the value of association membership. Because crowdsourcing helps reinforce community and provides new and different opportunities for engagement, its successful use by associations could create new incentives for membership. It could be particularly important for new and emerging generations of members that value task-oriented participation over traditional committee-structured participation.

The American Library Association seeks an exploration grant to help determine how associations might use crowdsourcing for peer-vetted creative production, mobilizing members to submit innovative solutions to problems in their field and leveraging the wisdom of the crowd to point to the most viable solutions. For the purposes of this project, the crowdsourcing space will be promoted as a place for librarians to suggest innovative programs and services and for peers to evaluate, rank and comment on proposed innovations. The goal within the space will be to incubate and improve innovative programs or services, to responsibly develop innovations that conform to shared values and standards of the profession, and to provide broad-based support for innovators to launch their ideas within their communities.

This project would allow the American Library Association to bring an innovative and timely approach into existing member services. It builds on traditional methods of member engagement, but allows for more flexible participation and contribution. By building a dedicated space for crowdsourcing innovation, this project will help build communities of members interested in innovation broadly or in specialized areas of innovation. The communities would include those who can generate ideas, those who can contribute to refining those ideas, and those who can support and sustain the innovative ideas.

Arizona Community Action Association

The Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA) proposes to launch a statewide living wage initiative. This initiative, Raise Arizona, will increase the quality of life for residents by raising the wages workers earn, lowering the number of individuals and families experiencing poverty, decreasing the need for social services, and raising the overall economic health of the state.

Raise Arizona recruits, certifies, and rewards businesses and employers that presently pay or commit to pay a living wage. IN 2014, the living wage in Arizona is $14.88 an hour; the amount a worker must earn to afford basic expenses without needing additional public assistance.

By going beyond traditional service models that support people unable to meet their basic expenses, Raise Arizona innovatively addresses the root problem by increasing income and eliminating the need for public assistance. In addition, Raise Arizona drives consumer support and dollars to Living Wage Certified Businesses in reward for their commitment to pay employees a living wage and their contribution to the overall vitality of the community in which they do business.

Drawing from multiple fund sources, including the ASAE Foundation’s Innovation Grant, ACAA will build the foundation for the Raise Arizona initiative. The initiative will be long-term and self-sustaining through application fees and membership dues. First year outcomes for the initiative are to:

  • Develop the Raise Arizona brand, including marketing materials and website.
  • Hire one staff member to lead ongoing business recruitment and community outreach.
  • Launch Raise Arizona and recruit 50 business and employers.

By successfully completing these first year outcomes, Raise Arizona will be well positioned to build upon our success and continue to positively affect the economy and Arizona. Our outcomes will allow consumers to actively recognize and engage in the initiative by supporting certified businesses. Through Raise Arizona, customers lift up businesses, businesses lift up families, and families lift up the economy.

California Association of Health Facilities

We are excited to propose the development of a mobile phone application (app) dedicated to helping nursing home leaders manage a coordinated response to natural or man-made disasters that impact medically-challenged seniors in skilled nursing homes. Nursing homes in California are licensed healthcare facilities equipped to care for people with complex medical conditions. Facilities typically house 100 residents who are confined to a bed or unable to walk on their own. Many residents suffer from dementia and have trouble communicating. Others may be recovering from a stroke, or are admitted for short-term rehabilitation following surgery. During a natural or man-made event or disaster, special challenges arise for this vulnerable population, especially during the first critical hours when the power may be out or an evacuation is necessary.

The “Nursing Home Disaster Response Mobile Application” will allow for a rapid coordinated emergency response. This life-saving coordination tool can result in better outcomes for more than 300,000 elders who reside in California skilled nursing centers each year. Specifically the app will provide nursing home leadership with the necessary tools to implement emergency operation plans, follow disaster response policies and procedures and access critical contact information to respond to a life-threatening emergency.

During an event/disaster—including power outages, floods, pandemics, earthquakes, wildfires or armed intruders—nursing home leaders may need access to emergency responders, relocation contacts, transportation vendors, medical records and critical staff. These leaders will need to assess the situation and make important decisions including whether to evacuate or shelter-in-place. The Nursing Home Disaster Response Mobile Application will enable administrators and other facility leadership to direct emergency response activities from an off-site location, including home, automobile or even from the parking lot of a facility following an unexpected evacuation.

The California Association of Health Facilities Disaster Preparedness Program has already developed several unique workbooks, education and training and a new command structure to assist members in emergency response efforts. Building on that success, the CAHF-DPP proposes to contract with a developer to create a prototype app and evaluate its usefulness in the areas outlined above. The app would be tested at member facilities during a staged disaster drill. Following the exercise, CAHF will survey participating staff to assess the usefulness of the tool and use analytics to determine which app functions were especially suitable. The app will then be re-tested in another setting utilizing additional CAHF members.

The need for better disaster response within the nursing home community serving this frail population has never been greater. As hospitals push to shorten expensive acute-care stays and move patients into cost-effective skilled nursing settings, nursing homes need to be ready to respond to any emergency events that may occur. If the Nursing Home Disaster Response Mobile app proves to be a practical, affordable tool, our ultimate goal would be to share the app (template) with other nursing home/assisted living associations for use nationwide.

PCMA Education Foundation

As the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries continue to fuel economic growth around the world, planners and suppliers alike are working to put that financial power to good use with donations and service projects to benefit local communities. It is becoming a best practice to conduct charitable activities during a large corporate meeting, as an extension of a company’ s corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitment. As the number of meetings that incorporate charitable components into their programs continues to increase so, too, does the impact of the $1.83 million corporate and business meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, incentive events and other meetings that take place in the U.S. This represents $280 billion in economic value as reported by the Convention Industry Council’s 2012 Economic Significance Study.

To help support and further catalyze this emerging and powerful trend, we propose the development of a standardized measurement system to capture the value generated by community engagement activities. Given the working title of the CSR Evaluator (the Evaluator), the purpose of this undertaking is to:

  • Encourage increased community engagement among corporate meeting planners, by demonstrating the social (and business) value that results from such CSR events;
  • Promote more effective and efficient strategic and socially impactful activities, by identifying best practices and sharing them broadly throughout the sector; and
  • Increase opportunities for social engagement by educating key stakeholders—such as mayors, government leaders, community members, and convention industry—about the impact of volunteerism in their local community.

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and Points of Light (POL), a collaborative partner with PCMA, propose the development of the CSR Evaluator, a user-friendly, web-based evaluation tool. Meeting planners (or their designated project activation partners), will be able to utilize the Evaluator to calculate the social impact of the community service project(s) conducted during their convention or meeting. True Impact, a boutique consultancy and software company that specializes in measuring the social, financial, and environmental impacts of community and CSR investments, is the third partner. CSR Evaluator will be made available to ALL organizations with an interest in measuring the impact of CSR/charitable activities. The rollout will begin with the Convention Visitor Bureaus located in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.

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