The most powerful word we have is "LET'S"
Lessons learned from my trip to the White House
by Diane Douglas, CityClub's Executive Director
On Tuesday, July 3, along with about 80 participants from across the country, I attended a White House forum on social enterprise and opportunity. Our charge for the day was to recommend a plan to bolster national citizen innovation.
It was inspirational from start to finish.
The White House emphasized the relationship between civic engagement and economic resilience. Because emerging data demonstrate causal links between strong social capital and the ability to weather recession, our work was cast as an essential strategy for economic recovery.
We learned that communities that have safety nets for their most vulnerable citizens, where neighbors know one another, where they participate in communal festivals and belong to groups and associations are communities that can better sacrifice and innovate together.
I felt a 2.0 version of John F. Kennedy’s famous charge, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” My sense of the White House’s purpose was to create a culture of partnership recognizing that government and the citizen sector have different roles, resources and powers, but we can achieve collective impact through mutual learning, support and collaboration.
Scott Heiferman, founder of the social media site, Meetup, summed it up this way: The most powerful word we have is Let’s.