Happy Anniversary, Social Capital Inc.

Posted on November 2, 2011

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If corporations were people, you’d be on my list of favorites. Congratulations on 10 years of strengthening communities by connecting diverse individuals and organizations through civic engagement initiatives in ten Massachusetts locations, one of which is Lynn.

When I’d bring you up in conversation, people would hear the word capital and ask what kind of company you were. In fact, you are an incorporated nonprofit organization encouraging individuals to take a more active role in their community and connect with their neighbors.

Maybe it was the word “capital” in your title. If capital is broadly defined as an asset used to make a profit, social capital is the intangible asset one accumulates by making connections and networking with others. Social capital is used to create communities that are safer, healthier and more vital.

This blog started at SCI Lynn. Here is my first post.

What encouraged me to blog was a contest. The details are vague to me now, but the goal was to earn as many social capital points as possible by starting and posting to a blog. In those days, SCI Lynn represented the accumulation of points by placing a small yellow house symbol next to your name each time you wrote a post. Since I haven’t posted there in a while, my current total remains at 117.

Tran Le ran the Lynn office in 2004. Through SCI Lynn, she promoted neighborhood cleanups, discount barrels from Lynn Lumber with covers to deter the rats and Lynn restaurants. Eating together, after all, is a great way to strengthen social bonds. I’m not sure if Tran was a volunteer, but since her departure, her role has been filled by a succession of eager AmeriCorps volunteers, the first of which was David Hankerson from Atlanta.

I’ve never thought of technology as an end unto itself but as a means of expression. Executive Director and founder David Crowley has taken Web 2.0 technology and run with it to create internet portals like SCI Lynn for ten communities in ten years. But SCI has an offline component as well, sponsoring and showing up at community events and public meetings, encouraging people to volunteer. David envisions a Civic Communications Corp tasked with ensuring equal access to the digital technology that is not only crucial to our economy now, but an effective means of civic engagement.

So Happy Anniversary, SCI. And here’s to another 10 years and beyond.

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