- ACTion Alexandria will enable residents to engage in civic problem solving and increase local philanthropy
- City’s $50,000 program investment will yield 5:1 leverage for each City dollar spent
On January 12, the Alexandria City Council voted 6-1 to accept a partnership request from ACT for Alexandria to establish ACTion Alexandria. This initiative was developed in response to community requests for a more sophisticated means to facilitate grassroots philanthropy and citizen-inspired problem solving. A key component of this partnership is a Web 2.0 ACTion Network, which will engage Alexandria residents in online civic problem solving and increase philanthropy to local nonprofits and other organizations.
As a partner, the City of Alexandria will invest $50,000 over the first two years of the project. The initiative has also received a $102,000 grant from the Knight Foundation and $100,000 in funding commitments from local sources as a result of the City’s participation. The City’s $50,000 program investment will yield 5:1 leverage for each City dollar spent.
The concept for ACTion Alexandria began last year, when ACT for Alexandria commissioned a study to assess the feasibility and impact of establishing an online network. The study, conducted by expert analysts, overseen by a steering committee of City constituents and reviewed by the broader community, concluded Alexandrians were ready for a next-generation solution for civic engagement, and, if properly executed, the City could reap significant community benefits.
ACTion Alexandria will initially organize around collectively identifying and solving civic problems that residents prioritize as important. Web 2.0 ACTion Network is a customized online system that will help Alexandrians to engage and interact in civic matters, particularly human service needs. Its core functionality will include civic problem solving, e-mail list building and distribution, surveying, ranking, voting, online discussion organization, project management, project archiving, and the capability for online donations to multiple entities. The system will evolve and enhance its functionality based on results and resident feedback.
ACTion Alexandria will be a stand-alone initiative, administered by ACT and overseen by a small advisory board composed of qualified citizens. A “community manager” will monitor the online ecosystem, solicit participation, resolve technical issues and shepherd online enthusiasm into offline action. A “business manager” will oversee the operation, develop partnerships, and migrate the initiative toward financial sustainability.
“The City of Alexandria is excited to be a partner on ACTion Alexandria,” stated Mayor William D. Euille. “This initiative will translate online interest into real action that will make a tangible difference in the lives of all Alexandrians.”