Over the past thirty years I’ve started or led 12 nonprofit enterprises in the arts, community development and civic engagement. I’ve devoted thousands of hours to community service – from fighting the expansion of gambling in Cook County to fighting the privatization of Lincoln Park to working to keep the 2016 Olympics from destroying our city to fighting privatization and Tax Increment Finance rip-offs.
Now I’m asking you – members of the public – to help me keep fighting for the common good. All these fights required hundreds of hours of research and all the work went on to a public web site that was clear and easy to use and was updated frequently. Call me a citizen journalist or activist researcher – I’m asking YOU to help underwrite my work.
Here’s what I’m working on right now:
- Building a network of citizen journalists to investigate and expose abuse in the Tax Increment Finance Program. See our prototype web site @ www.tifreports.com. Estimated cost to hire citizen reporters, build search tool and publish a prototype TIF Atlas for one ward, which would distributed for free (like The Reader) throughout that ward = $20,000. POTENTIAL BENEFITS:
Lower Cook County property tax bills by 11%!
- Organizing to establish a public bank in Illinois like The Bank of North Dakota. See our prototype web site @ www.illinoispublicbanking.org. Estimated cost to produce a public forum, bringing in experts from North Dakota and the Public Banking Institute, mounting publicity campaign and organizing a series of local town meetings = $10,000. POTENTIAL BENEFITS: Cheap credit for home loans, small business, student loans and municipal infrastructure projects (eliminating need to sell public assets – like parking meters!)
- Researching how artists and creative professionals are leading in the public sector, including seeking public office and serving in public office. This work was begun as part of the writing of my manifesto, “America Needs You! Why You Should Become a Creativity Champion” (download text here for free). Download a summary that includes profiles of five creative elected officials – including one anarchist community gardener, a bookstore owner and an openly gay orchestra executive here. My preliminary research says these creative public servants have changed the civic space around them and created solutions that other public officials would not and could not have achieved. Estimated cost to research 40 creative electeds and interview them and compile results into a book and DVD = $15,000. POTENTIAL BENEFIT: Bringing hundreds and perhaps thousands of new leaders into public life to solve tough, persistent problems in new ways.
Click over to PayPal to invest in my work. These gifts are in no way deductible but they will be deeply appreciated. Every investor of $100-$999 will receive a signed copy of “America Needs You!” Every investor of $1,000 or more will get to have dinner with Tom. Every investor of $10,000 or more will get a full day’s consulting for strategic problem solving. Got other ideas? Please email me @ email@example.com. Thank you.