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What is is a social mobilization effort and grassroots movement born from and responding to the clear need for lasting and meaningful positive change revealed through the COVID-19 pandemic which started in December 2019.

Why does it exist?

The primary objective of this all-volunteer movement is to connect 57,000 people from across North America with 57 different changemakers (and their positive change initiatives) who we will interview and profile from June through December of 2020. This strategic effort will contribute a small but important amount to a “growing wave†action to create a better/new “normalâ€.  

Connection is a critical foundation for positive change.The terrible disruption caused by COVID-19also provides a moment for progressive initiatives to establish a more resilient world with a healthy environment, society, and economy. In adapting how we connect, through virtual and safe in-person interactions, is prioritizing health and safety. 

We recognize that is privileged with safety and health, and with the capacity and opportunity to act to influence change. From that awareness, we feel a responsibility to learn, act, evolve and change. 

Given the negative impacts of the pandemic, and given how its effects have helped us see what really matters more clearly, we follow the dictum: “if not now, when? If not us, who?â€

Who is

We are a movement that brings together friends, colleagues and strangers from all over North America. A shared characteristic is a passion for ensuring that we build a better/new normal and create a better world. The initiative started in Western Canada but will expand eastwards and across North America over the next 6 months.

Vince Verlaan is the visionary behind the initiative. He has spent 30 years volunteering or working for a wide range of social change and collective impact initiatives, both internationally and domestically, saw the potential for such a mass movement several weeks into the pandemic, and really got it rolling in April 2020.

The rapidly growing movement is supported by a large team of volunteers, donors and professionals experienced in sustainable development, education, equity, cross-cultural collaboration, public policy, non-profits, organizational development, collective impact, and social change. The movement has no specific political or religious affiliation, all members are volunteers, and there is no profit motive.

How will the movement create connections and action?

In a used hybrid Rav-4, Vince will safely travel across the continent and back again between June 19th and August 10th gathering inspiring stories of positive change, interviewing diverse changemakers from communities across the US and Canada. The goal is to boost profile and drive support for 57 different featured initiatives.

The public can join in the movement through registering for emails and blog posts, reading interview summaries, going to changemaker websites, and listening to our podcasts or audio files. Moderated discussion forums will deepen understanding and build momentum, as will carefully curated information resources. The goal is to support people to gain insight, inspiration, and invitations to join a cause and take action to support meaningful change. has developed a detailed strategic plan and “logic model.†The movement is implemented through a 3-member steering committee, along with 7 support committees covering content curation, safety & logistics, membership & fundraising, communications & media relations, IT/AV, non-profit formation, and youth engagement (to ensure that youth-oriented and youth-led initiatives are central to the movement).

We know that catalyzing discussions and conversations can be magical, and that this moment in history requires and deserves focused, strategic and positive action. And so we say… “let’s do this together, now!â€

How are you addressing Risk and Safety?

This journey is essential because Humanity is personal!  We experience our humanity through hope, connection and belonging. COVID-19 has created a vacuum from which springs momentum and a desire for positive change.

In these COVID-19 times, we reflect upon how this global pandemic is both the catalyst for and the reason we are holding a deep commitment to the safety of the journey through detailed safety procedures.  

Our actions will all stem from the precautionary and adaptive approach to life in this new COVID-19 world. We are committed to only the highest standards of safeguarding health for the people we cross paths with and for the communities we visit on this journey to connect.

Adapting to the evolving Medical Health Officer directives in each Province, as the situation evolves, commitments that if it is not possible to cross into one of the ten provinces, we will change the trip itinerary.  And if safety and wellness feedback evolves, we will refine and revise our protocol, procedures, and plans accordingly such as from in-person to virtual events. 

For the 38 local moderated discussions planned along the journey, we will address risk concerns through the support and local knowledge led by each of the local organizers, and informed by current local safety protocols. 

In all cases, we will clearly communicate that anyone with any health risk should only participate through the online and remote actions and activities. Additionally, physical distancing standards and masks will be the foundation of our presence. We have appended a detailed safety protocol to our website.

Who will be interviewed/profiled?

  • This movement focuses on a total of 57 changemaker initiatives related to:
    • Environment – such as Allie Rougeot from Fridays for Future
    • Society – such as Global Women Fund in San Francisco
    • Economy – such as Amsterdam’s “donut†city planning 
  • 19 international change makers covering a wide range of environmental, economic and social themes/topics
  • 19 local/grassroots change makers from the across 10 provinces in Canada
    • Sea Change Marine Conservation Society 
  • 19 local/grassroots change makers from the across 9 states in the US
  • People working on youth engagement, inclusion/equity, and reconciliation
  • Tie-ins to Canada’s 3 territories, and to Mexico are being explored

When is this happening?

  • The 6-month foundational campaign launches formally June 19, 2020
  • The “Journey to Connect†starts June 19th and ends August 10th (planned dates)
  • All changemaker interviews will take place by November 19, 2020
  • All podcasts and blog postings will be completed by December 19, 2020
  • The foundational campaign wraps up on December 31, 2020
  • The “ International†non-profit organization will be formed by September 2020 and will be fully operational, staffed and funded by December 19, 2020
  • A fundraising campaign to cover operational costs is underway now

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