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Good Grassroots Government In Action

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2008 was coming to a close with a barrage of bad news and depressing year-end recaps. 2009 started out with even more bad news and lots of partisan debate about an 800 billion dollar stimulus package. Bewildering to say the least; most of us are wondering if any of this stuff will work. Then, out of the blue, a small, positive ray of light caught my attention.

I am a champion of, and believer in, the power and potential of the individual; I'm always on the lookout for the upside of situations, especially in tough times. The last place I expected to find uplifting inspiration was in the nitty-gritty of New York City's bureaucratic community outreach programs. Then I clicked on a video of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s press conference about a new Citywide initiative called Pass It On. There it was — a simple, great example of grassroots initiatives in action at the very epicenter of New York City's heart and soul — its neighborhoods.


The Pass It On press release describes it as a first of its kind in the nation program specifically designed to help Faith Leaders provide financial education and tools to their congregations; a simple, strong idea. Make it easy to educate and empower people to make the necessary personal changes to weather tough times. 


Need a Financial Adviser? Go to Church!

A recent survey by the City found that faith leaders are one of the most trusted sources of information and advice for many things, even making financial decisions. The result of this recognition is an unlikely yet powerful alliance of faith leaders, the financial community and city agencies who came together to take action. Go figure! The press release notes:

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) will advise faith leaders about the many free and low-cost financial education resources available through the City’s Financial Education Network and encourage them to pass the information on to their congregants to help them strengthen their financial well-being during the current economic downturn.

The Power of Grassroots Engagement: 

 If there's anything our last Presidential election taught us, it's never to underestimate the power, promise and potential of local communities and individuals. New York City officials have tapped into this by recognizing the potential of the clergy to be a valuable asset in the education and motivation of their congregations to take positive actions and take control of their financial well-being.

The early indications from Pass it On are very encouraging. Let's hope Congress is listening and learning. 

A big salute to Mayor Bloomberg and NYC!

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About Hank Wasiak

Hank Wasiak is a communications industry leader and partner at the creative hot shop, The Concept Farm. Hank began his advertising career in 1965 as a real Mad Man at Benton & Bowles. He is a best selling author, teacher, motivational speaker and three time Emmy award winning television host. Hank and Dr. Kathy Cramer created a best selling business - self help book series based on Asset-Based Thinking published by Running Press. Hank also is an Adjunct Professor at USC's Marshall School Of Business.
  • Hope and Change?

    “timely, smart, local implementation”

    Put on your local government cable channel and watch some poor stiff trying to open a dry cleaner, put a shed in their yard, expand a parkeing lot, etc…etc…etc

    Timely and smart are words that can never be used to describe local or state governments…

    If they took all this cash to “Burning Man”, pass and out sveral thousands hits of “window pane” acid …there would be more stimulus and job creation that this pile of shit…

    Hopey McChangey

  • Understand your frustration, Hopey. Sure, it’s not perfect and with some aspects of the system there are more things wrong than are right. What I like about this one is that it’s not about throwing more cash at the problem. It’s using education and outreach to help people help themselves.

    Being a native New Yorker I believe that is one of the strengths of New Yorkers and hopefully this will help.

    Thanks for the comment.


  • Jo-Lynne Worley

    I agree that timely and smart are not words that one would use to describe state and local governments. BUT that being said, I do think that the power of grassroots engagement is happening all over the country and that what began with this recent Presidential election is continuing. This outreach and grassroot engagement speak the power of positive action.

  • Hope and Change?

    Funny the grassroot engagement will be “the” thing that stops King Barry’s facist government…

    Yes “The New Hope and Change”

  • Thanks Jo=Lynne:

    Examples are out there…we’ll keep on the look out for more of the same. Be well.


  • Hope and Change:

    You just might be right. The passion and power of individuals that believe in and stand by their principles and values are a very powerful force. On both sides of the political spectrum.

    Be well.

    Hank Wasiak