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Means of Exchange (MOE)
There is a growing movement demanding more from exchange transactions and from the organizations which facilitate them. All across the world, people are experimenting with innovative ways to overcome widespread challenges such as the lack of access to financial institutions, bankruptcy, and the waste and isolation caused by social and geographic divides. The reinvention of exchange is made possible by the ready availability of digital technologies, some of which measure profit in social outcomes, but all radically reinvent the idea of exchange to meet twenty-first century needs. Creating community currencies, sharing resource platforms and crowdfunding direct aid are some of the responses to this challenge.

MOE seeks to promote the use of alternative forms of currency—bartering, crowdfunding, time banking and more to democratize transactions. CSF is supporting Ken Banks, MOE founder and Curry Stone Design Prize awardee, to develop alternative currencies. The Foundation has also contributed to the publication of Bank’s book, The Reluctant Innovator. Means of Exchange works to democratize currencies and reconnect communities where alternatives are truly needed.

Mozambique Well Project
The Mozambique Well Project addresses the lack of access to clean water in rural communities across Mozambique by drilling water wells.

Through its partnership with Maranatha Volunteers International, the Mozambique Well Project drilled more than 1,000 wells in three years. These not only provided water, they helped revitalize villages by freeing women and children from the burden of having to walk miles each day to bring water for cooking, bathing and routine daily functions. In communities served by the wells, attendance at school improved for children and easier access to water improved the health of people of all ages.

Open Architecture Collaborative
The Open Architecture Collaborative (OAC, formerly Architecture for Humanity Network) is a global community of like-minded designers addressing some of the most urgent issues worldwide. Their work begins with the belief that every community should have a voice in the design of their built environment. They pursue that goal through participatory engagement and by fostering local grassroots design coalitions to build power within underserved communities.

OAC is a US-based nonprofit supported by a global network of community chapters. OAC develops educational programming for designers and architects to grow as leaders and changemakers while simultaneously producing placemaking programs with community developers and associations to inspire ownership and civic engagement in traditionally marginalized communities.

The Open Architecture Collaborative can help you run community-driven design/build projects and creative placemaking programs to engage your neighbors and to support further community investment in the environment. OAC can support your community group or nonprofit with a specific project while building the capacity for civic engagement.

Blue Star Integrative Studio
Blue Star Integrative Studio is a planning and architectural firm offering feasibility studies, planning and design services. Blue Star works with agencies involved in community development, including non-profits and government agencies. Past projects have included working with architects, planners, institutions and individuals. The success of Blue Star lies in working closely with clients to discover creative solutions that are the best possible fit for people, place and resources.

Blue Star Studio was founded in 2013, with a foundation of core values that include hard work, fairness, honesty and building community. Blue Star prides itself on the uncompromising quality of their work, timely completion of projects and offering affordable options for our clients. With the support of the Curry Stone Foundation, Blue Star Integrative Studio has been working to design and build a sustainable community on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. CSF is proud to support practices like Blue Star as they actively support the efforts of Native American tribes to develop and protect their land.

Earth Activist Training
Earth Activist Training (EAT) was founded by Starhawk, an internationally renowned teacher, activist and veteran of progressive movements. EAT offers two-week residential courses in permaculture design culminating in a Permaculture Design Certificate, recognized by the worldwide permaculture movement. EAT also offers training in Social Permaculture and Facilitation, a Sacred Earth Apprenticeship program, mentoring for teachers and designers, and consultations with community groups.

Earth Activist Training teaches permaculture design with a focus on organizing and activism through a program of ritual exploration and deepening the connection with earth. EAT links those who are creating positive alternatives for the future with those who are actively working for political change. EAT has a special interest in Social Permaculture, the application of ecological principles to designing beneficial human relationships.  EAT maintains a commitment to sharing these skills and tools with the communities most impacted by injustice. EAT courses offer practical earth healing, incorporating ritual and nature awareness, integrating mind and heart, with hands-on practice while allowing time to build a network of like-minded community.

Starhawk, EAT’s founder and principal teacher, is the author of twelve books; she is a permaculture designer, and one of the foremost voices in earth-based spirituality. Her books include The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, and The Earth Path. She has lived and worked collectively for thirty years, and her experiences inform her book on group dynamics, The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups.

Starhawk has been recognized by the Permaculture Institute of North America as a leading figure in the permaculture field and has been awarded PINA’s dual diplomas for excellence in education and permaculture site design. The Curry Stone Foundation provides ongoing support to EAT and helped fund the documentary film, Permaculture: The Growing Edge produced by Starhawk and award-winning filmmaker Donna Read.

Qigong Sensory Training Institute
Qigong Sensory Therapy (QST) is a revolutionary approach to treating autism developed by Louisa Silva, M.D. Qigong Sensory Therapy integrates Western and Chinese medicine with public health in its approach to treating autism. QST lessens sensory challenges for children with autism; it is a proven, touch-based massage treatment for autistic children administered by parents to normalize sensory issues and reduce the symptoms of autism.

Research shows that pleasure and bonding is initiated with parental touch and is mediated by tiny sensory nerves in the skin. When these nerves are damaged, as in autism, children lose the ability to bond and experience pleasure through their tactile sense. Before long, social delays and abnormal behavior are evident. This damage is reversible; treatment with QST massage returns the child’s sense of touch to the normal range. After a course of treatment, sensory problems improve, tactile normality is restored, social skills increase, children demonstrate affection, receptive language improves and parental stress decreases.

CSF has supported Dr. Silva’s research for over a decade. The results appear in peer-reviewed journals including the American Journal of Occupational Therapy and the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage Bodywork.  Grant funding also allowed Dr. Silva to produce videos, create a website and author books, translated into multiple languages, and to train countless parents in the qigong massage method, and to establish an international cadre of trainers to educate and support families.

Myna Mahila Foundation
Myna Mahila Foundation (MMF) empowers women to speak about the taboo topic of menstruation. The three pillars of Myna’s mission include: improving menstrual hygiene affordably, generating female employment in slums and building women’s networks. MMF employs and trains women to be entrepreneurs who can run franchises for womens’ hygiene products. This creates a network of support for the women as well as improved feminine health through affordable sanitary supplies delivered door to door.

MMF initiated surveys of women in the Mumbai communities and found that mothers wanted opportunities to work at home so they could earn an income and also take care of their children. MMF is developing opportunities for women who have sewing machines to sew garments and bags in their homes while assisting in connecting them to a local marketplace.

MMF educates their staff in English, life skills, health, self-defense and computer literacy. They hold workshops, courses and lectures with their staff every week while training some women in the business skills needed to operate a sanitary pad micro-franchise. MMF conducts extensive door-to-door surveys about menstrual hygiene awareness, sanitary pad disposal, women’s health and women’s employment. The surveys increase MMF’s understanding of the challenges women face and allows them to generate new solutions to address these challenges.

Chautauqua Poets & Writers
Chautauqua Poets and Writers (CP&W) brings the country’s most respected authors to Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, a region far removed from the metropolitan areas of Portland and San Francisco where vibrant literary communities are readily accessible. The series grew from the International Writers gatherings of 1980s and 1990s and the New Chautauqua Lecture Series in the early 2000s. In 2005, Chautauqua Poets & Writers began by bringing Li-Young Lee to Southern Oregon University for a reading and to Ashland High School for a student workshop. Since then, many highly-acclaimed writers have visited. Naomi Shihab Nye came in 2006, and since then CP&W has hosted two writers yearly.

CP&W selects writers who can interact with people of all ages in different settings, and whose messages are accessible, insightful, and thought provoking. Each writer has presented readings at Ashland High School’s Mountain Avenue Theatre, in addition to workshops for students of Rogue Valley schools and colleges, and presentations to student teachers and teachers of the Oregon Writing Project at Southern Oregon University. Through the efforts of CP&W and our sponsors, our community connects with writers whose voices provide insight and wisdom in interpreting our world.

Alliance of Community Trainers
The Alliance of Community Trainers (ACT) offers knowledge, tools, and skills to individuals, organizations and communities to empower sustainable transformation. ACT begins by supporting the development of a vision; starting with people where they are, learning their values and helping them shape a vision for the future.

ACT works in the broad arenas of organizational development, problem solving and conflict resolution; they assist with consensus decision-making, facilitation, strategic campaigns, media and public speaking, alternative technology, nonviolent action and environmental sustainability. Examples of their work include organizing to provide direct relief to the survivors of the 2013 floods in Austin Texas and working with the group, “Undoing Racism Austin,” a collective working to connect Austin as a community united in its commitment to racial equity.

ACT holds that the solutions to current community problems lie within the communities themselves when people obtain the information, training and skills needed to facilitate those solutions. CSF supported ACT co-founder Lisa Fithian in creating a website and writing a book entitled Kicking Corporate Booty:A Manual For the People. The book and website educate people in using creative, nonviolent campaigns and direct actions to address injustices, making positive, healthy changes in their community.

Design for the Common Good
Design for the Common Good is a ‘network of networks’ that joins together practitioners and educators from around the globe in a shared belief that we can create better environmental, economic and social outcomes for all through the power of design. Sergio Palleroni and Jane Anderson offer a history of the collective effort to establish a global network of social design teachers and practitioners.

Design for the Common Good was originally formed by a union between the SEED Network, the Designbuild Xchange and the Live Projects Network, bringing their respective members together to stimulate discussion and exchange best practices for educators, researchers and practitioners. The Pacific Rim network will be joining later this year.

The group fills a critical gap by creating a global framework by which practitioners can learn from each other and share strategies. It provides technological and digital resources that professors and practitioners can share with each other. Additionally, the group meets regularly at conferences across the globe to advance the mission of public interest design and support each other’s work.

The founding steering committee is composed of Sergio Palleroni, Bryan Bell, Sue Thering, Eric Field, Simon Colwill, Peter Fattinger, Ursula Hartig, Nina Pawlicki, Jane Anderson.

We were able to speak with four of the group’s founders on Social Design Insights. Sergio Palleroni and Jane Anderson (co-founder of the Live Projects Network), Bryan Bell (co-founder of the SEED network) and Ursula Hartig (co-Founder of the Designbuild exchange) all joined us to talk about how this remarkable effort came together, and the kinds of resources that the group has made available to all those interested in social design. Listen to the episode below.